Thursday, November 25, 2010


We watched the documentary 'Rachel' a couple of nights ago, about the young American Peace Activist who was killed in Gaza.

She volunteered to be part of a group called 'ISM': the International Solidarity Movement'. This group focuses on areas of the world where injustice is occurring and tries to stop it by using peaceful means of non-cooperation. They were present in Gaza when the wall was being constructed on the 'border' and the land on the Gazan side of the wall was being razed by two bulldozers and one tank. The activists stood in front of the homes that were being demolished, holding up banners and speaking through megaphones, asking the drivers of these vehicles to stop doing what they were doing.

At one stage the driver of one of the bulldozers opened his window, and clearly frustrated shouted "Go away, this is not your war. This is my war". Due to modern technology we now have the ability to have these sorts of exchanges on video and a lot of photographic evidence of what is happening. 100s of Gazan homes were demolished to prove the 'no man's land' between the wall and the town. The activists often stayed, slept and ate in these homes with the local people, which gave the latter a tiny sense that the world cared a little.

All to no avail, however, as the homes were crushed, along with established farmland, water tanks on rooves were systematically shot, and many died from random shootings into the houses. I think most people have heard of the outcome of this documentary: Rachel died under one of the bulldozers, as she tried to stop it. The documentary interviewed her friends, the Gazan locals and the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

For me the most poignant moment in the film was when one of her friends, who obviously cared for Rachel, said the saddest thing was that this film had been made because an American died: it would not have been made if, and when a Palestinian died.

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