Journalist and founder of Riad El-Rayyes Publishing House passed away in Beirut on Saturday at the age of 83.
El-Rayyes led a rich life in the world of journalism. He is a prolific writer who wrote about 37 books. Through his journey, he accomplished Al Manar newspaper in London, “Al Naqid” magazine and “Al Kashkol” library, which he opened in one of the finest neighborhoods of London. He later established the publishing house which carried his own name.
El Rayyes was born in Damascus in 1937. He left his hometown for Beirut at a time when Beirut was the capital of Arab journalism. After his high school studies, he worked in Lebanon and then in England.
He worked with Kamel Marwa, founder of Al-Hayat newspaper, who provided him with the opportunity to work as a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, an experience that he completed with Ghassan Tweini back then.
He says: “I convinced Ghassan Tweini to allow me the opportunity to travel to the regions of turmoil in the Arab world as a traveling reporter,” so he traveled to Yemen during the war between the republicans and the royalists, “and through Yemen, my Gulf interests began, and the Gulf was a totally unknown region of the Arabs.”
He started covering the entire Arabian Peninsula and was not limited to covering the Arab upheavals, but also included in his work other parts of the world, as a traveling reporter for the Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar.
At the time of the Lebanese Civil War, Riad went to London, and in 1977 he published “Al-Manar” newspaper, which was the first Arab newspaper to be published in Europe. Then he established “Riad El-Rayyes Books” publishing company in 1986, and as soon as the situation calmed down, he transferred his work to Beirut.
His books include: The Arabian Gulf and the Winds of Change, The Winds of the South, The East Winds, a Journalist and Two Cities, Before the Colors Fade, Journalism of a Third of a Century, Qur’ans and Swords, The Winds of the North, The Conflict of Oases and Oil: The Concerns of the Arabian Gulf, the Critical Period, The Land of the Little Dragon: A Journey To Vietnam and the Death of Others (Poetry).