Friday, June 04, 2010

Freedom Flotilla: No news from the MV Rachel Corrie for the last hour and a half

It seems like in the next hour, we will know if the MV Rachel Corrie will make it to Gaza and deliver the aid so desperately needed there. I'll admit that I've been staring at the computer and compulsively clicking 'refresh' again.

Then in my feed the following message arrived: "While we wait, read Alice Walker's amazing piece of the Gaza Freedom #Flotilla: "You will have no protection" said Ali Abunimah (co-founder of Electronic Intifada) And I did. You should too. Alice Walker begins by quoting Medger Evers speaking Rights Activists in Mississippi, shortly before he was assassinated, 12 June, 1963. "You will have no protection," he said.

The story of the young people who opened Mississippi's "closed society" to the eyes of the world is one of the stories that taught me how to be an activist. I'm grateful to Ms. Walker for bringing it back to my mind now. Like all real stories about social justice struggle - all real stories about community - it's not a neat, pretty story, but it is beautiful. The way those young risked their lives for basic human decency is so beautiful.

When I was 23 years old and I was in Palestine, people loved to point out that I was the same age as Rachel Corrie when she was killed in Gaza. Talk about a creepy thing to say to a 23-year-old kid. But once after a reporter said that to me, I found myself saying something very true. "I don't feel any particular right to lead a safe life," I said. "Most of the world doesn't have that privilege." I guess 23-year-old me had figured out a couple things.

Let's light a candle for all of us who have no protection. As we wait for news of the MV Rachel Corrie, let's hold in our hearts the people of Gaza. And while you wait, do read Ms. Walker's piece. It's better than anything I have to say.

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