The funeral of “Dean of Journalists” Ghassan Tueni was held on Saturday amid a heavy official and media presence.
Prime Minister Najib Miqati eulogized Tueni, saying: “I am honored to stand before you as we say farewell.”
“You have filled life in the media, politics, and diplomacy,” he added at the funeral that was held at St. Georges church in downtown Beirut.
“Much has been said in your life and much more will be said in your death, but none of it will give you the credit you deserve,” he stressed.
Miqati then bestowed upon the deceased, on behalf of President Michel Suleiman, the Order of the Cedar, placing the medal on his coffin.
MP Nayla Tueni, Ghassan Tueni’s granddaughter, then eulogized him, stressing that An Nahar newspaper and Lebanon’s legacy will continue after his death.
“The free, democratic, and independent Lebanon will not fall and we will continue on holding it high like the cedar,” she tearfully said.
“A national struggle that has not been completed yet will continue,” she declared.
The head of the Journalists Syndicate Mohammed Baalbaki then took to the podium, lamenting the loss of an “intellectual pioneer, who has long rebelled against ignorance, narrow-mindedness, and even death.”
The funeral was attended by various politicians, journalists, and media personalities.
Prior to arriving at the church, Tueni’s coffin was carried to the headquarters of An Nahar newspaper in downtown Beirut.
Tueni, the honorary president and former chairman of the board of directors of An Nahar newspaper, had passed away at dawn Friday. He was 86.
Tueni has had a long career as a journalist, politician, diplomat, and educator.
Soon after news of his death broke out on Friday, politicians and ordinary Lebanese showered An Nahar daily with their condolences through statements and messages on social networking sites.
Miqati said Lebanon “lost a true national symbol” who defended Lebanon on the international scene and called for tolerance even when his son Gebran Tueni was assassinated.
Speaker Nabih Berri also expressed his condolences.
Information Minister Walid al-Daouq said in a statement that Tueni “did not allow despair to penetrate the suffering of his heart.”
Lebanon was “in need for his wisdom and shrewdness,” he added.
Ex-PM Saad Hariri described Tueni as the “legend,” saying in a statement that “freedom will not die and An Nahar will not die.”
"One of the biggest champions of freedom of the press in Lebanon and the Arab world has disappeared," said Tueni's former brother-in-law Marwan Hamadeh, a March 14 opposition lawmaker.
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