She looked like she should be surfing on a beach in California but Marla Ruzicka was drawn instead to Iraq and her self-appointed task of helping the civilian victims of George Bush's war. She was 28 years old and had been a peace activist since a young age. She went to Baghdad as the head of her own charity, determined to find out how many Iraqis had been killed or injured by US forces and get compensation for survivors.
At the weekend, the dedication that had taken Marla from her home in San Francisco to the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, led to her death. .... Some may question why Marla's death has received such extensive coverage, given that tens of thousands of civilians have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. She, for one would certainly had preferred that those victims and the people she was trying to help were the front page story. Yet, in the world in which she worked
Marla was undoubtedly exceptional. She recognised the most effective way for her to get things done was not simply to campaign as a peace activist but to focus on humanitarian efforts. Her overwhelming focus was always the victims...
from Independent [UK], by Patrick Cockburn and Andrew Buncombe
US aid worker killed
My friend Marla Ruzicka was killed by a suicide bomber in Baghdad on Saturday. She was 28, and she risked her life helping people for a living. Many people have died in Iraq since the invasion, few more worthy of your tears and mine than she was.
Marla spent the last few years doing her best to make sure that innocent victims of American wars received due compensation. She didn't take sides or a political stance; she preferred to help..... Take a look at her and her work on //www.civicworldwide.org
from Newsday, by Matthew McAllester
Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
WHY AREN'T THEY COVERING THE STORY OF MARLA RUZICKA?
A US Aid Worker's Words
Human rights watch - violating the innocents - Marla Ruzicka 1977-2005
Defender of Iraqi War Victims Killed
Iraq -- Humanitarian Workers' Deaths Remind FCNL of Costs of U.S. War and Occupation
The violent death of humanitarian aid workers Marla Ruzicka and Faiz Ali Salim in a suicide bombing in Iraq this past weekend struck many of us with grief because she has been a regular visitor to the FCNL office in Washington. The organization she founded, the Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict (CIVIC), plays an important role in working to obtain U.S. government recognition of and financial support for the survivors of civilians killed or injured in armed conflict. We saw first-hand her commitment to the Iraqi people because FCNL played a small role in supporting Marla’s work as she began her project by serving as the fiscal agent for some of those donating to her projects.
Her death, and the death of her Iraqi colleague, Faiz Ali Salim (the father of a 2-month-old child), remind all of us of the violence that is continuing unabated in Iraq. Press reports suggest that at least 17 other Iraqis and 3 U.S. troops were killed on the same day as Marla and Faiz. Some reports suggest that most Iraqi deaths are simply uncounted. The U.S. military has refused since the start of the war to count Iraqi casualties.
Marla wouldn't stand for it. She fearlessly stood with the Iraqi's who had not voice, no power, no prospect of justice. She told me, "Joe, when I looked into their eyes, I just couldn't walk away and do nothing." Marla did something. She went straight to the U.S. authorities in Iraq and grabbed them by their epaulets and said, "You have a responsibility, and I'm not going to let go until you do something." She just wouldn't let the survivors of violent conflict go unnoticed, and she wouldn't allow the authorities to claim they didn't know what happened to individual people. She informed them face to face. And her Iraqi colleague Faiz exercised extraordinary courage in taking her where she needed to go, despite the terrible risks.
The headlines in the United States focus on the political dynamics and the negotiations to form the new government. Deaths are usually mentioned only if they are the deaths of U.S. nationals. But the reality for many Iraqis is that the situation on the ground is getting worse, not better, day by day (the FCNL Washington Newsletter that should be arriving in your mailboxes this week includes a personal account of what conditions on-the-ground in Iraq are like today).
The story of on-the-ground conditions in Iraq, however, is still not getting through to your elected leaders in Washington. This week, probably either late Tuesday or Wednesday, the U.S. Senate will almost certainly vote to approve tens of billions of dollars in additional funding for the war and occupation of Iraq. More and more senators are telling us that they believe the FCNL proposal that the Congress declare that the U.S. has no imperial intentions in Iraq is an important way to advance the debate on U.S. policy for Iraq. But we are still a long way from winning passage of an amendment affirming that it is the U.S. intention to withdraw all military troops and bases from Iraq.
I’m including at the bottom of this email links to the web site for Marla’s group, CIVIC, and to a very good statement released by Senator Patrick Leahy, who was a strong supporter of Marla’s work. Here at FCNL we will continue to honor the work of Marla and the tens of thousands of others who have died in the Iraq war and occupation by continuing to press Congress to declare that the U.S. has no imperial ambitions in Iraq. As I go into congressional offices, I’ll stop outside the door to silently remind myself – Marla, presente – before I go inside to engage congressional staff and members of Congress.
For more information about the FCNL Iraq campaign go to //www.fcnl.org/iraq
For more information about Marla’s group Civic, go to //www.civicworldwide.org
To read Senator Leahy’s statement on Marla’s death go to //leahy.senate.gov/press/200504/041805a.html
Contact Congress and the Administration: //capwiz.com/fconl/dbq/officials/
Informant: Martin Greenhut
Ruzicka: US kept secret tally of Iraqi civilian deaths
A week before she was killed by a suicide bomber, humanitarian worker Marla Ruzicka forced military commanders to admit they did keep records of Iraqi civilians killed by US forces.Tommy Franks, the former head of US Central Command, famously said the US army 'don't do body counts,' despite a requirement to do so by the Geneva Conventions. But in an essay Ms Ruzicka wrote a week before her death on Saturday and published yesterday, the 28-year-old revealed that a Brigadier General told her it was 'standard operating procedure' for US troops to file a report when they shoot a non-combatant. She obtained figures for the number of civilians killed in Baghdad between 28 February and 5 April, and discovered that 29 had been killed in firefights involving US forces and insurgents...
from Independent [UK]
Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
Marla Ruzicka Lived, Died for Her Cause