At the entrance to Aley, on Beirut-Damascus Road, stands the statue of the lawyer, activist and martyr, Shakib Jaber.
Shakib Jaber was born in Aley in 1932. His father, Anis Jaber (the first lawyer in the region of Aley) enjoyed a friendship with the influential Lebanese politician, writer, poet and historian Amir Shakib Arslan – Amir al-Bayan. He named his son in honor of his friend.
Shakib Jaber came to be influential and highly respected in his own right, despite his early departure.
Shakib Jaber received his primary and secondary education at Sarat School and the National University of Aley.
He then studied at the Frères Institute in Beirut, and graduated as a lawyer from University St Joseph in 1956.
While studying, he participated in student movements, leading several.
After graduating, Shakib Jaber began working in the offices of his father. He then moved to the offices of several lawyers and collaborated with the Chouf politician and lawyer, Anwar al-Khatib for a period of time.
He became a political activist and social reformer during the 1950s and early 1960s.
Shakib Jaber joined Kamal Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party in 1953, later becoming the Party’s representative in the area of Aley. He later became a member of the board of directors and spokesman for the solidarity committee.
He was also a member of the South Arab Support Committees in Algeria, Cuba and Palestine, and was a member of the Anti-Colonial Committee, the Progressive Arab Front and the Peace Supporters.
He was a vocal opponent of the war in Viet Nam.
Shakib Jaber was nominated for parliament in 1960 and again in 1965.
He was revered by many for his altruistic, humanitarian values and desire to help those less fortunate.
He was a representative of many organisations, including the head of the Lebanese delegation to the African-Asian Solidarity Conference in 1965.
It was while he attending this conference on May 16, 1965 that he died in a car collision, after being in a coma for 30 hours.
His death was lamented by a number of writers, poets, and intellectuals, including Kamal Jumblatt, the representative of Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, the representative of the Lebanese Committee for Asian Solidarity Hashem al-Husseini, the representative of the Bar Association Fawzi Ghazi.
Such was the impression he made in countries he visited, on 16 December, 1965 a statue in Shakib Jaber’s honour was unveiled in Ghana.
The Government of Cuba established a library in his name at the Lebanese Embassy there, opening on August 8, 1965.
On 16 May, 1967 a commemoration statue was unveiled in Aley, a gift of the Soviet Republic and the Asian-African Solidarity Organization.