About Firms Hands

The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.”
Antoine François Prévost

I got the news last week. It was unexpected as I was preparing myself to disconnect my phone and go to sleep. Suddenly, I receive a phone call from your son, telling me what happened. At this specific time, the night seemed even darker and colder. Something highly improbable in a city like Paris in October. Even as I write about you right now, I cannot believe it. Although whenever you are brought up in the conversation every time, it does not seem right. In times like the ones we are living today, everyone should be staying at home and avoiding social gatherings. However, this one needed to be respected.

As tough times were in Lebanon, nothing was preparing us for what happened on October 28, 2020. A date that will forever be engraved in our hearts, in our veins and in our souls. The world seems quite less bright without you in it, in all of our eyes. In the eyes of those who have known you for decades as well as of those who just met you for the first time a few months prior. Who could blame us?  We lost the “father of all” (بي الكل as we say in Lebanese).

It is a quite common expression in Lebanon, used to describe political leaders as a way to raise them to the rank of The Nation’s Father, a man taking care of every citizen and loving them as their own children. Personally, I never quite understood what it meant or how one could actually use such a god-equalling term to describe a corrupted mortal. It does not take much to realize the irony in addressing such a term to the political elite of Lebanon, given the events that have been occurring on the international stage for the last twelve months, particularly since August 4, 2020. They do not deserve that title. If they did, they must have at least half you did during your lifetime. In forty-seven years, you did what they could not achieve in almost two-thirds of a century.

“You do not raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they will turn out to be heroes, even if it is just in your own eyes.”
Walter Schirra

I met you three years ago for the first time. Looking back on the encounter, the connection was spot on from the very beginning. It was clear for you that the term ‘father’ did not only apply to your own biological children. Instead, you expanded that range to your friends, friends of your children and more people. I was lucky enough to be among those you always treated as a son. Whenever I would come over to see time with your son, you would greet as if I was coming home. My home. You would ask me how my day went, what I was up to lately and what my future projects were. I can state with certainty that no one outside my nuclear family ever took that much interest in my life and opinions. Usually if that would be the case, it would be to serve their personal goals or interests, or just because it represents some sort of social norm to create certain superficial conversations. It was never the case with you. You engaged in conversations because you wanted to get to know us better. You wanted to stay young, and so you enjoyed seeing us around the house and spending time with us. At the same time, you treated us like grown ups, young adults wanting to discover the world. Our conversations would sometimes shift towards politics, business, economics and more so. It was always a pleasure to spend time with you, whether face to face when I still was in Lebanon or on the phone when I moved to France and would be talking with your son.

“Even though I am a little taller, I still look up to him.”
Not All Heroes Wear Capes by Owl City

It is already a blessing to be able to grow up with a father who believes you and loves you by showing it, so having a friend’s father view you the same way is the greatest gift – outside of your family – that the universe can offer you. I found that gift in you. A man who always stands tall in the face of adversity, who did everything in his power to provide the best life to his family. A kind son, a loving husband, an amazing father. The type of fathers who lighten up our days. A businessman who aimed for success, not just for his company but for his employees and partners as well. Making sure that a company does not go bankrupt is no easy task to achieve, especially when you are able to do that on your own. You treated your employees with dignity and respect. The same respect you would show your clients and suppliers. You would even transcend that respect to competitors. It was just in your nature.

Kindness was your greatest virtue, and you were a man of many.
They say the age of chivalry is gone because such people did not have the luxury to meet someone like you.
A knight in the twenty-first century.

It was a long ride, and on October 28, 2020, you decided to hang up your boots.You lived your life the way you wanted it to be. You prepared us for this moment, especially for your son to take over. He is ready and surely he will make you proud. He is the son of Ziad, and Ziad means “greater” as well as “more”. The son of Ziad will continue what Ziad started, and go even farther.

During the scouts totem ceremony, the scout who is receiving a totem gets to choose an elder scout to be his mentor, more commonly called as “scout father”. During his ceremony, your son felt that I would be a good fit for him. Since then, you told me to look after him like one looks after his younger brother. I learned a lot from you, yet I am convinced I could never replace you. Your legacy lives on in him. I will just be there to witness it.

We already miss you dearly, the only one who deserves to be called the Father of All.

“Do not be afraid. It is my turn to chase the monsters away.”
Monsters by James Blunt

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