Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie was 23 years old when she was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer on March 16, 2003. She was working with others trying to protect the home of a Palestinian pharmacist from demolition in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestine. “My Name is Rachel Corrie” is a powerful one-woman show based entirely on the writings that Rachel left behind, telling her story from the time she was a small child, leading up to the days before her death. The play, edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner from Rachel’s diaries and emails, was produced by theRoyal Court Theatre in London. Starring Megan Dodds, it played to sold out audiences and wide acclaim..

“My Name is Rachel Corrie” was scheduled to open at thefont color=”#003300″>New York Theatre Workshop on March 22nd. It has been postponed indefinitely, sparking much debate. Director Alan Rickman said, “Rachel Corrie lived in nobody’s pocket but her own. Whether one is sympathetic with her or not, her voice is like a clarion in the fog and should be heard.” Rachel’s mother Cindy wonders, “Why are people so afraid of Rachel’s words?” We ask the same question and are determined to give people the opportunity to hear those words.

The “Rachel’s Words” initiative is made up of a broad spectrum of groups and individuals who believe that Rachel’s words and her message of human rights and justice should be heard. We hope that Rachel’s Words will open the door for other equally important and silenced voices. We resist the pervasive climate of fear and challenge to free speech that is increasingly prevalent in our society. Rachel wrote about issues that concern us all. People must have the opportunity to hear her message and decide for themselves what they think. Nobody’s agenda should stand in the way of that.

rachel corrie

an israeli bulldozer killed poor rachel corrie
as she stood in its path in the town of rafah
she lost her young life in an act of compassion
trying to protect the poor people of gaza
whose homes are destroyed by tank shells and bulldozers
and whose plight is exploited by suicide bombers
who kill in the name of the people of gaza
but rachel corrie believed in non-violent resistance
put herself in harm’s way as a shield of the people
and paid with her life in a manner most brutal
but you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
take the rag away from your face.
now ain’t the time for your tears.

rachel corrie had 23 years
she was born in the town of olympia, washington
a skinny, messy, list-making chain-smoker
who volunteered to protect the palestinian people
who had become non-persons in the eyes of the media
so that people were suffering and no one was seeing
or hearing or talking or caring or acting
and the horrible math of the awful equation
that brought rachel corrie into this confrontation
is that the spilt blood of a single american
is worth more than the blood of a hundred palestinians

but you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
take the rag away from your face.
now ain’t the time for your tears.

the artistic director of a new york theatre
cancelled a play based on rachel’s writings
but she wasn’t a bomber or a killer or fighter
but one who acted in the spirit of the freedom riders
is there no place for a voice in america
that doesn’t conform to the fox news agenda?
who believes in non-violence instead of brute force
who is willing to confront the might of an army
whose passionate beliefs were matched by her bravery
the question she asked rings out round the world
if america is truly the beacon of freedom
then how can it stand by while they bring down the curtain
and turn rachel corrie into a non-person?

oh, but you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
bury the rag deep in your face
for now’s the time for your tears.

Billy Bragg

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