There was once a war and many people died. There was also much collateral damage. The people were the collateral. And everyone saw who bothered to look, but pretended they didn’t. But there was one girl, a shining, sprite pixie of a blond with an amber smile who DID notice. And DID something. Not at the time — she was too young — but later, the next time she saw it happening. She went straight into the belly of the beast and shined the light she had inside outward so the world could see all the broken pieces that all the King’s horses and all the King’s men could not. And she tried to put humpty dumpty back together again, and she made a LOT of progress, but then it got dangerous, very dangerous, too dangerous even for this brave girl, and she couldn’t risk it anymore, staying where she was, and she recognized she needed to get away.
Her name was Marla, Marla Ruzicka and she died, trying to make her way home, in the flash of a car bomb that took her to the wrong side of the light for all us on the road to the airport in Baghdad April 16, 2005. She was but 28 years old and walked corridors with Senators, not behind, not in front, but beside, but also maybe behind and certainly in front too. Now we will all have to continue her work, because it will take a village to finish the task that she began. She did it for us all. And now we’ve all got to give it back, not for her, but for all of us, but also for her. To honor the gifts she gave us.
Her favorite thing to do was to dance, and maybe that’s what we ought to do, all of us, this holiday season, if not on the ground, then in our heads and through our actions. Not for Marla, but for ourselves, but call it for Marla if that’s what you need to do to make it worthwhile enough.
May Peace and Sanity Will Out,
(originally posted on Friendster back in December, 2005)