14 Years on, Palestinians Still Mourn Slain US Activist

Palestinians mark 12th anniversary of American activist Rachel Corrie’s death. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)​

Fourteen years ago Thursday, 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer that was preparing to demolish a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Corrie has since become an icon of global solidarity with the people of Palestine. Born on April 10, 1979 in Olympia, Washington, Corrie dedicated her life to defending Palestinian rights. In 2003, she went to the Gaza Strip as a member of the International Solidarity Movement.

She was known for her love of peace and for defending the Palestinian people’s right to a state of their own, frequently broadcasting photo essays exposing Israeli rights violations in the occupied territories.

On March 16, 2003 in the Salam district of the Gaza Strip’s southern city of Rafah, Corrie stood before an Israeli bulldozer in hopes of stopping it from demolishing the home of a local Palestinian family.

Corrie believed that her foreign features and blonde hair would deter the bulldozer – but she was wrong. She was crushed to death when the bulldozer driver ran her over repeatedly, according to witnesses.

The people of Gaza received news of her murder with grief and horror, describing her as a “martyr” and staging a massive funeral for the slain American activist.

Since then, the name Rachel Corrie has become a byword for solidarity with the Palestinian cause. It was chosen as the name for an Irish aid ship that set out for Gaza in 2010 and her story has been told in a number of documentary films portraying Palestinian suffering.

Her family later filed a civil lawsuit against the Israeli authorities for their daughter’s death. But an Israeli court acquitted the bulldozer driver in a controversial 2013 verdict – a decision denounced by a number of rights groups.

In a letter sent to her family from Gaza shortly before her murder, Corrie had described the Palestinian suffering that she witnessed: “No amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word-of-mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it.”

(Anadolu, PC, Social Media)

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