Resources for Teachers and Students on Marla Ruzicka
Prepare: Marla Ruzicka founded a non-profit organization,
CIVIC, the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, to
gather first-hand reports of civilian casualties of the
war in Iraq, and to assist the families of victims to receive
humanitarian aid. She was killed in a car-bomb blast in
Baghdad on April 16, 2005. Her biography can be found on
the CIVIC website.
Read: During her time working with the families
of civilian casualties in Iraq, Marla Ruzicka kept a journal,
sending the entries back to CIVIC in the form of emails,
many of which are still available online through the CIVIC
website. Read her entry
of April 8, 2004.
Explore: The extensive influence Marla Ruzicka was
able to wield regarding the plight of innocent victims of
warfare is evidenced by the fact that the United States
Senate voted 99-0 to name their Iraqi compensation efforts
The Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund. Her
influence was also felt in the academic world where, for
example, she was invited to participate in a project on
ethical means of military intervention sponsored by the
Carr Center for Human Rights Policy of Harvard University.
This project was launched to investigate how humanitarian
concerns should be considered throughout the application
of military force. Working
papers applicable to the Iraq war are available through
the Carr Center.
Write: Marla Ruzickas Architects of Peace
essay demonstrates that she was very much aware of the dangers
to which her efforts exposed her. Once, when asked by a
reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle whether she ever
considered doing something safer, she replied, To
have a job where you can make things better for people?
Thats a blessing. Why would I do anything else?
Was this ample justification for the risks she took? Consider
an imaginary scenario where a friend of yours, a close friend,
might become involved in humanitarian efforts in a troubled
area where threats of car bombing, or other acts of insurgency,
were high. How would you counsel your friend? Write a three-to-five
page epistolary (that is, in letter form) essay, addressed
to this friend, where you examine the ethical implications
of heroic efforts in pursuit of a worthy cause. Attempt,
in your essay, to weigh multiple viewpoints.
Expand: When Marla Ruzicka was still in high school,
she became involved with Global Exchange, a human rights
organization. Over the years, she worked with AIDS victims
in Zimbabwe, campesinos in Nicaragua, and refugees in Palestine.
She was also part of a Global Exchange delegation to Afghanistan
after the US invasion of that country, and after observing
the terrible aftereffects of the invasion decided to dedicate
her life to helping the victims of warfare. Those who wish
to receive Global Exchanges electronic newsletter,
to become a member of the organization, or even to volunteer
to participate in one of their projects, can do so by clicking
Additional Resource: Of the great many eulogies
for Marla Ruzicka that have been published in the press,
one of the most moving was written by Phillip Robertson,
who came to know Marla while he was part of the press corps
in Iraq. It is published in Salon magazine, and a free site
pass can be obtained to read the eulogy.
Biography Of Marla Ruzicka