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Honoring Rachel Corrie Three Years Later: Two Questions for Peace Activists

by Jeremy Ellington Friday, Mar. 17, 2006 at 4:12 AM

Three years after the death of Rachel Corrie, two questions on the peace making heart of Islam - Sufiism, and the prospects for a dialogue with the west.

Three years after the death of Rachel Corrie, this writer reiterates two questions he initially posed to Captain James Yee at an event dedicated to Rachel Corrie and attended by Cindy and Craig Corrie:

Question 1

“After the Vietnam War, many of us absorbed Buddhist ideas ... Where might we find comparable beginnings of a Christian-Muslim dialog?”

Question 2

“Many of us are intrigued by Sufism and feel it may represent a mystic core of Islam...

Honoring Rachel Corrie Three Years Later: Two Questions for Peace Activists



Rachel Corrie died three years ago on March 16 2003. Some thoughts for peacemakers.

Honoring Rachel Corrie Three Years Later: Two Questions for the Peace Movement

by Jeremy Ellington





Three years after Rachel Corrie's death, the horrors of war have increased exponentially with no end in sight.

Iraq totters on the brink of civil war.

We've seen more insane executions of humanitarian aid workers and peacemakers.

Iran seems to be on the brink of developing the atom bomb. Pakistan and India and China are in a three way arms race.

Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh was executed for criticizing Islam. Muslims were killed in riots over nothing more than an ignorant cartoon in a tiny newspaper that no oner ever heard of. A Jew,.brutally tortured in France in an act of collective revenge hot on the heels of nation wide riots .

It seems that if Rachel is looking down on all of this she might say: what did I die for? For this? Was anyone paying attention?

And I would add: is anyone paying attention to the peacemakers? Is anyone paying attention to the words of Martin Luther King, Mohandas Ghandi, Jesus, Mohammed, Gibran, Rumi? We stopped the blood shed in Vietnam. Where are the Daniel Ellsbergs and the Benjamin Spocks and the David Dellingers this time around? We had a Buddhist-Christian dialogue come out of our Vietnam experience. I don't see that happening now.

Overcoming Mistrust, Fear and Hatred

When Rachel Corrie first went to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement, there was resistance from the locals, and it was not entirely noble – mistrust is never pretty. But she overcame that resistance with the intensity of her conviction for justice. And if much of Islamic mistrust of peace activists is less than high minded, that does not mean that high minded efforts to make peace will inevitably fail.

Albert Einstein, in his letter to Mohandas Ghandi, correctly pointed out that the Mohatma established the effectiveness of non violence as a tool for political struggle even in a context wherein other people continue to behave violently. And so it is that we continue to remember Rachel Corrie despite the fact that she was not perfect and that she did make some embarrassing political mistakes in the fire her youth.

James Yee, Fighter for Peace and Justice

Near Olympia, Washington I attended an event which was dedicated to Rachel and which her parents attended. I addressed two important questions to the guest of honor James Yee and I would like to re-address them to the peace community at large. Ironically, I floated the first draft of this article on Monday, and last night I heard that tCaptain Yee made national news. lamenting the failure of the U.S. Government to work with Muslims to address conflict resolution between America and the Islamic world. I wholeheartedly concur with him.

Former U.S. Army Captain James Yusef Yee was deployed at Guantanamo in the capacity of chaplain to the detainees and in that capacity he innocently, if naively, notified family members of the prisoners of the welfare of their captive sons and brothers. For this act of charity he spent seven months under courts martial, seventy six days of it in solitary confinement and shackled, to boot. This kind of treatment of a U.S. Citizen and an officer in the U.S. Army is unconscionable, and to date the government has not made amends for this misdeed although it did drop all charges a year ago today.

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee sponsored the event, and presented Yee with a plank from Tacoma, Washington's old Japanese Language School. During World War II they were closed down when students and their parents were subject to the internment which has rankled so many commentators. Many believe that Captain Yee was victimized by “the same kind of race based hysteria triggered by a national crisis.”

When the question and answer time came, one person after another assailed Captain Yee with pointed barbs about the violence and misogyny of Islam. This was quite puzzling to me, as these were people I thought of as peace activists, yet they seemed to be stereotyping Muslims.





When my turn came, I posed two questions. I think they are worth repeating, as they go to heart of establishing a sustainable foundation not just for ending war but moving forward on a planet where Muslims and non-Muslims can co-exist. Here the questions are, verbatim:

Question 1

“After the Vietnam War, many of us absorbed Buddhist ideas and some of us even adopted Buddhism as our own personal philosophies. An ongoing Christian – Buddhist dialog has been established. Where might we find comparable beginnings of a Christian-Muslim dialog?”

Question 2

“Many of us are intrigued by Sufism and feel it may represent a mystic core of Islam which dovetails with Christian contemplative traditions and the experiences shared by writers such as Thomas Merton. Can you tell us something of the role and status of Sufism is Islam today, and how it might relate to peacemaking and conflict resolution?”













I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this January, but now, as the anniversary of Rachel's sacrifice and the Iraq war approaches, I resolved to seek answers to those two questions which I put to Yee. And I have found confirmation of my faith that the elaboration of the answers – delving into Sufism – would in and of itself create tangible peace. Not only that, but, due to the history of Sufism asserting itself against often hostile caliphs, I have found that tradition has much also to say regarding the question of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But the articulation of that answer is a project better left to another day, and, if the reader hungers for it, they will find in its denoument resolution of many things.



This work licensed under a Creative Commons license when reposting for noncommericial use please attribute to Jeremy Ellington/Indymedia

jeremyellington_criticatlarge@yahoo.com

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 84 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Smash ISM terrorhoids! Smash ISM terrorhoids! Friday, Mar. 17, 2006 at 12:18 PM
ha ha ha ha Flush Zionists Friday, Mar. 17, 2006 at 1:35 PM
International Solidarity House of Pancakes Saint Rachel Saturday, Mar. 18, 2006 at 4:11 PM
bulls, bulldozers Meyer London Saturday, Mar. 18, 2006 at 7:03 PM
There is no evidence of murder Becky Johnson Saturday, Mar. 18, 2006 at 8:15 PM
tunnels El Granterreble' Pecador. Saturday, Mar. 18, 2006 at 9:28 PM
Yes Virginia, there are tunnels! Becky Johnson Saturday, Mar. 18, 2006 at 11:06 PM
no tunnels Sheepdog Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 12:08 AM
the real tunnels Meyer London Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 12:50 AM
Blinders Scorpio Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 2:28 AM
Stay on topic, idiotista Actual IMCista Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 2:40 AM
Well actually it is Sheepdog Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 3:17 AM
Rachel was not visible and had no megaphone Becky Johnson Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 6:01 AM
Bucks, Bullets, and School Buses Becky Johnson Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 6:22 AM
Zionist lying scum Sheepdog Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 12:07 PM
Another thing while I'm @ it. Sheepdog Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 1:14 PM
Sirhan Sirhan Sheepdog Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 1:54 PM
I am not the one lying here!! Becky Johnson Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 4:42 PM
YOU AS GOOD AS **LIED** TO STREET SPIRIT EDITOR TERRY MESSMAN, BULLSHIT BECKO!! JA -- TO BULLSHIT BECKO JOHNSON: **LIAR**!! Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 5:00 PM
If only Arafat had accepted the deal Meyer London Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 5:48 PM
21 synagogues burned in one day Meyer London Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 5:57 PM
21 synagogues burned in one day Meyer London Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 5:57 PM
21 synagogues burned in one day Meyer London Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 5:57 PM
Common Sense rules out JA Becky Johnson Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 6:10 PM
21 synagogues burned in one day Meyer London Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 6:20 PM
A peace activist would be for peace Becky Johnson Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 6:24 PM
Check out the dates Becky Johnson Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 6:59 PM
Get you, BJ Sheepdog Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 8:26 PM
Palestine--in and out of quotes Becky Johnson Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 at 9:59 PM
"I know Ralph Shoenman" Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 5:43 AM
If the Palestinians laid down their arms, there would be peace Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 6:43 AM
If * Israel * would lay down their arms. Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 1:47 PM
If * Israel * would lay down their arms. Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 1:48 PM
You're so wrong!! Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 4:55 PM
project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 5:08 PM
project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 5:19 PM
Israel practices Self-defense Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 5:46 PM
a mistake -Project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 6:39 PM
Dissent happens in Israel Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 7:04 PM
a mistake -Project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 7:14 PM
And here is one in Ramallah! Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 20, 2006 at 8:23 PM
Because they're hypocrites Not a Dhimmi No More! Saturday, Mar. 25, 2006 at 12:38 AM
Questions Amy Goodman forgot to ask Becky Johnson Saturday, Mar. 25, 2006 at 3:00 AM
Project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Saturday, Mar. 25, 2006 at 3:07 AM
Photo has many problems Becky Johnson Sunday, Mar. 26, 2006 at 7:48 AM
Project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Sunday, Mar. 26, 2006 at 3:35 PM
Think about it (for half a second) Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 3:01 AM
Project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 3:18 AM
There is only one question worth asking here. just wondering Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 4:40 PM
answer to just wondering Beets Me Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 4:52 PM
Because Rachel's death was ruled accidental Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 6:00 PM
right from the P.R. mill posts she Hex Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 7:06 PM
lemme' show you how it's done Hex Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 7:24 PM
Saudi Gold!! Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 9:25 PM
Adjudicating in the Israeli Courts would have cleared a lot of things up Becky Johnson Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 9:40 PM
here's the details which CONFIRM Hex Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 10:01 PM
AIPAC is an "_above board_ American lobby" Hex Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 10:16 PM
Project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 10:39 PM
well now sheepster Hex Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 10:49 PM
Thanks,Sheepdog Lord Locksley Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 11:26 PM
"information about Israel(which happens to be true)" Hex Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 at 11:57 PM
please- my mistake Sheepdog Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2006 at 12:06 AM
ah so you suspect it too Hex Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2006 at 12:23 AM
so an awful freeper troll infesting Houston IMC Hex Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2006 at 1:18 AM
Cats, tunnels, Wells, and Jessica Lynch Becky Johnson Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2006 at 7:28 AM
No one got hurt, no one died Becky Johnson Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2006 at 7:51 AM
you see? lk Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2006 at 2:14 PM
Re: AIPAC's dirty tricks Hex Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2006 at 2:35 PM
"Proven False Quote" - prove it then :) Hex Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2006 at 9:53 PM
Now show me where you got it Not a hypocrite Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2006 at 12:10 AM
So HOW did AIPAC squash the investigation? Becky Johnson Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2006 at 12:10 AM
here's what happened render Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2006 at 12:27 AM
Sometimes its personal Becky Johnson Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2006 at 12:29 AM
well it's a rough draft, but here's some more Hex Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2006 at 1:50 AM
Islamic Jihad Thanks Rachel Corrie Kuwait Times Saturday, Apr. 01, 2006 at 3:32 PM
Misleading headline typical Zionist trick Wednesday, Apr. 05, 2006 at 10:34 AM
It's a simple conclusion Becky Johnson Wednesday, Apr. 05, 2006 at 11:29 AM
Project Mockingbecky Sheepdog Wednesday, Apr. 05, 2006 at 11:44 AM
here's a clear timeline report & links Hex Wednesday, Apr. 05, 2006 at 1:05 PM
What we still don't know Becky Johnson Thursday, Apr. 06, 2006 at 8:53 PM

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