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March 18, 2003

Palestinians Respect America- Not Govt

For those rightwingers dismissing Rachel Corrie's death because she burned a paper flag-- yeah that makes her deserve what she got-- they should think hard about this funeral held for her:

Holding a stretcher draped with an American flag, some 1,000 Palestinians marched through the refugee camp as a sign of mourning for the 23-year-old American who was killed on Sunday.

"We fly a U.S. flag today to show our support to all American peace lovers - those like Rachel," said Palestinian farmer Hassan Abu Toa'ma, 24.

It was a rare change of pace for Rafah, where American flags have more often been burned than held in reverence since the Palestinian uprising began in late September 2000.

The lesson here is that the world loves and respects America, not the America of war and domination, but the America of Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass that demands justice and equality for all. For that tradition, the flag is respected.

And it's worth remembering on the left that other meaning of the flag which we should reclaim in taking back America from the rightwingers.

Update: Here are letters home from Rachel Corrie discussing why she was in Gaza. Excerpts:

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...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)...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...

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.

Posted by Nathan at March 18, 2003 08:24 AM

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