Rachel Corrie's Legacy

July 18, 2006

On Friday night, not too long after war had broken out between Israel and Lebanon, my husband and I were fortunate enough to see the film “Rachel Corrie: An American Conscience.”  I thought that if I waited a few days my thoughts would organize themselves, but they haven’t.  Still, I have long wanted to discuss Rachel Corrie, an American girl who was crushed by a bulldozer while defending a Palestinian home, on MotherTalkers, so indulge my disorganized rantings if you can stand it.

The title of the film is a bit misleading, since its focus was much more on the International Solidarity Movement than on Corrie herself.  There is so much worth discussing here, and I know that I will not address all that should be addressed.  But as a mother, Corrie is such a prime example of the kind of compassionate, courageous daughter I would love to raise, and such a good example of the sort of person I would like to be.  
Craig and Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s parents, introduced the film and took questions afterwards.  Corrie was a local girl and I see her parents fairly frequently, at war protests or the grocery store, but I have never let on that I know who they are.  This time I watched these people, especially Cindy, more than I listened to their words, trying to decipher how they have managed to survive this nightmare with such grace and kindness.  They have carried on their daughter’s legacy so well.  I believe that they have a true grasp of what I don’t think I ever could.  They know that they are not the only people in the world who have ever lost a child.  They may not even be the only people in the room.  It happens every day, all over the world.  Their sorrow is no greater or smaller than any grieving parent’s.  

She was only two years younger than me, so it seems that I should relate to her more than to her parents.  But a mother is a mother is a mother, I guess.  And with each passing year, I get older, but she stays 23.  

Over the next few months, several other members of the ISM were wounded or killed.  A young British man named Tom Hurndall was deliberately shot when he tried to help a little girl out of the line of fire.  He spent nine months in a coma and died in 2004, the same day my daughter was born.  His mother appeared in the film as well.  She wasn’t there when her son was shot, but she could visualize it well.  He was so compassionate and loved children so much; she knew he would never leave a scared child alone.

So many outrageous injustices happen in this world every day that most of the time I am paralyzed by how overwhelming it all is.  I tell myself that I do what I can, but I know I could do more.  This is not meant to be a mea culpa, but I feel I must acknowledge the courage and power of these amazing people.  They are such an inspiration to me.  

Thanks for letting me babble.