Remembering Sabah Jawad: 1948-2017
A tribute to a loyal and principled anti-war campaigner who passed away earlier this week
We are very sorry to announce the death of Sabah Jawad on 9th January in London. Sabah was an Iraqi exile who opposed both Saddam Hussein and any attempt to intervene in Iraq by western powers. He was centrally involved in the campaigns against the first Gulf War in 1990/91 and in the Stop the War Coalition against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He continued to campaign against the occupation and the impact of that intervention on his own country and the rest of the Middle East, and was for many years a member of the STW steering committee. He will be known to many supporters for his speeches at meetings and demonstrations. We are very grateful for all of the work that he did. We send our condolences to his family, friends and comrades, and below we print an appreciation of him from his fellow Iraqi comrades. We will let people know of memorial arrangements.
Lindsey German, StWC Convenor
Sabah Jawad, founding member of the Stop the War Coalition, Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation and decades long activist for democratic socialism in Iraq passed away peacefully, 09 January 2017, at a London hospital, following a sudden deterioration in his condition.
Sabah was born in Iraq and lived in exile in Britain due to his strong opposition to repressive regimes in his beloved Iraq. He was a committed socialist and held firmly to the idea that only democratic socialism could bring dignity, justice and prosperity to the Iraqi people. He campaigned vigorously against Saddam's repressive policies, but never for a moment entertained the idea that imperialism could become a friend of the Iraqi people. On the contrary, he always upheld the principle that true democracy could only come about through the protracted struggle of the Iraqi people themselves for a better future and ridding Iraq of imperialist presence and interventions.
Along with his Iraqi comrades and friends, in 1991 Sabah became very active against the murderous US-led war and sanctions on Iraq and was a founding member of the Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation and of the Stop the War Coalition. He served as an Officer of STWC for many years. He redoubled his efforts when the US and British governments started beating the drums of war in preparation for the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.
During his student days, Sabah was active in the Iraqi Student Society and later became an active member of Britain's National Union of Journalists during a strike that he led at a news agency. He was a committed internationalist who fought for the rights of British workers and opposed racism in all its forms, including Islamophobia.
His support for trade unionism and his close links to the struggles of the Iraqi people alerted him to the re-emerging independent trade union activity among oil workers in Basra. In 2004 he established close links with leaders of the workers campaigning against the occupation and for workers rights, particularly the president of the Basra Oil Workers Union, Hassan Juma'a. Within hours of his passing away yesterday, the Executive Bureau of the Iraqi Oil Workers Union issued a statement mourning the loss of Sabah as an honorary "member of the union" who fought against the US-led occupation, upheld the rights of Iraqi workers and staunchly defended their union.
In the past few years, Sabah became acutely concerned about the counter-revolution that has been sweeping the Middle East following the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain.
Consequently, he stood firmly against the NATO war on Libya, the US-Saudi-Qatar-Turkey proxy war on Syria, the Saudi invasion of Bahrain and the Saudi-led war on Yemen. He identified SaudiQatari backed Wahhabi and al-Qaeda-type sectarian terrorism in Iraq and Syria as posing a grave danger to both societies as well as to the unity of the peoples of the entire region. He also opposed the sectarian and racist campaigns in the Arab world, by Saudi and Qatari regimes and propaganda tools such alJazeera TV, against the Iranian people.
The struggle of the Palestinian people against Zionism and for a free Palestine was always a source of inspiration for Sabah and he regarded this struggle as vital to establishing a just and peaceful Middle East.
The anti-war movement, the Iraqi people and his comrades and friends have lost a loyal and principled campaigner. We shall miss you Sabah.
and Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
10 January 2017
I am very saddened to hear of the death of Sabah Jawad. I got to know him on the Committee for Peace in the Middle East in the early 1990s and had enjoyed many political conversations since, during which my knowledge of the region's politics deepened. He bought a socialist’s perspective and economic knowledge to the situation. He was also well engaged in cultural work, helping me with contacts for various fund and consciousness raising events. Not many people will know that he also played the oud. He was good company, with an excellent sense of humour. His activism and insight, both vital in helping political emigres keep their spirits up, will be sorely missed. Rest in peace Sabah.