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Carlos Chavez: the Rachel Corrie nobody will talk about


Today a man who came to work in peace, to help realize the dream of an egalitarian socialist society, or perhaps just to have a new experience, was murdered by Arab snipers. His death was hardly noticed, it seems.

A few years ago Rachel Corrie came to Israel([search]) to defend terrorists from "Zionist aggressors." She was killed by accident while trying to stop a bulldozer from destroying a building used for smuggling or terror attacks. Her death was trumpeted all over the world as an example of Zionist mentality. We know who she is and what she looked like and why she claimed to have come to Israel. We knew all about her views of the oppressive and evil Zionists.

Today's victim was a righteous victim. He was murdered while planting potato seeds on a communal farm insider Israel. Carlos Chavez was not a reactionary imperialist warmonger illegal settler messianic fanatic - just a man growing food in a communal farm. For whatever reasons, he was planting potato seeds, not seeds of hatred.

For idealistic or frivolous or random reasons, Carlos Chavez came here to help us and be with us, and he paid for it with his life. It is wrong perhaps to ape the path of exploitation of his death for incitement and demonification as Rachel Corrie's "supporters" did. Perhaps there should be no demonstrations about Carlos, and perhaps there should not be any plays about Carlos. Perhaps Carlos was just a fellow looking for an interesting way to spend a few months of his life. Perhaps that is not as praiseworthy as the ideal of helping terrorists. But at least, we should honor our friend who came in peace and died in our war.

I do not know enough about Carlos Chavez from Quito Ecuador to tell you much about him, because the media do not tell us much - why he came, who he was, or what he was like. Most journals did not bother to show a picture of him, and the one that appears in Jerusalem Post is a bad joke.

Here is what we know of his story:
Ecuadorian volunteer Carlos Chavez, 21, was killed when a Palestinian sniper fired from the border area into Israel.

Chavez had been working in a potato field near the kibbutz border fence, Ein Hashlosha's security chief said. He was hit in the back and taken by his friends to the kibbutz infirmary.

A Magen David Adom ambulance arrived on the scene shortly after, but paramedics were unable to resuscitate him...

Yochai Kopler, a potato grower who worked with Chavez, said "sniper and mortar fire opened up. We didn't have luck this time, as we did the other times. Every day they shoot at us, and we run away like rabbits."

"It's tough for us to receive news like this," said Annie Rotman, who is responsible for the kibbutz's volunteers.

She said that Chavez came to the kibbutz two months ago. "Only yesterday, we spoke with him, laughed with him."

"Everyone here is afraid," she said. "The volunteers do the work, and when there is shooting, they go into hysteria. We are finding it difficult to digest what has happened."

David Lanos, 19, also a volunteer on the kibbutz, said the sniper fire came as they were preparing to plant potato seeds. "I told him, 'Sit down, they're shooting at us.' We managed to hide behind a car. When he stood up to get into it, he was hit in the back."

Lanos then told Chavez not to go to sleep. "He answered 'I'm not able,' and then I lost him."

Rest in peace, dear friend. I am sorry that I haven't a fancy bouquet to offer in your memory, only a few daisies I found in the path.


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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)
 

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