Tributes to Fred Halliday 1946 – 2010

Fred Halliday, great scholar, international fighter for justice and openDemocracy columnist, died on 26 April 2010. We opened our website to tributes which poured in from around the world in an unprecedented, online salute.
Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
26 April 2010

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.

We have also republished Fred's famous Salmagundi interview, quoted in a some of the testimonies and there is a memoire of Fred and how the interview was made by Danny Postel  

Colleagues from the LSE: Mary Kaldor, Michael Cox, David Held, Francesca Klug, Meghnad Desai, and the external who helped appoint him Lawrence Freedman

Comrades from TNI & IPS: Cora Weiss, Susan George, Pere Vilanova, Marcos Arruda, Saul Landau, Hilary Wainwright

A special thank you to the staff of the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, and a tribute from Barcelona

The Economist obituary; The Times; Cafe Babel; Mike Ward on how Fred Halliday taught him "never to give in".  Kaveh L. Afrasiabi in MR Zine

Anthony Barnett speaking about Fred Halliday on Australia's ABC's Late Night Live radio programme (one minute in).  

A full list of tributes by name

Anonymous (Bahraininewspaper)


Christopher A 

Mahmoud Abdullahzadeh

Anwar Alansi

AMHOnline President IBEI Alumni Association David Andrés Viñas


Nazenin Ansari

Andre Arr

Marcos Arruda Brazil

Adam Austerfield, project director, LSE Enterprise Ltd

Joonbum Bae, Los Angeles

Kurt Barlin

sara bazoobandi

Andrea Beccalli

Cedric Beidatsch

Fabian Biancardi

Nasser bin Hamad Alkhalifa

George Brock, City University

Lieven Brouwers


Edward Burke

Gaby Charing

Christopher Haynes

Peter Clark

Alejandro Colás, Birkbeck College

Clara Connolly

Michael Cox

Michael Cuffe

Tony Curzon Price

Christopher Davidson (Durham)

Anne Deighton, Oxford

Rosalind Delmar

Meghnad Desai, LSE

Osman Diallo

Damian Donnelly

Jack DuVall

Drewery Dyke

Michael Edwards

Lawrence Efana

Institut Barcelona Estudis Internacionals

Jessica Fraser

Lawrence Freedman

Timothy Garton Ash

Susan George

Gerard Holden

Francis Ghiles

Misha Glenny

Geoffrey Gold

Luz GómezGarcía

Courtney Hamilton


Yasser Hassan Saleh

David Held

Jeffrey Henigson

Judith Herrin

quintin hoare

Ian Hollingworth

Stephen Howe

glyn Humphries



Juliet Garnett

Anthony Julius

Mary Kaldor

Mehrdad Khonsari

Joleen Kirschenman

Francesca Klug

Saul Landau Washington

Remzi Lani, Albanian Media Institute, Tirana

Nicholas Lees

Francesca Lewis

David Llewellyn Foster, Devon

Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal

Denis MacShane

Tim Marshall

Jean Paul Marthoz, the Catholic university of Louvain la Neuve (Belgium)

María Martínez


Nouritza Matossian

John Mearsheimer

Manuela Mesa, CEIPAZ

Luis Mesa Delmonte


Christopher Mitchell


Christine Moore

Martin Moore, Media Standards Trust

Syd Morgan, Glamorgan, Cymru

Pol Morillas

Edward Mortimer, Austria

Ali Muhsen Hamid, Cairo

ABC's Late Nigh tLive



Umut Özkirimli

Giuseppe Papalia

Francisco Andrés Pérez,

Christopher Phillips

Danny Postel, Chicago

Gregory Qushair

Ali Rashidian

Malise Ruthven

Richard Sambrook

Dennis Sammut

Ann Scott

Ankit Sharma

Martin Shaw, University of Sussex

Dan Siegal

Mike Simpkin

Tom Smith, De La Salle University Manila, Philippines

Dan Smith

Steve Smith

Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, Former minister for foreign affairs, Iceland

Jill Steans

Patricia Stoat

Joe Stork

Nabil Sultan (Liverpool)

John Taylor, London South Bank University

Darynell Rodríguez Torres

Short tributes

Patrick Vallely

Rosie vanderBeek

Daphna Vardi

Pere Vilanova, Barcelona

Paulo Visentini, Brazil

Hilary Wainwright

Pedro A.Wasserman

Peter Waterman

Cora Weiss

Colin Wells New York

M.C. Werdine

Stephen Whitehead

Robin Wilson

Jonathan WoldeYohannes

Jack Wooding


S. Yigit

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData