Sisters of the Earth – This Week in Global Women’s News

Sisters of the Earth – This Week in Global Women’s News

The Murder of Margaret Hassan

Margaret Hassan, a British aid worker kidnapped in Baghdad a month ago, has probably been killed, according to her Iraqi husband and British diplomats. “I have been told that there is a video of Margaret which appears to show her murder,” Tahsin Hassan told Reuters in Baghdad, adding he was not entirely sure of its authenticity.

Dublin-born Margaret Hassan, who has joint British and Iraqi nationality, was kidnapped on Oct.19 while on her way to work at Care International. Few foreign women have been taken hostage in Iraq. Militants have waged a campaign of kidnappings and killings to try to force US-led troops and foreigners to leave Iraq. More than thirty-five foreign hostages have been killed.

“Margaret Hassan has been murdered. That is the most probable conclusion from a video given to Al Jazeera… Who killed her? Desperate, fanatic people who thereby cast a dark shadow over their nationality, organization, religion and philosophy. People who mistakenly believe that a better Iraq will emerge from such a crime and who cares nil for the welfare of the Iraqi people to whom she devoted most of her life and work. Or someone related to the occupation forces seeking to discredit the image of all Iraqi resistance…”

“Margaret Hassan was not killed in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, she was murdered in the Iraq that has been created by Messrs Bush, Blair, Berlusconi, Fogh Rasmussen and other Western leaders and by U.S. ambassador John Negroponte as well as by the former exile CIA hand and hand-picked prime minister Ayad Allawi.”
Jan Oberg, Director, Transnational Foundation For Peace and Future Research in Sweden (, and Christian HÃ¥rleman, a TFF Associate —

“One can get [past] the mesmerizing effect of the media by posing simple questions; those questions that have been left out. Margaret Hassan is now believed to be the first woman killed by kidnappers but nobody isasking who and why, given that the Iraqi resistance has denied any role in her captivity from the onset. In fact, Abu-Musab Al-Zarqawi’s group issued a statement that they don’t hold women prisoners unless they are proven to be belligerent enemies and they actually called for her release! Furthermore, no group has claimed responsibility, which is unprecedented in relation to previous cases of killing kidnapped hostages…”

“Another important question arises in the timing of the release of the video itself. It is too much of a coincidence for it to have been released when the world’s eyes were focused on the atrocities committed by the US forces in Fallujah. Conversely, if this was the work of the Iraqi resistance, how does it benefit their cause to release the video now and especially when Margaret already had wide support amongst the Iraqis?”
Yamin Zakaria — The Guardian — London — Wednesday November 17 2004,3604,1352849,00.html

Carolyn Parrish Removed for Bush-Bashing

Carolyn Parrish has been dismissed from the Liberal caucus by Prime Minister Paul Martin. Mr. Martin later commented, “I told her that, while I have defended her right to express her views frankly, I cannot, as leader of our party and the government caucus, tolerate behaviour that demeans and disrespects others…”

Mr. Martin’s action reduces the likelihood that George W. Bush will be heckled from the government benches if the U.S. President addresses Parliament when he visits Ottawa at the end of the month.

Ms. Parrish has denounced Mr. Bush by calling him a “war-like” leader. But her most serious misdemeanour seems to have been not respecting the rule of her party’s leader, saying Wednesday that Mr. Martin could “go to hell” if he didn’t like her behaviour. “I have absolutely no loyalty to this team. None,” Parrish told Canadian Press. — Outspoken Canadian MP Critical Of Bush Fired, By Oliver Moore, Globe and Mail Update 11-19-4

Nigerian Islamic Court Acquits Teenager

An Islamic court in northern Nigeria has acquitted a pregnant teenager of adultery, for which she had been sentenced to be stoned to death.

Presiding judge Muhammad Mustafa Omar of the Upper Sharia court said on Wednesday that the lower Sharia (Islamic law) court was wrong in sentencing Hajara Ibrahim, 18, to death by stoning on October 8.

“This court observes the following faults in the lower court judgment: Firstly, the judge was wrong in sentencing Hajara to 100 lashes and death by stoning, all at the same time,” he said.

“Secondly, Dauda Sani was charged to court for having an affair with Hajara which he denied. Therefore, the lower court should have dismissed the case and sentenced Hajara’s father who was the plaintiff to 80 lashes for slander,” he said.

The judge at the court in Dass, in the northern Bauchi State, said the lower court also erred by not giving Hajara the chance for defense., By Aminu Abubakar DASS, NIGERIA – The Middle East Times — November 12 2004

American House and Senate Negotiators Add Abortion Clause to Spending Bill

Negotiators have added an anti-abortion provision to a $388 billion spending bill, complicating plans for Congress to wrap up its business and adjourn for the year.

The abortion language would bar federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counselling or referrals. Current federal law, aimed at protecting Roman Catholic doctors, provides such “conscience protection” to doctors who do not want to undergo abortion training. The new language would expand that protection to all health care providers, including hospitals, doctors, clinics and insurers.

American Antifeminists in Iraq

The American right wing’s antifeminist front, the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) will receive part of a new $10 million grant program to “train Iraqi women in the skills and practices of democratic
public life.” Founded in the early 1990’s with funds from conservative foundations, the IWF leads the U.S. opposition to the U.S. women’s liberation movement.

Women’s groups that work in Iraq suggest that such training should not be a high priority right now, the biggest problems affecting Iraqi women being contaminated water, malnutrition, and the scarcity of jobs.

Although known mainly for its critique of feminism, the IWF has always served an economic agenda which includes “free market” capitalism, corporate rights and government deregulation.
from “Antifeminists Hit Iraq”, by Laura Flanders & Laura Ross –

Feminists in Iraq

Reihana Mohideen claims that the position taken by several feminist groups in Iraq gives tacit support for the occupation. She states that their stance prevents the women’s movement from coming out strongly enough against the US assault on Falluja. She does credit groups such as Women in Black, for consistently opposing the occupation.

“Undermining support for the Iraqi resistance in the name of feminism,” Mohideen points out, “is an extremely dangerous line to follow.”,

Taslima Gets UNESCO Award

“The United Nations’ cultural agency on Tuesday awarded Taslima Nasrin, a Bangladeshi writer who has received death threats from some extremist Islamist groups, its tolerance and non-violence prize. Koiichi
Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, gave the $100,000 UNESCO Mandajeet Singh prize to Ms. Nasrin at the agency’s headquarters in Paris. Ms. Nasrin, the author of more than 20 books in Bengali, has called for secular education and laws that would provide greater gender equality in her home country, UNESCO said. ”
The Hindu — Thursday November 18 2004 –

Feminist Students and Teachers Take Note!

Google has a new search engine especially for research. “Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.”

The Spirtual Wisdom of Women

The Women’s Wisdom list is made up of people from varied spiritual backgrounds, all hoping to achieve the goal of healing our modern dysfunction by letting go of the ancient dysfunction that is kept alive by misogynist interpretations of ancient scriptures.

You can join by sending a post to

Loretta Kemsley President – Women Artists and Writers International
Publisher of MOONDANCE: Celebrating Creative Women Our vision, our wisdom, our strength

For information about WAWI:
My personal pages:

New International Feminist Magazine

The first issue of Digitall Future , a quarterly International feminist magazine, will come out on December 1, 2004. This bilingual (English and French) paper aims to cover the international scene from a feminist perspective. Digitall Future is an initiative of European and North American
Women Action (Enawa/

To order or help distribute copies of Digitall Future, please contact the following address: Les Penelopes: 21, rue Voltaire 75011 Paris France –

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