Friday, October 22, 2004


Earlier this week, a group of criminals in Iraq kidnapped Margaret Hassan, the president of CARE International in Iraq. Before this kidnapping, I really did not know a lot about Margaret Hassan, but since her kidnapping, I have read a couple of news articles about her life, and felt my blood starting to boil with anger and revulsion.

Here is a snippet from an article from the BBC. (to read the whole article, click here)

As aid worker Margaret Hassan is held by kidnappers in Iraq, freelance
journalist and long-time friend Felicity Arbuthnot describes the charity
boss's heroic endeavours to help the people of Iraq.
Even in the bloodshed and turmoil of post-invasion Iraq, the kidnapping of Margaret Hassan, head of Care International in Iraq, is incomprehensible.
Margaret Hassan fell in love with Iraq more than 30 years ago, when she travelled there as a young bride with her Iraqi husband Taheen Ali Hassan. They had met while studying in London and the former Margaret Fitzsimmons, from Dublin in the "land of a thousand welcomes", fell in love for a second time with Baghdad - formerly Madinat al Salam: City of Peace - and the land known through time as "the cradle of civilisation". She converted to Islam, learned Arabic and took Iraqi

In short, Margaret Hassan's life story reads like an Islamic version of Mother Teresa. Out of love for humanity and compassion for her adopted Iraq, Margaret Hassan has dedicated 30 years of her life to helping the needy in Iraq. Even during the Gulf War in 1991, the UN embargo, and through the more recent Operation Iraqi Freedom, Margaret Hassan risked her life, standing her ground in Iraq to look after its neediest people. She must have known she was vulnerable, but probably thought to herself that her status as a charity worker would protect her: nobody could be so evil as to kidnap a charity worker, could they? She was tragically proven wrong this week: evil, it seems, knows no bounds.

Of course, in the aftermath of Margaret Hassan's kidnapping, Care International has pulled out of Iraq, leaving behind cadres of people who could use its help.

Which leads me to a question: what the hell kind of monster kidnaps a charity worker? Some of these criminals claim to represent their religion (Islam) or an "Iraqi resistance", but look at their actions here: kidnapping the head of a charity (who ironically is also Muslim) and preventing the charity organization from providing aid to needy Iraqis in the middle of an Islamic holiday (Ramadan). By this one action, these self-serving miscreants have brutalized a truly decent human being, impaired the ability of a major charity to serve the poor in Iraq, denied the needy the help they would have received from this charity, and hurt Iraq as a whole.

Earlier today, a video of Margaret Hassan appeared on Al-Jazeera showing her crying and pleading for her life. While this must be a terrifying experience for her, she should take some comfort in knowing that if she is killed by these monsters, she knows where she will be going afterward. We all die eventually, the key question is what will happen to us on the day of judgment. With her life of charity and compassion, Margaret Hassan already knows the answer to that question.

Which is better than one could say for her kidnappers. If these criminals are truly believers in God, they should understand the magnitude the crime they have committed here, and should be letting Margaret Hassan go and begging God's forgiveness for having harmed such a fine example of humanity.

I will say a special prayer tonight, for the Lord to give peace and strength to Margaret Hassan to help her through her ordeal, and for Him to help her kidnappers to see the error in their ways.