Rachel Corrie investigations reveal 5 points

Investigations reveal five points

I am responding to some of the assertions alleging attempts by members of the Jewish community to allegedly "censor" and shut down the Oregon State Theater over the showing of the Rachel Corrie play.

Firstly, they are not true. I never asked that the play not be run and I never threatened to shut down the theater. I don't know of people who engaged in this activity. My understanding, according to the Ashland Daily Tidings' story, is that Alzado did an independent investigation and found the play lacking critical context. This is absolutely true.

I do note that if members of the public had expressed their opposition to the play and had they said that they would picket the theater if the play was run, they would have been entirely within their rights. In this regard, I note with sadness the reaction of some of those who wrote to the paper.

It is not censorship to refuse to produce a literary work that is intellectually dishonest. In this case, the decision not to produce "Rachel Corrie" was made by the artistic director of Oregon Stage Works because the play perpetrates two falsehoods: That the house being demolished was the home of innocent Palestinians; and that the Caterpillar operator intentionally ran her over.

There are at least three investigations that have exposed these falsehoods. These investigations revealed the following:

1. The house being demolished had been used by terrorists, although Rachel Corrie had been told otherwise.

2. The house was in a closed military zone (i.e. civilians were prohibited from entry for their own safety).

3. The Caterpillar bulldozer was two stories tall with bulletproof steel around the cab to protect the driver and a narrow slit in front with a very limited field of view.

4. The bulldozer was supposed to be used with a spotter in radio contact with the operator, but the officer in charge deemed it too dangerous to place a spotter on the ground.

5. The operator could not see Rachel Corrie and ran her over.

This was a tragic death, and the anguish of the family of Rachel Corrie is understandable. It does not help to relieve that anguish, however, by perpetrating a false representation of these tragic events without the proper context. I have stated I am in favor of the play's staging within a contextual framework that makes sense as is often done.

Gary Acheatel

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