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Rachel Corrie Vigil, March 16th
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

On March 16th at 5:30pm, around 30 people braved cold and wet conditions to hold a vigil for the fallen Rachel Corrie.

Rachel Corrie Vigil,...
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One year ago, Rachel Corrie stood her ground before a bulldozer, trying to protect the house of the family she had been staying with. She challenged that bulldozer from on top of a hill of dirt, with a bullhorn and full neon clothing, and she lost when the bulldozer plowed into her and ran her over twice. You can read her own words describing her reasons for being there from her last series of emails to her family in an article from the Guardian last year. The terrible pictures of the event also still remain up here.

At 5:30pm at the University of Pittsburgh's Student Union, on the corner of Forbes and Bigelow, an hour's vigil was held in her honor. Despite cold and wet conditions, about 30 people were in attendance. Those speaking included Omar Higley, a Palestinian American with the Palestinian Solidarity Committee and organizer of the event; Iman Moawad, of the Muslim Student Association and Arab Cultural Organization; Ann Da Lusia, of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee; Jonas Moffat, of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee and the International Solidarity Movement; Michael Zigmond, faculty of the University of Pittsburgh's Neurology Department and of the Middle East Peace Forum; and Janice Gordon, of the Middle East Peace Forum and speaking on behalf of her daughter who served ten months with the ISM at the same time as Rachel. Following the speakers was a hebrew prayer led by Zigmond and Gordon, and a candlelight vigil with a moment of silence.

The reason for the vigil is to remember Rachel Corrie and her struggle against occupation. As Ann Da Lusia stated, "It is important to recognize Rachel as not just a white American activist, but also as a person who struggled against occupation like every Palestinian." Jonas Moffat spoke of his experiences in Palestine with the ISM just months after Rachel's death, witnessing "the same brutal occupation", and the creation of "the horrendous wall deep within the West Bank." Omar Higley spoke to Rachel's incredible courage for standing in front of the bulldozer, knowing that it put her life in risk. He spent a year in Palestine with his grandparents and spoke of the incredible show of armed forces at demonstrations, including guns and tanks. Michael Zigmond also read from Michael Moore's book, Dude, Where's My Country, "for Rachel Corrie, will I ever have her courage, will I let her death be in vain." Zigmond pointed out that in Jewish tradition, a death is not to be considered the end of someone, but that the person should live on in the memories of other people, and that it is important to do this for Rachel.

Aaron Weil, Director of the Hillel University Center, arrived after the proceedings to discuss the event. He served in the Israeli Army, and wanted to speak to the circumstances of house destruction. He maintains that the houses are destroyed because they sit over holes dug by "terrorists" who wish to conduit arms from Egypt to Israel for use in the suicide bombings and other acts of destruction. He claims to have seen evidence of these holes from other house destructions, but did not see the evidence in the case of the family that Rachel was trying to protect. Further, he did mention that many times the people living in the house above the holes are not terrorists themselves, nor do they support terrorism, sometimes they are not even privy to the events going on. However, he could not comment on the specific circumstances surrounding the man who owned the house that Rachel was trying to protect. He also mentioned that all house destructions do have to pass through an Israeli court to obtain a court order. Some are even taken to the Supreme Court of Israel, though this was not done in the case of the family Rachel was trying to protect. Weil also pointed out that while Rachel's death was unfortunate, he feels that she was protecting terrorism, and that "in this day and age", she knew the risks associated with protecting terrorism.

However, Weil did point out that in a recent poll, 80% of Israelis support a Palestinian State, and that the majority of Israelis do support unilateral withdrawal. He does want peace in the region. Member of the Middle East Peace Forum, Janice Gordon, also spoke to this process, stating, "We are American Jews and we believe that the occupation is wrong and life is miserable for both Palestinians and Israelis and will continue to be miserable for all until the occupation ends."

There is a request for an investigation into the events surrounding Rachel's death by the United States being put before Congress. There is certainly enough evidence to warrant such an investigation, and all who feel so are encouraged to contact Congress about doing so. As Jonas said, "Write your senator."


Information about how to contact Congress about the Rachel Corrie investigation.
Information on the International Solidarity Movement.
Information on the Hillel University Center.
The Rachel Corrie tribute site.

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Vigil Crowd
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Vigil Crowd...
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Around 30 people stood vigil.

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Omar Higley, Palestinian Solidarity Committee
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Omar Higley, Palesti...
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Omar Higley gives the introduction of the vigil and the speakers.

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Iman Moawad, Muslim Student Association and Arab Cultural Organization
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Iman Moawad, Muslim ...
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Iman Moawad saying a few words about the situation, and giving a general explanation of the event.

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Ann Da Lusia, Palestinian Solidarity Committee
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Ann Da Lusia, Palest...
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Reading the words of a friend, and fellow activist, of Rachel's.

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Jonas Moffat, Palestinian Solidarity Committee and ISM
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Jonas Moffat, Palest...
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Jonas Moffat giving a spoken word presentation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Michael Zigmond, University of Pittsburgh Neurology Department and Middle East Peace Forum
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Michael Zigmond, Uni...
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Michael Zigmond reading from the bible.

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Janice Gordon, Middle East Peace Forum
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Janice Gordon, Middl...
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Janice Gordon, showing the picture her daughter keeps of Rachel Corrie. Her daughter met Rachel Corrie in Palestine as fellow members of ISM just a week before Rachel's death.

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Hebrew Prayer
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Hebrew Prayer...
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Michael Zigmond and Janice Gordon reciting a sacred Hebrew prayer.

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The start of the candlelight vigil
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

The start of the can...
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Members of the Candlelight vigil
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Members of the Candl...
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Members of the Candlelight vigil
by gwen Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2004 at 3:42 PM

Members of the Candl...
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