We would like to thank everyone who joined us in Olympia on March 16, 2013 to remember and celebrate Rachel Corrie. The day was filled with moving speeches and personal accounts, music, dance and remembrances. We want to share with you the incredible keynote addresses provided by Ramzy Baroud, Phyllis Bennis, and moderated by Dr. Steve Niva.
On Saturday, March 16th, Olympia will mark the 10th anniversary of Rachel’s stand in Gaza. It has been an extraordinary and challenging journey for the Rachel Corrie Foundation, for the Corrie family, and for those in our community and beyond who have worked tirelessly for justice and peace in Palestine/Israel, in the world, and here at home.
In this month’s launch of a special year-long Peace Works effort, we will feature multiple special events and a remarkable March 16th day of action, reflection, and celebration. We will focus on how Rachel has touched our community and the world; on all that has been accomplished these past ten years through our local, regional, national, and international peace-building; and on inspiring the work to come.
Please join us at these March events!
Saturday, March 16th – Rachel Corrie – 10 Years
Sylvester Park & The Olympia Ballroom (116 Legion Way SW, downtown Olympia) – expect a dynamic day of social action, speakers, music, dance, food, reflection, remembrance, and community!
- 1 pm – Rally at Sylvester Park: Ten years is enough! Challenge U.S. aid to Israel and the lack of accountability for how those resources are used
- 2:30 – 9pm – Olympia Ballroom – Keynote Speakers: Phyllis Bennis and Ramzy Baroud – 10 Years
- Music and Dance– Batiste Dabke, House of Tarab, David Rovics, and more!
- Community Potluck (5:00-7:00 pm) – an Olympia tradition
- Remembrances – from Cindy and Craig Corrie and others
- Interactive Displays- A visual feast reflecting Rachel Corrie – the writer, artist, and activist, and the continuing struggle; ten years for the Rachel Corrie Foundation; ten years for our community’s work on Israel/Palestine; and ten-years of local peace-building.
Are you interested in volunteering? See how you can help here!
Writer, analyst, and activist on U.S. foreign policy related to the Middle East and the UN, Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC and is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. A journalist at the UN for ten years, Bennis remains a special adviser to top-level UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues. In the U.S., she works actively on global peace and with Palestinian rights movements and was a co-founder of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Bennis has authored eight books on the Middle East and the United Nations and is a frequent contributor to U.S. and global media at the BBC, Democracy Now!, Al-Jazeera, NPR, the Nation, AlterNet, Common Dreams, TomPaine.com. and more.
Ramzy Baroud, originally from Gaza, is a Palestinian-American journalist, author, editor, former producer for al-Jazeera, and currently Editor in Chief of The Palestine Chronicle. Baroud’s work has been published in hundreds of newspapers, including The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, and nearly every English-language publication throughout the Middle East. He has been a guest on CNN, NPR, and other broadcast media. Baroud’s third book, My Father was a Freedom Fighter, Gaza’s Untold Story, published in 2010, narrates his family’s history from 1940 to the present.
Friday, March 15th – Where Should the Birds Fly
Olympia Film Society screening & Fida Qishta filmmaker from Gaza
6:30 pm – Capitol Theater, 206 5th Ave SE, Olympia
We are excited to team up with the Olympia Film Society (OFS) to present this film followed by a discussion with the filmmaker Friday, March 15th. Fida Qishta is a Palestinian journalist from Rafah, Gaza, and survivor of the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead attack on Gaza by the Israeli Military. The film tells Fida’s story of life during the past decade in Gaza and during the siege, along with the moving story of Mona, a Palestinian girl, ten-years old at the time of Operation Cast Lead. Fida will be joined by Rachel Corrie Foundation board member Sonja Wentz for discussion with the audience following the movie.
Tickets: $5.50- OFS members, $8.50- non-members
Sunday, March 3rd – Remi Kanazi – Spoken Word Justice
Remi Kanazi, Palestinian-American poet, writer, and human rights activist based in New York City will bring his spoken word to Olympia in a performance Sunday, March 3rd, 6 pm, at the Washington State Labor Council, 906 Columbia St. SW.
From 2-4 PM, at the same location, Kanazi will provide a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) workshop about the Palestinian call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel, misconceptions about this call, and how to mount BDS campaigns.
Author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine and editor of Poets For Palestine, a hip hop, poetry, and art anthology, Kanazi is a recurring writer in residence and advisory board member for the Palestine Writing Workshop. He has taught, lectured, and performed extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. A member of the organizing committee of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Kanazi has been a featured political commentator for news outlets throughout the world. Through spoken word, he inspires audiences to discover their power to act for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine. An American-born son of Palestinian refugees who deeply feels his roots, Kanazi states, “This isn’t about me being a Palestinian or me being an Arab. It’s about a system of oppression and what’s being done to a people.” Kanazi will be available for book signing.
The events are sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation. For more info, call 754-3998.
Admissions to both events are free to the public.
Check the Rachel Corrie Foundation website for schedule and performance updates!
or call 360-754-3998 for more information.
On November 28th, we hosted an educational event at Traditions Café in Olympia, Washington. A panel discussion and Q&A talked about what recently happened in Gaza, and what we may expect in the future. Below is the live video from that event:
The Israeli Government is currently mounting the largest assault on the Gaza Strip since
the winter of 2008-2009, when “Operation Cast Lead” resulted in the deaths of 1,400
Palestinians, the majority civilians and over 300 children. As we write these words, Israeli
tanks and troops are moving into position for a possible invasion of Gaza.
This is not a conflict between equals. Israel has one of the most advanced military forces
in the world and receives 3 billion dollars in American military aid every year. Israel
has maintained a siege of Gaza, on land, sea and air since 2007, after Hamas achieved
electoral victory in 2006 and took control. Israel’s blockade of Gaza is so tight that the
Israeli Government created calculations about exactly how much food they could stop at
the border before Palestinians began starving in large numbers. The military also makes
frequent incursions into Gaza. All this makes a mockery of Israel’s claim that Gaza has been
unoccupied since illegal Israeli settlements were removed in 2005 (even as illegal Israeli
settlements continue to expand in the occupied West Bank).
But a reader of your paper would not know any of this. Instead, articles from McClatchy and
the Associated Press reprinted in The Olympian do not make the briefest reference to Israel’s
continuing occupation and control of Gaza. Without mention of Israel’s long-term policy
towards Gaza, it is impossible to understand the current situation. Furthermore, the articles
do not question the official statements of the Israeli Government. One article titled All-out
War Feared as Israel Moves Troops Toward Gaza, Rockets Land near Tel Aviv, printed in The
Olympian November 15th, states, “Israeli aircraft and warships retaliated for hundreds of
rockets fired into the country in recent weeks.” However, before the Israel began its military
assault on November 14th, there was a two-day calm, and Hamas offered to agree to a truce
if Israel ceased military operations in Gaza. Israel refused and did not respond. This is not
the first time Israel has broken a truce with Palestine. During a previous period of calm this
month, Israel invaded Gaza November 8th, killing a 12-year-old boy. Similarly, before the
2008-2009 assault, Israel violated a June 2008 ceasefire agreement. The Palestinian militant
response to Israel’s violation of that agreement was then used to justify Israel’s massive
military attack. The same pattern of violated agreements holds throughout Israeli history,
from the 1956 invasion of Egypt to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, as well as more recent
acts of aggression.
We ask that instead of continuing to use flawed and incomplete information, The Olympian
begin investigating and reporting on this issue from multiple sources. There are many more
reliable resources for information on the conflict, including human rights organizations
such as Amnesty International (http://www.amnesty.org/), Human Rights Watch
(http://www.hrw.org/), B’tselem (in Israel), United Nations Office for Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs – Occupied Palestinian Territories (http://www.ochaopt.org/
), Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/), The Institute for Middle East
Understanding (http://imeu.net/) and many others. We would be pleased to discuss our
concern and ideas about sources of information with you further.
The Board and Staff of the Rachel Corrie Foundation
In a letter “to all of those participating in Shuruq: Olympia Arab Fest 2012”, Governor Christine Gregoire sent warm greetings to all participants of Arab Fest:
I count it a privilege to have a vibrant Arab-American community thriving in Washington, and I am thankful for the part Arab-Americans play in establishing a rich cultural heritage in our state.