The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Something to Drink to

A toast to those who will make things right
 Something to Drink to
Something to Drink to

Something to Drink to

Dozens, if not hundreds, of the billions of photographs that are currently floating around the Internet depict Margaret Hassan — a woman whose elegy has precipitated out of the World Wide Web and its dauntingly huge, international bevy of bloggers.

There are innumerable Web logs that have granted anyone access to pictures of Hassan, as well as the woman’s life-story, with the blogger’s opinion tacked on to the end. E-epitaphs praising a woman whose now stolen life is more than praiseworthy.

And it’s a good thing, because her story is something people need to know.

In snapshots caught before Oct. 19, the viewer sees a clear picture of a strong, yet small-framed, courageous humanitarian with shoulder-length brown hair, loving eyes and an engagingly pleasant smile. The lady looks like a kind aunt who surprised you with homemade chocolate-chip cookies stuffed with Macadamia nuts when she visited on Christmas Eve.

However, in other photos, beneath the musky, dark green tint of night vision, in a picture that’s latently a still-frame of a longer, amateur-made video, there’s a scared — no, horrified — woman. Her once pretty, straightened hair now sits limp, stringy and disheveled. The confused eyes, soggy and tired, resemble that of a frightened and abused puppy. Her mouth hangs agape, with the question “Am I going to die?” on the very edge of her obviously trembling dry, thin lips.

An utterly disturbing scene for anyone, regardless of race, age, gender or background.

Terrorists — or insurgents or militants or Muslim extremists or freedom fighters or mujahideen (holy warriors) or whatever other relative nomenclatures different cultures refer to these horrid brutes as — have made the world more than aware of their existence once again.

Nearly a month ago on the morning of Oct. 19, an unidentified group, reportedly dressed in some type of police uniform, abducted Hassan, the director of Care International in Iraq, after flagging her vehicle down as she made her way to her charitable work at the Iraqi capital.

And now, reports, “videotapes surfaced [Tuesday] purportedly showing [Hassan’s] killing.” Or more accurately, a woman, who appeared to be, and was referred to as, Margaret Hassan, was blindfolded when the bullet entered her head — causing immediate, and definite death.

In an age when, definitely not all, but a large number of Iraqis bond in a shared hatred toward the occupational armies, such as America, everyone, bloggers and all, seems to be asking themselves, and the terrorist organization responsible, the same question: “Why Margaret Hassan?”

Born in Ireland in 1945, Hassan, a British citizen, married Tahseen Ali Hassan — an Iraqi man — and she certainly posed no threat to any Iraqis. In fact, she was more the polar opposite of a threat — unless one considers a person dangerous when she dedicates her life to the welfare of the poor people of Iraq.

Felicity Arbuthnot, a freelance journalist and apparent longtime friend of the woman, wrote in an article three days after Hassan’s kidnapping, “Hassan fell in love with Iraq more than 30 years ago, when she traveled there as a young bride…[and soon after], she converted to Islam, learned Arabic and took Iraqi citizenship.”

Arbuthnot also wrote, “She never considered leaving [Iraq] — not during the Iran-Iraq war, the 42-day carpet bombings of the 1991 Gulf War, the 13 years of the grinding deprivation of the United Nations embargo, numerous bombings by Britain and America during those years, or when last year’s invasion became inevitable.”

Care International, for which Hassan worked for the final 12 years of her life, is a global organization that “works with poor communities in more than 70 countries around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty,” according to

So why would these creatures choose to kidnap, abuse and murder a woman who, according to a news release by Care International, “through her courage, tenacity and commitment, assisted more than 17 million Iraqis living in the most difficult of circumstances?”

Kirsten Zaat, a former colleague of Hassan, asserted in an editorial piece that “abducting [Hassan] was a serious mistake. If the capture is an attempt to make a scapegoat of neocolonial, Christian-Zionist and/or western imperialist agendas personified, the Resistance has the wrong person.”

So what happened? Is this a case of mistaken identity? Did the kidnappers simply jump at the chance to snatch a woman who appeared to be Caucasian? Thus, did they automatically assume that Hassan was a Christian fundamentalist trying to wheedle away their Muslim beliefs?

Or did they simply not care? Is it a prime example of how these terrorists contain inside their blackened hearts the antithesis of human emotion and indubitably lack any compassion whatsoever for their fellow man?

It would be wonderful if, at this particularly painful moment in history, the entire world’s population could come together as a peaceful, unified entity to live inside the materialized realm of John Lennon’s 1971 visionary ballad, “Imagine.”

But we can’t; and knowing humans, we probably wouldn’t, even if we could.

So what should be done? Is it time for everyone to erase all traces of idealist views from our brains to become realists who understand that these are two different worlds, clashing in a conflict that won’t be resolved for years to come?

I’m not going to preach to my readers. I’m not going to tell you that you must feel sorry for this woman. All I’m saying is that this wasn’t a woman killed.

It was a cousin. A co-worker. A sister. A wife. A role model. A leader. A fighter. A humanitarian. A glowing light now viciously extinguished by the torrents of hateful terror.

It’s the most depressing thing in the world to learn that this woman’s inspiring story must wrap itself up by her becoming yet another victim at the bloody hands of a hidden horde of cowardly, barbaric, unnamed murderers.

Is the War in Iraq right? I can’t tell you. Whose fault is it? I can’t tell you.

This is the world in which we live. All I know is that something must be done to make things right — and to that person is to whom I drink.

More to Discover