We are spending the waning days of 2012 in Brazil, making our first visit to South America – for a niece’s wedding and to finally visit our foreign exchange student who lived with us nearly twenty years ago. Our first day off the plane, we’ve explored exotic foods and drink, enjoyed a Brazilian summer thunderstorm, and through heavy rain surveyed the Oscar Niemeyer-designed buildings of Brasilia, the capital city that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What resonates most for us, though, are the vibrant conversations we’ve already had with our hosts about indefensible U.S. policies on Israel/Palestine, deterioration of the U.S. reputation because of our actions in the Middle East this past decade, and the “evils of empire.” Yet among these Brazilian friends, there is still belief that much of what the U.S. does in the world contributes positively, and hope that the Obama administration in its second term will navigate its way toward positions that better serve both U.S. and world interests.
As we listen and engage with the lively discussion, we are heartened again by our ability to have the conversations, to connect across continents, and to see that wherever we go, people are more the same than different. The rights and opportunities we hold dear are those others want, as well – and not only for themselves.
At the Rachel Corrie Foundation, connecting, listening, recognizing how much more there is that unites than separates us, and acting for the greater good are driving principles. Whether bringing a teacher from Gaza for an Olympia visit, facilitating and hosting the first Olympia Arab Festival, or rallying groups across the globe to challenge investment in corporations that support the Israeli occupation, we are doing our best each day to practice the values that guided Rachel and that have continued to guide this organization.
A big part of what we are able to accomplish depends on you and how you reach out to join our work – volunteering or partnering with us, telling others about our efforts, responding to our calls to action, sharing your ideas for the Rachel Corrie Foundation, and sending your financial support. It’s all important!
We read that Brasilia was begun in 1956 ex nihilo (out of nothing) by designating and taking possession of a space and ensuring that all elements in the capital’s creation were in harmony with the overall design. As we hear from friends about changes in South America, we realize how much our efforts for a just peace in the Middle East are part of something much larger – a movement well under way to possess a shared space where the rights and dignity of all human beings matter, and where we add to the harmony. Thank you for helping us join this journey – and from Brazil, feliz Ano Novo (happy New Year) to all!
Cindy and Craig Corrie
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice