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Icon of civilian resistance for justice: Rachel Corrie

It has been 18 years since a 23-year-old American peace activist was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Rachel Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003, while she was staging a peaceful protest to protect the house of a Palestinian family from demolition.

The killing of Corrie, who tried to raise the voice of life against death, contributed to Palestine’s fight for freedom that is still ongoing today.

The young woman, who dedicated her life to defend the rights of Palestinians, wanted to show her trust in peace to the whole world in Gaza where she went for solidarity in 2003.

With activities she carried out and videos she took, Corrie revealed the human rights violations by Israel.

On the day she was crushed to death, the American activist turned her way towards the Israeli bulldozers, wearing her orange jacket and with a megaphone in her hand.

Her aim was to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian family’s home and their lands in the city of Rafah.

She thought that her western look would deter the Israeli vehicles, and defied the bulldozer, however, the Israeli forces did not show mercy.

Shocked by the news of her death, the people of Gaza called her a “martyr” and held a massive funeral ceremony for Corrie.

An Irish aid ship that set out for Gaza in 2010 also was named after Rachel and her story has been told in several documentaries portraying the plight of Palestinians.

Despite nearly two decades since her death, Israel’s occupation and human rights violations against Palestinians are ongoing.

While Israel was left unpunished over the killing of Corrie, houses of hundreds more Palestinians have been demolished to date since her death.

Born in Olympia, Washington, Corrie was a volunteer activist for the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian NGO.

*Contributions and writing by Sena Guler