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).
A group of five, most probably, ex-security men, broke into his house in Baghdad, waited for him in the dark and preyed on him the moment he stepped in. They killed three times: first they strangled him with a wire; second they riddled his body with bullets; lastly they burnt him. This was not an ordinary killing. Unlike show beheadings that mark