NOTE: THE FOLLOWING OBITUARY OF HADI SALEH IS WRITTEN BY FALEH ABDEL JABAR, ONE OF IRAQ’S MOST PROMINENT CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLOGISTS. HE SAID IN A NOTE SENT TO THE IFTU THAT HE IS NOT A WORKER BUT WANTS TO JOIN THE FEDERATION TO SHOW HIS SUPPORT AND RESPECT FOR HADI’S VISION FOR STRONG, INDEPENDENT AND FREE TRADE UNIONS.
The Macabre Death of Hadi Saleh
Faleh A. Jabar.
I recall a prophetic line of verse that roughly reads: My life is a long row of candles; warm, lively candles are my coming days; consumed and burnt are those of bygone days; and I would not turn back lest I see the horrible row of burnt candles growing larger and larger. Substitute graves for candles. I had few tombs in my memory in exile; upon my return to Baghdad, they developed into a massive cemetery. I could not realize how prolific wars and tyranny are in this macabre enterprise that makes life seem so fragile, so accidental. The last new grave was that of my friend and colleague, the unionist, Hadi Saleh (1949-2005).
The leading Egyptian newspaper ‘Al-Wafd’, published a tribute on 31 January 2005 to Hadi Saleh, the International Secretary of the IFTU who was brutally murdered in his home by former Saddam loyalists. The publication of this fulsome tribute to the life of Hadi is extremely significant in one of the leading daily Arabic broadsheets and represents a long-overdue acknowledgement of the Iraqi people’s struggle for democracy, human rights and self-determination and against dictatorship and occupation. Unfortunately the article is not published in English, but Arabic readers may access it online here.
National Labor Relations Board Union
26 Federal Plaza, Room 3614
New York, New York 10278-0104
Telephone: (212) 26
Fax: (212) 264-8427
March 2, 2005
Dear Mr. Mushin,
The members of Local 2 of the National Labor Relations Board Union offer their sincere condolences to the family and union brothers and sisters of Hadi Saleh. His death is a loss to all fighters for unionism and democracy.
Sincerely and fraternally yours,
Sent 2 march 2005
فالح عبدالجبار الحياة 2005/01/23
تعرفت على العنف, أول مرة, على الورق. لا يزال كتاب فرانز فانون “معذبو الأرض” بين كتب اخرى, تذكرة مفيدة. قدّم لنا الكتاب صورة عن دورة تاريخية للعنف بعيني طبيب نفساني, وزنجي – فرنسي, قام بمعالجات سريرية للظاهرة.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The assassination of prominent union organizer Hadi Saleh in Iraq shows just how difficult the establishment of a free and democratic Iraq will be. Union organizers and other progressive Iraqis face both deadly Baathist insurgents, who likely killed Saleh, and U.S. occupiers intent on privatizing Iraq’s state-owned factories. PNS associate editor David Bacon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a photographer and writer specializing in labor issues. He visited Iraq in October 2003.
BY DAVID BACON, PACIFIC NEWS SERVICE
When they came for Hadi Saleh, they found him at home in Baghdad with his family. First, they bound his hands and feet with wire. Then they tortured him, cutting him with a knife. He died of strangulation, and before fleeing, his assailants pumped bullets into his dead body.
17, boulevard de la Lib
The January meeting of Cambridge Trades Union Council (CTUC) passed the following motion:
“Cambridge Trades Council condemns the murder of Iraqi trade unionist Hadi Salih, the murderers of Hadi Salih, and the apologists for the murder and murderers of Hadi Salih.”
“Cambridge Trades Council resolves to produce and circulate a further leaflet calling for support for Iraqi trade unionists which covers: the attacks on, and murders of, Iraqi trade unionists and workers; recent developments in the Iraqi trade union movement; support for Iraqi trade unions from UK unions.”
I want to offer my deep personal condolences to you and the IFTU. This was certainly shocking and saddening. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Hadi Salih I have heard from David Bacon and others that he was a courageous and wise leader.