Below is an email from Rachel Corrie to her mother. Rachel was killed on March 16, 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer. She was trying to protect the home of a Palestinian in Gaza. This letter was provided by the Rachel Corrie Foundation.
> February 27 2003
> Love you. Really miss you. I have bad nightmares about tanks and
> bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the
> adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at
> night it just hits me again – a little bit of the reality of the situation.
> I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead
> his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a
> sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was
> going to be exploded. Jenny and I stayed in the house with several women
> and two small babies. It was our mistake in translation that caused him to
> think it was his house that was being exploded. In fact, the Israeli army
> was in the process of detonating an explosive in the ground nearby – one
> that appears to have been planted by Palestinian resistance.
> This is in the area where Sunday about 150 men were rounded up and
> contained outside the settlement with gunfire over their heads and around
> them, while tanks and bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses – the livelihoods
> for 300 people. The explosive was right in front of the greenhouses – right
> in the point of entry for tanks that might come back again. I was terrified
> to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to walk out in view of
> the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house. I was really scared that
> they were all going to be shot and I tried to stand between them and the
> tank. This happens every day, but just this father walking out with his two
> little kids just looking very sad, just happened to get my attention more
> at this particular moment, probably because I felt it was our translation
> problems that made him leave.
> I thought a lot about what you said on the phone about Palestinian
> violence not helping the situation. Sixty thousand workers from Rafah
> worked in Israel two years ago. Now only 600 can go to Israel for jobs. Of
> these 600, many have moved, because the three checkpoints between here and
> Ashkelon (the closest city in Israel) make what used to be a 40-minute
> drive, now a 12-hour or impassible journey. In addition, what Rafah
> identified in 1999 as sources of economic growth are all completely
> destroyed – the Gaza international airport (runways demolished, totally
> closed); the border for trade with Egypt (now with a giant Israeli sniper
> tower in the middle of the crossing); access to the ocean (completely cut
> off in the last two years by a checkpoint and the Gush Katif settlement).
> The count of homes destroyed in Rafah since the beginning of this intifada
> is up around 600, by and large people with no connection to the resistance
> but who happen to live along the border. I think it is maybe official now
> that Rafah is the poorest place in the world. There used to be a middle
> class here – recently. We also get reports that in the past, Gazan flower
> shipments to Europe were delayed for two weeks at the Erez crossing for
> security inspections. You can imagine the value of two-week-old cut flowers
> in the European market, so that market dried up. And then the bulldozers
> come and take out people’s vegetable farms and gardens. What is left for
> people? Tell me if you can think of anything. I can’t.
> If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with
> children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous
> experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any
> moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for
> however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive
> with 149 other people for several hours – do you think we might try to use
> somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think
> about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees
> destroyed – just years of care and cultivation. I think about you and how
> long it takes to make things grow and what a labour of love it is. I really
> think, in a similar situation, most people would defend themselves as best
> they could. I think Uncle Craig would. I think probably Grandma would. I
> think I would.
> You asked me about non-violent resistance.
> When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all the windows in the
> family’s house. I was in the process of being served tea and playing with
> the two small babies. I’m having a hard time right now. Just feel sick to
> my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people
> who are facing doom. I know that from the United States, it all sounds like
> hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people
> here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the wilful destruction of
> their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I really can’t believe that
> something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about
> it. It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness
> how awful we can allow the world to be. I felt after talking to you that
> maybe you didn’t completely believe me. I think it’s actually good if you
> don’t, because I do believe pretty much above all else in the importance of
> independent critical thinking. And I also realise that with you I’m much
> less careful than usual about trying to source every assertion that I make.
> A lot of the reason for that is I know that you actually do go and do your
> own research. But it makes me worry about the job I’m doing. All of the
> situation that I tried to enumerate above – and a lot of other things –
> constitutes a somewhat gradual – often hidden, but nevertheless massive –
> removal and destruction of the ability of a particular group of people to
> survive. This is what I am seeing here. The assassinations, rocket attacks
> and shooting of children are atrocities – but in focusing on them I’m
> terrified of missing their context. The vast majority of people here – even
> if they had the economic means to escape, even if they actually wanted to
> give up resisting on their land and just leave (which appears to be maybe
> the less nefarious of Sharon’s possible goals), can’t leave. Because they
> can’t even get into Israel to apply for visas, and because their
> destination countries won’t let them in (both our country and Arab
> countries). So I think when all means of survival is cut off in a pen
> (Gaza) which people can’t get out of, I think that qualifies as genocide.
> Even if they could get out, I think it would still qualify as genocide.
> Maybe you could look up the definition of genocide according to
> international law. I don’t remember it right now. I’m going to get better
> at illustrating this, hopefully. I don’t like to use those charged words. I
> think you know this about me. I really value words. I really try to
> illustrate and let people draw their own conclusions.
> Anyway, I’m rambling. Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m
> witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and
> questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has
> to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote
> our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do
> anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have
> boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop.
> Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that
> this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in
> it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This
> is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this
> world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you
> decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake
> and said: “This is the wide world and I’m coming to it.” I did not mean
> that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and
> possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my
> participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance
> When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and
> constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more
> work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I
> sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist
> tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the
> fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly
> supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.
> I love you and Dad. Sorry for the diatribe. OK, some strange men next to
> me just gave me some peas, so I need to eat and thank them.