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The Life and Mysterious Murder of Margaret Hassan

By Ghali Hassan

11/22/04 "ICH"
-- Margaret Hassan was born Margaret Fitzsimmons in Dublin, Ireland and murdered in the US-occupied Iraq. She has lived in Iraq for more than 30 years. She was a dual British-Iraqi citizen. On 19 October 2004, men dressed in the new Iraqi Police uniforms kidnapped her. It is alleged that Mrs Hassan’s body was found in Fallujah during the US assault on the city.

In 1972, Margaret Hassan moved to Iraq with her Iraqi husband. She falls in love with the country, learnt Arabic and converted to Islam. She was director of studies at the British Council in Baghdad during the love relation between the British government and the Saddam regime.

Despite the first US war against Iraq, which left her without work, Margaret Hassan never left Iraq; instead she campaigned for the lifting of the genocidal sanctions. In 1990 she became the director of the Brussels-based relief organisation CARE International. Like her friends Dennis Halliday and Felicity Arbuthnot, she worked tirelessly to help lift the criminal sanctions. She was a vocal voice against the US-UK sponsored sanctions, which killed more than 2 million Iraqis, a third of them children under the age of 5 years.

Just before the US-Britain assault on Iraq in March 2003, Margaret Hassan had urged the UN and the British Parliament against the war. She told them: “The Iraqi people are already living through a terrible emergency”, she said. “They do not have the resources to withstand an additional crisis brought about by military action”. According to many people who knew her, Margaret Hassan hated the sanctions and the US-Britain wars against Iraq.

Fluent in Arabic and very aware of the devious and corrupt politics of the West, she was a strong voice for the Iraqi children who are the first victims of US-Britain states terrorism. Margaret Hassan was unapologetic in her opposition to the sanctions and the war against Iraq. She was very popular in Iraq and was loved by the Iraqi children. I know that myself. The Iraqi people are very generous to and very respectful of foreigners, especially those who converted to Islam. 

The distinguish Australian political analyst and reporter John Pilger wrote recently; “I travelled the length of Iraq [before the US invasion], from the hills where St Matthew is buried in the Kurdish north to the heartland of Mesopotamia, and Baghdad, and the Shia south. I have seldom felt as safe in any country. Once, in the Edwardian colonnade of Baghdad's book market, a young man shouted something at me about the hardship his family had been forced to endure under the embargo imposed by America and Britain. What happened next was typical of Iraqis; a passer-by calmed the man, putting his arm around his shoulder, while another was quickly at my side. ‘Forgive him’, he said reassuringly. ‘We do not connect the people of the west with the actions of their governments. You are welcome’”. “The crimes against the Iraqi people are committed in our name”, he added.

Margaret Hassan abduction was a carbon copy of the abduction of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, the two Italian women who were working for the Bridge to Baghdad humanitarian NGO. They were abducted three weeks and released unharmed after well-publicised demonstrations against their abduction. It is alleged that the Italian government negotiated their release and probably paid ransom for their freedom. In a press conference in Rom, they praised their kidnappers and said that, “they had been treated very well”. They urged Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to withdraw Italians troops from Iraq. They also said that; “You have to distinguish between terrorism and Resistance” to Occupation. Resistance is a legitimate self-defence.

Margaret Hassan abduction did draw some attention as the abduction of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta. Many people have called for her release. Resistance groups in Iraq said her kidnapping suggests collaboration with foreign forces. However, some voices are conspicuous by their absence: the White House and the Allawi puppet government. Neither has said a word. 

The British Prime Minister Tony Blair was ready to attack the Iraqi Resistance, but did nothing to free Margaret Hassan. Her abduction was used to portray the Iraqi Resistance as “evil people”. “I think it shows you the type of people we are up against, that they are prepared to kidnap somebody like this”, Mr Blair said. “Who is this moralizing Blair? A man of Christian faith whose troops brought nuclear weapons to the region last year, to be used ‘if necessary’ in a country in which half the people are below 16 years of age. That shows you which type of people the Iraqis are up against”, wrote Christian Harleman and Jan Oberg of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research. Mr Blair’s comment is propaganda to dehumanise not only the Iraqi Resistance, but also all Iraqis and justify a fascist Occupation. It is his job as a second-hand imperialist.

The US Occupation of Iraq is the most unpopular occupation in the history of aggression and occupation. The Bush cabal is trying very hard to remain in Iraq. They tried to instigate civil war and failed. The new excuse to remain in Iraq is: “Iraq can’t defend itself if US troop leave”. This is a lie. No country has threatened to invade Iraq. The Iraqi people are capable to form a cohesion society again and govern their country. Furthermore, the US is refusing to provide a timetable to withdraw its troops from Iraq, and continues to build illegal military bases in Iraq. 

On Saturday 20 November 2004, another female hostage was released unharmed after being taken hostage in October. A Polish-Iraqi citizen Mrs Teresa Borcz Khalifa has lived in Iraq for 30 years and is married to an Iraqi. She said she had been “well treated” by her captors during her three weeks in captivity. Prime Minister Marek Belka of Poland said Ms Borcz release had been orchestrated by Polish government agencies in cooperation with other countries.

Margaret Hassan murder was videotaped. “In the background of these appalling pictures, there were none of the usual Islamic banners. There were none of the usual armed and hooded men. There were no Qur'anic recitations, noted the British journalist Robert Fisk. The Iraqi Resistance groups denied any involvement in Margaret Hassan abduction, and some suggested that pro-Occupation forces abducted her.

It should be borne in mind that Margaret Hassan was not killed in Saddam Hussein's Iraq; she was murdered in the US-occupied Iraq. Kidnapping, beheading and suicide bombing are the new crimes in Iraq. Iraq never had such heinous crime before the US Occupation. The US Occupation have brought to Iraq a daily, murderous violence which surpasses that of a tyrant who never promised a fake democracy. These kinds of crimes are against the aim of the Resistance, which is the end to US Occupation. Why Margaret Hassan was killed during the Fallujah atrocity? The purpose is clear, to justify more crimes. 

I am very aware of the problem in Iraq, just as I am aware of the fact that not all violence is part of the Iraqi Resistance. There are other criminal elements at work to discredit the name and the image of the Iraqi Resistance. The murder of Margaret Hassan has no beneficial advantage to the Iraqi Resistance. It is not in the interest of the Iraqi Resistance to harm innocent people. 

There are those who supported the Occupation and are benefiting from it. The Chalebi’s thugs (INC), the Allawi’s thugs (INA), the Peshmergas of the two Kurdish parties, the Badir Brigade of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and the Israeli Mossad. Since they entered Iraq with the US invasion, the four groups have taken the law into their own hands and killed many innocent Iraqis. The Occupation authority has never investigated their crimes. 

In fact, the Iraqi Resistance have invited western journalist to come to Fallujah to report on the US atrocity there. No one took the offer. Western journalists prefer to be propaganda agents (‘imbedded’) to serve power and deny the world the truth. No one seems to be interested in the crimes committed against the Iraqi people.

Prominent Iraqi citizens are paying with their lives on daily basis. A conference in Cairo was told, more than 310 Iraqi scientists have been murdered at the hands of Israeli commando unit (the Mossad) specialising in murdering Iraqi scientists. “There is a joint American and Israeli plan to kill as many Iraqi scientists as possible”, said Abdel Raoof al-Raidi, an ambassador and assistant foreign minister. US Administration has imprisoned many Iraqi scientists in isolated areas. The Al-Ahram Studies Centre in Cairo estimated that nearly 17,000 Iraqi scientists have fled the country since the invasion.

Like the 100,000s of Iraqis who were killed as a result of the US Occupation, the killing of Margaret Hassan is another crime of this Occupation. If they can kill unarmed and wounded men, women and children, they can kill innocent people like Margaret Hassan. Margaret name will rise again in truly liberated Iraq.

As a result of this Occupation, the Iraqi people have lost everything, including their love ones. The answer to this atrocity is to end the Occupation of Iraq, and free the Iraqi people. Once the Occupation is ended, its crimes will end with it.


Ghali Hassan lives in Perth Western Australia. He can be reached at e-mail: G.Hassan@exchange.curtin.edu.au

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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