Yesterday was the Danish National Day, and as a Jor-Danish Chrislim it was my duty to attend it, at the lovely house of our Consul and his charming wife.
It was a lovely get together (not so many Danes, but still members of the CD “Corps Diplomatique” were there as well as the Danish Ambassador).
Of course being whom I am I couldn’t resist the chance of getting a sharp dig at the Danish government for closing down the embassy in Jordan and here is how the conversation went:
The Ambassador Rolf was asked why did you close the embassy in Jordan, to which he replied budget cuts and it was a new embassy.
Me: Really! So the Beirut one which was burnt and shit loads of money spent on rebuilding it in an unstable country made more sense. I understand the Syrian one as being the eldest and located in a prime real estate zone and really beautiful, but Beirut was as new as ours, and so the Danish government in all its wisdom decided that that would be an ideal one to keep. Knowing full-well that Lebanon is a powder keg waiting to explode. You cannot convince me that it wasn’t because of the night life. I suspect that is one of hte main reasons.
Ambassador Rolf (who has a sense of humour by the way, did not take it the wrong way at all, I like him): Well, maybe but the main reason was that Lebanon was better business-wise as they have a lot of commerce with Denmark.
Me: See! Now that is an explanation I can work with instead of the weak one of “Budget Cut-Backs!” this is more logical now.
Speaking of which the Ambassador is a real nice guy, very polite nice and down to earth. Not stuck up like some of the other dignitaries you find around, O and let me mention the Dutch one he and his wife Vicki are amazing, also very very friendly.
Anyway on to something more sombre and maudlin…
Last Monday we lost a national treasure, our dear “Sheikh of Amman” Ali Fawaz Maher passed away from a sudden heart attack stroke, thank heavens it was fast (2 minute says his sister), he was a source of fun, inspiration, and he never hesitated to help anyone who asked.
Ali was the counter balance in the salons of art, he was the yin to the dukes Mamdouh Bisharrat’s Yang. They both endorsed and promoted art but each did it in his own specially unique way. Now we lost the balance and it will be impossible to fill the vacuum his passing left behind.
Some words I wrote on his passing:
“Ali Maher May you be at rest now.
My heart is heavy. And am saddened by the news of Ali Maher’s passing. R.I.P.
One of the nicest inspiring helpful people I had the honour of knowing.
May the Goddess of Mansaf have you safely in her arms for eternity.
Gone but will absolutely NEVER be forgotten.”
No one you love ever truly dies.
They live on in the memories in the children they left behind.
You left an indelible image in our minds.
You filled up our hearts..
Your essence is etched on our souls.
You made us laugh.
You inspired us.
You taught so many generations.
You are the symbol of what goodness and a joyful spirit was supposed to be.
I was honoured to call you friend, and I shall always be a witness to your magnificence.
We can only aspire in some small way to carry the torch,
and keep your teachings alive.
Bon-Viveur Extraordinary, one can in all honesty say about you:
“He live life to the fullest enjoying and savouring every bit and morsel that came his way”…
SO many of you are his spiritual children.
Ali’s and my family go way back, his father was named after my great grandfather a story Ali never got tired of telling people, of course we are the Sheikhs of the North and he was the Sheikh of Amman, he chuckled every time he said it. so unlike most I never called him “Baba” because we called each other “Garaba” (Relative/Kin), we sat several times and laughed about the world and how it was unfair, and it was bitter-sweet, but would we change it no way we both agreed.
So Enough of this maudlin sombre sad talk, I shall say this as something brought home to me more so now than ever:
Live your life. Enjoy it. Savour it. Do not care what others say or think about you (they do not know you and do not care a bit about you when you go home and close the doors), you have to live for yourself and no one else… Learn this: LIFE IS TOO SHORT!