Published March 9, 2018
The mother of Haukur Hilmarsson, who was reportedly killed in combat in Afrin last month, has issued another plea to the world for more information about her son. The International Freedom Battalion (IFB), for whom he fought, have promised to relay all information about him as it arises.
Eva Hauksdóttir, Haukur’s mother, posted an update on her personal site about their search for what became of Haukur. She says that they have more or less been able to piece together his travels over the past year, but they still do not know where his remains are. Multiple hospitals have been searched to no avail. Turkish media has reported they have Haukur’s remains and will send them to Iceland, but Turkish authorities have as yet not contacted the Icelandic government, making Turkish assurances questionable at best.
Eva and her family have met with both the Icelandic Foreign Ministry and law enforcement, but they have no further information. As such, she is imploring that anyone who might know where Haukur’s remains are contact email@example.com, or to contact the police or Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Both Eva and Haukur’s uncle commented on IFB’s post about Haukur’s death in combat, saying they were not notified of his passing, and pleaded for more information. IFB responded to Haukur’s uncle, saying, “We apologise but information comes at different speeds during heavy fighting, many others are wounded too. As soon as we have more information we will post it, and all we get we will send to you. Please know in your sorrow that he is a hero to an entire oppressed nation, and to all humanity. He will never be forgotten.”
As reported, Haukur distinguished himself in Raqqa, where he rose to the rank of commander. After helping rout the Islamic State from the area, he later joined the fighting against encroaching Turkish forces in northern Syria. It was in Afrin, a Syrian city that has seen heavy casualties lately, where he ultimately fell in combat.
“In death we say he has become immortal,” IFB wrote of him. “For we will never forget his struggle, his name, and his example – and we shall never give up his fight.”
Haukur, who took the nom de guerre Sahin Hosseini in the IFB, has been a well-known activist in Iceland for many years. He was dedicated to human rights, and first gained national attention in 2008 when he and another man attempted to block the deportation of then-asylum seeker Paul Ramses Odour by standing in the way of an airplane carrying Ramses that was trying to leave Iceland. Paul was grateful for this act, later telling reporters that the two men “saved my life”. Paul is today an Icelandic citizen.
Haukur was also active in the 2008-2009 protests against the government, gaining attention in the symbolic act of climbing onto the roof of parliament and hoisting the flag of the Bónus supermarket chain on the building’s flagpole. Protesters on the scene were so enamored with the act that they aided him in evading arrest.
He was also a prominent member of No Borders – Iceland, continuously fighting for the rights of asylum seekers in Iceland, and has even written for Grapevine on a number of occasions. He was utterly uncompromising on this subject, writing the following in 2015:
“Borders ensure neither peace nor security. Rather, they tamper free movement, business, survival and happiness. They are man-made, and their maintenance requires the relentless effort of heavily funded institutions. The pushbacks and deportations of refugees are intentional and carefully meditated acts of oppression. An all-out resistance to the entire establishment of border control is needed for the preservation of refugees lives. On these points there can be no negotiation. No room for opportunism. This is our ideology in a nutshell.”