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,
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.