Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rachel's mother

On 25 April of last year I wrote this post linking to an LGF post. The subject of Charles Johnson's post was the Alan Rickman play "My Name Is Rachel Corrie". Corrie was a longtime anti-Semite and anti-Israel protester who stood too long in the wrong place at the wrong time and was struck and killed by a bulldozer. (Corrie's parents have since filed suit against both the Israeli government and the Caterpillar company).

Charles linked to a post by Tom Gross in which Tom asked when plays will be produced for 6 other Rachels who were murdered in Israel. Those Rachels were simply carrying out their everyday lives when those lives were snuffed out by Palestinian murderers. One of the Rachels on Tom's list was a 16 year-old British subject who died while sitting with friends in a pizza parlor.

Her name was Rachel Thaler.

On 26 October, I wrote another post, this time in response to the re-opening of Rickman's play as reported in Front Page Magazine. When writing this post, I decided to put some faces with the names of the innocent Rachels who had been murdered in Israel. I researched their names and found photos of all of them and published those photos as well as some details about each Rachel and each girl's death. I used Flickr to store the photos.

A couple of days days ago, I received this email through Flickr.


I would like to know why my daughter's photo appears on your photo page. Hers are the first photos after the Rachel Corrie photos. She was murdered in a suicide bombing attack in 2002.
Well. that puts one back on one's heels, doesn't it? I got an immediate sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is one thing to read about a Rachel Thaler or to write a little about a Rachel Thaler or even to post a photo of a Rachel Thaler - and quite another to hear from the mother of Rachel Thaler. My response, excerpted, after chewing some nails:
Mrs. Thaler,

I did some research and wrote this post - "Rachel, Rachel" - about Rachel Levy, Rachel Levi, Rachel Gavish, Rachel Charhi, Rachel Shabo, Rachel Kol, Rachel ben Abu and your daughter, Rachel Thaler.

I posted pictures of all 7 Rachels. I also posted two photos of Rachel Corrie - in action.

The purpose of the post was to point out that there were and are more Rachels in Israel/Palestine than just the infamous Rachel Corrie, darling of Yasser Arafat, Alan Rickman, et al. And no one had written anything about them here in the US, at least that I could find.

So, I wrote a little about them.

If you choose to visit the post and object to your daughter's picture and a description of her death, I will amend the post to remove her from it and so note on the post.

I would never do anything purposely to hurt you or the memory of your daughter. I have two sons, aged 6 and 9, and the loss of one of them would be unimaginable to me. Unimaginable.

Please try to keep in mind the spirit in which the post was written and why your daughter's name and photograph appeared in it. Someone needed to be concerned for more Rachels who have lost their lives than just the famous Rachel Corrie.

And I thought it was also important to point out that each of the 7 Rachels was engaged in the innocent carrying on of their lives when they were taken. They were neither in uniform nor protesting anything nor screaming nor throwing rocks nor toting weapons nor interfering with a foreign government which was trying to protect its Rachels.

Thank you for writing to me. I certainly understand your concern.
I awaited Ginette Thaler's response, almost sure that I had offended her. I would not have been surprised if I would not have heard back from her at all. But I did.
Dear Mark,

I read your e-mail and appreciate the explanation. I have also read the article you wrote and very much appreciate what you wrote there....

What happened was the other day I had done a search for "Rachel Thaler" on Google, which I do occasionally, and came across the Flickr page of the photos of the Rachels only, together with Rachel Corrie, no explanation there. That was what I objected to, just seeing the photos of the Rachels on the same page as Rachel Corrie with nothing written.

So I hope you will understand my reaction to just seeing that.

Again, thank you for the post that you put on the Internet... I think it is very important that people read what you wrote.

I wish you and your family well.

Best regards,
I certainly must admire this lady. I responded to her as follows:

I have been sitting on pins and needles while awaiting your reply. Whew! I am more than relieved that I did not in some way inadvertently upset you. As you have seen, that was certainly not my intent.

May I have your permission to write another post about you and your daughter and use the Flickr emails and this email?

Also, I sent you a second email through Flickr last night, or early this morning, relating that I had found yet another post that I had written in March or April of last year about your daughter. That post linked to LGF (Charles Johnson) and, through Charles's post, to another writer who also wrote about your daughter. You must be sure to read those posts also as those fellows were there before me.

God bless,

Mark in Mexico
She wrote back - and please read this email carefully (emphasis is mine):
Hi Mark,

Sorry it took me so long to reply yesterday, your e-mail had gotten lost in my anti-spam... Anyway, now you're added to my "safe" contacts!!!!

Yes, I had read the article by Tom Gross. Someone had sent me the first short one he wrote, which prompted me to contact him, and he then wrote the longer one with more details.

As I said, every so often I do a Google search to see if anything new comes up. It's an amazing world out there on the Internet!!!

It's funny because it was always important to Rachel to be wanted and to have a lot of friends around her. The day before the bombing we had passed a cemetery where many cars were parked outside. Jokingly, we said wow, it must be someone important. She said to me, "Mom, if it was your funeral, there would be few people, but if it were mine, it would be more crowded than this," or words to that effect. That was the day before the bombing.....

At her funeral, there were so many people, more than I could have ever imagined... I just looked up to the sky and spoke to her - "Are you looking how many people are here?"

So what sparked that off is the fact that so many people, so many strangers know about Rachel and care.... I think that would make her very happy.

And to answer your question, yes, of course you may write more about her.

Best regards...
Well, I don't know about anything that I might write that would make Rachel happy. But I do know one thing and that is that having a mom like Ginette Thaler must make Rachel very happy.

God bless them both.

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