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More on Rachel Corrie…

October 8, 2007

Some of the discussions triggered by the play `My Name Is Rachel Corrie’ are worth sharing. I am referring to discussions that younger folk have had since seeing the play two nights ago. For starters, a number of us have been thinking and talking about it. We can’t seem to get the play’s content out of our minds. I thought of it all day yesterday.

Two themes (beyond what was mentioned below) have appeared.

1. The play raised the question among young women around Rachel’s age: What would they be willing to die for as Rach did? The people involved had different answers to that question, but The play – and Rachel’s life and death – made them examine their own situation. The very fact that young people (mid 20s to early 30s) are thinking in such terms suggests the play struck a deep chord among some of them. I don’t think about such things any more, or hardly and haven’t for years. I’m more in the category of those who wake up in the morning and simply nod in gratitude that I’m still around. But I remember thinking like that – asking, for what would I be willing to sacrifice it all for, my job, my family life, my life. Never talked much about it – no, never talked about it all to anyone that I can remember – even to close friends, even to Nancy, but thought about it a good deal. Some of it has to do with the never ending effort to struggle against fear that most of us try to deal with in one way or another. But in Rachel’s case it all went much deeper.

2. There were a number of people who felt the play was one-sided, only showed one side of the story. They are right for the most part. It is simply that there is nothing wrong with such an approach from where I am sitting, as what they got a dose of was the side of the story they don’t hear normally in the media, academia, etc. – referred to by some as `the Palestinian narrative’ to the conflict (through the eyes of an American peace activist). In having to confront the Palestinian narrative head on, they get a much richer sense of the overall picture in the end. What people deeply immersed in this issue need to be reminded is that there are an awful lot of people in this country that still don’t have a clue about the conflict or the narrative – either Israeli or Palestinian (or American) and their natural reaction to a play like `My Name Is Rachel’ is to be quite confused, to wonder if what is being presented is fair and accurate (which it is). Having either been spoon fed on pro-Israeli propaganda all their lives or as in many cases, completely in the dark about the whole issue, they are a bit dazzled and upset by it all and can’t help wondering if in some way they have been taken. People are often very defensive about their own ignorance. Overall, I think this is a normal and positive reaction. The more honest elements, their curiosity awakened, their sense of justice stirred will take the next step, and learn more, in their own time and in their own way, but it is the start of a process.

I am thinking that I want to go back and see the play as many times as possible – as much to study and listen to the audience, to gauge their reactions, impressions – as much as to be inspired, moved by the life and death of Rachel Corrie. I have no heroes. Haven’t for decades. It’s a good thing actually for heroes, being human always disappoint. But lately I’m considering three exceptions – Mario Savio, Norman Finkelstein…and of course Rach. There’s another friend of mind I have such feeling for but I’d never tell him as it would go to his head. Well their not heroes but they are examples….they show it’s not only George Bushes and John Bolton’s this society can produce, but something quite the contrary – kid of mutant Americans that break the mold, the best kind.

See the play `My Name Is Rachel Corrie’ – for info call – 720-221-3821

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