Rachel Died March 16th, 2003

Rachel Died March 16th, 2003

March 11, 2006
The Bill of Rights Defense dedicated a forum to Rachel Corrie a
while back, and Cindy and Craig Corrie attended.The committee
presented Chaplain Captain James Yee with a symbolic award – a
plank from Tacoma's old Japanese Language School building which had
closed when students and their parents were interned during World War
II. Many believe Yee was victimized by “the same kind of race
based hysteria triggered by a national crisis.”
Yee was the Islamic chaplain at Ft. Lewis whom, while stationed
at Guantanamo, was arrested and held in solitary confinement for 76
days. Just for doing his job. American citizen. US Military Officer.
Shackled like a terrorist.
Chaplain James (Yusuf) Yee, a third
generation Chinese American, West Point graduate converted to Islam
in April of 1991. After serving in the aftermath of the first Gulf
War as a Patriot Missile Fire Control Officer,he became an army
chaplain and was assigned to Guantanamo to meet the spiritual
requirements of internees. He was subsequently arrested for providing
internee's families, in his capacity as chaplain, with basic
information on the welfare of their loved ones.

Listening intently, I then realized that Sara (not her real name)
was there. Although neither Jewish nor Israeli, Sara was obsessed
with spite for Rachel Corrie, and, in her demented, hate-filled,
wanna-be Zionist mind, may have intended to hassle her parents.
Thinking quickly, I diverted her attention to Tim Smith, the MC for
the night, who, with his green Ben Franklin costume could, I hoped,
distract Sara from her intended disruption.

As she drummed him with tirades about “supporting
terrorists” and “what do you expect when you stand in
front of a bulldozer”, I took position in the questioners'
line. One person after another assailed Captain Yee with pointed
barbs about the violence and misogyny of Islam. This was quite
puzzling to me, as these were people I thought of as peace activists,
yet they seemed to be stereotyping Muslims. How un-peaceable, I

When my turn came, I posed two questions to Chaplain Yee:

After the Vietnam War, many of us absorbed Buddhist wisdom
and some of us even adopted Buddhism as a way of life. There is a
serious scholarly Christian – Buddhist dialog and many fine
English language writers on its traditions. Where might we find
comparable beginnings of a Christian-Muslim dialog?

Tim continued to fight Sara off as Captain Yee pondered this
interrogatory. It didn't seem like he had an answer on the tip of his
tongue, so I gave him my second question:

Many of us are intrigued by Sufism and feel it may represent
a mystic core of Islam which dovetails with Christian contemplative
traditions and the experiences shared by writers such as Thomas
Merton. Can you tell us something of the role and status of Sufism is
Islam today, and how it might relate to peacemaking and conflict

A pretty heavy question, I suppose, to spring on a working Army
chaplain. After all, he didn't hold himself out as a theologian. The
nuts and bolts of benedictions or whatever it is chaplains do were
more likely within the purview of his responsibilities.
And Tim was looking rather alarmed after fending off Miss Sara.
But at least the Corrie's were not being hassled.
Tim, apparently thinking that I was “with” Sara,
apparently didn't listen to the questions and assumed that I was part
of some kind of Sara-led plot to embarrass Captain Yee. Or for some
other reason or another, he took over the meeting and swiftly cut Yee
off before he could respond.
I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this January, but now, as
the anniversary of Rachel's sacrifice and the Iraq war approaches, I
resolve to seek answers to these questions. I will also pose the
questions, perhaps again to Chaplain Yee if he is available, and let
readers know what I come up with.
~~~~ Namaste ~~~

“I salute the Divine
within you.”

For more information
As of January 8, 2005, Captain James Yee was
honorably discharged from the Army. Yee was arrested at Guantanamo
Bay and imprisoned for over two months on charges that he was
carrying classified documents. Although he was cleared of all
criminal charges in March 2004, he has yet to receive an apology from
the Army.


Arjuna Ahimsa was an early Yee supporter and is
influenced by Dam Rass, Eido Shimano Roshi, Chogyam Trungpa , Ken
Keyes, Jr and the great revolutionary and anti-legalist, Yeshu of
Nazareth. He recently conducted a series of fasts to protest his own
exclusion from Santa Barbara City College by what he described as “an
clique of misguided racists”. During these fasts,
he set two chapters of the Celestial Song based on the Bhagavid Gita
according to Ghandi, forthcoming. Ahimsananda may be reached at