A fond farewell to a good friend

Letters to Editor
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ON a busy Monday morning in January 1972, I was visited by a young Arab-Israeli man by the named of Abed Younis in my Micronesian Congressional Office in Chalan Kanoa. I welcomed Abed into my office and was profoundly pleased to meet such a man with a broad and happy smile and an outstretched arm in friendship. He greeted me with “Hafa Adai yan todo mauleg” in impeccable Chamorro. I offered him coffee, but he said that he was a tea man. Then he started to give me a biography of my life: college and law school education in Washington, D.C and my experience with the Trust Territory government as an assistant attorney general and now the junior senator for the Mariana Islands in the Congress of Micronesia. I asked him if he was writing a biography of me, and he immediately informed me he wanted to ask me a question on how he could permanently reside on Saipan. I looked at him and told him simply that the only option he had was to find and marry a Micronesian woman. A few months later, Abed took my advice to heart and he married a beautiful and loving young lady from Saipan who happened to be a relative of mine, Maria Paz Tudela Castro.

That meeting at my office in Chalan Kanoa was the beginning of a long and enduring friendship between an Arab-Israeli gentleman and a Saipanese man.

Over the past half a century, I have watched with great pride Abed’s remarkable achievements in his professional career and personal life: founder and publisher of Marianas Variety, and a dedicated husband to Maria Paz and father of their six children, Banny, Laila, Amier, Farah, Suaad, and Salam. In my personal relationship with Abed, I found him to be a man of impeccable integrity, humble, friendly, witty, gifted, brilliant with a photographic memory, spoke English, Arabic, Hebrew, and Chamorro, and above all, caring, generous, loyal to families, friends, and to the people of Micronesia.

I had enjoyed enormously his friendship, goodwill, humor and, and of course, the joy of good food.

Abed is an accomplished academic personality, and on several occasions, we shared the writings of one of the world’s greatest author, poet, philosopher, and artist: Kahlil Gibran.

In appreciation of the wonderful and lasting friendship I had with Abed, I bid my good friend Good-by and farewell with the following words of Kahlil Gibran:

“And a youth said, Speak to us of Friendship. And he answered, saying: Your friend is your need answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and your fireside. For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace. When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the ‘nay’ in your own mind, nor do you withhold the ‘aye.’ And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart; for without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectation are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed. When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most in him may be clear in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain. And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught. And let your best be for your friend. If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him now its flood also. For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live. For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness. And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

A Founding Father of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

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