Gebran Ghassan Tueni (جبران تويني) (September 15, 1957 – December 12, 2005) was a politician and the former editor and publisher of the mass circulation An-Nahar daily newspaper in Beirut.
Tueni was a third generation journalist. An-Nahar was established by his grandfather, also named Gebran Tueni, in 1933. His father, Ghassan Tueni, ran the newspaper for decades.
Tueni had degrees in journalism, international relations and management from French universities. His mother was the famous Francophone, Lebanese Druze poet, Nadia Hamadeh Tueni. His uncle was the Druze, Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh.
Tueni came to international prominence in March 2000 when he wrote an editorial calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. In March 2005, he contributed to the Cedar Revolution demonstrations during which he gave the famous "In the name of God We, Muslims and Christians, Pledge that united we shall remain to the end of time to better defend our Lebanon" speech. In May 2005 he was elected a member of Parliament of Lebanon for the Greek Orthodox seat in Beirut on an anti-Syrian slate led by Saad al-Hariri, son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. He was a member of the political coalition Qornet Shehwan Gathering headed by Catholic Maronite bishop Youssef Bechara.
The member of the Parliament Tueni was assassinated by a car bomb on December 12, 2005 in Mkalles, an industrial suburb of Beirut, while on his way to work. He has been buried at Saint Dimitrius church graves after the funeral that took place at Saint George church Beirut. Initial reports indicated that a hitherto unknown group, "Strugglers for the Unity and Freedom of al-Sham" (where al-Sham refers to ancient Greater Syria) claimed responsibility. The statement taking responsibility was faxed to Reuters and included a warning that the same fate awaited other opponents of "Arabism" in Lebanon, claiming that the assassination has succeeded in "shutting up" a traitor, and "turning An-nahar" (Arabic for Day) into Dark Night.
Tueni's assassination coincided with the release of the second progress report of a United Nations inquiry into Syria's involvement in the assassination of Rafik Hariri. In response, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora announced that he would ask the United Nations Security Council to investigate Syrian complicity in the deaths of Tueni and other prominent anti-Syrian figures.
Before his death, Tueni was campaigning for an international probe into recently discovered mass graves in Anjar next to the main Syrian intelligence headquarters. Forensic analysis later showed the graves were part of an 18th century cemetery. In his last editorial Tueni accused Syria of committing "crimes against humanity" and blamed them for the mass graves and other atrocities committed in Lebanon during their presence. His articles and editorials in An-Nahar often raised the ire of the Syrians.
Tens of thousands of mourners filled the streets of Beirut for Tueni's funeral on 14 December 2005. Many mourners blamed Syria for his death due to his antisyrian policy and they chanted anti-Syrian slogans. Members of the Lebanese parliament also observed a moment of silence during a special parliamentary session. Continuing the play on words with "An-nahar" (The Day), family members stated that night would not fall on the newspaper.
Gibran died at the age of 48 leaving a widow and 2 newly born daughters along with 2 other daughters from a previous marriage.
Gebran Tueni Award
The World Association of Newspapers established a Gebran Tueni Award in 2006, to be bestowed on "a newspaper publisher or editor in the Arab world who demonstrates the free press values" of the award's namesake.
The award has been given times as of February 2012:
- 2010: Aboubakr Jamaï, Le Journal Hebdomadaire, Morocco
- 2009: Asos Hardi, Awene, Iraqi Kurdistan
- 2008: Ibrahim Essa, Al Dustour, Egypt
- 2007: Michel Hajji Georgiou, L'Orient-Le Jour, Lebanon
- 2006: Nadia Al-Saqqaf, The Yemen Times, Yemen
This article incorporates text from the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.