Alan Rickman and the pro-Palestinian play

Alan Rickman and the pro-Palestinian play
2 min read
15 Jan, 2016
Alan Rickman who died on Thursday directed a pro-Palestine play 'My Name is Rachel Corrie' telling the story of an American student killed by an Israeli bulldozer.
Tributes to British actor Alan Rickman at King's Cross in London, January 15, 2016 [Getty]

British actor Alan Rickman, who died on Thursday was known for playing some of Hollywood's best known "baddies".

What is less known about the Actor-born actor is that he edited and directed a play about Rachel Corrie, an American student who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003, protecting a Palestinian home from being demolished.

Rickman - who is best known for his acting roles in the Harry Potter series and Die Hard - co-edited My Name is Rachel Corrie from the pro-Palestinian activist's emails and diaries with the now editor-in-chief of The Guardian Katherine Viner.

The play centres around the events leading up to Corrie's death, which family members and eye witnesses say was an intentional killing, and Israel claims was "accidental".

Corrie wore a high-visibility jacket as she attempted to obstruct an Israeli bulldozer attempting to destroy a Palestinian home in Gaza Strip during the Second Intifada.
The vehicle run over the young activist and killed her. Haifa District Court found the death to be an accident in 2012.

The play was generally well-received, but the New York production was cancelled.

Rickman condemned the move as "censorship born out of fear" after pressure from pro-Israel groups.

The reaction to Rickman's death on social media has led many to remember not just his acting abilities but also the role he played in honouring Corrie's name.

One Twitter user, Sam Grafton said, "So much love for the amazing work of Alan Rickman. My Name is Rachel Corrie meant the world to those who went to Palestine in that period".

However, his support for justice in Palestine was too much for some.

Dani Klein (@YeahThatsKosher) said, "always thought he (Rickman- ed.) was a great actor. Sad to learn he directed the anti-Israel (sic) My Name is Rachel Corrie play."

In 2007 Rickman, speaking on the politics of the play, told liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz of how "we held a discussion after every performance".

"Both Israelis and Palestinians participated in the discussions and there was no shouting in the theatre. People simply listened to each other," he remarked.

Through his involvement in the play, Rickman honoured the life of a great woman's fight for justice, who sadly paid the ultimate price for the Palestinian cause, which continues to this day.