Margaret Hassan: martyr for the Labour cause

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, November 17th, 2004
9:58 am and is filed
under It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!.

Guardian – Kidnapped aid worker blindfolded and shot: The video, which emerged a week ago but was kept secret, has been studied by experts, and both British diplomats and relatives of Mrs Hassan said they now believed it showed the 59-year-old and that she had been killed.

Given that I spoke out against the brutal and unlawful killing of a wounded and unarmed insurgent yesterday, you might very well ask me (as many RWCs do) where my anger is for the tragedy of the slain hostages in Iraq. Particularly for someone as innocent and as selfless as Margaret Hassan.

Here’s my anger, Jack….

It should be obvious now to anyone who’s been paying attention that there are people on one side of the war on terror who will commit any outrage to further their cause. And they’re enabled by those on the other side, who actually dare to try and frame and shape tragic events rather than fighting the threat itself.

I’ll get back to this in mo. Hang in there.Yesterday, The Sun spared 188 words for the man who had lay wounded for a day and was shot dead by a marine for not being perky enough to sit up.Today, Margaret Hassan gets over double that; 420 words. And that’s just the core article. She also gets two-thirds of the front page, an opinion piece (well, actually, that’s more about the “scum” who killed her) and top billing in the editorial, which urges us to learn from this important lesson (a lesson that’s presented short of a vital chapter or two).But let’s not get carried away. We can’t give the woman the *entire* front page, now can we? Not when the new series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here is due to kick off. This same priority is shown very clearly in the presentation of a Page 3 model today (sorry, Margaret, we only abstain from showing boobs when there’s an earthquake, a flood, a major train crash or the death of a really famous person).Today Katie (19, from Liverpool) can’t wait for this year’s I’m A Celebrity to kick off. She says: “The last three shows have just got better and better and I know the new series will be must-see TV. Watching all those stars battle creepy crawlies in the jungle is hilarious. Roll on Saturday!”So, in summary; great tragedy, dead martyr, killed by scum, strengthen your resolve… but try not to think too hard about it.Because if you did think to hard about it, you might begin to wonder why the only (only) reference to Margaret Hassan’s stance on the war is this statement in the editorial: “Margaret had absolutely no connection with the coalition forces.”In the main article, our great leaders stand side by side with her memory: Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: It is repugnant to commit such a crime against a woman who spent most of her life working for the good of the people of Iraq. Tony Blair called the murder abhorrent.The overall suggestion being that Jack Straw and Tony Blair have also spent much of their time working for the good of the people of Iraq… just like dear old Margaret. So together we must…. well, you know the rest.But Margaret Hassan did have a connection to the coalition forces. She was vehemently opposed to their presence in Iraq and the policy that preceded it.(Sorry there’s only a Google cache of this. More articles of this kind should pop up soon…)Robert Fisk – Kidnapped – The heroine who offered hope for Iraq: Margaret was the enemy of United Nations sanctions on Iraq. She is the symbol of all those who believe that Iraq – a real, free, unoccupied Iraq – has a future; and all we can be told is that she, too, has joined the legion of the unpersons, the “disappeared”, the list of those who, because of their language or the colour of their eyes or their nationality, have slipped into Iraq’s dark hole. The ultimate disgrace yesterday was to hear British diplomats who supported those deadly sanctions weeping their crocodile tears for “Margaret”…. But Mr Blair, remember, fully supported the sanctions which Margaret loathed. And, of course, he supported George Bush’s invasion that led to the chaos that has engulfed Iraq…. Before the war to remove Saddam Hussein, Margaret was among the many who warned the British Government that an invasion and occupation would produce a humanitarian crisis in a country already severely weakened by the embargoes.Now, after her death, all of the good she stood for and all of the good she did is hijacked and corrupted by those who wish to convince us that the current Iraq policy is right and good.There it is. There’s my anger.Then – to really get a good steam going – add to this that any outrage committed against civilians or insurgents by the coalition forces is immediately presented ‘in context’ with the outrages committed by terrorists, thereby further blurring the line between them. Even the word insurgent suggests that these forces fighting ours come primarily from outside Iraq. Now, you may know it doesn’t mean that, but take a quick straw poll in the office. How many people define the word correctly, and how many have formed their own definition shaped by coalition-friendly media?And it was us that brought terrorism to Iraq. But, again, the line is blurred. It’s all part of the War on Terror. We didn’t enhance the threat, we focused it. Oh sure, a few innocent Iraqis got caught up in it, but don’t worry. As we continue to play this game, their anger will grow and more of them will oppose us and/or the blurred edges will get wider and wider. So before too long they’ll be the enemy anyway. And the ‘lesson’ will be that we must strengthen our resolve not to save them, but to kill as many of them as possible.And it will serve them right for being so ungrateful.-UPDATE – Peter Gasston – Another pointless death: No-one gains anything from the murder of Margaret Hassan; not the (terrorist? insurgent? criminal?) group who took her, not the Anglo-American alliance that created the conditions for her death, not the people of Iraq who have lost a tireless champion and certainly not the family who have lost someone they dearly loved.

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