Abdel Majid El-Sharif and Khoury Mikhael Khoury, By Hassan Bietar 4th April 1999
Dear Abdel Fattah,
The content of your letter has proved my expectation and whom I thought you were. Off course I knew your late father. He was a handsome man but not a show off, humble and likeable. My father used to like him a lot and my mother was a good friend of your folks. I know exactly where your house was next to Abou Akrama the famous "dama" player and Abou Hussain the storyteller. Your father was every body's friend. A good story came to me about him and Khoury El-Minieh.
The bus of Ibrahim Moussi Dip (Abou Bader) used to leave Bazbina early in the morning at 7 picking up passengers all the way until Tripoli. One day, your father was on the bus sitting next to Khoury Bazbina, Abouna Mikhael Khoury (Abou Alif's dad) and a neighbor of your folks. As usual your father was picking on Abouna Mikhael who was a simple and a humble person. They were arguing about the fee the priests receive from the family of the deceased without any guaranty if the deceased goes to Haven or not. Your father was arguing on behalf of the families who suffer twice: (1) For the loss of a loved one, and (2) For the loss of the fee they have to pay the priests for praying but without offering the required guaranty after death and judgment day and if God decides that the deceased deserves hell and God didn't want to accept the priests prayers.
At a point the discussion heats up and the bus reaches El-Minieh and picks up the priest there. This priest has a very tough and funny personality. Abouna Mikhael seeing that he is losing the argument to your dad, felt that perhaps Khoury El-Minieh might be able to assist in this debate. Well, it was a simple matter the El-Minieh Abouna told your father. When you die, I will pray for your salvation and will charge your family double since you are a Muslim. Now if God receives you in his Haven I will keep the money and, if not, inform your family and I promise to return the money fully to them.
By the way this is my uncle's, Khoury Ibrahim Nassar, story about your dad. I don't know whether you heard it before.
The following is the 1999 letter I think it will inform you about us. My wife is Colombian and we have been married for 33 years. Suria is 31, graduated from UC Davis and working for Starbucks in the international business development in Seattle, Washington. Jasmina is 29, graduated from California State University of SF and is an office manager for an international management firm: A. T. Kearney in San Jose, California. Javier is 24, graduated from UC Berkeley and working as a distributor sales rep for Westover Scientific in Seattle. Laila is 23 and in her last year in college at the University of Washington, Seattle. Myself, I have been working for Bechtel since 1969 off and on for 25 years. I will be getting the Rolex for the 25-year service award in coming March. I am including their electronic addresses as well as mine in my house if you would like to correspond with us. Also included the electronic addresses of Manuel Hazim and Ziad Nassar, Paul Nassar' son.
Best regards to you, your wife and children, and grand.
Hassan I. El-Bietar