Friday, September 30, 2005

Flash. Lebanese journalist Michel Abu Jawdah did not die from natural causes (was it in 1993 or 94?). He, according to his nephew, committed suicide. According to the nephew of Abu Jawdah in a phone call to a program on Al-Mustaqbal TV, Michel Abu Jawdah took pills and killed himself after being banned from writing in An-Nahar due to pressures from then Syrian vice-president `Abdul-Halim Khaddam who requested that An-Nahar ban him. Abu Jawdah was a very influential figure in the Arabic press for much of the 1960s and 1970s, and his daily column was an indicator of the Arab Cold War. I used to see him as a child when when we used to go to Egypt during the Christmas holidays, and he stayed at the same hotel. It was then that I noticed the big scar on his face. I then learned from my father how an agent for Lebanese military intelligence slashed his face when he wrote a column mildly critical of Fu'ad Shihab. He also was kidnapped in 1974--but thugs of Rif`at Al-Asad if I am not mistaken, but was later released.