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Sonia Nettnin: Film Review - Rachel's War

Film Review: RACHEL’S WAR

By Sonia Nettnin

A Photographic Memorial to Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie talked about what life is like for Palestinians in Rafah Gaza. On March 16, 2003, an Israeli soldier in a D-9 bulldozer killed Corrie. She tried to prevent a home demolition. (click image above to see images of her confrontation with the bulldozer.)

RACHEL’S WAR is a documentary short about peace activist, Rachel Corrie. Firas Abdelrahman directed the film (2003). The third annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival showed it on Friday.

On March 16, 2003, an Israeli soldier in a D-9 bulldozer killed Corrie. She tried to prevent a home demolition.

While Corrie was in Rafah with the International Solidarity Movement, she e-mailed her family often. Her e-mails describe her experiences; and she explains the daily living conditions of the Palestinian people. The film is a narration of her e-mails.

Corrie provided international presence in a home scheduled for demolition. In an interview, she expresses what life is like for the Palestinians. For example, she talks about sitting at a dinner table, when Israeli soldiers circle the home in tanks.

In one of her e-mails, she confides to her mother that she will have a lot of nightmares when she came home. She emphasized her continued peace work when she came home.

Footage of Corrie on the ground shows her with her hands in the air. She holds a demonstration sign and she articulates her beliefs with conviction.

Abdelrahman creates a telescope view of Corrie. While it contracts, Corrie’s e-mails reverberate to the film’s final scene.


When Corrie’s parents visited Chicago, Cindy Corrie shared excerpts of these e-mails with the audience.

“I am really scared for the people here,” her daughter wrote.

After 09/11, Corrie became a peace activist. She believed in nonviolent resistance; she expanded her study of the Middle East conflict; and she learned Arabic. She joined the ISM operation in Olympia, Washington. The organization believes in nonviolent, direct-method-actions.

While in Rafah, Corrie feared Israeli soldiers would demolish water wells. In response, she slept by them. As Israeli soldiers stood in watchtowers with rifles, Corrie stood between the municipal water city workers and the soldiers. Cindy Corrie conveyed this information to the audience.

“With her spirit looming large…we continue to seek justice for Rachel,” Cindy Corrie said. “We learn as much as we can about the conflict and have visited Israel and Gaza.”

According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Israeli Forces destroyed over 10,000 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, demolitions of civilian homes are a crime. Despite Israel’s signature to the convention, Israeli soldiers violate it.

“There is such power in the Palestinians who remain in their homes and peacefully resist the occupation,” Cindy Corrie said. “We look to the future and humbly consider what our role is in making this world a better place.”


Sonia Nettnin is a freelance writer. Her articles and reviews demonstrate civic journalism, with a focus on international social, economic, humanitarian, gender, and political issues. Media coverage of conflicts from these perspectives develops awareness in public opinion.

Nettnin received her bachelor's degree in English literature and writing. She did master's work in journalism. Moreover, Nettnin approaches her writing from a working woman's perspective, since working began for her at an early age.

She is a poet, a violinist and she studied professional dance. As a writer, the arts are an integral part of her sensibility. Her work has been published in the Palestine Chronicle, Scoop Media and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. She lives in Chicago.

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