The martyr

As regular readers of this column will know, I single parented my two teenage daughters. The older recently turned 35; the younger is 29. Dealing with them on my own, during their teen years, remains one of the most interesting turbulent times of my life.

Parents, especially single parents, don't have the temporary yet powerful hold of a young lover. They don't have the indulgent interest of a grandparent. They are expected to be judge, jury, friend and mentor.

Rachel Corrie, dead at 23, was a victim of a terrible accident in a bitterly contested struggle over the so-called Holy Land. But, except for her parents' feelings of loss and pain, I have little good to say about Ms. Corrie's assisted suicide and the ensuing canonization of a woman who obviously thought her white skin and privileged upbringing (compared to the folks in Palestine) allowed her to do things no sensible denizen of the West Bank or Gaza would think to do unless they were attempting to call attention to injustice by dying.

What forces me to write these unpleasant truths about a woman who died way too young is the recent hoopla about Rachel Corrie and her puerile views that stems from a controversial play at the Seattle Rep, a one-woman show made up of gleanings from Corrie's journals.

Rachel's writings are interesting when she sticks to the facts; after all, she was in a place we all hear about on the nightly news, but the facts take a serious backseat to opinion in much of the young woman's scrawlings.

She had the capacity many of the young and, sadly, too many of us old share: she saw a two-sided struggle from only one side.

The Rep has been under the gun from local Jewish leaders calling bias. But despite the Rep's disclaimers, they have got what they must have wanted. The run of the play has been extended.

Israel exists where it is because that's what we, the Western powers, gave those Jews who survived the Holocaust. Except for a minority, Jews did not ask for the land the Palestinians say is theirs alone.

That said, the Palestinians certainly did not ask for a mechanized, Western-style culture based on a religion not their own, dumped all over them and their traditional lands.

There is huge fault to be found on both sides of one of the ugliest, bloodiest religion-tainted civil wars fought during the past three decades of ugly, bloody civil wars - Serbia-Bosnia, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, etc.

Rachel Corrie took a reflexive, far left, anti-Israel position, and then in the middle of an ongoing military war expected to be treated as if she were protesting the WTO.

I don't have any simple solution to the Palestine-Israeli conflict. I have friends on both sides and can see the righteous grievances and exploited Palestinians and Israeli victims of suicide bombings and other violence that looks like terrorism.

The United States Army does not belong in Palestine. I don't belong in Palestine, or Israel. And Rachel Corrie didn't belong there, either. If she just "had" to go, she should have done her bit by helping Palestinians deal with their hard lives.

A young Latin guy I know, a martial artist and a guy far more radical left than I've been in 30 years, saw the Rep's play.

When I asked him what he thought, he said: "It was boring and she said nothing new. I wanted the tank to come back and run over the actress playing her so I could get up and go." And this is a guy who is definitely anti-Israel.

That horrible war is a real tragedy. Rachel Corrie's death was an avoidable accident. I won't be going to the play.

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