Fern Holland, RIP

Hugh Hewitt pays tribute to the civilians who lost their lives this week in Iraq — Larry and Jean Elliott, Bob Zangas, and Fern Holland: “[T]hese are the faces of America to the world: Heroes, selfless and courageous, and dedicated to the freedom and well-being of a people far removed from their lives. None of these men and women were obliged to go to Iraq. They went because their hearts were great.”
I knew Fern Holland. In between stints in Africa working on human rights issues and her work on behalf of Iraqi women, she was an attorney with a top notch Washington, D.C. labor law firm. In that capacity she was opposing counsel in one of my cases. The Washington Post’s description of her, “tough, passionate and anything but predictable,” is accurate and, as such, our relationship was rather contentious. She once called me “heartless,” and I can see now that, at least compared to her, the description was accurate. Fortunately, relations thawed during a long conversation we had while I drove her from Akron, Ohio to the Cleveland airport in a terrible storm.
In Iraq, according to the Post, Fern spent much of her time with the occupation authority promoting women’s political empowerment, and helped draft sections of the Iraqi interim constitution intended to ensure a role for women in the country’s evolving system of governance. It is heartening for me to know that perhaps the most idealistic lawyer I’ve ever encountered found the ultimate expression of her idealism performing work made possible by America’s great victory in a just war.
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HINDROCKET adds: To this moving post I only want to add a mention of Larry and Jean Elliott, Baptist missionaries who were working on a water purification project in Mosul and were murdered by Islamofascists a few days after Fern Holland, as part of the terrorists’ attack on civilians in Iraq. The Elliots’ car was sprayed with automatic weapons fire, and a hand grenade was tossed inside the vehicle, while they were scouting sites for the water purification project, killing them along with two others. Their son Scott is a blogger who runs the excellent Election Projection site to which we have periodically linked. It is a small world after all.

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