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(DV) Random: The Censoring of Rachel Corrie







Defiling the Grave of an American Hero:
The Censoring of Rachel Corrie

by Jack Random
March 6, 2006

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After all the outcry concerning the intolerance of the Islamic world in their impassioned response to the degrading cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed, where is the outrage in response to the silencing of Rachel Corrie by the New York Theater Workshop?  


Is there a double standard in western values of free speech? You bet there is. The hypocrisy runs so deep that the vast majority of Americans does not know who Rachel Corrie is and, thanks to the self-imposed gag rule of cultural and media institutions, they never will. 

In a year when Hollywood embraced such groundbreaking movies as Goodnight & Good Luck, Syriana, Trans America, Brokeback Mountain and Crash, a New York theater company cancelled a production of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie on the grounds that the public outcry would be unbearable. 


The rationale is a lie on its face. As anyone in theater knows, controversy is manna from heaven. It was not public outcry that silenced the voice of a martyr; it was the censorship imposed by Israeli loyalists. It was the promise that generous public funding and contributions would suddenly come up short.  It was intolerance for any view, any story, that does not portray Israel as the righteous party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Who was Rachel Corrie? 


She was an all-American girl who was impassioned by the cause of the Palestinian people.  In an act of civil disobedience, like the anonymous hero of Tiananmen Square, she stood before an Israeli bulldozer preparing to demolish a Palestinian neighborhood.  She stood against injustice and oppression.  She stood courageously for the values that all Americans cherish and she was crushed by the heavy and heartless hand of Israeli indifference.  

She stood in the way of the “Road Map” to peace.  She stood in the way of Ariel Sharon’s new deal for the Palestinians: let them eat dirt and suffer as we assassinate their leaders with American-made precision bombs and reduce their homes to rubble. 


Rachel Corrie had the audacity to care and, beyond caring, to act on her convictions. Without regard to any judgments you may impose on the validity of her cause or means, Rachel Corrie was the essence of courage and heroism. She was what every mother’s child should endeavor to be.  She chose the ground upon which she would make her stand and paid for it with her life. 


Like Marla Ruzicka and so many others, most of whom will never have a public name, whose stories will never be told, Rachel Corrie will never speak for herself again. From the silence of her grave, she will never answer her detractors. She will never marry. She will never have children.  She will never be elected to Congress. She will never know the joy and sorrow of a life fully lived.

The essential question of whether her life, her cause and her sacrifice were worthwhile and the greater question of whether or not she made a difference in this indifferent world can only be answered by the living. 


If we do not possess the courage even to tell her story for fear of public outcry, then we are truly complicit in the actions of her murderers. We are enabling when all that we know and feel begs us for retribution. 


Imagine what being crushed by a bulldozer would feel like. Linger on that gruesome deed and allow your tears to flow like a river of redemption. Even the vilest creature on earth would not deserve such a death. 


Rachel Corrie was no such creature. 


Let her voice be heard.  Let her story be told.

Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books). The Chronicles have been published by CounterPunch, the Albion Monitor, Buzzle, Dissident Voice and others. Visit his website: Random Jack.

Other Articles by Jack Random

* Starving the Beast: Programmed Ineptitude
* Constitutional Suspension: An Abdication of Democracy
* Right and Responsibility Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed
* Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan: Challenging the Pro-War Democrats
* The State of the Union: A Stumbling Illusion of Strength
* The Presidential Power Grab
* Surrealistic Pillow: The West Virginia Mining Disaster
* Pataki & Bloomberg: How to Bust a Union
* The Imperial President and the NSA Spying Scandal
* France and the Burning Embers of Repression
* The Activist Court & the Neoconservative Agenda
* The Agnew Factor: Clearing the Impeachment Path
* Iraq and New Orleans: The ABCs of Police Lawlessness
* The Age of Catastrophe: Preparing for Disaster
* No Tears for Rehnquist: The Legacy of a Chief Justice
* Zero Tolerance: Bush Gets Tough as New Orleans Suffers
* Hugo Chavez and the American Slug: Pat Robertson’s Call for Assassination
* The Lie of a Strong Economy (Beneath the Towers of Avarice)
* Fooled Again: Major Party Turnabout
* The New War Candidate: Major Paul Hackett for Congress
* Free Judy! The Fine Art of Calling a Bluff
* Executive Blackmail: The Betrayal of Democracy in Haiti
* Blame the Democrats & Move On: The Federalist Court
* Against the Wind: The Inevitable End of the Iraqi Occupation
* London and Madrid: Reflections on the War on Terror
* Judith Miller: The Anti-Hero
* Schizo Scherzo: The Last Waltz
* The Last Throes: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
* Impeach Bush -- US Out Now!
* Recall the Governator
* The Gates of Hell: Occupied Iraq
* May Day: The Rise & Fall of the Middle Class
* The Papal Aristocracy: Confessions of a Nonbeliever
* No Citizen Left Behind
* A Marine Comes Home: The Untold Story of War
* The Compassionate Leader -- In a Time of Crisis
* In Defense of Barry Bonds
* Defending Dan? Rather Not
* David Went to Canada...& Johnny Got His Gun