Khalid Shoman Farewell

By Sultan Al Hattab
Writer and Journalist
Al Rai 2/7/2001

Many people in Jordan and in the Arab World mourned the eclipse of a shining star in the field of finance, a star that had lit up broad expanses of the financial world through the Arab Bank.

It is true that man creates the institution… and the institution creates the man that owes it his best when that institution is firm in its roots, strong in its structure. Khalid Shoman was a contributor to the making of the Arab Bank from his distinctive position, just as he was in his performance the true son of this institution that has left its impression on those who worked with it..

I met the late Khalid at a friend's house during a luncheon over ten years ago. During the two hours there, I expected him to discuss finance or economics, or the bank.. I was expecting to meet a dry, number-oriented individual. Khalid Shoman turned out to be neither: he discussed history, literature, music, various cultures and traditions, and even sports. He was always well focused, a good listener and soft-spoken, leaving his listener with a sense of the deep value of what he had said. He was pure in bearing, and those who knew him closely say that he was pure in heart as well, committed and genuine.

Khalid was also pleasant, patient and gallant; he never rebuffed anyone or turned them away. This courtesy gave to the Bank an extra dimension, necessary for an institution known for its traditionalism, inflexibility and extreme conservatism in dealing with clients…

When you met Khalid, it rarely occurred to you that he was a "banker" or a financier. What you felt then was definitely not his position or what those who did not know him had heard about him…

Little things satisfied him.., and little things made him happy. Little things related to humanity appealed to him, and he was never molded by the details that render the economists and financial magnates of his job into dry, mechanical figures that have lost touch with the world's simplicity. Besides inheriting his father's unpretentiousness, Khalid was a graduate of Cambridge, profound of knowledge, possessing a civility and poise of good heritage and breeding - his name was his noble burden.

To a large circle of friends and people who loved him, Khalid's departure leaves them in deep pain and sorrow, despite their awareness of his illness. He leaves after a long, rigorous, and fruitful life that contributed to forging companies, establishments, and financial enterprises of world credibility and excellent repute. His good name attracted keen and enterprising investors who invariably trusted his caring counsel and whose business confidentiality he respected.

If his friends were to write about their impressions of Khalid, his genuine nature and gracious company, they would write volumes recording statements witnessing to stances and actions that are worthy of preserving. I believe that the time will come when a large part of Khalid's biography will be recorded - whether through his friends or what the Arab Bank will offer, we trust, to the public, just as they commemorated the late founder's memory in a book titled "The Indomitable", which carried the same epithet as the founding father. If the description for his father was the "Indomitable…" then Khalid's epithet would be "The Trustworthy, The Genial."

Khalid's departure is a national and financial loss, a loss to the Arab Bank and a loss to other banks and financial institutions and companies. It is a loss to his family, his friends and his acquaintances.. a loss to Palestine, to Jordan and to the Arab world… it is a loss for prosperity, determination, and for values of truth and honesty in dealings. His departure will leave a huge gap, and the only comfort is his great work that he leaves to his son Omar and the rest of his family. May God grant Khalid and his soul comfort and peace.