11/21/04 — Shock: Margaret Hassan’s killer

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Shock: Margaret Hassan’s killer

Someone bound the hands of Margaret Hassan, placed a hood over her face, and shot her in the head. Mrs. Hassan, who was 59, was the director of the CARE program in Iraqi. She worked to feed the hungry.

As incredible as it seems, this actually happened. The terrorists in Iraq who murdered Mrs. Hassan made a videotape of it, just as terrrorists during the last year have taped the beheading of screaming hostages.

The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, noted that Mrs. Hassan, a British subject, opposed the invasion of Iraq. At least on that issue, she was in accord with her killers. But what she believed, and the kind of person that she was, made no difference to them. They wanted blood.

“... We cannot believe how anybody could do this to our kind, compassionate sister,” Secretary Straw said.

But it can be explained. There is evil in this world, and this kind, compassionate sister simply had the misfortune to encounter it and become its victim. We may be horrified when that happens, but we should never be surprised.

Because Mrs. Hassan was a harmless, warm-hearted woman, her gruesome death should shock into reality anyone who doubts that there are forces at large which must be fought and defeated.

These forces cannot be appeased, and they cannot be excused. Whether they are terrorists abroad or elements in our own society who promote iniquity, we must not make peace with them. If they are not beaten down, they will burgeon.

Every generation faces evil, in one form or another. The generation that refuses to recognize it or tolerates it will suffer dreadful consequences, and so will all the generations that follow.

Published in Editorials on November 21, 2004 12:06 AM