Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the death of student activist Rachel Corrie. She was killed by an Israeli bulldozer, which crushed her as she stood defending a Palestinian home. Reprinted below is an article written by Left Hook co-editor Adam Levenstein the day after her death. We dedicate this update of Left Hook to the memory and example our comrade Rachel.

But once you have seen the ocean and lived in a silent place, where water is taken for granted and not stolen in the night by bulldozers, and once you have spent an evening when you haven't wondered if the walls of your home might suddenly fall inward waking you from your sleep, and once you've met people who have never lost anyone-- once you have experienced the reality of a world that isn't surrounded by murderous towers, tanks, armed "settlements" and now a giant metal wall, I wonder if you can forgive the world for all the years of your childhood spent existing--just existing--in resistance to the constant stranglehold of the world's fourth largest military--backed by the world's only superpower--in it's attempt to erase you from your home. That is something I wonder about these children. I wonder what would happen if they really knew.
      —from an email sent by Rachel Corrie to her family

Sunday, March 16, 2003

I said the Kaddish today. I honestly can't remember the last time I picked up a Siddur, much less actually said a prayer—maybe a family Bar Mitzvah, maybe a wedding. My days as an observant Jew have long since ended.

But today was different. I awoke this afternoon, after sleeping off the long bus ride back from the anti-war mobilization in DC, to find that a young ISM activist had been killed by an Israeli bulldozer.

Rachel, only two years my junior, was trying to stop the Israeli Occupation Forces (I refuse to call them "Defense") from demolishing the home of a Palestinian doctor. She stood alone in front of the bulldozer, waving her arms, shouting at the driver to stop through her bullhorn. As she fell, the bulldozer ran completely over her; it then reversed, driving backwards over the buried woman. Rachel died later in a hospital.

As if that were not enough, people gathered at the site to help—and the IOF promptly opened fire. One Palestinian, who the US media did not deign to name, was killed.

And so I said the Kaddish for Rachel. I said it for all of the courageous souls—Palestinian and international alike—who put their lives on the line fighting this illegal Occupation by an apartheid army. I said it for the innocent men, women, and children who the Israelis have massacred.

But I also said it for our community—a community so driven to defend Israel they will whitewash obvious, premeditated murder. Already the Internet trolls are out, explaining that Rachel "got what she deserved." Groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, so famous for dismissing critics of Israel as "anti-semitic," are remaining suspiciously silent. We live in a time when pointing an accusing finger at Israel, no matter how egregious and obvious their crimes, is simply not permitted.

Rachel's death, however tragic, was only remarkable in that she was an American. The IOF has had no problems gunning down, bombing, torturing, or imprisoning Palestinian civilians. The fact that the media in this country bothered to look up her name, as opposed to the thousands of Palestinians who have been murdered over the years, only shows the racism that is so entrenched in our society. An American being killed is something special—but Arabs are just par for the course. A month without a suicide bombing is considered a period of "relative calm," never mind the Palestinians who are still dying.

Rachel died surrounded by her friends and comrades, as well as doctors who labored to save her life. She died bravely, fighting for a cause as noble as no other. And as I looked at the photos of her last hours on this Earth, and I as I saw her fellow activists who were huddled in shock and grief, I grieved. I grieved for her, despite never having met her. Rachel exemplified courage; she put her life on the line to stand up for what was right, and paid the ultimate price.

But despite my own lack of belief in an afterlife, I firmly believe Rachel is still with us. As long as we struggle for what is just, as long as we continue to stand with our Palestinian brothers and sisters against this inhuman, racist regime, she will be right there with us. And we will continue the struggle.

May her soul be bound up in the bonds of eternal life.

Adam Levenstein, 26, is co-editor of Left Hook and member of Atlanta Palestine Solidarity.

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