Seven years Ago: Margaret Hassan: Victim of “Operation Iraqi Liberation”

17th October 2004

In-depth Report:

‘The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950.)

With the passage of time and the onset of hindsight, usually, eventually, tragedy can be pieced together, the dead finally wept over, laid to rest, their graves marked, visited, flowers layed.

Margaret Hassan, who was kidnapped seven years ago today and shot by her kidnappers little over three weeks later, probably on 14th November, has vanished without trace.

Even in the horrors of the Iraq invasion, the unprecedented violence unleashed in a place previously of remarkable safety – unless anti-regime politics were indulged in – her disappearance is extraordinary. Terrible things have been engendered by the US/UK intervention. Yet of the possible million and a half dead, most have been traced – or even horrifically thrown in to family yards, or on to lawns, terribly murdered. Or found in morgues, shallow hasty graves, or by tip off.

Margaret Hassan, Head of CARE International, had lived through Iraq’s wars and tribulations for thirty years. When she was kidnapped, the terribly disabled from the spinal chord clinic, her last project, hobbled with any aid they could find, on to the street to demonstrate for her release.

Hindsight in this case is useless, nothing new can be pieced together, except the refusal of help from the British and American authorities, as with British engineer Ken Bigley, beheaded shortly before.

Irish born Margaret pleaded to the British government, in the last but one searing tape of her, where ever she was being held:

“Please, please help me. Please help me. This might be my last hours. Please help me. Please, the British people, ask Mr. Blair to take the troops out of Iraq and not to bring them here to Baghdad. That’s why people like Mr. Bigley and myself are being caught, and maybe we will die. I will die like Mr. Bigley. Please, please, please, the British people, please help me.”

This desperate plea of the bravest of women, fell on deaf Whitehall ears.

Last August, her sister, Deidre Fitzsimons, pleaded again, with Prime Minister David Cameron for help to find her body. His ears, seemingly, are equally closed.

Unusually, for the region, no one has claimed responsibility for her death, nor, in the videos, were there the usual identifying flags, symbols, or clothes. Had she already been removed from Iraq when they were made, it has even to be wondered.

Dear Margaret, I have not changed my opinion from the following, my friend. Your devotion, courage, compassion will never fade. Oh, that you could talk.  

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Articles by: Felicity Arbuthnot

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