Her blonde hair, megaphone and orange fluorescent jacket with reflective stripes made 23-year-old Rachel Corrie easily identifiable as an international activist on the overcast spring afternoon in 2003 when she tried to stop an advancing Israeli military bulldozer.
The young American’s intention was to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Rafah refugee camp, close to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Scores of homes had already been crushed; Corrie was one of eight American and British volunteers acting as ‘human shields’ for local families.
“She was standing on top of a pile of earth,” said fellow activist and eyewitness Richard Purssell, from Brighton, at the time. “The driver cannot have failed to see her. As the blade pushed the pile, the earth rose up. Rachel slid down the pile. It looks as if her foot got caught. The driver didn’t slow down; he just ran over her. Then he reversed the bulldozer back over her again.”
The question of whether the driver of the Caterpillar D9R bulldozer saw the young woman in the orange jacket, and drove deliberately at and over her, was the at center of the Corrie family’s decade-long battle for accountability and justice until Supreme court ruled in Israel’s right to do so; as many lies went out this was a military operation and they were defending themselves from terrorists.
This is a beautiful song about Rachel Corrie , named from one of her emails she sent her parents.