Mohammed Al Aridi - born in Baissour (Aley District) - journalist, linguist, poet

Mohammed Al Aridi


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Mohammed Mustafa Al-Aridi was born in the village of Baysour (district of Aley) in 1911.

It was not until 1973 that he entered the field of journalism.

During the following years, Mohammed Al Aridi held many distinguished positions – including editor-in-chief of Al Zaman newspaper.

He was appointed responsible director of Al Binna newspaper, the mouthpiece of the SSNP (Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party.)
He was also director of Sabah Al-Khair (Good Morning) magazine.

He also practiced journalism in the newspapers Al-Safaa, Al-Bayan, Al-Anbaa, Nahdat Al-Arab, Al-Jeel, and Afaq.

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Mohammed Al-Aridi was considered a brilliant journalist, critical linguist and talented writer and poet.

He devoted much of his time to teaching students the art of journalism.

Among his printed works were – Al Fara’id Al-Maknouna – The Dictionary of Hidden Secrets; a collection of poetry; and The Clear History of Banu Ma’ruf Al-Muwahidin.

The Dictionary of Hidden Secrets was published in 1983.
The dictionary’s publisher, Dar Abaad, described the book thus:

“A dictionary of unique things hidden in sounds, nicknames, occultation, and opposites, written by Mohammed Al-Aridi, the writer, poet, and journalist, is a unique dictionary of its kind in Arabic, which none of its masters has addressed at length before. It came as a result of an investigation over fifty years of time, in which it is stored in language books and dictionaries, and it contains innovations rich in benefits, based on citing the most reliable and authentic sources.

“The book includes four sections: sounds, nicknames, absence, dual forms, and opposites. The author has paved the way for each of its chapters in a way that makes it easy for the reader to reach the meanings, hoping that it will benefit those who speak the opposite, in their diverse backgrounds, especially those who love research and investigation, and those who are keen on the great Arabic heritage. The book is a unique dictionary of its kind in Arabic, which none of its masters has discussed at length before.”

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Mohammed Al Aridi was an active member and staunch supporter of the SSNP – Syrian Social Nationalist Party (which included many other writers and intellectuals from the region – such as Aley’s Said Saab and Adeeb Hadded (Abu Melhem).

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Mohammed Al Aridi passed away in 1991. His funeral in his hometown of Baissour was attended by scores of literary, media and political figures from around Lebanon, from Beirut to Bekaa and Mount Lebanon – including Fouad Salman (Vice President Progressive Socialist Party), politician Ghazi Al-Aridi, Municipality mayors and officials, journalists, and a large delegation of SSNP leaders and members.

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A memorial service was held for Mohammed Al-Aridi, in which many poems and speeches were recited, praising his patriotic, national and intellectual merits.

Before the official service, memorial poems were delivered by Sheikh Salah Malaeb, Mr. Mounir Al-Aridi, Mr Makram Al-Aridi, and Emir Nadim Al Nasr Al-Din (from the village of Kfar Matta).

As for the SSNP speech, it was delivered by Secretary Hafez Sayegh:

“You were not an ordinary member in this renaissance, but your fingerprints were part of this renaissance. You were one of her pens, but you were not a line of words. Rather, behind every word there was fire and light. A fire of knowledge derived from the truth, and it was a fire of struggle in the face of sycophants, in the face of the misled, and in the face of those who wanted to uproot this people from its cultural and intellectual heritage. You were in this renaissance to the extent of your commitment to it, and you were a person who understood that membership in the struggle was not a prestige nor a formal progress, but rather it was deep within this people. So, in ‘Baissour’, you have been a hero since you were born. Generations of ascendants circle around you, transforming ‘Baissour’ from a geographical spot on this mountain to a spot in the history of this country.”

In conclusion, Mohammed Al-Aridi’s son, the lawyer Issam Al-Aridi, delivered a speech on behalf of the family.

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Deputy Head of the Press Syndicate, Fadel Said Akl, wrote the following statement:

“My brother Muhammad Al-Aridi
Shame on death when it lasts as long as you.
You are stronger than death with your morals, etiquette, and loyalty
A nation has been embodied in you.
Your path has been rewarded with honors,
You endured what you endured while you were alive.
Your sacrifices while you were alive were an asset to your survival.
How can you not be remembered for goodness and pride when you are so chivalrous?
How can we not miss you when you are the father of generations?
If I were asked to draw perfection, I would remember you.
Every atom in you is love, forgiveness, openness and humanity.
Every breath of yours is a blessing.
Every one of your children is an uprising of goodness and promise.
Every one of your heartbeats is life for the nation.
Every one of your exhales is a service to the cause.
You volunteered for Lebanon, the Arabs, and the faith as a valiant guerrilla soldier, not caring about the affairs of the world except the affairs of the people, whom you loved.
When the people suffered and suffered martyrdom, you were their echo.
When the country suffered a setback and they tried to destroy and injure it, you were relief and balm.
We accompanied you at work, and we learned of your strong character, and that you were the glow, the light, the guide, and the wise guide.
You left for your country examples of literature, journalism, patriotism, morals, science, integrity, and uprightness.
Sleep soundly.
Your country will be spared from the insatiable claws and fangs, and your honorable descendants will be the best complement to your noble message.”

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The Editors’ Guild mourned the loss of Mohammed Al-Aridi with this statement:

“The Editors Syndicate mourns the unfortunate loss of the journalist, our colleague Muhammad Al-Aridi, we enumerate the merits of the late deceased and his journalistic struggle to uphold the word of justice and truth … after he formed a school that graduated a number of journalists … while he participated in founding many newspapers and magazines that … played their role in promoting the word of freedom.

“A journalist from the first generation who struggled for a long time in the journalistic field and in trade union and party work. He was a beacon for the generation of journalists who are proud to have studied under the likes of Muhammad Al-Aridi.”

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President of the Lebanese Journalists Union, Melhem Karam, penned this tribute:

“Mohamed Al-Aridi was one of the pillars of journalistic freedoms and democracy in Lebanon. Despite his holding party positions, he remained open to dialogue and did not cut off bridges of communication with his colleagues and opponents who stood on the opposite side politically. His union and personal ties with them remained close until the moment God chose him to be by his side.

“In the absence of Muhammad Al-Aridi, we lose a beloved friend and a big brother. We cry for him and mourn him to the Lebanese in the homeland and the expanse, and to the Lebanese and Arab journalistic family, offering our deepest condolences to his grieving family, to the National Social Party, and to the press and editors unions, asking God to shower his pure soul with solace.”

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