The release of a play, ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’ was originally scheduled to open last March at New York Theatre Workshop, but was indefinitely postponed under intense pressure from influential Jewish organizations. The play is based on Rachel’s writings prior to her tragic death when she was crushed by an Israeli (U.S. made) bulldozer while attempting to prevent a Palestinian home from being demolished. The censorship was widely criticized by artists, and human rights activists through the world – including Pulitzer Prize-winning Nobel laureate, Harold Pinter who commented – “Rachel Corrie gave her life standing up against injustice. A theater with such a fine history should have had the courage to give New York theatergoers the chance to experience her story for themselves.” The play was a blockbuster success in London and provides a glimpse of the appalling plight of the Palestinians living in ghettoized prisons in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Repeated efforts to prevent the screening of the play were finally overcome when the play opened at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York last Sunday. It is a great tribute to the artists (including Vanessa Redgrave) and activists who were instrumental in allowing the general public to experience Rachel Corrie’s short, courageous life giving voice to the voiceless Palestinians.