The end of a legend?

It’s hardly the first time, but the Daily Star has once again been invaded by bailiffs who shut the paper’s offices down last week. My almost-employer (I was offered the job last summer but then they turned out to have no money to pay me) is up to its ears in debt as usual – it’s been written up by a tiny staff and a seemingly-endless supply of unpaid interns for years now. The paper was founded in 1952 by Kamal Mroue, and continued by his widow after his death in 1966. It died and resurged several times during the civil war. Since its resurrection in 1991, the founder’s son Jamil Mroue has been running it as virtually the only independent newspaper in Lebanon – and the Middle East for that matter – and consequently it hasn’t got the party/sectarian backing (i.e. financial input) that keeps Lebanon’s myriad other newspapers going without a readership sufficient to support it. Apparently nobody seems to appreciate the value of this sole independent english-language source for news in the region. Or its policy of giving a voice to all sides and parties. And thus, unless Jamil finds a new source of money somewhere quickly (something which he has a proven reputation for), a legend will die – and several of my friends will have to look for new jobs…


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