The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Arab journalists on Charbel

I don't really have anything to add on the death of Gibran Tueni, apart from saying that it moved me more than Rafiq Hariri's, both in a personal sense and in the realization that the Syrian-Lebanese situation seems to be spinning out of control. Or perhaps more accurately, that Syria, a country I know better and feel closer to than Lebanon, is spinning out of control. Maybe it's because I'm also journalist. I have noticed in the past few days a steady stream of beautiful eulogies in the Arabic and international press:

The Night Kills The Day
(Ghassan Charbel, Al Hayat)

I have the feeling I should apologize. I'm relying on your understanding. You're my colleague, and you know. Some pains prevent us from producing a beautiful eulogy. Some knights expose the scarcity of a dictionary. I won't hide from you that we had used up all of the roses before your wedding. We had used up the songs over your comrades. The trail of martyrs had seen us exhaust our metaphors and comparisons. We had used up all of the heart's handkerchiefs before your funeral. We had bid farewell to the ceremonies of farewell, and believed that we were protecting you.
Gibran Tueni.
The Killers of Tueini are the Killers of Hariri - (Abdel Wahab Badrakhan, Al Hayat)

Gebran Tueini simply represented a free speech and a free opinion in a world worn out by years of Syrian hegemony, which attempted to kill the sense of freedom therein, yet to no avail. Gebran was just a member of a home and a newspaper, where all the liberty burgeons Lebanon knew blossomed. As such, he was opposed to tyrants and fascists, who accused him one day of being an agent of the Israeli enemy. So, was he killed by the Israelis to reward him for "being their agent", or by the French, where he was a temporary refugee to escape assassination, or by the Americans? The killers are the same who killed Rafik Hariri, and the international investigation should be extended to include all crimes. These crimes should be held accountable before the international tribunal so that the killer won't believe that he will remain for ever free.
The whole press was struck by the killing of Gebran Tueini. His assassination was not "a settlement between Lebanese parties", as stated by one of the killers' advocates, it was merely an act carried out by the hired killers of an external party that has become known.
Gibran is with the Lord (Jihad Al Khazen, Al Hayat)

Gibran Tueni opposed the Syrian presence in Lebanon and attacked the Lebanese and Syrian security agencies, before opposition or attacks came into fashion, practiced by those who had remained silent when they should have spoken, should have taken positions.
Gibran was always harsh in his positions, reflecting the youth of his pen. I compared between what he wrote and what his father did. I find myself closer in thought, or work style, to the father. We shared a common effort in the beginning of the 1970s. I was influenced by his ideas and positions, and I still am.
Gibran Tueni was something different. I saw him outside Lebanon more than I saw him in the homeland that I love. He became prominent as a "media star" after I left Beirut for London. He enjoyed wide popularity among many who shared his political views. Perhaps one example is sufficient. At a concert by Phil Collins in Beirut last month, a friend of ours got up, embraced and kissed Gibran, complimenting him on his appearance, although it was clear she was really complimenting him on his positions.
Politics killed Gibran Tueni, but who really killed him?
The Syrians. Always the Syrians. I don't rule out that it was the Syrians, although I don't rule out any other party. I await the results of an investigation, and I hope that it will be an international one, just as I await the results in the investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
Defeat them with the truth (Michael Young, Daily Star)

None of this will bring Gibran Tueni back, nor is charm, elegance and perpetual dissent. Nothing will reassure us that the venerable An-Nahar can survive this latest crime. Ghassan Tueni will soon have to bury another child, the most heartbreaking duty of all. But deep down it's another wish we have: that the Tuenis, Ghassan but also Gibran's widow and children, will stick to their guns and demand that the truth come out. At the end of the day, his murderers remain most afraid of one thing: the truth.