Monday, March 17, 2003

I don't like the one-sided coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Iranian state TV, so I tend not to watch it. However, today I looked at Palestine Chronicle with the picture of a dying US peace activist, Rachel Corrie, on the front page. She had been run over by an Israeli bulldozer which was demolishing Palestinian homes. I was more horrified by this than anything since... hmmm, September 11, or the Israeli soldiers who were lynched by a Palestinian mob, when the man displayed his blood-covered hands to a cheering crowd. What a horrible way to die. What an awful gut-wrenching picture.

(Obligatory book reference.) Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Christian priest, wrote in "We Belong To The Land" about the first Christian Palestinian martyr of the first intifada, killed by Israeli soldiers, in a chapter called "Crucified in Gaza". He was beaten up, thrown on a concrete floor, then tied in a cross form to the front of an Israeli jeep and driven around. But Chacour thought... "I must be very careful about preaching about this, after all, I don't want to stir up hatred for no reason." How often do you hear people say that in the Middle East?? If you watch Iranian TV, it's endless scenes of Palestinians being killed (Mohammed al-Durra being shot is shown ad infinitum ad nauseum) and nothing from the other side. It's designed to manipulate emotions. Al-Jazeera may be similar, showing the video of Rachel being killed over and over, I don't know. Of course, this incident is just the criminal actions of one person, but it's part of a larger pattern of state terrorism by Israel. What's different is that first it was a foreigner, not a Palestinian, and second it was all on tape. What can be done to ensure that she is not forgotten in the media focus on Iraq?

Now I could go on about martyrdom theory. I don't think that the death of Hossein Fahmideh, whose picture is all over Tehran, really accomplished much. What can a grenade do against a tank? And who can approve of mullahs using the youth of Iran as human mine detectors? Rachel's death (from a Christian perspective) is more like that of Christ, giving her life for ... well, I hope, drawing international attention to Israeli crimes in the occupied territories. But it's all so frustrating, that it will be lost in the attention given to Iraq!!

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