Saturday, June 5, 2010

Everyone Must Feel Safe

The ceiling in Rachel Corrie's second grade classroom had rules hanging from it. Years later, the only one that she remembered was "Everyone Must Feel Safe." That rule seems a philosophical impetus to joining the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza in 2003.From a literary perspective, I'm intrigued at how well the play uses non-dialogue devices as tools for characterization. At one point, Corrie reads from her notebook; she recites a list of five people who she'd like to "hang out with" in eternity. These people are Rainer Maria Rilke, Jesus, ee cummings, Gertrude Stein, and Zelda Fitzgerald...and then Corrie adds a sixth: Charlie Chaplin. Very quickly, the audience knows that this is a young woman of imagination with a passion for creative expression and a personal philosophy that espouses turning the other cheek. The sixth addition to the list tells us that she has a great sense of humor and that she's unbound by the world's strictures. After all, given a choice of five, she goes outside the box and picks six.The overall impression I'm left with after experiencing this play is one of hope, hope that human courage will compel us to stand against and oppose that which we believe is wrong. I have no doubt that had she had the chance, Rachel Corrie would have stood in front of the Gestapo when they came to round up innocent families for the trains. And that, too, would have been the courageous and right thing to do.
Mohamed Mughal is an American writer who works in the schools of literary cubism and absurdism.

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