Palestinian rights activists on Thursday remembered the life and legacy of Rachel Corrie, the American human rights defender who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer on March 16, 2003 while trying to shield a Palestinian home from demolition in occupied Gaza.
“Rachel was 23 when she was killed. She could have satisfied her conscience by protesting against global injustice in a demonstration in America or by calling for a boycott of the aggressors,” Palestinian journalist and activist Ahmed Abu Artema—who is from Rafah, where Corrie was killed—wrote for Mondoweiss.
“But her high sense of morality was not satisfied with these symbolic gestures,” he added. “Her conscience would not rest without complete involvement, without standing side-by-side with us. That’s why she came to Palestine.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian politician, scholar, and activist, called Corrie “an icon of resistance, freedom, and self-sacrifice.”
“Palestine is forever grateful,” she added. “Always in our hearts. Rest in love and peace.”
Corrie, who hailed from Olympia, Washington, was a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led group resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestine through nonviolent direct action.
“No amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing, and word-of-mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here,” Corrie wrote to family and friends on February 7, 2003, adding that she had “very few words to describe” what she saw in Gaza.
“An 8-year-old child was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here,” she said.
“I feel like I’m witnessing the systematic destruction of a people’s ability to survive,” Corrie told a reporter two days before she was killed.
Originally published at Commondreams.org.