Corrie Parents Fundraising For Palestinians
No Doubt Where Rachel Corrie's Parents Stand Now
The frustrating story of Evergreen State College student Rachel Corrie, who was killed in Gaza after stepping in front of an Israeli bulldozer, is one that continues to ignite passions on both sides.
Two years after her sad death, Corrie's parents have left no doubt as to their real agenda- working for the Palestinian cause. Is this really the best way to honor their daughter's memory?
First, background on this complicated tale, including personal memories:
Just minutes before air on March 16, 2003, Corrie's story hit the newswire, so I scrapped my entire program and ran with it. The phone lines were jammed immediately, which is a bit unusual for a breaking story, as listeners normally take time to absorb the news.
Sometimes, initial reactions turn out to be emotional and therefore premature, but all of us seemed to wonder how a naive college student could be tricked into giving her life for such a dubious cause.
For Washington state residents, though, it's never a big surprise when something like this happens, simply mention Evergreen State College, an ultra-radical campus where students are routinely duped into taking up foreign causes. It's a wonderful recruiting ground for radical socialists from the International Solidarity Movement, which sent Corrie to Gaza.
Corrie's death seemed especially wasteful, as she simply had no business interjecting herself into the Israeli-Palestinian issue, especially in such a confrontational way. Stepping in front of a bulldozer in the process of tearing down homes is not smart protesting.
None of us could have predicted when this story first broke, that emotions over it would continue to run so high, even two years later. At the time, I received hate mail and liberal blogger flak when my statements on Corrie and Evergreen were quoted in Oregonian and Seattle Times stories.
It's never really disappeared from the news since. In April, her story was turned into an anti-Israel play that debuted in London. And, earlier this year, Corrie's parents sued Caterpillar, because they manufactured the bulldozer that killed her.
Corrie has become the ultimate leftist martyr, both here and abroad, as an example of someone who wasn't afraid to take on "zionism" and imperialism.
The circumstances of her death are still in dispute, with the Israeli government declaring it an accident, while her parents think they were responsible for a deliberate attack on their daughter.
Now, they've taken it beyond the Caterpillar suit, to full-blown support for the Palestinian cause. According to an AP report, the Corries will be actively raising money for Palestinian families, on a multi-city tour:
More than two years later, Craig and Cindy Corrie say they are trying to carry on their daughter's work.
In a bid to raise money to rebuild the bulldozed house and others nearby, the Corries have started a seven-state tour with Khaled and Samah Nasrallah - one of two Palestinian families who lived in the house Rachel died protecting.
On Friday, the tour comes to Rachel's hometown of Olympia - where black and white photos of her with the word "Peacemaker" hang from cafe windows and where a scholarship has been created in her name at her alma mater, The Evergreen State College.
While they considered themselves socially involved - they had participated in a protest for the impending Iraq war just the day before her death - Cindy Corrie said they had never considered themselves political activists.
They travel the country to talk about their daughter and her social causes, and the Corries have taken an active role in Palestinian issues. About a year ago, they joined up with The Rebuilding Alliance, an organization that helps rebuild Palestinian homes and schools.
In March, the Corries sued Caterpillar Inc., the company that made the bulldozer that ran over their daughter, arguing that Caterpillar violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces, knowing the machines would be used to demolish homes and endanger people.
The Corries are also pursuing separate claims in Israel against the state of Israel, the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Israeli Defense Forces.
Israel has characterized the International Solidarity Movement, the group Rachel Corrie was working with when she was killed, as meddlers whose activism in some cases has amounted to abetting terrorism.
"I think she just made bad decisions for herself," said Keren Bar-nir, with the American Zionist Movement in New York. "I think it's based on really extreme groups persuading people. The kids these days are so disillusioned."
Corrie's mother said her daughter was neither misguided nor misled.
Although news of Rachel's death was largely overshadowed by the beginning of the war in Iraq, the story of her death endures. A Google search on her name gets nearly 175,000 hits. Most of the sites are sympathetic, but some castigate her as un-American and show a photo of her burning a mock American flag surrounded by Palestinian schoolchildren.
Cindy says that picture has been used to demonize Rachel.
Certainly, there's no doubt we don't understand the pain that Corrie's parents have endured. Losing a child, particularly at 23, must be more difficult than anyone could imagine.
How they've chosen to honor Rachel, however, is questionable. Why take up the same fringe causes that got her killed, working with people not willing to die for the movement, to let her become the martyr instead?
And suing the bulldozer company gives them all the credibility of Michael Jackson's accuser's mother or the Wendy's chili finger lady. Why give the public a reason to question your motives?
Remembering a lost daughter is one thing, but this is commemorating stupidity with more of the same.