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With great sorrow MEES informs its readers of the passing of Charles Snow, the publication’s assistant editor and chief political commentator for close to four decades. Charles first joined MEES in 1968 when it was still based in Beirut, Lebanon, relocating with the newsletter to Nicosia, Cyprus in 1976 at the beginning of the Lebanese war.
Though born in Detroit, and latterly also taking Cypriot nationality, in some ways Charles out-Britished the British. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University and London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), specializing in Middle East History and Arab Studies. Together with his native English, he mastered Arabic, translating classical texts, and was also fluent in French.
Charles travelled widely through the Middle East providing first-hand coverage of the region’s petroleum industry during the pivotal decade of the 1970s, particularly with regard to his key countries of Iran and Algeria. For two decades prior to his retirement he wrote the highly-regarded MEES weekly political column. Both his extensive knowledge of Middle East politics and his witty elegant prose were much appreciated by our subscribers.
At MEES, he worked closely for over three decades with long-time editor Ian Seymour (1933-2016) and founder and publisher Fuad Itayim (1929-1986), as well as with Walid Khadduri who succeeded Ian as editor and Fuad’s brother Basim, who remains a key figure at MEES.
Indeed, Charles, even in his retirement had remained a regular sight at MEES HQ, always willing to offer on the spot advice to his younger colleagues.
Charles enjoyed living in the Middle East and Cyprus, making scores of friends over the years. His political discussions reflected his wittiness and frankness, as he reflected on the complexities of modern Middle East history, particularly the injustices inflicted on the Palestinians.
Charles will be missed by his colleagues, but will be remembered for his sense of humor. He was a collector of Persian carpets and Islamic art. And, of course, he was particularly fond of having a dog at home.