Ben Ciuffa’s Photo Journals

June 3, 2012

Rachel Corrie Day

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Rachel Corrie,Uncategorized — admin @ 6:10 am

Visit her Memorial Site:

I believe that an annual Rachel Corrie Day, should be established in  the United States. This young lady was bulldozed to death, March 16th 2003, during her Spring Break in Palestine.

My goal is to make young people aware of her choice to help a distressed people while many others flocked to their Spring Break havens.  She did not want to die…just help out.  Rachel literally stood up for what she felt was right.  Her story is told in several items accessed via Electronic Intifada,,

My personal attachment is unique. I was in El Salvador with her uncle & dozens of other foreign nationals, debriefing our findings as International Election Observers, following the March 15th election.  Her uncle was absent at the international Press Conference, the next morning.  His Veterans For Peace, collegues, said that he’d gone home on a family emergency.  At the conclusion of the press conference, a picture appeared on the hotel’s television.  we looked in horror, as the death of this black-scarved, young girl, was reported.

Rachel Corrie blocked an Israeli Army, bulldozer’s approach to raze the home of an innocent family.  The home demolitions were proceeding after the residence of an terrorist was destroyed.  Shebelieved this extras razing was a flagrant expansion of the prevailing, Israeli edict that homes of terrorists would  be demolished.

Six years later, the people of Gaza are suffering from a bombardment of their homes, schools and lives.  In a time of violence that seems to be viewed, by many people, as just another flare-up of fighting in Palestine,  it is critical that the human tragedy  be visible.  A tragedy marked in the hopes and dreams of all children in the Middle East who go to sleep each night with the sounds of gunfire and rockets.  We do not know the damage done to the young psyches over the past 30 years.

Our young people are more conscious today, of the power of awareness.  Rachel Corrie is the face of an American who, who should be the poster child for peace & a call to public service.  My hope is that our college youths consider emulating Rachel Corrie as an alternative to running to their Spring-break havens.

Her brave commitment to helping others should also serve to inspire the school kids to look beyond themselves to the horizons that our new president has pointed out.

Please send your comments & ideas to

October 1, 2010

Rachel Corrie’s Emails: February 7 2003

Filed under: Rachel Corrie,Uncategorized — admin @ 6:27 am

These were avaialable on Google…  Each E-mail will be posted weekly.  The next will be posted the week of March 2 2009

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 away.

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.


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