Cyprus Mail

Veteran journalist Charles Snow dies aged 78

Charles Snow pictured in his 40s

Charles Snow, a veteran journalist and expert in Middle Eastern politics, art and culture, died on Wednesday at the age of 78.

Snow, a US national, had been working as political editor at the Nicosia-based Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), a weekly publication that focuses on Middle East and North Africa energy news, data and analysis, up to around six years ago when he retired.

Snow was described by long-time friends and colleagues as very energetic and interesting, with an avid interest in the Middle East and Islamic art.

He was an Arabist, educated in Cambridge and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

He was employed as a young journalist in the late 1960s at MEES which at the time was based in Beirut. Snow had travelled extensively to the Middle East as a journalist until the 1970s and eventually started writing the MEES political commentary on developments in the region on a weekly basis.

He had been living in Cyprus since April 1976, when MEES relocated to the island due to the Lebanese civil war.

According to a MEES colleague and friend Snow could read Arabic and do a very good translation into English.

Citing a common friend of the two, he said that Snow, “had a special filter in his mind to extract prose Middle Eastern politicians use and come to the gist of the argument”.

“He had great interest in Islamic history and understood the Middle East and its culture,” he told the Cyprus Mail. “He was a very cultured, well-educated person. He liked Persian carpets and Islamic art, and his dogs.”

For former BBC Middle East correspondent, Chris Drake, Snow was a very energetic, “remarkably well-informed” person.  “Never a dull moment when he was around,” Drake told the Cyprus Mail.

Snow read widely and always had a good argument whatever the subject.

Funeral arrangements are to be announced at a later stage.

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