As I was finishing the second revision of this book, I awoke late in the
morning to hear the voices of Rachel Corrie’s parents emerging from
my radio alarm clock. Three and a half years after her death in Rafah, on
March 16, 2003, the play about her life and death, My Name Is Rachel Cor-
rie, was being performed at New York’s Minetta Lane Theater.
At twenty-three, she left her home in Washington State to join the Inter­
national Solidarity Movement (ISM) in a project in the occupied territo­ries
of Palestine and died protecting the home of the Palestinian pharma-
cist  Samir Nasrallah from the bulldozer that killed her. Corrie’s writings,
circulated through thousands of forwarded e-mails, and now put together
in a moving play about one young woman’s growing consciousness of her
own place in the world, reveal her to be an unusually careful thinker who
was concerned with her own complicity, as a citizen of the United States,
in global inequality. She wrote to her father from Rafah that, if she went
to France, it would be a transition to too much opulence: “I would feel a
lot of class guilt the whole time.”1 It’s hard to imagine a person who more
fits the classic definition of a martyr: She saw other people suffering and
in danger and rushed toward them, despite the personal risk involved.
About the Israeli occupation of Palestine, she wrote, in her last e-mail, “I
think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and dedicate our lives
to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore.”2
When Corrie died and her words showed up in my e-mail, sent by a
friend who was not even an activist, I was overwhelmed by the commit-
ment that can still appear in the words of people who know that they are
risking their lives because of their desire not for an abstract God, but for
earthly justice. It is hard to write a book on martyrs and victims because
there are so many, and I can safely predict that there will be more. It would
be impossible to include an in-depth discussion of every single martyr
of the American left or to expand this book to include a discussion, as
some asked me to, of the martyrs of struggles in Ireland, the Middle East,
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