Jimmy Carter and Rachel Corrie

I am thinking of Jimmy Carter and Rachel Corrie, and how they are quite similar. Not on the surface, for who could more dissimilar: A young college student and an august former statesman. But I can think of two ways, and the first way leads to the second way of similarity.

I am fond of quoting Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s 4th precept from his Order of Interbeing: “Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.”

What Corrie and Carter have in common is that they both chose to go to Palestine and opened their eyes, and hearts to the suffering of the Palestinian people, Corrie only once, Carter many times (I saw him when I was there in 1990, we went to a service at St. George’s in East Jerusalem). Read the rest of this entry »