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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The Myth of the Megaphone Martyr, Latest Edition. Or: Still Going… In an article posted at the Electronic Intifada, we learn that

On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, an American from Washington, was killed as she attempted to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian home in Gaza. According to the Investor Responsibility Research Center which provides impartial information on corporate governance and social responsibility, "Corrie was wearing a bright orange vest and yelling at the driver through a bullhorn to stop. _ The driver pushed the mount [of dirt] on top of Corrie, ran her over and then backed over her again."

As I’ve pointed out before, “eyewitness” testimony posted on EI’s own website puts the lie to this incessantly repeated canard that Corrie was yelling through a bullhorn. Nor does the same testimony say anything about the bulldozer pushing “the mount” (perhaps they meant “mound”?) on top of her. So much for consistency, but so it goes. Perhaps someday someone will compile a compendium of all the myriad, and often contradictory, versions we’ve seen of the incident. These would include: Corrie was shouting through a bullhorn; she’d given the bullhorn to somebody else; she died at the hospital; she died en route to the hospital; she was standing in front of the bulldozer; she was sitting; the bulldozer pushed up the earth beneath her; the bulldozer pushed “the mount” on top of her; the incident was filmed; Israeli soldiers shot at people who came to her aid; she was run over by one soldier; she was run over by two soldiers; and so on. As I mentioned before, perhaps the US should conduct an investigation, if only so all these people might, perhaps, for once get their various stories straight.

The article above was written by Liat Weingart, Sister Valerie Heinonen, and Mary Ann McGivern, all of whom I’m happy to believe are perfectly nice people. Nonetheless, the three authors have either bought into (embraced?) the myth of the megaphone martyr or else they’ve no problem referencing such falsehood. Either way, it’s hard to take their campaign seriously, and the tendentious moralizing gives itself away with the Orwellian embellishment. (And the unctuous allusion to the Shoah is, at best, grasping at straws. It’s cheap rhetoric, to say the least, and as such speaks for itself and disqualifies itself from serious consideration.)

We also read that “The photograph of Corrie before her death, in front of a Caterpillar bulldozer, made front page news worldwide and sparked increasingly negative press reports about the company.” The photograph was indeed taken “before her death”—well before her death, in fact, but who’s counting? And if anybody has seen any of these negative, increasingly or otherwise, press reports that were “sparked” about Caterpillar, other than the handful written by folks affiliated with the authors’ project or Corrie’s family (none of whom, I think it’s safe to say, required a photograph to “spark” their press releases), please, do share.

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