Rumor has it that the well known journalists Ibrahim Al-Amin and Joespeh Smaha, both of whom left As-Safir on rather unfriendly terms, are re-opening an old leftist newspaper. Apparently, they are partnering in this venture with Azmi Bshara and Onsi Al-Hajj, An-Nahar’s former editor-in-chief, one of Lebanon’s foremost journalists, and a pioneer of Lebanese prose poetry. Incidentally, Al-Hajj left An-Nahar a long time ago following a clash with the late Gebran Tweini.
Such a newspaper, should it come to be, would hopefully add some color to the local media scene. While it would be naïve to assume that this is a neutral newspaper, it may actually serve to host some voices and opinions which, like those of Smaha and Al-Amine, have been repeatedly suppressed with the events that followed the assassination of the late prime minister Rafic Hariri.
Al-Amine is often accused by the "February 14" forces of having ties to the Syrians. His latest writings, before leaving As-Safir, focused on socio-economic issues and attacked the corruption of politicians who ruled Lebanon under Syria’s tutelage. He also criticized the abuse of the Hariri assassination in local, and regional, politics; he often doubted the credibility of Mehlis team and the course of the UN investigation in the assassination of Hariri.
Smaha is actually one of the best and most cultured journalists in Lebanon. He was the cultural page editor in As-Safir before he made editor-in-chief. Under him, As-Safir’s cultural page became one of the most prominent in Arab countries. He is a profound analyst who, having his own opinions and standings, is able to argue for them in rational and objective ways. Of course, most would still disagree.