Rachel Corrie: 2 years on

Rachel Corrie died two years ago today.

It matters to me for the way the aftermath of her death discouraged me. Palestinians die in Palestine all the time at the hands of the IDF, and the world doesn’t seem to care. When Rachel died, I felt sick, but also I thought, finally – now this situation will be understood. She was pretty, young, white and American – the most cynical committee couldn’t have designed it better. But it didn’t take. It didn’t stick. Even this.

It matters to me for the sickly, mocking hatred thrown at her by so many of those opposed to justice for Palestine. If there is anything that demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of the progressive movement’s foes, it is this. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking these voices are the extreme – they are not, at least not in the USA – there they are the overwhelming, mainstreamed voice of right-wing political discourse. Remember: they operate from false premises. Remember: we are right and these people are wrong. And remember: we are better than them.

It matters to me most of all for the human being on show in the emails she wrote. She speaks for every non-Palestinian who cares about Palestine, and every person who cares about justice movements around the world. She’s just like any of us. She’s just like you.

“Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. 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 Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop.”

Justice won’t come by itself. Start thinking about what you can do.

Then stop thinking, and do it.


6 thoughts on “Rachel Corrie: 2 years on”

  1. Morgue wrote: “Remember: we are right and these people are wrong. And remember: we are better than them.”
    I’m sorry Morgue but I have to say something here. I don’t know what you believe but the liberal (Progressive?) movement is the bastion of post modernism. And on that basis saying “We are right and they are wrong” is hollow and pointless.
    But that’s not the real issue here. Regardless of philosophy I want to know what makes *you* think *you* are better than anyone?
    Given you previously long post on beleif you are dangerously close to making the mistake you accuse others off. Holding a strong belief and then letting that beleif spur you into action that may well be ill considered.
    I don’t know anything about Rachel Corrie, and I suspect that what I read on the website will upset me. But she is not my point.
    What makes you think your progressive movement is better than anything else that’s happened in history? What makes you think that all the people in it are better people than those who hold to right wing positions?
    What basis do you have for a “statement like “we are better than them”? Have you met every right winger? Have you personally investigated their lives, seen how they treat their families, investigated the reasons they beleive what they beleive? Or are you falling prey to the old “us and them” metality and stereotyping all your “foes” into some convienent straw man you can attack.
    I understand you are probably upset, and so are speaking from that anger. But, even upset, if you succumb to this kind of thinking all you are proving is that you are, in fact, no better than them.
    I know all this sounds harsh morgue. But read what you wrote, it’s just as harsh, if not more so.

  2. Your right morgue. What happened to Rachel was an atrocity. I should have affected things but it didn’t. We live in a society sheltered from relaity by the media. It’s all too easy to use the TV and such to distance yourself from horror such as this.
    What happenbed was one wrong thing in a big long string of wrong things. The people who did it should be punished.

  3. I chose that word ‘better’ for a reason. I know it’s loaded, particularly for a progressive movement that values understanding and is leery of judgement. That’s why I used it.
    To clarify, I meant it specifically referring to the hate-throwers that the paragraph in question was discussing, certainly not every right winger. If you went looking on the net it wouldn’t take long to find some of these people. Some big, edge-of-the-mainstream net communities are involved here. I’m not going to link to them.
    They celebrate Rachel’s death. I’m not exaggerating for effect here – if anything, I’m underselling it. They celebrate her death. With mocking glee, they exult in the fact she died (and, by the by, swallow completely the lie that she alone bears responsibility for her death).
    It was these people – the chaos in the blogosphere after Rachel died, the ferocity of hatred directed at her – that showed me the progressive reluctance to make a stand is sometimes disastrous.
    I look at these baying, braying, blood-thirsty fools and I tell you, we are better than them.

  4. Morgue wrote: “I look at these baying, braying, blood-thirsty fools and I tell you, we are better than them.”
    I still can’t agree Morgue. People can be, and are, misguided. People are foolish and make ill considered decisions. People believe the propaganda that toher people spin.
    What makes you any better. You believe different propaganda, make different ill considered decisions and are misguided in different way. How do you know your rhetoric is better.
    Sure you don’t gloat over a vicious kiiling, instead you exalt yourself over others who succumb to such base feelings instead succumbing to a different base feeling.
    Which ever way you cut it Morgue we are all in this mess togeather. I disagree with those people, I am horrified by what happened and thier reaction but I know that I too am only human and maybe one day I will be the one people look on in disgust. History surely shows us that there are a great many “good” people who end up doing bad things, most often because they are misguided.
    My only argument here really is that it is just as misguided to look upon these people and claim we are any better.
    Perhaps this all stems from my religious beliefs. I beleive, who heartedly and deeply that it is simply wrong for me to pass judgement on others. This doesn’t stop me from doing it as I am weak and sometimes I shoot my mouth off before I think about it (sometimes? Perhaps all the time).
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t beleive that it’s wrong for me to pass judgement because I don’t hold to any values that would enable me to pass judgement, quite the opposite is true. I believe that there are moral laws that we all have to measure up too, which is why I can say, and know, that these people are wrong.
    But the moral laws also necessitate a moral lawgiver, and one of things that the lawgiver said, was not to judge and “vengence is mine.”
    I find this remarkably comforting. See the thing that worries me about your saying you are bettert han anyone means that you place a distance between that person and yourself. You seperate yourself from them. If you allow this to cotinue it’s all too easy to start thinking of that person as different to you, perhaps not quite as human as you. And so your vision becomes clouded by your sense of superiority. Isn’t this likely to be what happened to those people you claim to be better than. It’s a slippery slope Morgue and eventually your judgement becomes so clouded that you find yourself exalting in theior little misfortunes and so on.
    But the moral Lawgiver is not bound by such filings of perspective. When ‘vengence’ happens it will be done by one who can judge perfectly, who does know the whole situation, donw to the secret thoughts that we’ve told no one else.
    These people will face judgement for what they have done. Let it be one who is capable of judging.
    Rather than judging them morgue, why not reach out to them, why not try to show them a better way. It’ll cost you everything my friend, but it *will* make a difference. This is something Christians have, to a greater or lesser degree known all along, that the power of grace and love and humility are far more effective than the power of judgement and scorn and self exaltation.
    (As a disclaimer I know that many Christians have also failed to act in grace, love and humility throughout history, but we are only people too, and we aspire for the stars, but we are lying in the gutter along with everyone else. No human is perfect.)
    I keep wanting to say more, but I’ll just end up repeating myself. Heck, I will say it once more. Don’t start on the slippery slope that those who disgust you probably started on at some point. Don’t make it about us and them, becaus that’s the first step to becoming somone who takes joy in others misfirtune just as they have in Rachel’s death.

  5. Matt – I understand your argument but
    Morgue does have a point…!
    I don’t claim moral superiority over these people, I don’t need to do they are giving it away!
    (Just kiddin)

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