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Santa Cruz's Recent Visitor Amy Goodman Spotlights Lawuit

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005
Op-ed by Eric David Stein
Santa Cruz recently hosted a visit by Amy Goodman, spurring some debate but widespread admiration. Now she spotlights a lawuit which has itself generated horror, grief, and anger, and, compounding the tragedy, debate which has obtained particular intensity in Santa Cruz. Hopefully the levity brought by the suit, and the second anniversary of this tragedy, will spark a renewed sincerity and serious, respectful tone in Santa Cruz fora.
Family of Rachel Corrie Sues Israeli Government and Caterpillar Inc. Two Years After She Was Crushed by Military Bulldozer
Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

On March 16, 2003, two years ago today, Rachel Corrie was crushed and killed under an American-made catepillar operated by the Israeli's. This tragic event took place less than a week before the first bombs fell on the City of Bagdad. Indeed, some regard Rachel as the first casualty of that war.

Amy Goodman, a recent visitor to Santa Cruz, is today featuring an interview with Rachel Corrie's parents and Washington State US Congressman Adam Smith, who delivered a letter to the Israeli government requesting a thorough investigation of the matter. Smith has co-sponsored a bill with Bill Baird for the US to conduct it's own investigation.

Rachel was an intense young activist who was deeply concerned with the demolition of Palestinian homes, rendering many families homeless and contributing to high infant mortality rates and many other horrible consequences. She paid with her life for this concern, and thereby joins the ranks of Mohandas Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and Chico Mendes in the ranks of martyrs to the cause of non-violence.

Her parents have announced that they are now suing Caterpillar, manufacturer of the deadly armored bulldozer, and the State of Israel. On her nationally syndicated Democracy Now radio program, available at, Goodman features this litigation alongside her usual interesting array of issues. Goodman also speaks with Rachel's older sister and the attorney representing them in the suit against Caterpillar, and a transcript is posted on the website.

While Rachel's tragic death has been almost universally met with grief and anger, a small coterie of individuals, who some would characterize as extremists, have taunted the mourners with suggestions that Rachel somehow deserved her fate. Sadly, the otherwise progressive south Bay area seems to have generated often furious and even vituperative debate over the matter.

The minority viewpoint is that the incident was entirely accidental and that contributory negligence on Rachel's part is an much to blame as any callousness on the part of the Israeli Defense Forces. But the majority of discussants in Bay area forums point out that the Israeli government never adequately investigated the incident, and the mainstream media has quietly swept the matter under the rug. Others allege that the killing was deliberate and authorized at the highest levels of the Israeli government, to "teach a lesson" to international activists. Such persons point to the pattern wherein other international activists from nominally nuetral countries have been beaten, shot and even killed by IDF forces.

Rachel was a charismatic and attractive college student who sacrificed a great deal for her beliefs. Certainly no one can deny that she will remain a noble figure in the eyes of history, whether or not one supports her specific priorities. And reasonable persons can differ on priorities in the region - for instance, whether the guerilla tactics of the Palestinian armed factions should be condemned equally, greater than, or less than the predations of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces).
But no reasonable person would let a shrill tone sucggest disrespect to someone who has sacrificed themselves in such a striking manner.

The tragedy is compounded by the occurence of her death at the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. The run-up to the Iraq war was marked by a never-ending series of disgraceful revelations: that Bush lied in the State of the Union speech, the uranium yellowcake misreprentation leading to the outing of a CIA agent, the inexcusable neglect of Condolezza Rice, who alleged that the aluminum tubes imported to Iraq "could only" be used for nuclear weapons, etcetera. In a climate of saber rattling, Bible thumping and spurious allegations, Rachels' spirit and testament was run over with rhetoric as ruthlessly as her body was run over by a Catepillar tractor.

George F. Kennan, former US ambassador to the USSR and Yugoslavia, wrote, "until peoples learn to spot the fanning of mass emotions and the sowing of bitterness, suspicion and intolerance as crimes in themselves- as perhaps the greatest disservice that can be done to the cause of popular governement - this sort of thing will continue to occur."

Hopefully, we will, and it won't.

- The Steinasaurus

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Re: Santa Cruz's Recent Visitor Amy Goodman Spotlights Lawuit

"the fanning of mass emotions "

I'll believe it when I see it."



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