The Honourable Paul Findley, a close friend of Khalaf Al Habtoor for a quarter of a century, is a former United States Representative from Illinois. He was first elected in 1961 and served 22 years in Congress. Proving he still has fight at the ripe old age of 91, Findley traveled from Jacksonville to attend the book launch. Here is what he had to say to his dear friend…
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Friend Khalaf: Thank you for the privilege of participating today and for inviting my son Craig to join me. We have traveled the heartland of America’s Mid West to the Emirates, the heartland of the Middle East.
Friend Khalaf, we were brought together 25 years ago in a common cause, the plight of Palestinians. We have stayed together in that noble long-suffering cause. We will never give up.
From the first day of our meeting, I have known Khalaf Al Habtoor as a constant friend - a man of his word.
His handshake, in the great Arab tradition, is as good as a signature sealed in wax and attested by notary. His friendship is a durable as granite. Twenty-five years ago, although then a young self-taught engineer, Khalaf Habtoor was already a giant in business and active worldwide for peace and justice.
He has built great edifices, all beautiful and durable.
But his greatest and most important creation is the bridge of peace and justice he is building between East and West. It reaches my hometown, Jacksonville, Illinois.
He is a role model for the new generation of Arab leaders. He is a great builder, educator, humanitarian, and eloquent spokesman for a better tomorrow.
His life story is inspiring. He renders a great service to humankind by presenting the stirring story of his career in book form.
His memoir will inspire young and old to heights beyond. Not just for today but far in the distant aftertime. A book - especially this one - is assured readership far beyond lives in being.
Congratulations, my dear friend Khalaf.