sexta-feira, março 21, 2003
:: ativismo
( ao som de politik do coldplay )

a gente acredita em umas coisas, não? acho que o mais engraçado é quando tomamos coragem e assumimos nossas crenças. esse blog por exemplo é fruto de um acreditar. o acreditar é fruto de uma racionalidade e de uma paixão. é algo que embora aparente ridículo e burro, possui uma força descomunal. vai abaixo uma correspondência de uma ativista americana que estava em gaza. é um pouco triste, mas me emocionou bastante. o inglês dificulta, mas espero que seja uma boa linha de partida para reflexão. o nome dela era rachel carrie.

para luiza peço desculpas se é transtorno, mas reconheci nesse texto algo semelhante às nossas correspondências.

agradecimentos a bruna mara pelo email original.

Tuesday March 18, 2003
The Guardian

February 7 2003

Hi friends and family, and others,

I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour
now, and I still have very few words to describe what
I see. It is most difficult for me to think about
what's going on here when I sit down to write back to
the United States. Something about the virtual portal
into luxury. I don't know if many of the children here
have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their
walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying
them constantly from the near horizons. I think,
although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest
of these children understand that life is not like
this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed
by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and
many of the children murmur his name to me - Ali - or
point at the posters of him on the walls. The children
also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by
asking me, "Kaif Sharon?" "Kaif Bush?" and they laugh
when I say, "Bush Majnoon", "Sharon Majnoon" back in
my limited arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush
is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn't quite
what I believe, and some of the adults who have the
English correct me: "Bush mish Majnoon" ... Bush is a
businessman. Today I tried to learn to say, "Bush is a
tool", but I don't think it translated quite right.
But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more
aware of the workings of the global power structure
than I was just a few years ago.
Nevertheless, no amount of reading, attendance at
conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth
could have prepared me for the reality of the
situation here. You just can't imagine it unless you
see it - and even then you are always well aware that
your experience of it is not at all the reality: what
with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if
they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact
that I have money to buy water when the army destroys
wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option
of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving
in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the
end of a major street in my hometown. I have a home. I
am allowed to go see the ocean. When I leave for
school or work I can be relatively certain that there
will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting halfway
between Mud Bay and downtown Olympia at a checkpoint
with the power to decide whether I can go about my
business, and whether I can get home again when I'm
done. As an afterthought to all this rambling, I am in
Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately
60% of whom are refugees - many of whom are twice or
three times refugees. Today, as I walked on top of the
rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers
called to me from the other side of the border, "Go!
Go!" because a tank was coming. And then waving and
"What's your name?". Something disturbing about this
friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much, to
some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids.
Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into
the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the
tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see
what's going on. International kids standing in front
of tanks with banners. Israeli kids in the tanks
anonymously - occasionally shouting and also
occasionally waving - many forced to be here, many
just agressive - shooting into the houses as we wander
I've been having trouble accessing news about the
outside world here, but I hear an escalation of war on
Iraq is inevitable. There is a great deal of concern
here about the "reoccupation of Gaza". Gaza is
reoccupied every day to various extents but I think
the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets
and remain here instead of entering some of the
streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days
to observe and shoot from the edges of the
communities. If people aren't already thinking about
the consequences of this war for the people of the
entire region then I hope you will start.

My love to everyone. My love to my mom. My love to
smooch. My love to fg and barnhair and sesamees and
Lincoln School. My love to Olympia.


February 20 2003


Now the Israeli army has actually dug up the road to
Gaza, and both of the major checkpoints are closed.
This means that Palestinians who want to go and
register for their next quarter at university can't.
People can't get to their jobs and those who are
trapped on the other side can't get home; and
internationals, who have a meeting tomorrow in the
West Bank, won't make it. We could probably make it
through if we made serious use of our international
white person privilege, but that would also mean some
risk of arrest and deportation, even though none of us
has done anything illegal.
The Gaza Strip is divided in thirds now. There is some
talk about the "reoccupation of Gaza", but I seriously
doubt this will happen, because I think it would be a
geopolitically stupid move for Israel right now. I
think the more likely thing is an increase in smaller
below-the-international-outcry-radar incursions and
possibly the oft-hinted "population transfer".
I am staying put in Rafah for now, no plans to head
north. I still feel like I'm relatively safe and think
that my most likely risk in case of a larger-scale
incursion is arrest. A move to reoccupy Gaza would
generate a much larger outcry than Sharon's
assassination-during-peace-negotiations/land grab
strategy, which is working very well now to create
settlements all over, slowly but surely eliminating
any meaningful possibility for Palestinian
self-determination. Know that I have a lot of very
nice Palestinians looking after me. I have a small flu
bug, and got some very nice lemony drinks to cure me.
Also, the woman who keeps the key for the well where
we still sleep keeps asking me about you. She doesn't
speak a bit of English, but she asks about my mom
pretty frequently - wants to make sure I'm calling
Love to you and Dad and Sarah and Chris and everybody.


February 27 2003

(To her mother)

Love you. Really miss you. I have bad nightmares about
tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me
inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic
for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just
hits me again - a little bit of the reality of the
situation. I am really scared for the people here.
Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny
children, holding his hands, out into the sight of
tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps
because he thought his house was going to be exploded.
Jenny and I stayed in the house with several women and
two small babies. It was our mistake in translation
that caused him to think it was his house that was
being exploded. In fact, the Israeli army was in the
process of detonating an explosive in the ground
nearby - one that appears to have been planted by
Palestinian resistance.
This is in the area where Sunday about 150 men were
rounded up and contained outside the settlement with
gunfire over their heads and around them, while tanks
and bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses - the
livelihoods for 300 people. The explosive was right in
front of the greenhouses - right in the point of entry
for tanks that might come back again. I was terrified
to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to
walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to
stay in his house. I was really scared that they were
all going to be shot and I tried to stand between them
and the tank. This happens every day, but just this
father walking out with his two little kids just
looking very sad, just happened to get my attention
more at this particular moment, probably because I
felt it was our translation problems that made him
I thought a lot about what you said on the phone about
Palestinian violence not helping the situation. Sixty
thousand workers from Rafah worked in Israel two years
ago. Now only 600 can go to Israel for jobs. Of these
600, many have moved, because the three checkpoints
between here and Ashkelon (the closest city in Israel)
make what used to be a 40-minute drive, now a 12-hour
or impassible journey. In addition, what Rafah
identified in 1999 as sources of economic growth are
all completely destroyed - the Gaza international
airport (runways demolished, totally closed); the
border for trade with Egypt (now with a giant Israeli
sniper tower in the middle of the crossing); access to
the ocean (completely cut off in the last two years by
a checkpoint and the Gush Katif settlement). The count
of homes destroyed in Rafah since the beginning of
this intifada is up around 600, by and large people
with no connection to the resistance but who happen to
live along the border. I think it is maybe official
now that Rafah is the poorest place in the world.
There used to be a middle class here - recently. We
also get reports that in the past, Gazan flower
shipments to Europe were delayed for two weeks at the
Erez crossing for security inspections. You can
imagine the value of two-week-old cut flowers in the
European market, so that market dried up. And then the
bulldozers come and take out people's vegetable farms
and gardens. What is left for people? Tell me if you
can think of anything. I can't.
If any of us had our lives and welfare completely
strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place
where we knew, because of previous experience, that
soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at
any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had
been cultivating for however long, and did this while
some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other
people for several hours - do you think we might try
to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever
fragments remained? I think about this especially when
I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees
destroyed - just years of care and cultivation. I
think about you and how long it takes to make things
grow and what a labour of love it is. I really think,
in a similar situation, most people would defend
themselves as best they could. I think Uncle Craig
would. I think probably Grandma would. I think I
You asked me about non-violent resistance.
When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all
the windows in the family's house. I was in the
process of being served tea and playing with the two
small babies. I'm having a hard time right now. Just
feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all
the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom.
I know that from the United States, it all sounds like
hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer
kindness of the people here, coupled with the
overwhelming evidence of the wilful destruction of
their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I really
can't believe that something like this can happen in
the world without a bigger outcry about it. It really
hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to
witness how awful we can allow the world to be. I felt
after talking to you that maybe you didn't completely
believe me. I think it's actually good if you don't,
because I do believe pretty much above all else in the
importance of independent critical thinking. And I
also realise that with you I'm much less careful than
usual about trying to source every assertion that I
make. A lot of the reason for that is I know that you
actually do go and do your own research. But it makes
me worry about the job I'm doing. All of the situation
that I tried to enumerate above - and a lot of other
things - constitutes a somewhat gradual - often
hidden, but nevertheless massive - removal and
destruction of the ability of a particular group of
people to survive. This is what I am seeing here. The
assassinations, rocket attacks and shooting of
children are atrocities - but in focusing on them I'm
terrified of missing their context. The vast majority
of people here - even if they had the economic means
to escape, even if they actually wanted to give up
resisting on their land and just leave (which appears
to be maybe the less nefarious of Sharon's possible
goals), can't leave. Because they can't even get into
Israel to apply for visas, and because their
destination countries won't let them in (both our
country and Arab countries). So I think when all means
of survival is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people
can't get out of, I think that qualifies as genocide.
Even if they could get out, I think it would still
qualify as genocide. Maybe you could look up the
definition of genocide according to international law.
I don't remember it right now. I'm going to get better
at illustrating this, hopefully. I don't like to use
those charged words. I think you know this about me. I
really value words. I really try to illustrate and let
people draw their own conclusions.
Anyway, I'm rambling. Just want to write to my Mom and
tell her that I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious
genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my
fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature.
This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all
to drop everything and devote our lives to making this
stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do
anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat
Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my
coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and
horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am
disappointed that this is the base reality of our
world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is
not at all what I asked for when I came into this
world. This is not at all what the people here asked
for when they came into this world. This is not the
world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you
decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I
looked at Capital Lake and said: "This is the wide
world and I'm coming to it." I did not mean that I was
coming into a world where I could live a comfortable
life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in
complete unawareness of my participation in genocide.
More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside.

When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have
nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being
here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming
here is one of the better things I've ever done. So
when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should
break with their racist tendency not to injure white
people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact
that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also
indirectly supporting, and for which my government is
largely responsible.
I love you and Dad. Sorry for the diatribe. OK, some
strange men next to me just gave me some peas, so I
need to eat and thank them.


February 28 2003

(To her mother)

Thanks, Mom, for your response to my email. It really
helps me to get word from you, and from other people
who care about me.
After I wrote to you I went incommunicado from the
affinity group for about 10 hours which I spent with a
family on the front line in Hi Salam - who fixed me
dinner - and have cable TV. The two front rooms of
their house are unusable because gunshots have been
fired through the walls, so the whole family - three
kids and two parents - sleep in the parent's bedroom.
I sleep on the floor next to the youngest daughter,
Iman, and we all shared blankets. I helped the son
with his English homework a little, and we all watched
Pet Semetery, which is a horrifying movie. I think
they all thought it was pretty funny how much trouble
I had watching it. Friday is the holiday, and when I
woke up they were watching Gummy Bears dubbed into
Arabic. So I ate breakfast with them and sat there for
a while and just enjoyed being in this big puddle of
blankets with this family watching what for me seemed
like Saturday morning cartoons. Then I walked some way
to B'razil, which is where Nidal and Mansur and
Grandmother and Rafat and all the rest of the big
family that has really wholeheartedly adopted me live.
(The other day, by the way, Grandmother gave me a
pantomimed lecture in Arabic that involved a lot of
blowing and pointing to her black shawl. I got Nidal
to tell her that my mother would appreciate knowing
that someone here was giving me a lecture about
smoking turning my lungs black.) I met their
sister-in-law, who is visiting from Nusserat camp, and
played with her small baby.
Nidal's English gets better every day. He's the one
who calls me, "My sister". He started teaching
Grandmother how to say, "Hello. How are you?" In
English. You can always hear the tanks and bulldozers
passing by, but all of these people are genuinely
cheerful with each other, and with me. When I am with
Palestinian friends I tend to be somewhat less
horrified than when I am trying to act in a role of
human rights observer, documenter, or direct-action
resister. They are a good example of how to be in it
for the long haul. I know that the situation gets to
them - and may ultimately get them - on all kinds of
levels, but I am nevertheless amazed at their strength
in being able to defend such a large degree of their
humanity - laughter, generosity, family-time - against
the incredible horror occurring in their lives and
against the constant presence of death. I felt much
better after this morning. I spent a lot of time
writing about the disappointment of discovering,
somewhat first-hand, the degree of evil of which we
are still capable. I should at least mention that I am
also discovering a degree of strength and of basic
ability for humans to remain human in the direst of
circumstances - which I also haven't seen before. I
think the word is dignity. I wish you could meet these
people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will.




Activist's memorial service disrupted

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Wednesday March 19, 2003
The Guardian

Israeli forces fired teargas and stun grenades
yesterday in an attempt to break up a memorial service
for Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist killed
by an army bulldozer in Gaza on Sunday.
Witnesses including several dozen foreigners and
Palestinian supporters say Israeli armoured vehicles
tried to disperse the gathering at the spot in Rafah
refugee camp where Ms Corrie was crushed to death.
The 23 year-old activist with the International
Solidarity Movement (ISM) was trying to prevent the
destruction of Palestinian homes by the Israelis when
she was hit by the bulldozer.
Joe Smith, a young activist from Kansas City, said
about 100 people were gathered to lay carnations and
erect a small memorial when the first armoured
personnel carrier appeared.
"They started firing teargas and blowing smoke, then
they fired sound grenades. After a while it got hectic
so we sat down. Then the tank came over and shot in
the air," he said. "It scared a lot of Palestinians,
especially the shooting made a lot of them run and the
teargas freaked people out. But most of us stayed."
Another witness said the army failed to break up the
"People were laying carnations at the spot where
Rachel was killed when a tank came and fired teargas
right on them. Then a core group of the peace
activists took an ISM cloth banner to the fence and
pinned it up.
"The tank chased after them trying to stop them with
teargas but the wind was against the army," she said.
Tensions rose further when a convoy of vehicles,
including the bulldozer that killed Ms Corrie, passed
the area.
"I don't think it was deliberate but it was pretty
insensitive," said Mr Smith.
"I think they had been destroying some buildings
elsewhere and had to pass by to get back to their
The army said it was investigating the incident.

p.s. open up your eyes. just open up your eyes.