Students and Ann Arbor residents gathered for a candlelight
vigil on the steps of the Michigan Union last night to remember the
one-year anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie.
Corrie was a 23-year-old American human rights worker who was
killed by an Israeli military bulldozer while standing in front of
the bulldozer to prevent the destruction of homes in the Gaza
In remembrance of Corrie’s death, students gave speeches
concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Corrie’s
activism that cost of her life.
“I’m here for Rachel Corrie. She’s an
inspiration for Americans who value the truth, and who are willing
to die for the truth,” said Rackham student Abdul
Suleiman added that although it has been a year since
Corrie’s death, the U.S. government is still reluctant to
investigate the case. The bulldozer that hit and killed Corrie was
supplied by the United States, Suleiman said.
Apart from the government’s lack of desire to investigate
Corrie’s case, Engineering senior Maher Iskandar said that
another important point is Corrie’s pro-Palestinian
“People don’t speak of the Palestinian injustices,
but they happen everyday. People here are standing because they
have a purpose in life to stop these injustices from happening
— it is what I stand for,” Iskandar said.
Henry Herskovitz, a University alum who attended the vigil, said
he offers a unique perspective because he is a secular Jew.
“Jews world-wide with a conscience need to fight for the
freedoms of Palestine. It’s the only way we’ll be
free,” Herskovitz said. Still, Herskovitz said his ideas have
not been received well in the Jewish community. Of the Jewish
people he’s come in contact, with he said about 80 percent
have ostracized him and only 20 percent have accepted him.
“(There is) a basic unfairness in a state that teaches
ethnic superiority. It’s something I want no part of. Jews
were subject to years of discrimination — true — but
Zionism is a horrible solution to a horrible problem,”
But Brad Sugar, co-chair of the Orthodox Minion, said although
Corrie’s death was a tragedy, it should not be blamed on
Israel or the Zionist movement. “I question the logic of
people who are upset. She went to a dangerous area; she’s not
completely without fault in her death. It’s a war — and
if you’re going to a war zone you’re asking for
trouble,” Sugar said.
Last night’s vigil was sponsored by the Muslim
Students’ Association and co-sponsored by the Progressive
Arab Jewish Alliance and Students Allied for Freedom and