The following tribute was killed by the publisher of The Daily Star, Jamil Mroue
Published by pranaygupte.com on 2004-03-25
The nicest thing about growing old in journalism--in any business, in fact--is the opportunity one gets to share one's experiences with younger colleagues. It is not that one gets any smarter with the years; it's just that one is surer of oneself because of the roads taken in life and the paths avoided. The self-confidence also comes with mistakes made and lessons learned. And it comes through encounters with different people across a spectrum of societies.
I've been very fortunate in my professional life, although it hasn't been an easy one. Who would have thought that an only child from Bombay--the son of a banker-lawyer and a professor-writer--would start his career with the New York Times and spend the next 15 years traveling the world for that great institution? The book contracts, the chance to hobnob with the high and the mighty, the articles in glossy magazines, the television appearances--they all came my way. It was all very heady and, I admit, not always easy to cope with. Still, one tried to take it in stride, one tried to be always professional.
On this, my last day as editorial director of this newspaper, it's hard not to be sentimental about where one has been and where might go. But then my natural caution sets in. The business of journalism isn't about any one man; it's about a whole group, a fraternity, a team. Unless one's producing a street-corner jeremiad, any publication requires the cooperation of many. And The Daily Star's team of young, awesomely bright young men and women delivered the best that contemporary journalism has to offer. They did so for the sheer, unadulterated joy of journalism. They did so because many of them understood that newspapering isn't just a profession, it's a vocation. It is, most of all, a romance, and to live that roman fully one simply has to have passion. One has to write and edit from the gut as much as from the heart and brain.
Lebanon should be proud of these young people. And so, as I leave Beirut, I am able to say with the full force of my experience and long years that these are extraordinary men and women. Their talents will surely bloom; they will gain recognition and success. And from the sidelines, however far away, my applause will be sustained.
Senior Writer and Global-Affairs Columnist