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Protester had just made leap from local work to world stage

©Associated Press

March 17, 2003

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- In a matter of months, Rachel Corrie went from the orderly peace movement of this small liberal city to a deadly world of gunfire, violent political conflict and the bulldozer that crushed her to death.

Just a few months before her death, Corrie, 23, had been organizing events as an activist in Olympia's peace movement and at Evergreen State College, a small campus know for its devotion to liberal causes.

Through a group called Olympians for Peace in the Middle East, she joined the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led group that uses nonviolent methods to challenge Israeli occupation.

Craig Corrie, Rachel's father, remembered his daughter on Sunday as "dedicated to everybody."

"We've tried to bring up our children to have a sense of community, a sense of community that everybody in the world belonged to," he said from his home in Charlotte, N.C. "Rachel believed that -- with her life, now."

Corrie was a committed peace activist when she arrived at Evergreen State, said Larry Mosqueda, one of Corrie's professors.

"She was concerned about human rights and dignity," he said. "That's why she was there."

The move from organizer to frontline opposition in a war zone was a switch for Corrie, whom friends said was not usually inclined to the overt acts of civil disobedience that characterized such events as the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999.

"As long as I've known her she's always been very energetic and very focused about social justice," said Phan Nguyen, 28, a friend and fellow activist who has made several similar trips to the West Bank. "It seemed natural that she would do something like this."

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