It is with a truly heavy heart that I bear the news of the murder of Maisoon al Hashimi, the great woman who I met about ten days ago. SubhanaAllah, who would have known that this woman, berieving the killing of her brother at the time, was herself to be berieved over a few days later? Who was to know that I was talking to, and listening avidly to, a woman who was to become a martyr? Who was to know that I was shaking the hands of, and kissing the face of a woman who would go down in history as a shaheeda? Who would have known that I would go to my aunt in law's house that day, at that time, and that this woman would also come, all the way from Adhamiya to visit on the same day, at the same time? I was given the chance by God to meet this great woman, to hear her take on her favorite brother's recent assassination, and to hear her say that her ultimate wish was martyrdom. God granted her that wish today.
Today, Maisoon al Hashimi, sister of Tariq al Hashimi (new Iraqi vice-president, president of Iraqi Islamic Party) and sister of Mahmoud al Hashimi (recently killed), was assassinated in full daylight, in the view of helpless Iraqi bystanders. I don't know the details yet, I will post them as soon as I find out, but apparently she was shot 9 am this morning by unknown assailants.
I remember hearing her talk that day, in my aunt-in-law's house, telling us that those who murdered her favorite brother, Mahmoud (see blog below), warned that they were not 'satieted with his blood' and that other killings were to follow. I remember Sayyida Maisoon mentioning her fear for another of her brothers, who she was trying to convince to stay undercover, possibly move away from Baghdad for a while. She told us that they had not held a fatiha (condolence sitting) for the women after her brother's killing because they were afraid of this warning by his murderers. I remember her telling us of a talk she had with her teenage son, who asked her if she loved her late brother, Mahmoud, more than the other brothers. She said 'Yes.' 'So, do you love him more than you love me?' She answered, 'Don't be upset, Aban, but yes, I love him more than myself.' Her son answered, 'Mom, don't be upset, but I also love him more than anyone else.' Poor Aban, he is now left without his two favorite people. May Allah have mercy on her soul.
In the one sitting that I met this woman, I saw her as a symbol of womanly strength, fortitude, ultimate patience, and true satisfaction with all God gave her. She was able to continually smile and talk, while in a state of sadness over her brother. As she said herself, it was not us condoling her on her brother's death, but she who was condoling us on the death of a great man.
Who could possibly murder this innocent woman, and why? As with so many of the killings that occur here, no one knows anything for sure. It could have been Shiite militias with an agenda against the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party leader, Tariq al Hashimi. It could have been Zarqawi's group, who warned two days ago of attacks against the new government, and against the 'collaborator Sunni groups' who had joined the political process- a likely, veiled reference to the IIP. It could be the remaining Baathists in Iraq, who are thought to be behind much of the chaos and mayhem here. But without a doubt, it is a pressure tactic against Tariq al Hashimi, the new vice-president of Iraq.
UPDATE: I am watching news coverage of Sayyida Maisoon's killing and her funeral procession on Baghdad TV, the IIP's satellite channel. Apparently, around 9 am this morning, the bereaved had gotten into a small van (called 'Kayya' here in Baghdad) which she rode to work every day, along with her driver. About 50 meters from her house, the street was suddenly blocked off by a grey BMW, out of which poured masked gunmen. About 32 shots were fired at the vehicle, instantly killing al Hashimi and critically wounding her driver, who later died in the hospital. Many of the shots were aimed at her head, which was badly disfigured, rahimahaAllah.