It has been one year already, since my beloved grandfather, Ostaad Shojaeddin Shafa, passed away. I think about him often and almost expect to see him again, the next time I visit Paris. Distance adds a surreal dimension. My logical mind knows very well that he has left us, but my heart still yearns to hear his voice and see him at the Café de Beaubourg, our favorite meeting place.
I am not the only one struck by this surreal state. So much time has been devoted in his memoir and to continue his work, that many feel as he is ominipresent, never having quite departed.
In life and in his memoir, he has marked so many by his knowledge, his devotion and his absolute mastery of his literary and cultural domain. He wrote and wrote, he never stopped and even in his last moments, his writing is what mattered most. He left behind a legacy that would be served justice only in its true following. It will take many to fill in his shoes, but that was always intended – to spread truth and to foster thinking, and not to have it limited to one person. After all, his writing was not his own: he merely sought to put together his findings, the fruit of thousands of hours of research, and to collect them in a thoughtful process and logical argument, such that the reader would ask the question: indeed, why?
In July, a truly honorable memorial ceremony was held in Paris, quite fittingly, at the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, with tribute paid to him (*) by the presence of diplomats and royalty, as well as family and friends. It was a moving event, and then, as now, I could not stop this ache in my heart and my tears from streaming.
Humanity will miss the gap he has left behind. I will miss the gap he has left in my heart.
I miss you, Baba Shafa.
(*) Please see his Facebook page, under Notes, for the Minister’s speech, in French with the unofficial English translation: http://www.facebook.com/shojaeddin.shafa