Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Rachel Corrie Wrapup
Took a study break last night and went to the event that I posted about earlier. Rachel's parents were very good. Slow, hypnotic speakers, well trained to handle criticism. They spoke movingly about the need for not mere words in the quest for social justice, but rather action, which Rachel's sponsoring group, the International Solidarity Movement (or ISM) accomplishes. They spoke of the need to look at the blood on the hands of both sides in this conflict, not just the Palestinian side. They humanized those that suffer (at least on the Palestinian side). They responded to the predictible question about Rachel burning a U.S. flag by pointing out that it was an American Flag that was drapped over her mock coffin in Gaza for her mock funeral - the first time in ages that Palestinians would carry our flag with pride.

I quickly got sick of this charade posing Rachel as a non-partisan peace activist. So I decided to pin her parents down with this question.

"Mr. and Mrs. Corrie - it means a lot to me to have both of you come here tonight and speak of the need for direct social action over mere words. Too often in our generation, those that would seek to make this world a better place give themselves contentment with the pat on the back of mere words when they should be acting. With that in mind, you pointed out earlier that we should pay attention to the actions of both sides in this conflict. I wholeheartedly agree, and wanted to press you on how your late daughter or even the ISM has engaged in direct non-violent action, as opposed to mere words, to restrain the Palestinian side from its violence, since both clearly had the Israeli side covered."

Their faces went from smiling at the beginning of my question (bait to get them listening) to shock at the end of it. The wanted to say that ISM has condemned and their daughter was against suicide bombing, but I of course cut that escape route off to them with my request for examples of the direct action both have prided themselves for (besides, their daughter was actually quite in favor of suicide bombers). To prove that their late daughter and the group she stood for was truly a "peace-organization" and not just a group of partisans that were supporting one side over another, they needed an example. And they couldn't find one. The Father stuttered for a few seconds, then tried weasling his way out with an excuse that as peace activists they don't need to be fair to both sides, since the Israelie's are stronger. Of course, this means that these peace activists were partisans and not the neutral observers they claimed previously to be, a point that didn't go unnoticed in the audience. Even the Muslim Student Awareness Representative up there with them started chuckling.

I hadn't had that much fun asking questions at an event since I made former presidential candidate Gary Hart look like a dumbass...but that is another story for another time.

Oh yeah - sometimes mere words are important. Just as long as you aren't contradicting them with your actions.

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