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Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lebanese Bid Farewell to Gebran Tueni

BEIRUT: Lebanese Christian MP and prominent newspaper editor Gibran Tueni was a vocal anti-Syrian figure and impassioned advocate of his country’s independence. The 48-year-old respected journalist and politician comes from a long line of prominent Lebanese politicians, many of whom had a close call with death in Lebanon’s troubled political scene. His uncle Marwan Hamade escaped an assassination attempt in October 2004 while his father Ghassan Tueni was a former Lebanese ambassador at the United Nations who also served in the government and in parliament. In June, Tueni, a Greek Orthodox, won a seat in parliamentary elections — the first since Syria quit Lebanon — running on the list of Saad Al Hariri, which swept the polls. As a journalist, he made the daily An Nahar a veritable tribunal against the Syrian regime, for the defence of Lebanon’s democratic sovereignty, and for human rights. He was one of the leaders of the “Cedar Revolution” which followed the murder of Hariri and, with international pressure, led to the Syrian pullout. Tueni was a passionate advocate of the creation of an international tribunal over Rafiq Al Hariri’s killing in light of the international probe commissioned by the UN. He is widely seen as having set the tone against Syrian control over Lebanon in an editorial published in his mass-circulation newspaper as early as March 2000 that made the unprecedented blunt request for Syria to end its domination. In more recent editorials over the past months Tueni has insisted on Lebanon’s independence and strongly criticised Syrian policies, particularly towards Lebanon. Married twice, Gibran Tueni was father of four girls, including twin daughters born just a few months ago. His eldest daughter is a journalist with An Nahar. Tall, with a slim black moustache, Gibran Tueni was an elegant figure on the Lebanese political scene and was a redoubtable debater. He was revered by many of Lebanon’s young people who thronged conferences which he held in favour of his country’s independence, and to whom he opened the columns of his newspaper.

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">