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"Rachel Corrie" Plays in London

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  • World View
    It is disturbing to see our daughter played on stage, but it drives home the impact she has had since her killing in Gaza Rachel was bulldozed to death, but
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2005
      It is disturbing to see our daughter played on stage, but it drives
      home the impact she has had since her killing in Gaza

      Rachel was bulldozed to death, but her words are a spur to action
      Cindy and Craig Corrie
      Saturday October 8, 2005
      The Guardian

      When our daughter Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in
      the Gaza strip on March 16 2003, an immediate impulse was to get her
      words out to the world. She had been working in Rafah with a
      nonviolent resistance organisation, the International Solidarity
      Movement, trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and
      wells. Her emails home had had a powerful impact on our family, making
      us think about the situation in the Middle East in ways we had never
      done before. Without a direct connection to Israel and Palestine, we
      had not understood the devastating nature of the Palestinians'
      situation. Coming from the US, our allegiance and empathy had always
      been with the people of Israel.

      After Rachel died we realised that her words were having a similar
      effect on others whose lives were being changed, as ours have been -
      not just by Rachel's death, but by the window her writing provided on
      the Palestinian experience and by her call to action.

      Earlier this year, when a play created entirely from Rachel's emails
      and journals first opened in London, we saw in a very immediate way
      the impact that Rachel's words can have on others. Theatre can reach
      people in a different and deeper place than reading a news article or
      listening to a speech: there is an emotional aspect that for some
      people can be more long-lasting and motivating.

      Theatre humanises; all art humanises. It takes us away from the merely
      logical and rational. In the Israel-Palestine conflict there is often
      a very logical calculus of death and war - and you must step out of
      the constructs of that logic in order to construct a logic for peace.

      The play, My Name Is Rachel Corrie, is not just about how Rachel died,
      even if that is why she is known and remembered. It also illuminates
      her humanity, tracing her evolution from typical teenage
      self-exploration through to her search for a political voice. The play
      includes some of her writing that might be considered uncomplimentary
      to us, and even to her. Far better that, though, than being a symbol
      of one dimension.

      It is disconcerting, but also comforting, to watch an actor who looks
      much like Rachel - Megan Dodds - play our daughter on stage. In the
      opening scene, when Rachel awakens in her messy bedroom, the
      resemblance is almost too much. But Megan lives Rachel's words in ways
      that are sometimes familiar but also sometimes surprising, so that we
      learn from her what Rachel may have been thinking. At several points
      in the play, Megan enacts receiving emails from us - real emails that
      we actually sent to Rachel. We had never before imagined our
      daughter's reactions to receiving our messages until we saw them on stage.

      Rachel was a real human being. Sometimes, when people idealise her, we
      feel vulnerable for her. Knowing the complete human being, would they
      feel the same? Through My Name is Rachel Corrie, people can know a
      more complete Rachel.

      Clearly, our daughter has become a positive symbol for people. Her
      story and her words seem to motivate others to do something, not just
      sit and talk about the world's situation in their living rooms and
      feel unhappy. The weekend after Rachel was killed, we discussed with
      old friends what we should do. We needed to find a response. In some
      ways we may have been more fortunate than other parents who have lost
      children, for the response in our situation was apparent. With her
      efforts to educate and to build permanent connections with
      Palestinians in Rafah, Rachel provided us with a path.

      In an email from Rachel to her friend Todd, she tells him 10 times
      over that he must come to Gaza. "Come here!", she repeats over and
      over. That is what Rachel would have wanted us to do, too: to try to
      carry on what she started.

      We recently spent time in the US with members of the family who were
      behind the wall of the home Rachel stood to protect. For a month we
      ate, played and travelled with 15-month-old Sama. What future does she
      have, living in what now amounts to a mass prison in Gaza?

      The recent disengagement may provide some relief for Gazans at the
      most obvious level. But it is hard not to contrast the media coverage
      afforded to the Israeli settlers' leaving, with that given to the many
      Palestinian families who have lost their homes to demolition in Gaza.
      What has been happening in the West Bank under cover of the
      disengagement - the building of the wall and the expansion of
      settlements - is also very worrying.

      And when the Israeli prime minister's close aide Dov Weisglass said
      that the real intent of the Gaza disengagement was to place the peace
      process in formaldehyde, we have to take him at his word. We must keep
      insisting on a peace process and work towards a viable Palestinian
      state that will benefit Palestinians, Israelis and the rest of the world.

      Meanwhile, we are still asking our government for a US-led
      investigation into Rachel's killing. The US state department is on
      record saying that the report of the Israeli military police does not
      reflect an investigation that was "thorough, credible and
      transparent", despite that being promised to President Bush by Ariel
      Sharon. In March we initiated a lawsuit against the Israel Defence
      Force and the government of Israel, to seek justice for Rachel and
      also information. We still would like to know what happened on March
      16 2003, and why the international eyewitness reports differ so
      radically from the statements of the soldiers involved.

      Unfortunately, the Israeli parliament, counter to international law,
      has passed retroactive legislation making it impossible for most
      Palestinians and others to file suit against the IDF for injury that
      occurred in the occupied territories after September 2000.

      In the US we have taken legal action against Caterpillar Inc, which
      manufactured the D-9R bulldozer which killed Rachel. Under existing US
      law, corporations can be, and are being, held responsible when they
      knowingly continue to provide goods and services that are used in a
      pattern of human-rights violations.

      The month before she was killed, Rachel wrote the following in an
      email to us: "I look forward to seeing more and more people willing to
      resist the direction the world is moving in, a direction where our
      personal experiences are irrelevant, that we are defective, that our
      communities are not important, that we are powerless, that our future
      is determined, and that the highest level of humanity is expressed
      through what we choose to buy at the mall." Action has already flowed
      from her words.

      ยท My Name Is Rachel Corrie is at the Royal Court Theatre in London
      from October 11 to 29. Box office 020 7565 5000

      rachelsmessage @ the-corries.com



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