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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?


In Rachel Corrie verdict, Israel deals new blow to international law
The verdict on the 2003 killing of Rachel Corrie absolved Israel of any wrongdoing, essentially blaming the victim for her death. The trial revealed Israel’s approach to the most fundamental principles of international law, and especially to the duty to protect non-combatants.

By Jeff Halper

For those who hoped for a just verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie, the American student and ISM activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 as she was defending a Palestinian home about to be demolished, this is a sad day. Not surprising, but still sad and bitter. The judge who decided the case, Oded Gershon, absolved the army of all blame, despite massive and internally contradictory testimony to the contrary. Moreover, he essentially blamed Rachel for her own death, commenting that a “normal person” would have run away from the bulldozer rather than confront it.

Palestinians and Israel human rights activists have learned that justice cannot be obtained through the Israeli judicial system. The Haifa District Court, in which the trial was held, could not have ruled other than how the state wanted. For the past 45 years of Israeli occupation, the Supreme Court has excluded from its rulings all reference to international humanitarian law and to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, which protects civilians living in conflict situations and under occupation. Only Israeli law applies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – military law and orders – and the courts have restricted even that form of law by declaring that in instances of “security,” they defer to the military. As in Rachel’s case, the IDF thus has carte blanche to commit war crimes with impunity, with no fear of accountability or punishment.

Read full article...