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Rachel Corrie's Heroism Lives on in the Hearts of Millions

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Rachel Corrie's heroism will live on in the hearts of millions around the world. The final piece in the jigsaw of the injustice of her death under the tracks of an Israeli D9 Caterpillar Bulldozer on 16 March 2003 came in an Israeli court on 28 August 2012, when a judge ruled that her death was 'unintentional' and the IDF was 'not responsible'.

What the judge, and the State of Israel itself, will never be able to expunge with Rachel Corrie's death and this verdict is the stain it leaves on Israel's claim to the status of a liberal democracy in which human rights is a cornerstone. The 4.5 million Palestinians who live either under occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or under siege in the Gaza Strip, have had their human rights repeatedly violated while the international community wrings its hands and has done for decades.

This inaction on the part of those governments, which exert themselves in posturing as bastions of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law, is the reason why hundreds of young men and women such as Rachel Corrie from all over the world put themselves in harm's way each and every day in solidarity with a people, the Palestinians, whose plight has been ignored.

The example of the Rachel Corrie's of this world provide one of the few glimmers of hope not only for those suffering injustice and oppression, but for the western nations and societies of which they are a product. The fact that despite the rampant individualism, atomisation, selfish, ruthless, and self aggrandising which pervades the West and now dominates its cultural values, there are still young people willing to risk their lives in selfless acts of heroism in order to protect the homes of complete strangers in a distant land as the Israeli juggernaut literally crushes them into the dust, shames those of us whose idea of solidarity is to pop some spare change into a charity box or a homeless person's hands every so often.

Israel's claims to be the victim of a determined attempt to wipe it off the map in order to justify its militarism, aggression, and brutal repression of the Palestinians are no longer tenable. The likes of former US president Jimmy Carter, who described Israel's treatment of the Palestinians as 'apartheid', and noble peace prize winner, Desmond Tutu, a hero of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa who also describes Israel as an 'apartheid state', can't easily be dismissed as extremists with an anti-Israel agenda.

The recent shocking accounts of torture, physical and mental abuse and intimidation by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian children, revealed by Breaking The Silence, an organization run by ex Israeli soldiers with the objective of raising awareness of the reality of Israel's actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, merely adds grist to the mill of the growing international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. The fear of being labelled antisemitic, long a deterrent to those who would otherwise have raised their voices over the injustices endured by the Palestinians before now, has slowly but surely been destroyed by people like Rachel Corrie - people motivated by a deep sense of humanity and sympathy for those suffering oppression regardless of religion, ethnicity, or nationality.

Her example shames and inspires us in equal measure. No matter what any judge in any courtroom says, in the court of history her flame burns ever bright.