‘Murder in Melbourne’ a case of stolen identity

Saeed Maasarwe: "Whatever they call me, I know in our hearts we are Palestinians."


Hasbara and identity theft: a Melbourne case study


Dr David Faber

The dark arts of economy with the truth have long been part of political manipulation. Why take the risk of lying outright and being caught out when fudging the truth will do and be more effective? As such they have been a characteristic part of Zionist `hasbara’ in the media.

Take the case of the double tragedy of the `ice’- fueled murder in Melbourne in January 2019 of Aiia Maasarwe by Codey Herrmann. Herrmann had no violent precedents despite a life-time of grinding deprivation. He also expressed regret for his frenzied act. Nevertheless, amidst a hue and cry regarding violence against women in Melbourne, he was made an example of. He attracted a head sentence of 36 years despite these attenuating circumstances.

There the sad matter might have been laid to rest, if not for the overweening intervention of the Israeli Embassy to Australia. Within 24 hours of the crime taking place, the Embassy issued a press release couched in the half truth that the victim was an Israeli citizen. The Embassy sought to suppress Aiia Maasarwe’s Palestinian identity to divert recognition and sympathy. This line was largely taken up by the mainstream Australian media. Did this occur on the strength of a press release? Or had the Embassy followed up with the exercise of other modes of influence?

The truth came out in the dignified report of the victim’s father, Saeed Maasarwe. He said:

“First, we are all human beings. Then we are Muslim. Then we are Arab. Then we are Palestinian. Having Israeli passports is the result of our political situation, but our identity is Palestinian. Whatever they call me, I know in our hearts we are Palestinians.”

Journalist Alex Mitchell has reviewed all phases of the case in a valuable little monograph retailing at $10, available HERE, and well worth reading for its judicious marshalling of the evidence.

Dr David Faber of Australian Friends of Palestine is Adjunct Research Fellow at Flinders University, South Australia

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