Marla Ruzicka



Marla Ruzicka (December 31, 1976 – April 16, 2005) was an American Green Party activist and aid worker who was killed by a car bomb blast in Baghdad. She founded the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), an organization that assists Iraqi victims of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. She was born in Lakeport, California.

Prior to launching the project in Iraq, she was based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ruzicka worked with the San Francisco-based human rights organization Global Exchange to pressure the US government to set up a fund for Afghan families harmed in Operation Enduring Freedom. She arrived in Kabul only a few days after the Taliban were removed from power. In Afghanistan, she conducted a survey on the military campaign effects on Afghan civilians to apply for compensation and aid.

In July 2002, Ruzicka began working with USAID and the Senate Appropriations Committee to allocate money to rebuild the homes of families that had suffered losses as a result of military action. After receiving CIVIC's first report, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) sponsored legislation to provide $10 million in U.S. aid to innocent Iraqis who had been harmed by the US military. He said of the activist: "Marla Ruzicka is out there saying, 'Wait, everybody. Here is what is really happening. You'd better know about this.' We have whistle blowers in industry. Maybe sometimes we need whistle blowers in foreign policy."

Following the fall of Baghdad to the US-led coalition in April 2003, Ruzicka started working with her Iraqi work partner, Raed Jarrar. Their CIVIC activities focused on organizing door-to-door surveys, involving more than 160 volunteers, to obtain first-hand accounts of civilian casualties, those killed, injured, abused, displaced, or made homeless as a result of military action. She was in Iraq prior to the war with the Code Pink organization.

In the days and weeks after her death in Baghdad, the story of Marla's life and work received widespread international coverage. Response to her journey from California to Baghdad (via Afghanistan) ranged from praise for her tenacity, courage and compassion to criticism (mainly from US conservatives) for her perceived role in a leftist campaign to undermine the reputation and legitimacy of ongoing US military operations in Iraq.

Film rights to the story of Ruzicka's life were bought by Paramount Pictures in 2004. In the deal the studio also bought the rights to a book by Jennifer Abrahamson, who planned to write it with the aid worker before Ruzicka died in April. Kirsten Dunst agreed to play Ruzicka in the movie scripted by Lorene Scafaria, whose recent credits include "The Mighty Flinn" for Warner Independent Pictures. Filming is expected to begin sometime in late 2006.

Marla appears briefly in the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room as one of the protestors who disrupts Jeffrey Skilling's speech at The Commonwealth Club.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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