Next week, five years will have passed from two events that deserve to be remembered, understood, and mourned. The more infamous is the launching of the U.S. invasion and subsequent Occupation of Iraq.
The other event was the death of a Washington State college student – Rachel Corrie. On March 17th 2003, two days before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Rachel was killed – crushed by an armored Caterpillar bulldozer in the Palestinian town of Rafah, while she was trying to prevent it from destroying the home of a Palestinian family.
That message is very simple: ‘we are responsible for the actions of our own government.’ It is becase we do not act upon that responsibility that our government gives more military aid to Israel than to any other country in the world, over two billion dollars a year. Despite the fact that Israel currently violates over 30 UN Security Council Resolutions; that Israel has a stockpile of about 200 nuclear warheads, and has repeatedly invaded Lebanon causing thousands of deaths; that during its four decade long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel routinely violates the Geneva Conventions, particularly with its colonial project of “transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” And so on.
The ferocity of the US-sponsored Israeli Occupation has not abated since 2003, and as our campus is swept with fervor for the upcoming election, we should pay heed to Rachel’s message, and challenge the candidates who wish to represent us to be true to their promises of “change.” Their foreign policy positions include “defend and support the annual foreign aid package […] to Israel” [Obama], and “support the annual foreign aid bill […] for Israel” [Clinton] – with no qualifications to demand respect for the Geneva Conventions or the United Nations. This would perpetuate a foreign policy that crushes the idealism of youth with the bulldozers of militarism. Rachel could not prevent the demolition of that house – will we at least heed her message?