UNITED NATIONS. BAGHDAD ANNIVERSARY. REMEMBERING OUR COLLEAGUES, OUR FRIENDS.

 

15 SEPTEMBER 2009

BAGHDAD ANNIVERSARY. REMEMBERING OUR COLLEAGUES, OUR FRIENDS.

August this year was particularly sad. The commemoration of the loss of our friends and colleagues in Baghdad passed almost unnoticed. Besides a pro-forma statement, there was hardly anything done as most staff had already left U.N. premises to transient space across Manhattan. A touching article by the daughter of our beloved colleague Sergio Vieira de Mello appeared in the Washington Post.

Each of us had his own memory of each one of those who were killed in that criminal terrorist attack. Sergio, of course, was a charismatic leader and an effective internationalist. His Deputy Nadia, our dear Nadia, was our close colleague for 15 years at Headquarters and in the field. Riham was another DPI staffer whose name now is given to a roundtable for training journalists from developing countries.

Each of us carried a distinctive memory which may occasionally fade slightly as we go about our daily business but then will brightly return as even our daily business carries within it an affectionate memory.

We are forever grateful for their sacrifice. We are forever thankful for their friendship and love. We are forever proud of how they upheld the real U.N. culture of dedication, loyal service and proven merit.

The U.N. belongs to all who dedicated their careers and sacrificed their lives for it. It is OUR United Nations. No late coming barbarian can take that culture, that honourable history away from us. What we accomplished, what our colleagues and friends died for, was not just a job. It was a commitment. And we have all taken that oath.

We miss them.