The Life and Mysterious Murder of Margaret Hassan
By Ghali Hassan
-- 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
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.)