Eric Lee pays tribute to Hadi Saleh .
The torture and murder of Hadi Saleh marks a turning point for trade unions around the world. The question is now posed — to quote the famous American trade union song, “Which side are you on?” Let me explain.
Hadi Saleh represented everything that trade unionists should hold dear — he was a committed socialist, survived repression (including a spell in Saddam’s jails) and exile, and was helping to build an new and independent trade union movement in Iraq for the first time in more than a generation. He was the international officer of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU).
It was in that capacity that I met him last year in the coffee bar of the Trades Union Congress in London. He spoke little English and I spoke even less Arabic, but we were able to communicate through our mutual friend Abdullah Muhsin, the IFTU’s foreign representative. We discussed how the IFTU could make the best use of its website, which we had originally produced in English. We were discussing the importance of an edition in Arabic as well. Abdullah later showed Hadi how to add content to the site when he returned to Baghdad.
On January 4th, 2005, Hadi Saleh w