19 April 2005
An American volunteer aid worker who helped civilians caught in the crossfire of war in Iraq has been killed by a suicide car bomber.
Marla Ruzicka, 28, was on her way to the airport on Saturday, 16 April, when the bomber hit a US convoy. She was well known in Iraq as a fearless and passionate campaigner for violence victims.
The organization Ruzicka founded three years ago, Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, provided help to the families of people killed or injured during US military campaigns both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Her death stunned a wide circle of diplomats, government officials, soldiers, journalists and ordinary people from Baghdad to Kabul, Afghanistan.
"God bless her pure soul, she was trying to help us," said Haj Natheer Bashir, the brother-in-law of an Iraqi teenager Ruzicka was trying to evacuate to the San Francisco Bay Area for surgery. "She was just a kind lady."
A former Marine who now works for the State Department in Baghdad said: "She was a remarkable woman and a kind person, and she affected everyone she came in contact with." The diplomat said he was not authorized to speak on the record about Ruzicka because her remains were awaiting DNA analysis for positive identification.
Read Harvard International Review's interview with Marla Ruzicka