and What Killed Her?
Hårleman, TFF Associate
Jan Oberg, TFF director
Margaret Hassan has been
murdered. That is the most probable conclusion from a
video given to Al Jazeera yesterday. For one who met her
and got to know her, even if just a little, it is hard to
write and read that sentence. But Margaret Hassan - Umm
Margaret - in Baghdad has been murdered.
Who killed her?
Desperate, fanatic people who
thereby casts a dark shadow over their nationality,
organisation, religion and philosophy. People who
mistakenly believe that a better Iraq will emerge from
such a crime and who cares nil for the welfare of the
Iraqi people to whom she devoted most of her life and
work. Or someone related to the occupation forces seeking
to discredit the image of all Iraqi resistance.
Why she of all?
Because she was a courageous,
principled and determined humanist who defied danger and
could not be intimidated. She represented the best of the
Western and the Arab world in one person and, thus, was a
threat to the worst elements in both. For, alive she
would remind everyone about the essential difference
between genuine goodness and the grim reality of the
self-proclaimed "good" policies of George W. Bush, Tony
Blair and Ayad Allawi.
What caused her
The occupation itself and the
governments responsible for it. Margaret Hassan was
married to an Iraqi, lived for more than 30 years in
Iraq, by and large simultaneously with Saddam Hussein's
brutal rule. She could live and work there, both with the
British Council in the 1980s and with CARE. She
considered herself an Iraqi and never thought of leaving
the country during the various wars and constant human
rights violations. Time and again, she voiced her deep
concern to everyone she met - including us - about the
inhuman consequences of the economic sanctions and the
further suffering of the citizens in case the country
would be attacked and occupied.
Margaret Hassan was not killed in
Saddam Hussein's Iraq, she was murdered in the Iraq that
has been created by Messrs Bush, Blair, Berlusconi, Fogh
Rasmussen and other Western leaders and by U.S.
ambassador John Negroponte as well as by the former exile
CIA hand and hand-picked prime minister Ayad Allawi.
In their Iraq people are angry,
very very angry. They are hateful of the West that has
promised them a better life and delivered them one that
is, in all ways but one - that Saddam dictatorship is
gone - much worse than under Saddam.
Bush recently asked Blair to move
British troops from the south to the troubled central
Iraq including Baghdad. We heard Margaret Hassan on
video, "Please help me. The British people, tell Mr Blair
to take the troops out of Iraq and not bring them here to
Baghdad. That's why people like myself and Mr Bigley are
abducted, and we might die."
BBC put it all in perspective: "Her
plea follows UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon's
announcement that 500 Black Watch soldiers and 350
support personnel will move from Basra to the US sector
in central Iraq."
That is the what - not who - that
murdered Margaret Hassan.
Could Bush and Blair have saved her
life? In principle, they could. But the logic of war
prevented them: don't give in, continue to the bitter end
and let others pay the price. How much longer can this
continue? How many more of these awful abductions will
the world witness before we see a change in this policy
which has caused such a trauma for the Iraqi people in
general and for the families and loved ones of the
wounded, the murdered and other dead? How much longer can
Messrs Bush, Blair, Berlusconi, Fogh Rasmussen and fellow
war-makers continue to let others pay for their own
immoral and anti-intellectual policies?
Just extend the space and the time
around this tragedy, and you will see that is a history
that leads up to the murder, there is a global political
space in which it takes place. Margaret Hassan was killed
by a completely misguided policy and formidable structure
of male power, of hubris and ignorance, of playing it
cool when knowing one is guilty, of cultural contempt
together with a war machine that no one seems to control
anymore, with no mercy - only formidable, brutal power.
Said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We
have guided missiles and misguided men."
Tony Blair said "I think it shows
you the type of people we are up against, that they are
prepared to kidnap somebody like this." 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.
He who does not care for one cares
for none, that's the philosophy shared by state
terrorists and the small group terrorist. It casts a long
dark shadow over Western civilization.
We mourn the loss of our friend
Margaret. She was the victim of her direct murderers and
of several others. She was the victim of the war system
and the brutalisation of the human mind it invariably
causes. A flame of humanism and hope for the Iraqi people
and the rest of us has been extinguished.
© TFF and the authors 2004
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