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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?


Mustafa Barghouti - Palestinian Defiance
Interview by Éric Hazan
[New Left Review 32, March-April 2005]

“The Ramallah doctor and activist, general secretary of the Al Mubadara coalition, on struggles against the Israeli Occupation, from the popular movement of the first Intifada to the tactical errors of the second, via the disaster of Oslo. As Abu Mazen is levered into place, what alternatives can combat both IDF stranglehold and the flyblown Palestinian Authority?”

Read full article...