Tripoli mourns former Lebanese PM Omar Karami

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Former Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami dies at the age of 80. Al-Akhbar/Marwan Tahtah

Published Friday, January 2, 2015

The coffin of former Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami arrived at Abdul Hamid Karami Square, named after his late father, in Tripoli, as crowds gathered to bid him farewell.

An official convoy transported Karami’s body to Tripoli, his hometown, from the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) in Beirut where he died Thursday at the age of 80 after a long battle with illness.

The convoy made several stops along the way, notably in some squares in Beirut, Jounieh, Byblos, Batroun, and al-Qalamoun, where citizens insisted on carrying the coffin along the city’s main street.

Former Prime Minister Najib Miqati; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gibran Bassil; Minister of Education Elias Bou Saab; MPs Samir al-Jisr and Mohammed Kabara; former MPs Jihad al-Samad and Jamal Ismail; Governor of North Lebanon Ramzi Nohra, and Head of the Higher Relief Committee Major-General Mohammad Kheir, as well as crowds of civilians and scouts all took part in the burial service.

Earlier Friday, banners and pictures of Karami were hung on the streets of Tripoli, the capital of North Lebanon, with statements praising his achievements displayed on the city’s walls. Stores, schools, and private and public institutions were closed for the funeral.

Since the early morning, scouts, headed by musical bands playing hymns of mourning, roamed the streets of the city, as Quranic verses echoed through convoys.

The Internal Security Forces’ department of traffic control in Tripoli closed most of the city’s streets at 8 am. At midnight, the department banned cars from parking in the area extending from al-Salam roundabout, near Karami’s residence, to the surroundings of Taynal Mosque and the family’s cemetery.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Karami family mourned the deceased, saying: ““With submission to the will of God, the Almighty, and with a lot of grief and anguish over his parting, the Karami family mourns its deceased member, Prime Minister Omar Abdul Hamid Karami, who passed away today.” (yesterday)

The statement added: “We have lost a dear person, and a good husband, father, and grandfather.” We confront our loss with faith, asking for mercy and forgiveness to that who used to repeatedly say before departing this world: “When afflicted with calamity, the patient say: To Allah we belong, and to Him we return.”

Prime Minister Omar Karami died at the age of 80. He was born on September 7, 1934, in the northern city of Tripoli.

Al-Akhbar/Marwan TahtahAl-Akhbar/Marwan Tahtah

He is the son of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Karami. He was also the brother of the late Prime Minister Rashid Karami, who was assassinated in 1987.

Omar Karami, who was known for his positions in support of the resistance and Lebanese unity, served as prime minister for two terms. The first was from December 24,1990 until his resignation in May 16, 1992 under President Elias Hrawi, following union protests denouncing the dire economic situation. The second was from October 26, 2004 until his resignation on February 28, 2005 under President Emile Lahoud. After ministerial consultations, he was re-elected as prime minister, but he declined the post and acted as caretaker prime minister until April 19, 2005.

He also served as a the minister of National Education and Fine Arts from November 25,1989 until December 24, 1990 under Prime Minister Salim Hoss and President Elias Hrawi.

Karami was elected as member of parliament for three consecutive terms, from 1992 until 2005.

(Al-Akhbar, NNA)

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