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Supplementary to Dan's post --- It may be worth knowing that CIVIC is, according to the following news item, the brainchild of a single US woman, Marla Ruzicka, and that she is (was?) in need of funds... I THINK I found the item below on yahoo news, but like an idiot I have lost the source etails. Perhaps it has been posted to the list before, in which case could someone remind us? Or if anyone has had any personal contact with Ms Ruzicka, perhaps they could confirm this account? Andrew Goreing **** At Death¹s Door American Woman Travels Door to Door to Count Iraqi Casualties By David Wright B A G H D A D, Iraq, May 28‹ The Pentagon keeps a precise count of U.S. casualties in the war in Iraq. But the question of how many Iraqis lost their lives remains as mysterious as the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein or the location of all those weapons of mass destruction. Marla Ruzicka, 26, from the San Francisco Bay Area, has been in Baghdad since the day Saddam's statue fell in the city center. She has been doing a headcount of the Iraqi injured and the dead. She's found more than she expected. She has formed her own nonprofit organization, called the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, or CIVIC. She has organized 150 surveyors to fan out across Iraq. So far, they say they have documented 620 civilian deaths in Baghdad, 256 in Najaf, 425 in Karbala and as many as 1,100 in Nasiriyah. It is only a preliminary count. "Somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000 people died in this conflict," Ruzicka said. Ruzicka's survey teams conduct their search door to door. On Saturday, she visited the village of Rashidiya, a small farm town on the banks of the Tigris River. On April 5, U.S. warplanes strafed the village, killing nearly 100 people. All of them were civilians. In one house, 17-month-old Haider al Hamadi was the only member of his family to escape unscathed. He lost his mother, his three sisters and two brothers. His father survived, but lost three fingers. In another home, 42 people in one extended family were killed. Many were visiting from Baghdad in an effort to keep their children safe from the blitz. "Each number represents a case, a need, represents a father, a mother, a loss of life," she said. Her Own Cause Ruzicka does not represent the U.S. government. She's not affiliated with any big relief agency. She is a lone peace activist who has taken it upon herself to help the civilian victims of war. It is a difficult process, in part because there continue to be casualties almost every day. But there is still no official tally of how many Iraqi lives were lost ‹ military or civilian. Iraq's military kept all records secret. And the civilian documents are unreliable. Each hospital keeps a handwritten book of the dead. There is no master list. And the hospital records are in disarray after the flood of casualties during the war, and the looters who came after. Cemeteries are poorly marked. Many burials were not documented at all. And it is difficult to tell the military from the civilian dead because of the tactics Saddam's forces employed during the war: dressing in civilian clothes, staging in civilian neighborhoods, putting civilian lives at risk. "It takes time, that's why we cant give you a number today or tomorrow," said Ruzicka. "Our goal beyond getting assistance to the innocent families that are harmed is to get a proper accounting of war." Offering Condolences It is painstaking work, meeting one on one with people whose lives have been ruined. Ruzicka's task started in Amman, Jordan, two months ago. She attended the funeral of the man believed to be the first civilian casualty in this war ‹ a Jordanian taxi driver killed the first night of bombing. While the U.S. ambassador sent a letter, she was the only American to personally offer condolences to the grieving family. Now, every day, she meets with new victims, in sessions that often seem like group therapy. "Yes, a number is important," she said, "but it's not as important as making sure that we recognize that each number is a life. Ultimately, we can get them long-term medical care. We can get their homes rebuilt and possibly ‹ it's a hard possibility ‹ but what we're working or is some economic assistance." Fighting for Compensation The U.S. military says it does everything it can to ensure that innocent civilians don't get caught in the crossfire. But mistakes happen; war is messy. Ruzicka's ultimate goal is to win compensation for these people, which is no easy task. The only real precedent for compensating civilian casualties comes from Afghanistan, and Ruzicka helped to make it happen by successfully lobbying the U.S. Congress to help innocent victims of that war. In Afghanistan, Ruzicka's survey confirmed 824 civilian deaths ‹ although she believes at least double that number died in the U.S. campaign to oust the Taliban and al Qaeda. She convinced Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to insert language in an appropriations bill, allocating $3.75 million to help the Afghan victims. "Marla Ruzicka is somebody out there saying, 'Wait, everybody. Here's what's really happening. You better know about this,' " said Leahy. "We have whistle-blowers in industry. Maybe sometimes we need whistle-blowers in foreign policy." But in Iraq, one person, however determined, is bound to have trouble getting the attention of the U.S. military, which has its hands full. Just wading through the bureaucracy can take days. Ruzicka is also chronically short on money. She now has $50 left in her bank account, so she is applying for a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Until that comes through, she relies on the help of her friends. But while other aid agencies are still getting organized in Iraq, still tentatively working out the difficult security situation, Ruzicka is already out there, trying as much as one person can to help. Marla Ruzicka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Web site is: www.iraqvictimsfund.org. on 26/6/03 7:18 pm, Daniel O'Huiginn at email@example.com wrote: > > Yes, there doesn't seem to be a great deal about - I don't know how much > that is a result of disinterest (!), and how much of the time needed to > produce a decent account. One other organisation worth mentioning is > CIVIC, the campaign for the innocent victims of conflict. They have a > website at www.iraqvictimsfund.org, but almost no information on it as > yet. According to 'Salam Pax' (dearraed.blogspot.com), they have around > 150 volunteers collating casualty reports, and have counted at least 5000 > injuries and deaths in Baghdad, 1000 killed and 3000 injured in Nasariyah, > and more elsewhere. Probably worth giving them a call and seeing how much > further they've got. > > Of course, all those are direct casualties. Indirect casualties, as I'm > sure you all know, are far more numerous and harder to count. > > Dan O'Huiginn > > On Wed, 25 Jun 2003, nagy wrote: > >> Dear Colleagues, >> >> I am mystified. Is it true that there have been NO studies on the impact of >> the US invasion of Iraq to match the splendid estimates of the impact, if >> the >> US did reinvade Iraq? >> >> The closest to a good study I have seen (and it's excellent) is >> iraqbodycount.org. >> >> 1) Is my hunch true? >> 2) How can this be? >> >> tom >> >> p.s. hope I'm wrong and that people will post the urls that show I'm wrong. >> >> Tom >> Thomas J. Nagy, Ph.D. >> Assoc. Prof. of Expert Systems >> George Washington Univeristy Sch. of Business & Public Mgt. >> Washington, D.C. 20052 >> home.gwu.edu/~nagy _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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