Ten years ago today, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old peace activist from Olympia, Washington was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza while protesting against the demolition of a Palestinian house by Israeli forces.
As an activist and volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, Corrie was devoted to exposing the injustices that she saw while working in Gaza.
“I feel like I’m witnessing the systematic destruction of a people’s ability to survive. It’s horrifying… Sometimes I sit down to dinner with people and I realize there is a massive military machine surrounding us, trying to kill the people I’m having dinner with,” she said in an interview given around that time.
On the anniversary of her death, Rachel's parents—Craig and Cindy Corrie—who have taken up her mantle and devoted the past decade to the issue of justice in Palestine, are calling on President Obama to withdraw support for the "apartheid system embodied in the occupation of Palestine and in the treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel."
In a recent op-ed Craig Corrie writes that the president should,
use this [upcoming] trip to a deeply troubled and divided place to remind the world that Americans believe all people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Then, make this first principle of America’s existence the foundation of his foreign policy for the next four years.
To commemorate the anniversary, the Corries released this video statement:
Here is Corrie giving an interview on the state of Palestinians in Gaza.
Also Saturday, dozens of Palestinian children demonstrated in memory of Corrie, in the southern city of Rafah.
According to New Zealand Week, the children carried Palestinian flags and posters of Corrie, with banners reading “The Palestinian people love peace,” “We ask Obama to lift the siege” and “the United States should stop its support to Israel.”
Speaking to Counter Punch about the Palestinian reaction to Corrie's death, Cindy Corrie said that at first she didn’t understand why it was so important for Palestinians of all ages to come meet them.
“It took me awhile to understand it, and all that they were carrying, and have been carrying for over sixty years. I think it’s that there was this American kid–and as they struggled to get their message out and struggled to challenge what’s happened to them—she came, and she did that. I know, because they tell me how much that means, and it’s very personal.”