Death in Gaza: Rachel Corrie anniversary

Looking back at the writing of activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed in Rafah, Gaza, in 2003…


Rachel Corrie St. Ramallah © by ISM Palestine


Friday 16 March marked the anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie, an American peace campaigner who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza, 2003. Considered a martyr by some, considered deluded and idealist by others; here we take a look back at some of her writing from the short time she spent in Gaza:

Leaving Olympia, US, January, 2003

If I lived in Bosnia or Rwanda or who knows where else, needless death wouldn’t be a distant symbol to me, it wouldn’t be a metaphor, it would be a reality.

Emails from Palestine, 7 February, 2003

I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see…I don’t know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I’m not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere.

…no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it – and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen.

Emails from Palestine, 20 February, 2003

I am staying put in Rafah for now, no plans to head north. I still feel like I’m relatively safe and think that my most likely risk in case of a larger-scale incursion is arrest.

Email to her mother, 27 February 2003

Love you. Really miss you. I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside.

Her final email to her father

Thank you for your email. I feel like sometimes I spend all my time propogandizing mom, and assuming she’ll pass stuff on to you, so you get neglected. Don’t worry about me too much, right now I am most concerned that we are not being effective. I still don’t feel particularly at risk…

These are selected extracts from Rachel’s writing. You can read the full set of emails at the Rachel Corrie Foundation