Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
Hassan al-Quwatli, the oldest son of Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli [1943-1949, 1955-1958] died in Saudi Arabia today.
I wrote to Sami Moubayed to get a obituary. This is the note Sami sent:
I welcomed this year's Eid with sad news, being the death of Mr. Hassan al-Quwatli, the eldest son of former President Shukri al-Quwatli, who passed away in Saudi Arabia. I am currently in the process of writing the scrip for an upcoming television series about the former President, and was just at the year 1935, the birth of Hassan, after which, Shukri al-Quwatli became lovingly called "Abu Hassan." One of the ballots in the elections of 1955 was actually discounted in Parliament, because a deputy wrote "Abu Hassan" instead of "Shukri al-Quwatli." I knew Hassan al-Quwatli well from my days at AUB. A graduate of Stanford University, he grew up under the towering influence of his father, but pursued a career that was very far from politics. His father insisted that he study abroad so as not to get special treatment, being the son of the President. He studied, if I am not mistaken (although I am not sure) petroleum engineering. He was married to his cousin from the Dalati family. His son Shukri died young, less than 20-years old. He has two other children, Adel and Aisha, who also went to AUB. He was always ready to help young researchers and academics who were studying the era of his father, and the politics of the National Bloc. The last time I saw him was at a memorial for Syria's late poet Nizar Qabbani, held at ESCWA in Beirut. He was very proud—almost with watery eyes—that young Lebanese students had liberated the town of Arnoun from Israel in 1999. Nine days earlier, Arnoun had been sealed off with barbed wire by Israeli troops and incorporated into occupation territory. The students stormed through the barricades, chanting patriotic songs and singing the national anthem. Ignoring the signs warning of mines, 2,000 students, with their bare hands, removed the barbed wire. They then raised the Lebanese Flag and danced with villagers on rooftops. Hassan al-Quwatli, who grew up with strong Arabist views, remained an Arab nationalist until the last moment. He loved Syria and adored Damascus. He will be missed by all those who knew him.