British actor Alan Rickman died Jan. 14, 2016, at age 69, after a battle with cancer. Many of his fans remember him for his roles playing villains like Professor Snape in the “Harry Potter” movies, the Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” and numerous other romantic or shifty roles in film, TV or onstage. Rickman also edited and directed the 2005 play titled, “My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” based on the life and death of the 23-year-old American student who was crushed to death in Gaza by an Israeli soldier driving a U.S.-made Caterpillar bulldozer. Wearing a bright orange fluorescent vest, and carrying only a megaphone, Corrie was trying to protect a pharmacist’s home from being demolished.
Rickman’s important work was mentioned in only a few articles, including Salon’s “Remembering Alan Rickman’s Pro-Palestinian Play About American Activist Rachel Corrie”: “Rickman had not only a legendary film and theater résumé, but also a firm commitment to progressive politics, and support for Palestinian rights in particular.”
In one of two Washington Post obituaries published Jan. 15, Adam Bernstein devoted three paragraphs at the end of his half-page article to the controversy surrounding the New York Theatre Workshop’s planned 2006 production of “My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” and its decision to “indefinitely delay” the show’s first U.S. performance over concerns of boycotts and protests.
When the play finally opened in 2006, at New York’s Greenwich Village Minetta Lane Theatre, it was a triumph. Other performances of “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” including its original London debut, have been covered by the Washington Report over the years (See Activist Resources Section).
Alan Rickman leaves his fans and fellow activists heartbroken by his early death. Along with Rachel Corrie, whose life and death he sought to immortalize, Rickman shows us that doing the right thing—working for truth, justice and freedom for all— may be risky, but it is profoundly satisfying. One person can make a huge difference in the world.
– Read more: Alan Rickman Made A Difference – Washington Report on Middle East Affairs