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.
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.
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
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.
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