Monday, May 19, 2003

MUST SEE TV: Perhaps I should have weighed in earlier, when this story was amply covered every elsewhere -- but I felt no compulsion to dignify Rachel Corrie's fatal publicity stunt with a mention on this page until I received the following announcement from the ABC News "Nightline" mailing list today:
...tonight, ABC correspondent Hillary Brown with a glimpse inside the International Solidarity Movement, a group of peace activists which has tried to get between the Israeli Defense Force and the Palestinian homes slated for demolition. Two months ago, 23-year-old Rachel Corrie from Washington State was killed as she stepped in front of an Israeli bulldozer as it advanced on the home of a Palestinian pharmacist...

Judging from the number of gross factual errors in that short paragraph, this should be an especially interesting report. Unless Nightline's reporters have access to facts heretofore not in evidence -- well, let's see how this plays out, and follow up tomorrow morning, shall we?

UPDATE: As expected, the Nightline reporter repeated ISM's propaganda lies, pretty much unchallenged. So if you're joining the story late, let's just clear up a couple of things:

(1) After having been repeatedly escorted from the area by Israeli Defense Force soldiers, Corrie returned for one last game of "human shield." She did not "step" in front of the bulldozer's path; she knelt down -- or possibly, accidentially fell down -- in such a way that the driver could not see her through the bulldozer's blade until it was too late. Her actions were no less reckless than had she crouched down in front of a moving train. Unable to foresee the obvious -- that constantly testing her sense of invulnerability would eventually lead to her own demise -- she was not so much killed in a duel with a bulldozer as she was a victim of her own hubris.

I feel badly for her parents, who still believe that Rachel Corrie was a beautiful, principled specimen of humanity. And surely she did not deserve the death penalty for arrogance and stupidity. But she put herself in harm's way, come what may -- and her ISM comrades are milking her tragedy for every propaganda point they can wring from its teat.

(2) Palestinian pharamacist's home? Only if that's the regional euphemism for "drug smuggler." Let's be clear about what was going on there: Corrie's mission was to protect the "Philadelphi" tunnels -- a network of elaborate underground passages used to import drugs, weapons and prostitutes into Gaza. These tunnels commonly terminate under residential homes, which is why said residences are often torn down by the IDF. But the bulldozer which struck Corrie was not engaged in demolition; its mission was merely to clear away brush and debris, to locate the tunnels' hidden entrances.

Whenever you hear the International Solidarity Movement and its vast propaganda wing -- including, apparently, ABC News -- speak of this brave young patriot, understand that Corrie gave her life to protect the infrastructure of the Rafah Mafia.

(3) Finally, I was struck by the choice of video footage which Nightline elected to air -- including scenes of Corrie dancing happily with little Palestinian children. In the interests of painting the simplistic David-Goliath narrative that Nightline viewers crave, they chose to overlook that this is how Corrie wanted to be photographed -- showing her little charges how they should feel about America and its symbols:


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