OCTOBER 1, 2020


An anniversary of our U.N. colleagues who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Baghdad reminds us of all dedicated international civil servants who dedicated their lives and often risked them in the most difficult situations. A dedicated tribute to those dedicated.

Sergio Vieira de Mello, our beloved charismatic friend from Brazil, High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, went on a mission to Iraq upon the insistence of the Secretary-General office on what was described as a temporary assignment. Not entirely convinced, he went along with his sense of dedicated duty.

Nadia Younes, our refreshing smiling Communications Director from Egypt, joined as his Deputy, again on a "temporary" assignment, although she was designated for a more senior post in New York, again in a sense of dedicated duty. Twenty-one other dedicated colleagues joined them at a most challenging assignment.

A few years later other dedicated colleagues Luiz da Costa from Brazil and Hedi Annabi from Tunis gave their lives serving in Haiti. Every year a number of U.N. peacekeepers and civilians give up their safe lives to help those in need. Admittedly, there are certain individuals who spend their time like a "zuzu' gossiping, promoting themselves and networking not working. Most staff however devote every minute of their time to accomplish effective results. Outstanding civil servants who retired are as keen on offering support as those on active duty.

Clearly, those devoted to help arrange peace and defend human dignity have always realized that they will pay a price. Yet they were determined to proceed at whatever cost. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was the first "martyr of peace" when he died over the Congo in what was then Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. No substantive investigation explained the tragic event. Similarly, other tragic events, including the bombing in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, were not clearly and fully investigated. Those devoted to seek peace and defend human dignity have always realized that they will pay a price . Yet they are determined to proceed with their devoted task whatever the cost.

A dedicated tribute to the dedicated.