Message from Craig and Cindy Corrie
Thank you to all who have paused
today to remember our daughter Rachel Corrie and to call for an
end to the occupation-an occupation which took her life, as surely
as it has taken the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis.
Rachel looked for purpose and
found that in Gaza when she went there in January 2003. Brutally
killed one year ago today, she was an unarmed, nonviolent, peace
activist trying to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian
pharmacist, his wife, and three children. She believed that the
nonviolent activism that she was doing and supporting would make
not only Palestinians but also Israelis and Americans more secure--
by supporting Palestinians who practice nonviolent rather than
armed resistance and by speeding an end to this conflict that
has so damaged both U.S. and Israeli images in the world. Rachel
stood there that day because the United States government and
Israel rejected a proposal in the UN to send international human
rights monitors to the region. She and other activists went in
their place, and they continue to go. Rachel stood there that
day protesting illegal home demolitions that the U.S. opposes
on the record, yet fails to stop-devastating demolitions that
we, in fact, contribute to with billions of U.S. tax dollars annually
that fund the Israeli military with its bulldozers, apache helicopters,
F-16s, and more. In fact, the U.S. Government, with our tax dollars,
surely purchased the Caterpillar D9R bulldozer that killed Rachel.
Rachel's case is closed in Israel
and only the "Conclusions" to the military police report
have been given to the U.S. We have been able to view the report
at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco. It contains inconsistencies
and fails to satisfactorily reconcile the differences between
the Israeli soldiers who say they did not see Rachel and the seven
international eyewitnesses who say she was clearly visible. We
believe that only an independent U.S. investigation can produce
a result that we can trust. We continue to call for support and
passage of House Concurrent Resolution 111 (HCR111) that calls
for such an investigation and now has fifty-six co-sponsors.
Rachel wrote, "When I am
with Palestinian friends I tend to be somewhat less horrified
than when I am trying to act in a role of human rights observer,
documenter, or direct-action resister. They are a good example
of how to be in it for the long haul. I know that the situation
gets to them-- and may ultimately get them-- on all kinds of levels,
but I am nevertheless amazed at their strength in being able to
defend such a large degree of their humanity-- laughter, generosity,
family-time-- against the incredible horror occurring in their
lives and against the constant presence of death...I wish you
could meet these people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will."
In September we traveled to Gaza
and visited the families in whose homes Rachel had stayed. All
were threatened with demolition because of their location near
the Egyptian border and the giant steel wall being built there.
We shared meals with these families and played with their children.
In recent months all of their homes have been demolished.
In the West Bank, we witnessed
the strategy of separation taking physical form in the web of
fences, walls, identification cards, and checkpoints that separate
not only Palestinians from Israelis, but Palestinians from Palestinians,
farmers from their fields, children from their classrooms, workers
from their jobs, the sick from their healthcare, the elderly from
their grandchildren, municipalities from their water supplies,
and ultimately a people from their land. In Jerusalem we met members
of an Israeli-Palestinian organization "Bereaved Parents"
who have lost relatives to the conflict and now work together
to end the occupation, and then for peace and reconciliation.
In Israel, we met with peace activists who asked us to return
home and work to end U.S. funding of the occupation.
After a year spent learning more,
and after experiencing so personally the loss that thousands of
Palestinians and Israelis share with us, we echo once again Rachel's
plea for it all to end, "This has to stop. I think it is
a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives
to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to
do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benetar
and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also
want this to stop."