Where is the outrage over activist's death?


ANTONIA ZERBISIAS azerbis@thestar.ca

Toronto Star | May. 8, 2003. 01:00 AM


On April 9, nearly a month after American peace activist Rachel Corrie, 23,

met a gruesome end beneath an armoured Israeli bulldozer, the Jerusalem

Post noted that the international media were "surprisingly'' mute about her

fate which, depending on your view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was

either murder, a "regrettable accident,'' or "suicide by bulldozer.''

While the death meant "bad press for Israel,'' Erik Schechter wrote, it had

"not yet generated the political firestorm that ensued, in October, 2000,

after the death of Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old killed in a Gaza clash

between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen.

"This might be due to the world's preoccupation with the war in Iraq, which

began four days after Corrie's death,'' he continued. "Two or three more

American deaths might just peek out from behind the Baghdad headlines."

Well, no.

Since Corrie's death, two of her fellow members of the International

Solidarity Movement also met grisly fates. American Brian Avery, 24, had

his face shot off by Israel Defence Forces and Briton Thomas Hurndall, 21,

is clinically dead after he took a bullet to the head. This week, a British

cameraman was shot dead as well, adding to the string of journalists who

have been killed in Israel in recent years.

So where is the outrage?

After a flurry of headlines in the days after her death, virtual silence,

at least in the mainstream news organs. Her memorial service, broken up by

Israeli forces, got scant notice in the U.S. There's been no word on

Israel's investigation into her death. Meanwhile, a resolution, introduced

by her congressman, calling on Washington to conduct a "full, fair and

expeditious investigation'' goes ignored.

Was Corrie's death media collateral damage, forgotten in the bombing of

Baghdad, Jessica Lynch, SARS, Laci Peterson and other news? Was she

political fallout, best left unmentioned by a U.S. on the cusp of war? Is

the world simply tired of the carnage in Israel, where thousands of

civilians, Israeli and Palestinian, men, women and children, have been

killed since the second intifada broke out in 2000? Or is something else at

play here?

As American conservative columnist Charley Reese wrote last month, Corrie

was victimized "by a news media so adamantly determined to play the three

monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil) when it comes to Israel.

After all, merely telling the truth will get you labelled an anti-Semite.''


And he should know, as he has been labelled just that many a time,

especially by such media activism groups such as the Committee for Accuracy

in Middle East Reporting in America. (CAMERA once threatened to sue me but

never followed through.) But I won't dwell on that here except to note that

they portray Corrie as having been out to "justify terrorism.''

Bad enough that Corrie was crushed to death, but now she is being buried

again, a victim of media neglect and Blogistani justice. Cruise the net and

you'll find many Likudnik hardline blogs, or web logs, and web forums,

where Corrie has been crudely excoriated.

On idiotarian.com: "I nominate the Bulldozer for the Nobel Peace Prize! It

improved society; and now with blood on its hands, I mean blade, it'll fit

in with past recipients such as: Terrorfat, Mandela, Carter." On

littlegreenfootballs.com, where she's known as "the flat bitch:'' "How

'bout we all get together at Rachel's grave and stage a vomit-in on it?''

while on usefulwork.com, "I hope that Rachel's parents read this site. I

just want to say hi; and that at least you have the knowledge

that she died painfully."

Reading sites, where Arabs and Muslims are described in the most hateful

terms, I can't help but wonder what the reaction would be if they referred

to other minorities in similar ways. But to go on about that would dull my


Last week, Israel's Ha'aretz reported the IDF has "declared war on ISM

members.'' This week it was revealed that two British suicide bombers, one

of whom blew himself up in a Tel Aviv bar last week, attended Corrie's

memorial service. Despite ISM denials that the terrorists - one escaped -

had anything to do with their peace group, ISM members are to be deported.

And so, in yet another way, the world's eyes on the Occupied Territories

are closed.

The Jerusalem Post was wrong and Reese got it right.

There are some stories to which the media are deaf, dumb and blind.

Antonia Zerbisias appears every Thursday. azerbis@thestar.ca.


 Adelaide Institute asks: And what about British citizen Mr Thomas Hurndall?

BBC website 12 April 2003



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