Wednesday, May 9, 2007

My Name is Rachel Corrie - Coming to Boston?

Today is Day 14,270 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

In a previous post, I wrote about the Killing of Rachel Corrie:

An American peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003, by an Israeli IDF driver of a Caterpillar Bulldozer while attempting to defend a Palestinian doctor’s home from being demolished. Tom Dale, a member of the International Solidarity Movement, wrote in an eyewitness account “We’d been occasionally obstructing the 2 bulldozers for about 2 hours when 1 of them turned toward a house we knew to be threatened with demolition. Rachel knelt down in its way. She was 10-20 metres in front of the bulldozer, clearly visible, the only object for many metres, directly in its view. There is no way she could not have been seen by them in their elevated cabin. …. The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went. She knelt there, she did not move. The bulldozer reached her and she began to stand up, climbing onto the mound of earth. She appeared to be looking into the cockpit. The bulldozer continued to push Rachel, so she slipped down the mound of earth, turning as she went. … All the activists were screaming at the bulldozer to stop. … (The bulldozer) pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. … They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. .. I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. .. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries. She was a brilliant, bright and amazing person, immensely brave and committed. She is gone and I cannot believe it.”

“Too Hot for New York” by PHILIP WEISS
from the April 3, 2006 issue of the Nation

Corrie's family felt it most urgent to get her words out to the world. The family posted several of her last e-mails on the ISM website (and they were printed in full by the London Guardian). These pieces were electrifying. They revealed a passionate and poetical woman who had long been attracted to idealistic causes and had put aside her work with the mentally ill and environmental causes in the Pacific Northwest to take up a pressing concern, Palestinian human rights. Thousands responded to the Corries, including a representative of the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, London, who asked if the theater could use Rachel's words in a production--and, oh, are there more writings? … It was another year before Sarah Corrie dragged out the tubs in which her sister had stored her belongings and typed passages from journals and letters going back to high school. In November 2004 the Corries sent 184 pages to the Royal Court. It had been the intention of the two collaborators, Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, a Guardian editor, to flesh out Rachel Corrie's writings with others' words. The pages instantly changed their minds. "We thought, She's done it on her own. Rachel's voice is the only voice you had to hear," Viner says. … Rachel Corrie was the playwright. Any royalties would go to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. The London "co-editors" then set to work winnowing the material, working with a slender blond actress, Megan Dodds, who resembles Corrie.

“My Name is Rachel Corrie” had two successful runs in London. In order to put the play on in this country, the producers contacted the non-profit New York Theater Workshop. While it appears to have made a commitment, in February , 2006, it announced that it was indefinitely delaying the production of the play out of concern for Jewish groups which it refused to name.
Eventually that year the play had a successful run in New York at the Minetta Lane Theatre and closed on December 17.

The play has been staged in some cities but has been canceled in others.


According to the May 9, 2006 Boston Globe, Watertown’s New Repertory Theatre in Boston has been forced by the family of Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel a planned run next spring of “To Pay the Price” a one-act play about Jonathan "Yoni" Netanyahu , the older brother of the former prime minister, and a hero in Israel, the lone Israeli military person killed in the daring mission of hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The Netanyahu family objected because it was to have been paired with My Name is Rachel Corrie.

According to the article, the theatre will substitute "Pieces," a play written by Zohar Tirosh about her experience serving in the Israeli military during the 1990s. The producing artistic director Rick Lombardo was quoted as saying "We're offering probably the most controversial play in America, one with a pro-Palestinian perspective, and we're pairing it with another play with a pro-Israeli perspective."


The Netanyahu family seems to have been well within their rights to refuse to allow a play about a family member to be produced in an objectionable context and that may be the end of the story. I hope that is the case and that there are no attempts made to cancel the production of “My Name is Rachel Corrie”. I very much look forward to seeing the play. We planned to see it when we were in London last year but it was between runs. The play needs to be seen. I will keep you informed.

In the meantime read the remarks of Rachel Corrie at aged 10 at a fifth grade press conference on World Hunger:

“I’m here for other children.
I’m here because I care.
I’m here because children everywhere are suffering and because forty thousand people die each day from hunger.
I’m here because those people are mostly children.
We have got to understand that the poor are all around us and we are ignoring them.
We have got to understand that these deaths are preventable.
We have got to understand that people in third world countries think and care and smile and cry just like us.
We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.
We have got to understand that they are us. We are them.
My dream is to stop hunger by the year 2000.
My dream is to give the poor a chance.
My dream is to save the forty thousand people who die each day.
My dream can and will come true if we all look into the future and see the light that shines there.
If we ignore hunger, that light will go out.
If we all help and work together, it will grow and burn free with the potential of tomorrow.”

Deutoronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

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