Memories of Marla

I mourn her death and give thanks for her life.

This exuberant, lovely, energetic, fun-loving young woman cared more for the desperate people she decided to devote that life to as much as anyone I have met. Her way was to insinuate herself into the world of the powerful and cajole and nudge and follow them until, worn down by her tenacity, they did what she demanded. And demand she did. Her goal was to get compensation for those who had been hurt by the bombs her country rained down on Afghanistan and Iraq. I see her in my minds eye moving as if by the speed of light from one disaster to another and saying to all who would listen, see, see, they are suffering and we need to help them. Her heart was so very large it included everyone.

You did good Marla.

– Rita Lasar

Marla was utterly unlike anyone else I have ever encountered. She was a deeply dedicated activist, but never serious or boring. Marla approached the most desperate of situations with her playful spirit and oversized heart that transformed any situation she was in. Whether government bureaucrat, soldier, reporter, or bereaved family member, Marla had the ability to make you believe that her world–one without civilian victims of violence–was possible.

I was in Kabul in January, 2002, on a trip that Marla arranged. We could tell when she had been to a neighborhood because as we arrived, the usual flock of children would descend on us. Only these children would scream as loud as they could the greeting that Marla taught them: "Hello! How are you! I love you!"

Marla, we love you too.

– Kelly Campbell

If you met Marla for an instant, you knew you were in the presence of a life that lived for life itself, both her own and every single other person on the planet, including you. You felt it instantly. From the time in January 2002 when we met her in Kabul to this time, her life must have been a shooting star, shining brighter and brighter, higher and higher.

Many is the time I heard her name since January 2002 and wished that I could get to see her in person — in action — again. She was — and still is — an inspiration to me, and I’m sure to many of those thousands of people she must have touched. May the universe grant her peace and grant to us that the blessing of her energy be continued.

– D. Bodley

I first met Marla in January of 2002 in Kabul, shortly after the US bombing had ended. Marla had arranged a trip for US relatives of civilian casualties of the terrorist attacks to meet with Afghan survivors and relatives of civilian casualties.

Filed in: Voices of Peaceful Tomorrows

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