Pardon me, but the silence from the port side is rather deafening. Early this week Iraqi trade union leader Hadi Salih was brutally murdered by a barbarous gang associated with the “resistance.”
Salih was a socialist who was first jailed by Saddam Hussein when we was 21 years old. For the last two years, with Saddam gone, he was once again on the front line of Iraqi organized labor and fully engaged in the daunting task of trying to construct some semblance of civil society.
That was his crime. Of course, in the eyes of his executioners, his crime was having “collaborated” with the occupation by not opposing it in arms.
Representatives of Salih’s Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions was recently embroiled in a heated controversy in the UK when some knuckle-headed lefties banned them from a European conference of activists. Other, more intelligent, leftists have rallied to Salih’s side.
At least, there was a friggin’ debate in the Britain. Here, amongst the American anti-war left this is all a non-issue. A non-issue because U.S. anti-war campaigners have never bothered to figure out who or what they are actually FOR in Iraq – only what and who they are against.
That obviously isn’t enough. British writer Johann Hari has penned a moving and angry column on this issue, appealing to anti-war forces to take up the cause of secular, democratic activists like Salih—hopefully before they are martyred. Here’s an excerpt:
On Tuesday night, a masked gang broke into Salih's home in Baghdad. They bound him hand and foot and they blindfolded him. They beat and they burned his flesh. Once they had finished torturing him, they strangled him with an electric cord. As a final touch, they riddled his body with bullets.
Salih's close friend Abdullah Muhsin, the international representative of the IFTU, told me yesterday, "He was an ordinary but a very decent man. He worked in the print industry in Iraq and in exile, and the passion of his life was Iraqi workers and their desire to live as free people. And now I hear people describe his murderers as 'the resistance'. Resistance to what? To trade unions? To a decent man who loved his family and loved Iraq and wanted his country to be free? They cannot silence Salih. They cannot silence the Iraqi trade unions. Not again.
Doug Ireland has the most complete coverage on this issue from just about every aspect. Make sure you read through all of his links. And start thinking about who are our friends and allies in Iraq.