We were shocked to hear of Saad Silawi’s death, an old friend who left us and a lot of his fans with many pictures, stories, lessons and emotions.
For years he had filled our lives with joy and love. He was an example of the reporter that would not sleep, even in his toughest days. When he was struck with throat cancer, he lost his voice; his main asset as a TV reporter, field correspondent and a regular public speaker.
Despite all the obstacles, he did not remain silent. About 6 years ago, when I visited him in the hospital; he had just come out from an operation and realized he couldn’t talk. He grabbed a paper and a pen, started to talk with us about everything except himself and his disease. He wrote many things, as if he did not lose his voice.
We visited him in the hospital like any friend, we wanted to support him in this tough time. We were concerned because we did not know how we are going to talk with him. Saad is the one who relieved us and raised our morale, he made the day of his sickness a funny one. Although he could not utter one word, he made us laugh at his words. He started joking with everyone with his written words, he looked at their faces and laughed as well. This is an extraordinary personality, in one of his toughest experience.
After that, this amazing person lived with a hole in his throat, with no voice except that he had to press on a device on his throat. He never kept silent with these difficulties. He represented everyone one. Despite the pain he managed the interviews while putting his finger on his throat to have a throaty voice. His doctor tried to convince him to use an assisting device that would talk in a computerized manner. However, Saad refused and chose to talk through his perforated throat. That is how he lived his new tough life. I never saw him silent or complaining.
Saad Silawi is really an example of a rare journalist. Despite the dangers, he was one of the very first ones who went to Iraq immediately after the fall of Saddam's regime; he went to Jerusalem and Gaza, passed by various capitals and summits. He accompanied kings and presidents, demonstrations, bore prosecutions, went to courts in prejudiced cases, led the media teams, and allowed beginners to work with himAbdulrahman Al-Rashed
He was not distinguished by challenging the disease but rather he was a persistent journalist, and made his own glory and even participated in making others’ glory.
Saad Silawi is really an example of a rare journalist. Despite the dangers, he was one of the very first ones who went to Iraq immediately after the fall of Saddam's regime; he went to Jerusalem and Gaza, passed by various capitals and summits. He accompanied kings and presidents, demonstrations, bore prosecutions, went to courts in prejudiced cases, led the media teams, and allowed beginners to work with him. We find no one like him in the media, nor a better friend. It is rare to find a kind heart and smile like his.
We can never forget Saad because he was part of our happiest days, work and success.
Unfortunately, we lost him at 55, and he disappears from our lives and his family’s, but it is God’s will.
Our condolences to his wife, Rawaby - who lost the dearest two in her life; her father and husband in one week - to his son Sari and his daughters Rakeen and Rozana.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.