Gebran Tueni, the publisher of An-Nahar newspaper and a recently elected member of Lebanon's parliament, has been assassinated in East Beirut. Three other people were also killed in the latest of more than a dozen car bombings since the assassination of Rafiq Hariri in February. Tueni was the first major journalist to agitate publicly for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, and had been spending most of his time in France since August, when he learned that he had been targeted for assassination. (An-Nahar's Friday columnist Samir Kassir was murdered in June.) Druze leader Walid Jumblat blames Syria, adding, "He was targeted because he was the voice of freedom, him and others like him."
I wish I had known Gebran better, and one of the items on my next trip to Lebanon was going to be to spend some more time interviewing and getting to know him. I will say that he was extremely gracious and generous with his time, and had one of the coolest offices I've ever seen. No man is on his oath at a eulogy, etc., but mutual friends occasionally considered him unhinged, and he was uncharitably described in Charles Sennott's book on Arab Christians The Body and the Blood (though he was half-Druze). I can't say the ideas on power sharing he laid out for me were entirely sensible either. But he was an important figure in Lebanese politics and media, a courageous and in some respects forward-looking thinker, and a good man with a good family, and I hope the scumbags who killed him rot in hell. My condolences to Tueni's family.