March 12, 2004 - Daily Oklahoman: "If I die, know that I'm doing precisely what I want to be doing," said RPCV Fern Holland

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Namibia: Special: Namibia RPCV Fern Holland put her life on the line for Iraqui Women: March 12, 2004 - Daily Oklahoman: "If I die, know that I'm doing precisely what I want to be doing," said RPCV Fern Holland

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-13-23.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.13.23) on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 9:45 pm: Edit Post

"If I die, know that I'm doing precisely what I want to be doing," said RPCV Fern Holland



"If I die, know that I'm doing precisely what I want to be doing," said RPCV Fern Holland

Oklahoman Editorial: Called to serve
2004-03-12

THE DEATH of Oklahoma native Fern Holland is a jarring reminder that, while life in Iraq is better as a result of Saddam Hussein's removal, there remain plenty of Iraqis who oppose the changes being implemented.

Holland died trying to effect some of those changes. On Tuesday night, she and two others were stopped at a checkpoint by gunmen posing as Iraqi police. All three were shot and killed.

The 33-year-old who grew up in Bluejacket, in far northeastern Oklahoma, went to Iraq seeking to improve the lives of women there. An attorney, she helped write the women's rights section of Iraq's new constitution. "She believed that every man and woman born should enjoy the right of freedom," said Holland's sister, Vi Holland.

Clearly, Fern Holland understood the danger involved in carrying out that cause in Iraq. Her job -- helping establish municipal governments and women's groups in towns outside Baghdad -- meant traveling extensively. Her concern, she said in e-mails to friends who spoke to the Tulsa World, was traveling in high- profile vehicles. "We stand out, and those who dislike us know precisely when we come to town," she wrote on Feb. 6.

Holland completed her undergraduate work at the University of Oklahoma and earned her law degree at the University of Tulsa College of Law. She worked for two law firms and no doubt could have led a comfortable life in that arena, but she chose to join the Peace Corps. She worked in Africa and Guinea before being hired by the U.S. government to work in Iraq.

Her brother said she once told her family that even if no weapons of mass destruction were found, the work in Iraq merited U.S. involvement. "If I die, know that I'm doing precisely what I want to be doing," Holland said in a January e-mail.

Her death is a poignant argument for the United States doing all it can to finish the often difficult work that remains.




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Story Source: Daily Oklahoman

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Iraq; COS - Namibia; Obituaries

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