Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Death of Joseph El Khoury

By Joseph El-Khoury

Joseph was killed on the afternoon of the 15th January 2008 along with Fouad Kamal Abbas and Ghassan Ali, a Syrian national in the car bomb that targeted a US embassy vehicle on the coastal highway north of Beirut. The Lebanese expressed relief at the press release from the embassy that ‘ No Americans were hurt in the attack’. Joseph’s views on the political debate in Lebanon or the role of the US in the region are not known. We know of him that he was young, married and on his way back from work when he was blown up to shreds in the explosion. We can only assume he was listening to the radio or engaged in his own thoughts. Those responsible for his murder had nothing personal against him. Their ‘message’ was for the American president on his Middle Eastern tour and his departing affable representative in Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman. Unfortunately Joseph happened to be in the way, disposable and unremarkable. The message did get through but its impact on the visit was minimal. The schedule of coffee drinking and engaging in silly tribal rituals with the Sheikhs continued as planned. Life goes on…. Until the next attack.
Rest in peace Joseph!
The image is taken from


annie said...

No Americans hurt, just three locals who wanted to lead a normal life.

Didn't the hosts cancel a reception ?
Rest in peace Joseph, Fouad and Ghassan.

Arab Democracy said...

They did cancel 3 receptions apparently for security reasons.

Its amazing how much a passport can add to the value of human life.

annie said...

Yes, our lives are not equal. It is a matter of "quality" as they say; as if God had created us differently.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Joseph, Ghassam, or Fouad's lives were of lesser importance than the lives of the staff at the US Embassy. I think in Lebanon the value of human life is intertwined with one's net economic wealth.

I've been trying to find the names and perhaps some information on the background and the lives of the three victims and I couldn't find anything readily available.

I am glad you had brought it up in your recent article.

Marwan -

Arab Democracy said...

Hi Marwan

I happen to be in Lebanon and I scanned the media for background info on the three men before I wrote my piece. I couldnt find much and it also took me a while to find the correct names of the two other casualties (I hope I got them right).

It is such a contrast to the reaction to the death of the young man Charles Chikhani in a previous attack. Either it was the fact that the latter was a young university graduate from a different socio-economic background or we are just getting used to the absurdity of this way of dying.

Joseph, Fouad and Ghassan were low income construction contractors. U dont need me to tell you what that means in our beloved country.


Anonymous said...

it must be an existential exprerience to get up in the morning, in beirut, and read yr name in the paper as a deceased citizen...then realizing that it's not u (or is it?) while looking in the miror and calling yr mother...
i think that what's happening in lebanon is terrible, no words to describe it...
all these none- american lebanese "casualties", wish they can wisper something from where r, may be they know the "Truth"...


Anonymous said...

I was in beirut the day it happened... actually, while watching the live coverage of this story, i was shocked by the way the names of the victims, certainly the wounded were announced on tv short after the explosion!... at that moment, yes i really missed my normal life in the UK, where the names of any victims are not allowed to be disclosed before informing their families... can anyone just imagine his mother or father or sister or brother getting such a horrible news by a radio or tv presenter who doesn t care but about getting the news first and broadcasting it????

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