So it's been something of a difficult day. I'm going to skip most of it and just talk about what's been eating me today.
This morning an American woman was killed in the Gaza Strip. She died in the hospital after an Israeli military bulldozer drove over her. Early accounts suggest that after running her over, the operator shifted into reverse and ran over her again.
This woman was part of one of the groups organized to provide human shields for what they believe to be wrongful targets of Israeli military actions. She was blocking the home of of a Palestinian doctor in the Rafah refugee camp.
I got a pretty good start today when I opened an AP wire story about the event and saw that it was a girl I have known since elementary school. I sort of held out this slim hope that it might have been someone else, but CNN is running a photo.
I haven't known Rachel well for many years now, but a couple years ago we had lunch together after discovering some mutual friends... shortly after that I moved to San Francisco and that was the last time I'd seen her.
The elementary school we attended was a public school, but a hippie-ish program in which students worked at their own pace and parents were required to spend a set number of hours each month working in the classrooms. People really got to know each other in that atmosphere. It's been probably near 2 decades now since I have seen Rachel's mom, and I had very little trouble recalling her face.
I'm pretty abstracted from the reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict. I've had a few Jewish friends who have spent time in Israel. That's about the extent of it. Certainly the last place I expected to find a personal connection there this morning was a quiet reserved girl from my small town childhood. On the front page of every major internet media outlet no less.
Rachel Corrie was the first foreign human shield killed in the defense of Palestinians. I hope with all my heart she's the last.