Parents speak on daugher’s nonviolent activism

By Suzanne Khazaal

Rachel Corrie lay motionless on the ground, her blood soaking
into the Palestinian soil she had tried so desperately to free. An
American-funded Caterpillar bulldozer rolled away after running the
23-year-old over in conjunction with the Israeli Demolition
Force.

Her body was transported to Olympia, Wash., her hometown, where
her family and friends grieved the loss of a nonviolent peace
activist in 2003.

Angered yet inspired by the death of their daughter, Cindy and
Craig Corrie began a campaign, determined to raise awareness about
the cause their daughter dedicated her life to. Her parents tour
different campuses to fulfill the mission she had set out for.

Wednesday they came to the Bronco Student Center to speak about
the loss of their daughter.

The event, held by the Muslim Student Association and the
Student Coalition for a Just Peace, attracted about 45 culturally
diverse students.

Craig Corrie used humorous analogies to relate to the audience,
while some members were brought to tears by the emotionally charged
speech given by Cindy Corrie.

The response from the audience was overwhelmingly positive;
feedback from students and faculty portrayed the determination they
had in arming themselves with the truth.

“Events like this are important to show the hidden truth that is
covered up by the biased media outlets,” said Safaa Abdelfatah, a
second- year sociology student.

Enthused by the positive reactions of their attendees, Craig and
Cindy are optimistic for the future of social justice
activists.

They believe peace is possible through grassroots mobilization
through movements such as U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, Code
Pink, Act Now to Stop War & End Racism, International
Solidarity Movement and other movements with similar goals.

“I thought it was a good eye-opener, coming from American
parents who were introduced to the struggle through the death of
their daughter, which was portrayed in the media as a terrible
accident,” said Nadya Aweinat, an incoming freshman. “I think it’s
important for speakers like this to come out because we get to see
the struggle from a personal viewpoint from people who have lost
loved ones in fighting for just causes.”

Cindy Corrie expressed with tears in her eyes how dedicated,
smart, and active Rachel was in human rights and environmental
issues.

“She was independent, and work was very important to her. She
was very interested in the outdoors and environmental work. During
her college years, she took a year off from school to work in a
Washington State Reservation Corps, in which she earned a $5,000
scholarship,” Cindy said. “A wonderful thinker, Rachel read a lot
and had a need to apply things in real world. She was the easiest
[child] to support.”

Rachel kept in contact with her parents through phone contact
and often through e-mail while she was in Israel.

“When she first called home to us I will always remember how I
could hear the trembling in her voice, she would ask Craig and me
if we could hear the shellings coming from outside the Palestinian
home she was saving on the border,” Cindy said. “And indeed we
could hear the noise over the phone.”

After Rachel’s death, the Corries visited the occupied
territories of Palestine and participated in nonviolent protests
side-by-side with the Palestinian people.

They ate with the family whose home Rachel died to protect and
peered through the same crack in the wall where the family had
watched her body get crushed.

“Going to Gaza was the most important thing she had done with
her life. With other activists, she spent nights sleeping at wells,
protecting them from demolition,” said Cindy. “She stood between
Palestinian municipal water workers who were trying to repair these
wells, near the Israeli military towers, where shots were ridden
down, harassing the workers and internationals.”

The Corries showed their daughter’s initial and last press
releases, which dated back to when she was 10 years old until 2
days before her death.

In her last documentary filmed in Palestine, Rachel said, “What
I’m witnessing here is a very systematic destruction of people’s
ability to survive, and that is completely horrifying.”

Parents speak on daugher

Sandra Emerson/Poly Post

Parents speak on daugher’s nonviolent activism

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