الخميس، 19 مارس، 2009

Remembering Rachel on the sixth anniversary of her killing

Statement from the Family of Rachel Corrie

March 16, 2009

http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/site/2009/03/16/remembering-rachel-on-the-sixth-anniversary-of-her-killing/#more-481


We thank all who continue to remember Rachel and who,
on this sixth anniversary of her stand in Gaza, renew
their own commitments to human rights, justice and
peace in the Middle East. The tributes and actions in
her memory are a source of inspiration to us and to
others.

Friday, March 13th, we learned of the tragic injury to
American activist Tristan Anderson. Tristan was shot in
the head with a tear-gas canister in Ni'lin Village in
the West Bank when Israeli forces attacked a
demonstration opposing the construction of the
annexation wall through the village's land. On the same
day, a Ni'lin resident was, also, shot in the leg with
live ammunition.

Four residents of Ni'lin have been killed in the past
eight months as villagers and their supporters have
courageously demonstrated against the Apartheid Wall
deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice -
a wall that will ultimately absorb one-quarter of the
village's remaining land. Those who have died are a
ten-year-old child Ahmed Mousa, shot in the forehead
with live ammunition on July 29, 2008; Yousef Amira
(17) shot with rubber-coated steel bullets on July 30,
2008; Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22) and Mohammed Khawaje
(20), both shot and killed with live ammunition on
December 8, 2008.

On this anniversary, Rachel would want us all to hold
Tristan Anderson and his family and these Palestinians
and their families in our thoughts and prayers, and we
ask everyone to do so.

We are writing this message from Cairo where we
returned after a visit to Gaza with the Code Pink
Delegation from the United States. Fifty-eight women
and men successfully passed through Rafah Crossing on
Saturday, March 7th to challenge the border closures
and siege and to celebrate International Women's Day
with the strong and courageous women of Gaza.

Rachel would be very happy that our spirited delegation
made this journey. North to south throughout the Strip,
we witnessed the sweeping destruction of neighborhoods,
municipal buildings, police stations, mosques, and
schools -casualties of the Israeli military assaults in
December and January. When we asked about the personal
impact of the attacks on those we met, we heard
repeatedly of the loss of mothers, fathers, children,
cousins, and friends. The Palestinian Center for Human
Rights reports 1434 Palestinian dead and over 5000
injured, among them 288 children and 121 women.

We walked through the farming village of Khoza in the
South where fifty homes were destroyed during the land
invasion. A young boy scrambled through a hole in the
rubble to show us the basement he and his family
crouched in as a bulldozer crushed their house upon
them. We heard of Rafiya who lead the frightened women
and children of this neighborhood away from threatening
Israeli military bulldozers, only to be struck down and
killed by an Israeli soldier's sniper fire as she
walked in the street carrying her white flag.

Repeatedly, we were told by Palestinians, and by the
internationals on the ground supporting them, that
there is no ceasefire. Indeed, bomb blasts from the
border area punctuated our conversations as we arrived
and departed Gaza. On our last night, we sat by a fire
in the moonlight in the remains of a friend's farmyard
and listened to him tell of how the Israeli military
destroyed his home in 2004, and of how this second home
was shattered on February 6th. This time, it was
Israeli rockets from Apache helicopters that struck the
house. A stand of wheat remained and rustled soothingly
in the breeze as we talked, but our attention shifted
quickly when F-16s streaked high across the night sky,
and our friend explained that if the planes tipped to
the side, they would strike. Everywhere, the
psychological costs of the recent and ongoing attacks
for all Gazans, but especially for the children, were
sadly apparent.

It is not only those who suffer the greatest losses
that carry the scars of all that has happened. It is
those, too, who witnessed from their school bodies
flying in the air when police cadets were bombed across
the street and those who felt and heard the terrifying
blasts of missiles falling near their own homes. It is
the children who each day must walk past the
unexplainable and inhumane destruction that has
occurred.

In Rachel's case, though a thorough, credible and
transparent investigation was promised by the Israeli
Government, after six years, the position of the U.S.
Government remains that such an investigation has not
taken place. In March 2008, Michele Bernier-Toff,
Managing Director of the Office of Overseas Citizen
Services at the Department of State wrote, "We have
consistently requested that the Government of Israel
conduct a full and transparent investigation into
Rachel's death. Our requests have gone unanswered or
ignored." Now, the attacks on all the people of Gaza
and the recent one on Tristan Anderson in Ni'lin cry
out for investigation and accountability. We call on
President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and
members of Congress to act with fortitude and courage
to ensure that the atrocities that have occurred are
addressed by the Israeli Government and through
relevant international and U.S. law. We ask them to act
immediately and persistently to stop the impunity
enjoyed by the Israeli military, not to encourage it.

Despite the pain, we have once again felt privileged to
enter briefly into the lives of Rachel's Palestinian
friends in Gaza. We are moved by their resilience and
heartened by their song, dance, and laughter amidst the
tears. Rachel wrote in 2003, "I am nevertheless amazed
at their strength in being able to defend such a large
degree of their humanity-laughter, generosity, family
time - against the incredible horror occurring in their
lives.....I am also discovering a degree of strength
and of the basic ability for humans to remain human in
the direst of circumstances...I think the word is
dignity." On this sixth anniversary of Rachel's
killing, we echo her sentiments.


Sincerely,

Cindy and Craig Corrie
On behalf of our family

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Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
www.rachelcorriefoundation.org
(360) 754-3998
info@rachelcorriefoundation.org