Thursday morning the war in Iraq came crashing home for the staffers and former staffers of Air America Radio. We learned that a wonderful friend and much loved colleague, Andi Parhamovich, was killed in Baghdad.
She was 28 years old, whip smart, funny and beautiful inside and out. Until a few months ago she was a spokeswoman for Air America, a challenging and often thankless job that she did with great skill and good humor. I was lucky enough to work with her for more than a year, but I had no idea how gutsy and determined she was until she announced her plan to go to Iraq.
As her closest colleague and dear friend Jaime Horn put it, "Andi had a fierce spirit and determination to change the world around her. It led her to a job in politics, and then to work at Air America Radio, but it wasn't enough. She felt a calling. She wanted to be an advocate for democracy, and that calling led her to Iraq."
Andi worked for the International Republican Institute in Iraq before joining the National Democratic Institute, a nonprofit whose mission is "to build political and civic organizations, safeguard elections, and to promote citizen participation, openness and accountability in government" in all parts of the world. NDI advises local politicians and activists on the mechanics of democratic practices and institutions. Its chair is Madeleine Albright.
Andi and three security guards were killed in Baghdad when their convoy was ambushed and attacked in a mostly Sunni neighborhood. She had just completed a workshop on democracy for local Sunni political activists. You can read the terrible details here.
Andi Parhamovich's death is a story that has been told more than three thousand times across America since this horrific war began. That doesn't make it any less painful; it makes it worse.
I can't help but believe, now more than ever, that Barbara Boxer's question to Condi Rice last week was not only not impertinent, it was the single most pertinent question to ask. Who pays the price for the war makers' decisions? Not the war makers, that's for sure. They won't be grieving for loved ones killed in Iraq because they have none there. They will never personally pay the price for their recklessness. Will they ever know when the price is too great for those who do pay it?
The price is too great. It has been too great since the first bomb fell.
Andi Parhamovich led her life fearlessly. She was doing the real work of trying to nurture democracy--which could not be done on a computer in her living room, or from an undisclosed location in Washington, nor from a radio or television studio. Now is the time to honor her contributions, and send our deepest sympathies to her family.