The Life And
Of Margaret Hassan
By Ghali Hassan
24 November, 2004
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
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.
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.
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
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 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 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 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.
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.
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
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
There 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.
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.
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
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