Remembering Professor Bassiouni
By Azher Quader

He was a towering figure in the world of international law, recognized for his knowledge and wisdom, whose counsel was often sought in matters of great complexity and conflict.
He was a courageous voice in the chaotic marketplace of opinionated arguments where people spoke from passion and he showed them the facts. He went to far off troubled lands where few would venture to go, seeking to find answers for questions on what went wrong and what could be done to right the wrongs.
I first came to know of him through my son Abrar, who was one of his beloved student sons at DePaul, when he was a law student there. That special bond of love and admiration between the teacher and taught I would come to realize with time, was incredibly tight and tender. As Ahmed Rehab points out, there were many in the student community who were touched by his captivating charm and remained in its embrace throughout his life.
I last heard him speak on the crisis in Syria at a large public gathering of luminaries in the interfaith community and concerned citizens of the city. He was unmistakably clear and characteristically outspoken in presenting the facts. When he finished, he left the audience standing awestruck, applauding with reverent enthusiasm, the power and passion of a man who was just simply an embodiment of pure truth and compassion.
Cherif Bassiouni was no ordinary man. He was a humanitarian par excellence, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for his innumerable services to promote peace and understandings in various regions of the world, struggling to heal from the wounds of conflict and war.
He was a scholar of great distinction, whose books and writings are a required read for students of international law in many parts of the academic world. Above al,l he was a sincere friend for all who came to know him, whose magnetic personality touched them with a warmth and glow that would inspire them, to follow his example and make a difference.

 

 

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