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The Ballad of Rachel Corrie PDF Print E-mail
Jul 20, 2008 at 02:46 PM

CanPalNet working group member Bob Rosen wrote this ballad together with his singing partner Bill Hood. This version is a recording by the Gram Partisans band, live at Simon Fraser University in March 2007.  The band is Annie Bailey (bass), Bill Hood (vocals and guitar) Steve Quattrochi (mandolin and banjo), Bob Rosen (vocals and guitar) and Alan Zisman (accordion).

The lyrics follow below.

Bob writes:

A couple of years ago I was travelling in San Francisco and visited the Mission District.  In this Latino community there is a plethora of mural art in the Diego Rivera tradition, including many wonderful murals on political themes.  One storefront was covered from sidewalk to roof in portraits of what might be termed "heroes of the Revolution".  There was Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and Sacco and Vanzetti, and Emma Goldman and Rosa Luxemburg and Joe Hill and many others.  One portrait was of Rachel Corrie, the remarkable 23 year old woman from Olympia, Washington who had gone to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement and who was killed when she stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer trying to tear down a Palestinian home.

I was moved to see her portrait included in this revered company and I thought that if the painter could honour her memory this way then I should write a song about her to do the same.  I came back to Vancouver and did a draft, which I brought it to Bill and we worked together on the melody and the chorus until we got it to where we were both happy with it, which took a while.  Here it is....


There's a wall in San Francisco with painted faces you can name
Amidst this group of heroes is a face that marks the shame
Of a brutal occupation that leaves a people's rights denied
And a young woman's courage to stand up against the tide

Bring an end to occupation, new hope for Palestine
Thousands shout around the world,
Peace and Justice in our time

Rachel Corrie was 23 years old when she left her home and friends
From Olympia to Palestine where she met her tragic end
In the little town of Rafah on one fateful afternoon
A big bulldozer's on the move, tearing down another home


There was nothing very special in Rafah town that day
The same things happens every week, from Bethlehem to Ramallah
Children murdered on the ground for the crime of throwing stones
Soldiers at the checkpoints, keeping people from their homes


Rachel Corrie had a conscience, that made her stand her ground
That bulldozer drove right through her, and slammed her body down
They took her to the hospital, that's where she died that night
And her parents mourn her every day but they still keep up the fight


And now there is another wall to fence a people's will
Keeps children separate from their schools and farmers from their fields
Now it's up to you and me whether Rachel died in vain.
Will we stand together to try to end the pain?


Facts and Figures about the Current Darkness in the Gaza Strip

January 23rd 2008

Report from the Palestinian Hydrology Group
  1. Gaza Strip today is facing a very harsh siege which is expected to have severely negative humanitarian impact.
  2. The distribution of drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater completely rely on electricity and fuel in Gaza Strip.
  3. For several months now Israel has imposed a cruel siege on the Strip preventing people and goods from free movement. This has immobilized the importing of spare parts, pumps, pipes and other necessary accessories for the water and sanitation providing facilities.
  4. According to different sources the water and sanitation services are expected to be completely paralyzed within a matter of hours due to the lack of fuel reserves.
  5. About 133 water wells are being used for domestic purposes in addition to 33 sewage pump stations and three treatment plants; 10 of these groundwater wells function using fuel while the rest rely on electricity. Diesel powered generators are normally used as backup for the whole system but only for a limited time.
    The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility needs at least 100,000 liters of diesel per month to operate the water system. An additional 100,000 liters of diesel per month are needed for the sewage system to prevent wastewater from flooding the streets and residential areas.
  6. Reducing electricity and fuel supplies are potential causes to trigger an environmental crisis especially in the wastewater pump stations and treatment plants. If wastewater is not treated it will have to be pumped directly to the sea. This will for sure have a direct and negative impact on the groundwater aquifer and marine life.
    During winter time sewage pumps need to operate about 24 hours per day due to rainfall. Therefore, interruptions in fuel and electricity supply would be particularly significant.
  7. The sewage treatment plant in Beit Lahiya is also vulnerable to interruptions in electricity supplies. The treatment lagoons must be pumped regularly, or else the 10,000 people living in the area are in danger.  Six months ago, one of the lagoons over flooded and caused the death of five persons. Proper maintenance could have prevented the disaster.
  8. The water supply in Gaza City, with a total of 600,000 residents, in addition to a major part of the central portion of the Strip is expected to be completely cut-off as a result of ceasing the pumping from the municipal groundwater wells. The City also faces the threat of overflowing wastewater since the pumps (especially Al Samer and Aqoola stations) are expected to stop operating within the next 24 hours.
  9. If the current situation should persist the solid wastes generated in the Strip will accumulate in piles on the streets endangering the health of the locals.

The WaSH Monitoring Program calls on the International Community to push Israel to immediately cease all military operations, reopen the borders to allow the movement of people and goods and provide fuel supply and humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza.