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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