Fred Halliday died on 26 April 2010. His life was publicly celebrated in London and Barcelona. In a private family ceremony, his ashes were laid to rest in the early afternoon of 7 July 2010, at a beautiful spot in Highgate Cemetery.
Fred was the Achilles of my generation, our bravest and most audacious fighter against tyranny in all its forms and mystifications.
The morning I learned of his death I published a few words and we decided to ask anyone who wished to add their reflections. A unique picture of Fred's character, contribution and influence was outlined by the many tributes. These can be read below - the contributors are listed in alphabetical order at the top. And I know that many others, inspired by what they saw, also drafted what they wanted to say, but modesty, or uncertainty about so public a forum, or simply the pain of loss, held them back from publishing. Fred's family, his friends, comrades and colleagues were moved and very grateful for what became an extraordinary memorial to his exceptional stature and influence.
openDemocracy now publishes a wonderful, sweeping survey of Fred's prolific achievement by Stephen Howe. We also look forward to Political Journeys a selection of his oD essays to be published by Saqi books in the Spring of 2011 (reviewed here).
What follows is what I wrote on the 26th April inviting others to contribute:
Fred Halliday died this morning in Barcelona where he had been battling with cancer. His twenty plus books (there are more to come), his compelling lectures, his wide ranging, powerful essays and journalism, provided a constant source of inspiration for many of us around the world. He was a like a one-man international: dedicated and passionate in the cause of justice; hard-headed in insisting upon the obstacles that had to be overcome; scathing about the stupidities of those who proclaimed they were the force of progress; constantly aware of the deeper levels of cultural and religious irrationality and its shaping power – and capable of making astoundingly well-informed judgments about almost anywhere on the planet.
His urge to judgment, clarity and laying out a view that was also a challenge, made him an exemplary political intellectual. He investigated on the ground, read widely, learnt fluent Arabic, Farsi, German, French, Russian and Spanish and set out his views in lucid prose. An important contributor to openDemocracy, he saw his columns as a source of renewal. He intended to deepen his writing, to make it more personal and profound, and to take on the prevailing shallowness and loss of a sense of history in current affairs.
It is a tragedy for us all that he did not live to intensify our understanding as he hoped. For me personally he was the comrade of a lifetime. I aim to write something for him in due course. Those of you who knew him, or his work and writing, and wish to pay tribute may do so below or by writing to us directly as we open our space for your appreciations.
The invitation led to unprecedented on-line salute from across the world the tributes can be read below.
See here for a tribute from David Hayes, who edited Fred's 81 contributions to openDemocracy, a thematic presentation of these essays and columns and a short bibliography.
Barcelona i Catalunya: the real thing was written by Fred in the personal spirit I describe, five months before he died and just prior to his illness taking over, we published it posthumously.
A special thank you to the staff of the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, and a tribute from Barcelona
Anthony Barnett speaking about Fred Halliday on Australia's ABC's Late Night Live radio programme (one minute in).