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Marla Ruzicka leads a demonstration outside of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul Marla Ruzicka leads a demonstration calling for U.S. compensation to victims of the U.S. led military campaign in Afghanistan, outside of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, April 7, 2002 (AP photo by Suzanne Plunkett).

The Unfinished Revolution in Humanitarian Affairs

Friday, April 23, 2021

Last week, just two days after U.S. President Joe Biden announced his decision to withdraw the last U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the humanitarian community commemorated the death of Marla Ruzicka, a humanitarian hero from the early years of the war there. A college student when the Twin Towers fell, Marla recognized that the U.S. invasion would weigh hard on civilians, and rather than watch from afar, she bought herself a ticket to Afghanistan to do something about it.

Landing in Kabul, Marla set about making friends with U.S. soldiers, expatriate aid workers and local Afghans alike. More importantly, she connected them to one another. Her tireless mantra was: The U.S. military itself must make amends to the civilians it had harmed through the invasion, even if those harms were technically lawful. ...

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