March 16, 2006
On March 16, 2003 exactly three years ago, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year old student from the US, was crushed to death in Rafah, Gaza Strip, by the Israeli Army bulldozer when she was attempting to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist.
Since her death, there were no justice or little outrage for three years over her murder by the State of Israel until a play about her life in the New York Theater Workshop was postponed to unspecific time.
The play titled “My name is Rachel Corrie” is a one-woman show edited by actor Alan Rickman and Guardian journalist Katharine Viner that was made up of Corrie’s journal entries and e-mail correspondence, and it was already premiered successfully in London in April 2005.
The show depicts her college life in the first part and in the second half she grieves over the destruction she witnesses in Gaza and challenges her fundamental beliefs about human nature: “It hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be. It is my own selfishness and will to optimism that wants to believe that even people with a great deal of privilege don’t just idly sit by and watch.”
The artistic director, James Nicola of the NY Theater Workshop opined: “we had a very edgy situation. We found that our plan to present a work of art would be seen as us taking a stand in a political conflict, that we didn’t want to take.”
He reasoned that the play should be put off indefinitely, taking into account that 1. Ariel Sharon’s stroke, 2. the election victory of Hamas and 3. the poll shows the Jewish community responded negatively on the play.
It is extremely bizarre to see that the Theater Company polls any particular community to determine whether or when a dramatic work should be played.
It is an obvious censorship of freedom of subject and expression when the play was polled and determined on the basis of the result.
If art does not speak for itself but need a politically correct stage, art is not art.
When theater does not fight for freedom of speech, what is theater fighting for?
If you want to know about Rachel Corrie, visit at http://www.rachelcorrie.org/
The following is a poem written by Rim Aljabi, a Syrian.
My name is Rim Aljabi; I'm 34 years old from Syria (a female). I was really shocked when I heard the news of the great Martyr Rachel Corrie; it was a mixture of grief and hope at the same time if you understand what I mean. for by hope I mean, that especially at this time when "The future is not ours at all" this courage lady comes from over the ocean, as if a legendary mermaid, except that she is very real and dies for what she believes is just. It brings hope that yes, even the Americans, whom we admire although we very much hate their politics, can understand our suffering. This really gives a hope for a better future in which we can cohabitate and let the people with no fundamental thoughts of any kind to lead the way and rule. I would also like to inform you that the Syrian local newspapers have highlighted the incident of martyr Rachel Corrie, on its first pages. The following is something I've written today, the second is something I wrote ten years ago.
The great Martyr, Rachel Corrie
We have lost a sister,
Who came from over the oceans,
To join hands with us,
To light a candle of hope,
In this dim, bleak world of ours,
To speak out louder then any leader have,
To die for justice, in the Holy Lands.
And as the Arab Proverb goes:
A sister of yours need not be your sibling
In one word,
You have given us “hope”,
A world we almost forgot,
At a time of depression,
And now every Arab,
With conscience in their hearts,
Deep in their hearts,
No matter to whom they belong,
For you belonged to everyone,
May you rest in peace,
A well deserved peace.
They are not human beings
Words fail to describe,
What are those creatures that are roaming there,
In our lands, towns and streets,
What are they?
What are these things that are allowed,
To walk freely among human beings,
To attack them,
Break their hands and legs,
Backs and necks,
And pull out their eyes?
From which jungle did they come?
Or, which zoo let them loose?
Beasts are protesting:
“We are the most savage of the creator’s making,
Who has come to take our place?
Who has come to do the things,
That we the uncivilized wild animals are ashamed to do?”
Satan and friends laugh-out loud and boast;
“We have put all our spirits in them,
All the cruelty in the world,
It is our doing,
They are us!”