“The Lonesome Death of Rachel Corrie” by Billy Bragg

No 199 Posted by fw, June 19, 2011

As Freedom Flotilla II prepares to set sail for Gaza –

In respectful remembrance — Rachel Aliene Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003)

Here are the song’s lyrics included in an article by left wing activist Billy Bragg in The Guardian on March 28, 2006: The lonesome death of Rachel Corrie:

Rachel Corrie went to Gaza to draw attention to the plight of the Palestinians, whose voice is seldom heard in her country, the US. That she herself should be silenced – first by an Israeli bulldozer, next by a New York theatre cancelling a play created from her words – is a testimony to the power of her message. This song was written on a plane on March 20 and recorded at Big Sky Recordings, Ann Arbor, Michigan on March 22. The tune is borrowed from Bob Dylan [The lonesome death of Hattie Carroll].

An Israeli bulldozer killed poor Rachel Corrie
As she stood in its path in the town of Rafah
She lost her young life in an act of compassion
Trying to protect the poor people of Gaza
Whose homes are destroyed by tank shells and bulldozers
And whose plight is exploited by suicide bombers
Who kill in the name of the people of Gaza
But Rachel Corrie believed in non-violent resistance
Put herself in harm’s way as a shield of the people
And paid with her life in a manner most brutal

But you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

Rachel Corrie had 23 years
She was born in the town of Olympia, Washington
A skinny, messy, list-making chain-smoker
Who volunteered to protect the Palestinian people
Who had become non-persons in the eyes of the media
So that people were suffering and no one was seeing
Or hearing or talking or caring or acting
And the horrible math of the awful equation
That brought Rachel Corrie into this confrontation
Is that the spilt blood of a single American
Is worth more than the blood of a hundred Palestinians

But you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

The artistic director of a New York theatre
Cancelled a play based on Rachel’s writings
But she wasn’t a bomber or a killer or fighter
But one who acted in the spirit of the Freedom Riders
Is there no place for a voice in America
That doesn’t conform to the Fox News agenda?
Who believes in non-violence instead of brute force
Who is willing to confront the might of an army
Whose passionate beliefs were matched by her bravery
The question she asked rings out round the world
If America is truly the beacon of freedom
Then how can it stand by while they bring down the curtain
And turn Rachel Corrie into a non-person?

Oh, but you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears.

RELATED VIDEO

Rachel’s grade 5 speech: I’m here because I care

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