Sunday, September 19, 2004

The human side of democracy promotion in Iraq

Elizabeth Rubin has a gripping portrait in the New York Times Magazine today of Fern Holland, the 33-year-old idealistic lawyer from Oklahoma who was, along with Bob Zangas, the first civilian employee of the Coalition Provisional Authority to be killed in Iraq.

One cannot help but admire Holland. But at the same time, Rubin is able to paint a vivid portrait of the contradictory --and ultimately flawed-- efforts to impose certain ideas about women's rights on Iraqi society. There are so many revealing stories in this piece -- at the end, for example, we learn that she became very disillusioned with her own work -- that you simply have to read the whole thing.

I reported back in April 8th about Holland's Iraqi assistant, who was killed in the same incident, and about the U.S. contractor's total avoidance of any compensatory claims for her death.

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