For Immediate Release
Statement from the Family of Rachel Corrie, March 16, 2009
OLYMPIA, Washington - 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
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.
Cindy and Craig Corrie
On behalf of our family
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The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice continues the work that Rachel Corrie began and hoped to accomplish, and carries out that work with her vision, spirit, and creative energy in mind. We conduct and support programs that foster connections between people, that build understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities. The foundation encourages and supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice, which we view as pre-requisites for world peace.