Children from the Mini Palestinian Parliament commemorated the fourth anniversary of the loss of the American solidarity activist Rachel Corrie by enacting a permanent exhibit for her that includes pictures and personal belongings at the parliament site in the center of Rafah governorate. The exhibit, which was attended by a large number of children and others concerned, included pictures of Rachel and statements and other documents released upon her loss, as well as some personal belongings and a symbolic coffin covered by the Palestinian flag. The exhibit was opened by reading commemorative poems two girls wrote in English: Nadeem Al-Mahaydeh (11 years oold) and Islam Abu Sharkh (12 years old). The two girls spoke about Rachel’s heroic stand in front of an Israeli bulldozer in an attempt to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home, a stand that cost her life.
The two girls emphasized in their poems that the children of Rafah in particular and all children of Palestine will never forget Rachel and she will be in their memories as long as they live. The children then hung placards with slogans that commemorate Corrie and wish that she was with them, among the signs: “Rachel we will not forget you”, “Rachel we need you”, “Rachel Corrie died as a Palestinian”, “We welcome here in the highest esteem and honor”. Children then put wreaths and olive branches on her symbolic coffin. They sent their wishes and honor to Rachel’s parents who live in the US and who joined the children in the third anniversary commemorations last year.
After posting a large picture of Rachel on the wall of the exhibit, the child Ameer Barakeh (14 years) took a few steps to Rachel’s symbolic coffin, placed some flowers and then looked for a long time at her picture and his eyes got misty and tears rolled down his cheeks. Baraka said, “Even though a long time has passed, she is still in my mind and every day I remember her wide smile when she used to come to this parliament, sit with us, talk to us, and give us gifts of toys and clothes”. He added that he and other young parliamentarians plan to hold commemorations regularly for Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall, James Miller and all members of the solidarity movement who lost their lives. Abdel Raouf Barbakh, the supervisor for the young parliament, emphasized that the idea for the exhibit came from the children themselves who brought possessions and gifts Corrie gave them and began collecting statements. Barbakh invited all civil and other groups to come visit the exhibit. It is to be noted that Corrie (23 years old) lost her life under an Israeli army bulldozer on March 16, 2003 while attempting to stop a bulldozer from demolishing a home belonging to a Palestinian citizen near the Brazil neighborhood southeast of Rafah city.
This article which was originally published in Arabic by the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Ayyam on 16 March 2007 was translated by Mazin Qumsiyeh.