Thursday, March 19, 2009
Film by Fida Qishta
Every year we remember 16th March. We remember a kind, insightful, talented person committed to the plight of the Palestinian people, who genuinely had the courage of her convictions. Her name was Rachel Corrie. This year, the anniversary of her death comes in the wake of Israel 's massive assault on the Gaza Strip. We believe Rachel would want the world to remember the 1,400 Palestinians killed before she is remembered herself. Now, six long years after her death, the situation in Gaza is even more desperate than when Rachel bore witness to it. Six years on we still demand justice.This is a highly poignant day for us, so to mark it in a positive and inspiring way, we joined five young Palestinian artists to create a mural on one of the few remaining sections of the Israeli wall on the Rafah-Egypt border strip. The same wall whose construction saw the destruction of residential neighbourhoods, including the one Rachel died trying to safeguard. The same wall that for years was intended to imprison Palestinian people. The same wall that was finally destroyed by the Palestinian people.As the artists began painting the wall, enlivening it with colourful symbols of defiance, Israeli F-16 fighter jets were heard flying over Rafah. Despite Israel 's announcement of a "unilateral ceasefire" on 18th January, the Israeli Air Force continues to unilaterally bomb Rafah and other areas in the Gaza Strip almost daily. Fortunately, today we weren't bombed by Israeli aircraft, maybe because we were protected by the "Palestinian Air Force". Palestinian children from the Lifemakers Center along with kids from the nearby al-Barazil refugee camp responded to the Israeli military flying F-16s by flying kites! 14 kites were flown in memory of the 14 hundred Palestinians killed recently in Gaza . Another kite sent our love to Rachel.Rachel's parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie succeeded to gain entry to Gaza and celebrated International Women's Day with the courageous women of Gaza on 8th March. Commenting on their visit they said, "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."The Israeli Occupation Forces attempted to kill another American ISM activist, Tristan Anderson, on 13th March 2009, in the West Bank village of Ni'lin . Tristan, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Just as today we stood at the destroyed wall of Rafah, commemorating the sacrifice of Rachel, one day we will stand together with Tristan at the destroyed wall of Ni'lin to commemorate the sacrifice of its Palestinian martyrs.We should remember Rachel and all that she stood for. Similarly we must never let the world forget all the innocent Palestinian souls who perished without mercy. Their fate is already slipping from the collective memory of the international community, fading from the headlines of a fickle corporate media. It is time this manufactured catastrophe ends so that Rachels death and the deaths of countless Palestinians were not in vain.