Monday, April 18, 2005

Marla Ruzicka

Anyone who wants to remember Marla Ruzicka, the Bay Area activist who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, should first all remember how she died. Time gives this account of her death.

Ruzicka, 28, became a victim of the Iraqi conflict on Saturday, when a car bomb detonated beside her car on the perilous road from central Baghdad to the city's airport. Her longtime Iraqi aide and driver Faiz Ali Salim, 43, was also killed.

She didn't die while accompanying a military convoy. She wasn't killed at a US checkpoint or by American fire. She died on a road frequented by civilians killed by what was almost certainly a command detonated bomb; which didn't go off by itself but was set off by someone waiting patiently, at a distance, with his converted cellphone or garage door opener, until a likely victim came along. For Time to say that Marla Ruzicka was the 'victim' of an abstract Iraqi conflict is as misleading as to maintain that Iraqis who may have wrongfully died in US custody are 'victims' of 'international conflict'. To remember Marla Ruzicka it is important to remember that first and foremost she was murdered, murdered by insurgents.

It is also important to remember the invisible man, Mr. Faiz Ali Salim, who was as innocent as Ruzicka, and who because he lived there had even less choice in the circumstances of his death. If Ruzicka represents the idealistic activist Salim should stand for all the thousands of Iraqis who have been kidnapped, beheaded, car bombed while at mosque, blown up roadside bombs and thrown into woodchippers, perhaps by the same men who pressed the detonation button that killed them both. He didn't die from some nebulous Iraqi conflict, as Time likes to remember, but from the actions of men who had killed before and, with the help of those who help us to forget that fact, will kill again.