Rachel Corrie was the first American casualty in the current phase of the Iraq War. The war was hatched before George Bush was elected president, by a group called The Project for a New American Century, which foolishly, ineptly and inhumanely tied the future security of the United States and Israel hand in hand, in a way that brought no security to either country and has ruined four so far - Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and the United States.
Since Rachel Corrie died this day five years ago, over 86 Israelis, 1,290 Palestinians, 1,300 or more Lebanese, 3,988 Americans and 1,189,000 Iraqis have also died in pursuit of a folly that has destroyed the hopes of well over a billion people for a generation.
Rachel Corrie protested the Iraq War before it started, in a demonstration in Gaza City, shortly before she was killed. Like her, I was against the war before it took off. I discovered her death as I was seeking anti-war poems for a song cycle.
The resulting music, finished in early 2004, was condemned in Alaska as anti-Semitic. I was denounced at a joint session of the Alaska Legislature for having written the commemorative work. Those claims were total falsehoods. After cancellations of projected performances in Anchorage, New York City and Toronto in 2004, the work was finally performed on November 1, 2005 in London.
I've been reluctant to post the entire performance at my music web site, because of the incredible volume of hate mail I've received in the past whenever I assert my beliefs on what Rachel Corrie meant, and because people continue to misunderstand what the work means.
But I'm convinced the work resonates now more than ever, and is as fitting a tribute to this young woman and what she believed as exists. So, I've put the entire work up at my music site and my protest music site.
I hate this Goddamn Fucking War and every evil it has created, extended, warped and exacerbated.
The Skies Are Weeping
The April 8, 2004 speech explaining the music's premise
Rachel Corrie's memorial site
Update: This blog lists some of the commemorations of Corrie's death five years ago, that have occured on the web.