Sophia's Peace Work

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Excerpt from Wildthing

The following is an excerpt from my friend Jo's Weblog. I met Jo here in Iraq this past spring. I was one of her support people when she traveled into the mess that was being made of Fallujah. After much soul searching, she left Iraq this spring to participate in a speaking tour in the U.S. The following was written after a visit she did to a bookshop in Olympia, Washington (my former home). I wanted to include it for two reasons ...

The first because over the past year I've heard about as much criticism of Rachel Corrie (a student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia ... where I also went to school) as I have heard praise. The second reason is that it touches on the need to focus, in all our actions, on the Means and not the Ends (i.e. we never know what will result from our actions. All that is important is that we do the actions that we think are best).

Here is Jo's passage:
At the end of the second talk, in Orca Books, an ordinary bookshop which gives a lot of space to independent and radical books and to talks by their writers, I told a story specific to Olympia, the home town of Rachel Corrie, the young woman murdered by an Israeli military bulldozer in March 2003 while she was trying to prevent the demolition of Palestinian homes in Rafah.

I was in Iraq when she was killed and dedicated that day’s dispatch to her. A friend in England was reading selected, non-political parts of my writing to the kids she taught in a secure unit for young people with severe emotional problems such as advanced eating disorders or repeated suicide attempts. One of the girls wrote her a letter a while later, having moved on into another place, saying that was what turned her around, realising that there was someone who had travelled miles from home and died for something really important, while she was trying to kill herself for nothing at all.

The point is that you never know: Rachel couldn’t have known that her going to Palestine would inspire a young woman she’d never met to live; I didn’t know when I wrote about it and my friend didn’t guess when she read it out. You don’t know the effects your actions and words are going to have and often you don’t find out afterwards, so you just have to throw yourself in and do what you think is right without trying to add up the results and despair if they don’t seem big enough. That’s what I think anyway.


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