Mokheiber laid to rest after emotional funeral
His words cut like a sword
Late MP believed that theres no half-independence and half-sovereignty
Maha Al-Azar -Daily Star staff
Women cried. But so did men and priests who gathered to mourn the death of Metn MP
Albert Mokheiber and bid him their last farewell in his hometown in Beit Mery on Monday,
where he was laid to rest.
He may have been a bit over 90 years old, but Mokheiber, who was known for his courageous and outspoken stances, was considered to possess the pure soul of the young. The sincere emotions that flowed on the day of his funeral reflected the heartfelt affection and admiration many held for him.
Women threw roses on his coffin as it was carried from his home to Beit Merys Mar Elias Orthodox Church on the shoulders of young men who included Free Patriotic Movement supporters, who wished to show their loyalty for the man who defended them when they faced crackdowns on their activities by the authorities.
At the church, where Mokheiber used to pray regularly, Father Youssef Tawq read an official letter from Maronite Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, eulogizing the veteran lawmaker.
He would often quote the words of Jesus Christ and say: May your Yes be Yes and your No be No, for anything else comes from evil, said the Maronite prelate.
Mokheiber was posthumously awarded the Presidential Golden Medal of Merit, presumably because of his rich contribution to public life as a two-time deputy speaker, two-time deputy prime minister, and five-time MP, but will undoubtedly be remembered for his outspoken, defiant and uncompromising opposition to the Syrian presence in Lebanon at a time when few dared to direct any criticism toward Damascus.
But it was certainly his philanthropy as a doctor offering free medical service, his courage and strength of spirit and his disarming smile that won him the love of his friends and compatriots. Local poets expressed peoples sadness in eulogies laden with emotions and admiration.
Were it not for you, the voice of right would have disappeared, said one poet.
His words cut like a sword and his positions were fixed; they never faltered, Tawq said. He believed that Lebanon should either exist as a free, sovereign state or never be, and that theres no half-independence and half-sovereignty.
You cannot ignore that Mokheiber used to love his country as a lover would, and a lover does not know betrayal, said Mount Lebanon Orthodox Archbishop George Khodr, who presided over the Mass along with Beirut Orthodox Archbishop Elias Aoude. He refused to accept that politics was the art of the possible but wished to make it the art of the impossible.
Indeed, despite his half-century of history as a politician, Mokheiber never joined a militia in a country that was wracked by civil war, and on the day of his funeral the only flags that decorated his home were Lebanese ones.
Khodr concluded with words of hope.
Love is stronger than death, he said, in reference to the love and admiration that many people would continue to hold for Mokheiber even after his death.
His nephew, lawyer Ghassan Mokheiber, thanked mourners for coming to share with us our grief, as though youre all part of our family. He also pledged, on behalf of his family, to continue Mokheibers mission to see Lebanon a free, independent and sovereign country
More than 1,500 people attended the funeral, including officials and prominent figures who included: Deputy Speaker Elie Ferzli, representing both President Emile Lahoud and Speaker Nabih Berri; Minister Pierre Helou, representing Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; former President Amin Gemayel; former Speaker Hussein Husseini; Bishop Roland Gemayel, representing Sfeir; General Nadim Lteif, representing Former Army Commander Michel Aoun; Ministers Ghassan Salameh, Michel Musa, Fouad Saad; MPs Nassib Lahoud, Butros Harb, Nayla Mouawad, National Bloc leader Carlos Edde; Beirut Bar Association president Raymond Chedid; and a number of lawyers, judges and doctors