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 Hassans body was
found in Fallujah during the US assault on the city.
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.
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
before the US-Britain fascist 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Blairs
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
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 cant
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
are those who supported the Occupation and are benefiting
from it. The Chalebis thugs (INC), the Allawis
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.
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.
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.
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
a result of this Occupation, the Iraqi people have
lost everything, including their love ones. The
answer to this big 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