Rachel Corrie on stage...

Thursday, June 18, 2009 5:53 AM

One of the many ways we can justifiably suspect that the White House and Capitol Hill are "Israeli Occupied Territory" is the Rachel Corrie Affair. A young American women is killed by an IDF military bulldozer in the Gaza strip in 2003, and no word of protest from the White House. The silence of the tomb.

No calls for an investigation by the Congress, then or since. The incident is stonewalled and buried, just like the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. Read about the killing of Rachel here and here. It is an outrage.

Below, an article in today's Miami Herald about a "controversial play", complete with harassment and death threats to the folks putting on the play. Everyone must toe the line. No one is allowed to take a second look. As usual, my emphasis in red.


Posted on Thu, Jun. 18, 2009

Controversial play 'Rachel Corrie' opens in South Florida at last


Rachel Corrie was a passionate American activist, a young woman who had cared about the larger world since she was a child. As a fifth-grader in Olympia, Wash., she said this in a speech about world hunger: ``We have got to understand that people in Third World countries think and care and smile and cry just like us. We have got to understand that they dream our dreams, and we dream theirs. We have to understand that they are us. We are them.''

The speech is part of My Name Is Rachel Corrie, a controversial play that culminates in the intersection of protest, politics and death in the Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003. This lightning-rod work about the short life and terrible death of Corrie -- whom some see as courageous, others as misguided -- is finally being staged in South Florida after an abortive attempt two years ago.

The Miami Lakes-based Alliance Theatre Lab opens its production, a solo show constructed by actor-director Alan Rickman and journalist Katherine Viner using material from Corrie's journals, letters and e-mails, at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Main Street Playhouse.

The play has drawn fire from those who believe Corrie was pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli and politically naive, and protests have led to its cancellation in cities including Plantation, where Mosaic Theatre announced the show in 2007.

Alliance artistic director Adalberto Acevedo and actor Kim Ehly, who plays Corrie, say they have gotten negative feedback. 'Early on, I got an e-mail to my personal account saying, `You are anti-Semitic,' '' Acevedo says. ``Another nasty e-mail had a picture of my apartment complex attached to it.''

''I heard I wouldn't work again after this,'' Ehly says. 'Some people hide behind saying, `Oh, it's such a flawed script.' Why anyone would support censorship is beyond me.'' Both are passionate about doing a piece the director describes as ``very moving. There is conflict among people who don't want conflict. There is so much pain on both sides.''

Ehly, who auditioned for Acevedo in the parking lot of a Wilton Manors Starbucks, says her goal is simply to serve a distinctive voice in a valuable play. ''This is my favorite kind of theater,'' she says. ``It's thought-provoking. It awakens people to a different perspective.''

Though the first part of My Name Is Rachel Corrie paints a portrait of a thoughtful, restless, dryly witty young woman determined to do her bit to change the world, the play shifts after she arrives in Jerusalem and travels to Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

Working with the International Solidarity Movement from January to March 2003, she tries to help Palestinian families and, on the final day of her life, stands in front of a bulldozer sent to destroy a house and tunnels the Israelis considered weapons-smuggling routes. [The IDF Bulldozer was not destroying any tunnel for Christ sake; only a house.--PF]

Corrie was run over and died. She was 23. Fierce debate continues over whether her death was accidental or deliberate. Judging from articles, documentaries and websites dissecting the case from both sides, agreement is probably as elusive as Middle East peace. [We don't need agreement; only the truth.--PF]

Acevedo is well aware of the play's controversial history, but says that as a small company -- it has produced just 10 shows since he founded it as The Modern Stage in 2001 -- ``we have very little to lose. We are able to take risks.'' Mosaic's board ultimately decided not to take the Rachel Corrie risk, but artistic director Richard Jay Simon plans to be in Alliance Theatre Lab's audience. ''I'm glad it's being done and am looking forward to seeing their production,'' Simon says. ``I wish them much success with it.''

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