Ghassan Tueni

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ghassan Tueni
غسان تويني
in Une terre pour un homme
Born(1926-01-05)5 January 1926
Beirut, Lebanon
Died8 June 2012(2012-06-08) (aged 86)
Beirut, Lebanon
Resting placeMar Mitr Cemetery
Alma materAmerican University of Beirut
Occupation(s)Journalist, politician, academic, statesman
Years activelate 1940s–2012
Spouse(s)Nadia Hamadeh (deceased)
Shadia al Khazen
Children3, including Gebran Tueni
ParentGebran Tueni

Ghassan Tueni (Arabic: غسان تويني‎; 5 January 1926 – 8 June 2012) was a Lebanese journalist, politician and diplomat who headed An Nahar, one of the Arab world's leading newspapers.[1] Some call him "The Dean of Lebanese Journalism".[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Beirut on 5 January 1926 to a Greek Orthodox Christian family of Syrian descent.[3] Ghassan Tueni was the son of Gebran Tueni, the founder and publisher of the daily newspaper An Nahar.[4] His hometown was Beit Mary.[5]

Ghassan Tueni joined the Syrian Social Nationalist Party founded by Antoun Saadeh in the early 1940s. According to Tueni, it was Yusuf al-Khal who recruited him to join the party. While at the American University of Beirut, Tueni was the general executive head of student affairs within the SSNP and later rose to the position of assistant cultural dean of the party. In 1947, he met Antoun Saadeh for the first time in Dhour El Choueir and was blown away by Saadeh's striking charisma. While studying for his master's degree in the United States, Antoun Saadeh was in forced exile ,and the two exchanged letters between 1946 and 1947. Later that year, he left the SSNP after it dismissed Yusuf al-Khal, Fayez Sayegh and others.

Tueni made a swift comeback to the SSNP after its party leader was summoned and executed in a trial that took less than twenty four hours by the Lebanese authorities in 1949. Saadeh's execution was dubbed by many as the worst kangaroo court trial in Lebanese legal history. The execution prompted Tueni to write a front-page column in the Nahar newspaper where he hailed Saadeh as a national hero forsaking his life for the national cause and condemning the execution. The article created a widespread political storm that caused much worry among the establishment ,and was soon sent to prison. In 1952, Tueni was appointed by the SSNP leadership to represent the party in the Popular Socialist Front led by Kamal Jumblatt which forced the resignation of Lebanese president Bechara El Khoury.


Ghassan Tueni (left) with the director Philippe Aractingi

Tueni studied at the International College (IC) and then, at the American University of Beirut under Charles Malik who was influential in the development of his thoughts. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from the American University of Beirut in 1945.[4][6] He then went to the United States to study at Harvard University where he received his master's degree in government.[6][7] He had to abruptly interrupt his Ph.D. studies at Harvard and return to Lebanon to take over the reins of the journal when his father died.[4]


After the sudden death of his father Gebran Tueni, Ghassan, just 22 at the time, returned to Lebanon to continue publishing An Nahar. He became editor-in-chief and publisher of the paper from 1947 to 1999, and from 2003 until his death.[1][4] He was imprisoned in the 1940s for his objections to censorship.[8] Committed to his father's work, Ghassan developed a new team of journalists, modernising the editorial content and its production. An Nahar was at the time Lebanon's foremost daily and the Arab world's most credible and authoritative newspaper.[9]

He became a member of parliament in 1951, at age 25.[4] Until 1977, he served in different governmental positions, including house speaker, deputy prime minister and minister of the social affairs and labor, industry, information, energy and education.[10][11][12] He also served as Lebanon's permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) from September 1977 to September 1982, at the peak of the civil war.[1][7][13] During his tenure at the UN, he famously addressed the Security Council on 17 March 1978 with the emotional plea: "Let my people live!". Soon, the UNSC adopted Resolution 425, calling for Israel to immediately withdraw its forces from Lebanon.[4] During the Lebanese Civil War, he was against Bachir Gemayel and confessed lobbying in Washington, D.C. against his presidential election.[14] Ghassan Tueni described the 1989 Taif Agreement as the peace of the others.[15]

After his son Gebran Tueni's assassination, Ghassan Tueni became the candidate for his son's seat in parliament and won the election.[2][16] In June 2005, he published an article in An Nahar in which he praised Abdul Halim Khaddam's, former vice president of Syria, resignation from the Baath Party.[17] In 2008, following clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian factions in Lebanon, he, along with other PMs, signed the Doha Agreement that ceased Lebanon's worst fighting since the civil war. Tueni's tenure at the parliament lasted until 2009 and his granddaughter Nayla Tueni won the same seat from Beirut.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Tueni married Nadia Hamadeh in 1954[18] who died in 1983 after battling cancer for several years.[7] He was predeceased by all three of his children.[12] His son, the MP and journalist, Gebran Tueni was assassinated in 2005. At his son's funeral, he stood at the altar and pleaded, "Let us bury hatred and revenge along with Gebran".[2] His only daughter, Nayla, died at age 7 from cancer.[4] Makram, his youngest son, was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1987 at age 21.[4] A granddaughter, Nayla, is a journalist and a member of the Lebanese Parliament, like her late father, late Gebran Tueni.[19]


Ghassan Tueni's writings are extensive.[14] In 1985, his book Une Guerre Pour les Autres (A War of Others) was published.[20] He published another book, Enterrer La Haine Et La Vengeance (Let us bury hate and revenge), in 2009, which he dedicated to his late son Gebran.[21][22]


In addition, Tueni was awarded an honorary degree from the American University of Beirut in June 2005.[8][14] In December 2009, Tueni was given the Lebanese Order of Merit for his achievements in politics.[24] In 2009, he was also the recipient of the Life Time Achievement Award of the Arab Thought Foundation.[23]

Moreover, in 2011, Tueni was awarded an honorary degree from the American University of Science and Technology.


Ghassan Tueni died on 8 June 2012 after a long illness at age 86;[25] he spent the last month of his life at American University Hospital in Beirut.[19] He was survived by his second wife, Shadia al Khazen[7] and four granddaughters.[2]

His funeral was held in Beirut on 9 June 2012.[26] The Order of the Cedar was placed on his coffin.[26][27] He was buried at Mar Mitr Cemetery.[19]

On 9 June 2012, King Abdullah II sent a cable of condolences to the Tueni family[28] as did King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.[29] The other statesmen sent their condolences included François Hollande, Laurent Fabius, and Shiekh Sabah al Ahmed al Sabah.[30]



  1. ^ a b c "Veteran Lebanese journalist Ghassan Tueni dies". BBC News. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ghassan Tueni, dead at 86". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Ghassan Tueni, Lebanese journalist and statesman, dies at 86". Washington Post. 19 May 2023. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Nassar, Angle (8 June 2012). "Ghassan Tueni, 1926-2012". Now Lebanon. Archived from the original on 26 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  5. ^ Glass, Charles (1 March 2007). "The lord of no man's land: A guided tour through Lebanon's ceaseless war". Harper's Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  6. ^ a b Vincent Barwood, Aileen (March–April 1983). "The Spokesmen". Saudi Aramco World. 34 (2). Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d "غسان تويني سيرة شخصية". 8 June 2012.
  8. ^ a b Ignatius, David (8 June 2012). "Ghassan Tueni: The godfather of the Arab Spring". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Freedom of Speech in Lebanon: Gebran Ghassan Tueni (1957 - 2005)". BBC. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  10. ^ Rouleau, Eric (Autumn 1975 – Winter 1976). "Crisis in Lebanon". Journal of Palestine Studies. 5 (1/2): 233–243. doi:10.1525/jps.1975.5.1-2.00p0400k. JSTOR 2535710.
  11. ^ "Lebanon, Oil and Dividing up the Cake". Albawaba. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  12. ^ a b Khazen, Jihad (9 June 2012). "The Last of the Doyens of the Lebanese Press". Dar Al Hayat. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Vance, envoy discuss crisis in Lebanon". Bangor Daily News. 4 October 1978. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  14. ^ a b c "Ghassan Tueni to sue Syrian ambassador to UN over remarks". The Daily Star. 19 December 2005. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  15. ^ Farha, Mark (30 March 2008). "Demography and Democracy in Lebanon" (PDF). Assyrian International News Agency. Mideast Monitor. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  16. ^ Rola el Husseini (15 October 2012). Pax Syriana: Elite Politics in Postwar Lebanon. Syracuse University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-8156-3304-4. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  17. ^ "Khaddam bows out". Al Ahram Weekly. 747. 16–22 June 2005. Archived from the original on 25 March 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  18. ^ "Nadja Tueni". La Poesieque Jaime. Archived from the original on 28 May 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  19. ^ a b c Tueni, Nayla (8 June 2012). "Ghassan Tueni, Lebanon's Newspaper Guru, Dies at 86". Al Monitor. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  20. ^ Haugbolle, Sune (25 October 2011). "The historiography and the memory of the Lebanese civil war" (PDF). Mass Violence. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  21. ^ Tueni, Ghassan (2005). Let us bury hate and revenge. Albin Michel.
  22. ^ "Books, "Ghassan Tueni"". Amazon. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  23. ^ a b "Mr. Ghassan Tueni". Fikr Conferences. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Ghassan Tueni awarded Order of Merit". The Daily Star. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Dean of Journalists and Veteran Politician Ghassan Tueni Dies". Naharnet. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  26. ^ a b "Ghassan Tueni Bestowed with Order of Cedar during Official Funeral Held in Beirut". Naharnet. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  27. ^ "Mikati awards Tueni with National Order of the Cedar". Now Lebanon. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  28. ^ "King condoles Tueini family". Petra News. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  29. ^ "HM King Hamad Condoles Tueni's Bereaved Family". Bahrain News Agency. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  30. ^ "Death, Hollande: He Remained a Free Man Committed to Lebanon". Naharnet. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.