Dr Albert Moukheiber

Prestige Issue N° 1, June 1993

The lonely old Leo confides his love stories: ” What would a man be without the love of a woman? “


Albert Moukheiber became the marginal symbol, because in our Lebanese society the politician who dares to say no is unique.

“I was born on March 15 but I forgot the year.” Mischievous look, blue eyes he inherited from his father … ” that made many victims and continue to…” Albert Moukheiber is one of these strong characters that take away all suspicion from the first approach. A keen intelligence, a mixture of bravery and generosity, an outspoken coupled with a subtle speech and a good dose of humor and above all a something of ” Gavroche ” who has not aged a day despite the years. The penultimate of a family of ten children, Albert was born in Beit Mery in the “Moukheiber tribe” he said. Very young, he already devotes a total commitment to his mother, Catherine. “She instilled in us through rigorous exercise, that became the ritual of Sunday, the gift of speech … I ‘ve never written my parliamentary interventions. I owe my mother to be the speaker that I am. ” His father having been a professor of Arabic at the School of “Friends” in Broumana, where Albert continued his education, handles grain trade, without neglecting, on the contrary everything related to social work then established by Quakers Protestants, very active in Lebanon and Syria at the time. The young Albert then registered at the French Lycée. Why not with the Jesuits? Albert Moukheiber answers me praising, sincerely the Jesuits.  ” The president of the USJ, the Very Reverend Father Ducruet is entirely devoted for Lebanon … I met him one day and I told him he was my candidate for the Presidency of the Republic.” Politics, here we go again. Dr. Albert goes on to say his esteem also to the great missionaries of the American University, at its head “Bliss” that was an example of morality and ethics, ” at present the American political reality is far from providing us Bliss … but Warren Christopher seems well disposed towards Lebanon. ”


The birthplace of Dr. Albert Moukhaiber in Beit Mery .

THE LOVES OF LAUSANNE. “I see Switzerland as my second home ” and for good reason! It was in Lausanne, where his elder brother Prime electrician engineer of Lebanon is established, having married a local girl, Albert decides to continue his studies in general medicine. In 1935, there was in Lausanne all that was missing in Lebanon. All the attractions of a university life. ” I can not forget my friends … the inexhaustible pleasure to browse through libraries … the market of farmers sausages –Because says A. Moukheiber I ‘m a foodie.” Lausanne is the first memory of the girls … and a first love: Valentine Velover. They don’t leave each other and to accompany her to her literature courses, Albert began studying Political Science – that also he does not complete, too busy with the medicine ” my attachment was very strong, i was jealous and very possessive … “. “Now I do not attach myself, that’s why I ‘m not warping! ” His stay in Switzerland is interrupted by a year of internship in Vienna. Austria “a delightful country … I was fascinated when I went to the Opera House and watched all Austrians careful to follow in their music books and I was a little ashamed, I was there as someone who can not read … in fact I was drawn into the vortex of a people … the music has not held first place in my life. ” Yet it is often fun to listen to Beethoven ‘s fifth symphony, and admire Fayrouz and Oum Koulsoum. And if he comes to discover the ” great voice ” of sister Marie Keyrouz, there is a talent in front of his performance he bends, the unforgettable Herbert von Karajan: “this man had a spark of genius.”


Souvenir of the ball “Minerva” at Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne. To his right, his first love Valentine Velover.

FOR THE LOVE OF A WOMAN. When asked about what occupied the first place in his life he does not hesitate to answer: ” my sentimentality and my love for women … sometimes I wonder what would be a man without the love of a woman … what could really be interesting for him … also if there is a second face of the (political) opposition that is a loyalty to the woman. ” He would have liked to marry and have a family of 8 children. ” In love, I have no balance … This feeling is the culmination and the sublimity of the human soul. Each time it was – it is – the great love and therefore the fear of hurt. ” But there is the unspoken because we can not easily talk about things that have affected us, most that have shaped our interiority. During our discussions, I had in front of me a man equal to himself. Only twice emotion takes up all the space, revealing the whole character of my interlocutor. Albert Moukheiber is, as we imagine, the man of a single sentiment. “One day I was in my clinic at Gemmayzé … someone called me to offer me to hire a Polish nurse who wanted to work … as soon as I opened the door … she said this man will not leave me alone. She was right. If I were in another country I would have married her … She then moved to the United States … I always have news about her through my nephews residing in America … She was very beautiful “.


“I would have liked to marry and have a family of 8 children …”

THE FRIENDSHIPS OF THE OLD LION. “Old Lion ” deeply lonely firmly believes in friendship. Younger, he mainly frequented friends journalists: Marc Riachy, Mohamed Baalbaki , Louis el Hage, Ghassan Tueni , Georges Naccache . ” Marc Riachy and his father Iskandar, founder of the newspaper” wandering “reporter, and rightly nicknamed the” Voltaire of the East ” were existentialists before the time … I think the father of Marc and Emile Lahoud outperformed Sartre in this regard. ” ” Marc rebelled against all the conventional established in Lebanese society … I had a great friendship for Georges Naccache, he surpassed the others, he was very objective and made justice to the political action of men.” Albert Moukheiber will not hesitate to show his friendship and run to the rescue of Mohamed Baalbaki, Assad El Ashkar, Antoun Saadeh, Shawki Khairallah convicted under the mandate of Fouad Chehab, plotting against the state. He then activates with a group of friends including Ghassan Tueni to bring from Paris the great criminal lawyer at the time Maurice Garçon not hesitating to pay their own money to ensure for the rebels the best defense possible. This has to be another trait of the character of Dr. Moukheiber fiercely attached to the rule of law and justice. Albert Moukheiber has not ” earned ” a personal fortune through his services to medicine. Dr. Albert, and it is not he who will tell you, never accepted a penny from the poor. In 1958, Minister of Health, he is the defender of slogan – established by Decree ” the patient has no identity” … Because Albert Moukheiber is primarily a humanist. “In principle, I ‘m all for the rule of law and when I see a man who respects and defends the human rights he has my admiration.” And our example is the former Ambassador of France to Lebanon, Mr. René Ala: “This is a great friend … we often write “. Once again, return to the policy in this field … what about friendship? “Of course … I have several friends in politics … but my current state of mind is to feel a friendship so to speak for the people, the workers, peasants … illiterate. This category of people are rewarding for me. These people who rely on their natural and their spontaneous action have friendship for me. ”


Deeply lonely Albert Moukheiber strongly believes in friendship. In this photo, seen with Mr. Baalbaki, President of the Union of the press.

ADEPT OF SIMPLE HAPPINESS. Despite the enthusiasm of Albert Moukheiber for ideas he defends, and the youth of his wise words and his quick action, the man is of a remarkable serenity. The sober, simple and natural attract him. “I love the countryside, reading and especially animals. Their relationship with men leaves me thoughtful. I always try to discover their psychology. You must have visited the farm of Dr. Albert in Ain Saade to assess at its true value, his commitment to animals. “I gathered there, a kind of Noah’s Ark of the animal world … but the war destroyed everything.”

MY HOBBIES. I often spend evenings reading: “I read almost every night, a book and the foreign press especially Le Monde, Le Point, L’Express or Le Nouvel Observateur “. It is the ancient history and new philosophical approaches that capture his interest. He admits having a preference for these two French philosophers such as Jean- Paul Sartre because of his “humanism” and André Glucksmann, “because I feel close to those who rebelled against the conventional things in advancing their own new insights André Glucksmann is particularly illustrated in recent years by the publication of a book, a real pamphlet on the French socialist system, entitled ” stupidity.” Among the contemporary Lebanese intellectuals, ” I like the way of analyzing of Georges Corm published in” Cahiers de l’Orient  “even though I do not always agree with what he says I find that it has a “way to look at things” different from others. ” The work of Marcel Proust and poems of Nadia Tueni are at the top of his favorite books. ” Nadia … exquisite being who knew objectively to employ all the resources of her imagination and sensitivity in the service of poetry, which never ceases to arouse in us the most intense emotion.”

POLITICAL ITINERARY OF A TRUE TROUBLEMAKER.  “We made the governors pretentious and selfish by fearing their power, to woo and worship them, mumbling: yes sir, no sir, absolutely sir, I agree with you…” Yukio Mishima .
” To have a character – writes Jean – Paul Kauffmann- is not to accept the inevitable, or pretend. To have a character, is not, according to popular belief, to follow one’s temperament but his principles. ” Do what must be done, as has always been the Albert Moukheiber motto. He starts early his political career and at 25 years adheres to the ” National Bloc ” of Emile Edde adopting his patriotic ideas ” Emile Edde was of an exemplary honesty … uncompromising on principles.” Infatuated by democracy, Moukheiber eventually left the National Bloc which does not prevent him from maintaining a deep friendship with Amid. ” Raymond and I are alike. We have the same conception of law and justice. We are always in touch … The only conflict between us results from his stay abroad. ” In 1957, Albert Moukheiber wins for the first time, elections in front of Gabriel Murr. “Even if he is not aware, the people in his subconscious keeps a picture of what should be the policy … no politician can succeed if he does not seek the truth,” thus Albert Moukheiber conceives being a deputy, so he must live it. He became minister of health for the first time under the mandate of Camille Chamoun ” Ignoring the recent events in Lebanon, Chamoun was a true statesman. We were close and when I was in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under his tenure, he always loved to see me. ” Albert Moukheiber still remembers … the feeling in the throat and eyes filled with tears. ” 20 days before his death, Camille came to visit me and told me: I came to apologize to you … it was you who was right Albert, Chouf war was a fatal mistake.” Lebanese diplomacy owes to Moukheiber the election of Charles Malek to the UN. “My relationship with President Sleiman Franjieh was excellent and remained until the last minute. Franjieh was a sincere man who played his way to the Lebanese traditions. ”


Albert Moukheiber with Patriarch Méouchi .


From right to left : K. Abou Hamad , A. Moukheiber , S. Salam , President Franjieh S. , F. Ghosn , K. El Khalil , S. and F. El Ali Naffah .

ALWAYS DARE. If you accuse him of becoming the “Mr. No ” of Lebanon, because no sticks to his skin and to say yes he would lose his credibility, rebelling against the occupation of the country, the indomitable courage, passionately human, would answer: “Even simulated under the most attractive costumes, crime is always the same … you have to say no … why Charles de Gaulle became an example? “Because he dared to say no when the resistance was inevitable and by his supported ambition despite the difficulties, he raised France as a great power.” Another great monster of history he admires Winston Churchill. Like him, he loves battle in Parliament. All his life is that of a wrestler, whose ideal building a Lebanon at the height of his dreams … but ” maybe I demand the impossible.” Nayla ABI KARAM