Khalid Shoman… the passing of a Knight

By: Dr. Abdullah Malki
Owner and Editor in chief of The Economy Today, Former Director of the Banker's Assosiation in Jordan,
The Economy Today 31/7/2001

I am sad at Khalid Shoman's passing, and my sorrow is a clear, acute kind of sorrow that inflicts a wound on body and soul.

I am sad and frightened too, as I would like to write something truly worthy of him, yet I fear that my pen and my word will fail to do him justice. Khalid is not a blood relative, nor is he a colleague, or a person crucial to my interests… yet, I feel as if Khalid is very close to me: a part of my family, an ilk of a similar breed. When pages of pictures and words announcing his passing away filled the newspapers, I would automatically stand at the end of the queue accepting condolences, trusting in God. His pleasant face and kind, confident smile would fill my thoughts and perception, and a tear would flow from the eye into the heart. I know that I am merely one of thousands who have known him, have loved him, and have felt as close to him as to family.

The late Khalid possessed a distinctive and unique ability to draw close to a caller, whether a mere visitor or a friend, setting them at ease with his genuine and unpretentious approach that rendered the conversation smooth and friendly.

Of the many who have known him the world over and have met him in different and varying circumstances, Khalid was always the same person, never changing and ever constant. He was ever pure, amiable, courteous, gentle, and chivalrous in all his dealings no matter who the person, as these qualities were an essential part of his nature, his character.

He would welcome his visitors with friendly civility, and often with an embrace, and the conversation would then automatically flow with great ease and a stunning transparency that would lead to an exchange of candour and openness. He would listen with care, reply and act with a spontaneity that invariably pleased his visitors. He would feel embarrassed if he was unable to help his caller with his need. I used to wonder every time I met him at how well versed he was in whatever issue or problem I raised at the time. He was the exemplary financier who kept abreast of all issues relating to his community, his nation, his country and his world, sorting them positively and objectively, with a decisive opinion on each and every issue.

And just as there were no barriers between him and people, no barriers existed between him and his colleagues and staff. They all cherished him. The human dimension mattered most to him, and his material generosity was remarkable. He once told me that he never saved his income but spent it all, year after year.

Khalid was genuine, with an engaging humility. He was charmingly spontaneous, possessing a grandeur of soul. He was grand in his generosity, in his chivalry, in his thinking and demeanor, and in his dealings. He always rose above pettiness. In fact, any and all words commending a gentleman apply to Khalid Shoman. Mine are no words written as an elegy; they are words that described Khalid during his lifetime and whenever his name was mentioned.

I was always concerned about him during his illness, and panicked at the thought that he would be taken away from us. I used to say that if this happened, fate would have taken one of the best knights in the whole of the Arab world. He was an Arab knight; a knight in his devotion to Arabism and, harbouring all that knighthood signified: personal values, ideals, grandeur, chivalry, and courage.

Khalid Shoman was a human being in the noblest and most honourable sense of the word. He made numerous people, and households, happy. He nourished the solid growth of the Arab Bank alongside his brother Abdul Majeed, and modernized it to penetrate the very depths of the society and the age. He loved to work away from the limelight and appearances. I even failed to convince him, during the twenty years I have known him, to publish an interview - whether in this journal or in another - and he even sent instructions to newspapers not to print anything I might say about him.

I am sad for Khalid Shoman, along with numerous others like myself; but within the depth of my sorrow, his lustrous face with his kind smile emerges and invades my memory. I then recall his life's partner Suha Shoman, his son Omar his daughter Aysha, and his brother Abdul Majeed and his sons, and I ask God to grant them endurance and relief, for if my grief is thus how much can theirs be? May the Lord grant you mercy Abu Omar, and may He grant us comfort.