Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Remembering Samir Kassir

Two years ago, on Thursday June 2, 2005, the Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir was killed in Beirut when a bomb that had been placed in his car exploded as he stepped into the vehicle. He was 45 years old.

By all accounts, Samir Kassir was a dedicated and courageous journalist. A 20-year contributor to the French monthly Le Monde Diplomatique, Kassir founded his own monthly political and cultural review, L’Orient-Express, which published between 1995 and 1998. That year, he became an editorial writer for the daily Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar.

His editorials criticized the dominant role that Syria had played in Lebanon's convoluted and often violent political landscape, and appealed for a genuinely democratic, self-guided transformation not only for his own country but also in Syria and in the Arab world at large.

Born to a Lebanese Palestinian father and a Syrian mother, and having studied widely in France, it seemed natural that his vision of the world should be a far more broad, inclusive and sophisticated one than any mere nationalism could ever be. He was the kind a progressive, democratic liberal voice that the world needs more of, not less.

Samir Kassir left behind a wife, the Lebanese television presenter Giselle Khoury, and two daughters, Mayssa and Eliana. Take a moment today to remember him, his work and his struggle at a page that has been dedicated to his memory here.

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