Fahad Al Abri –
I don’t believe that whatever I write will be enough to attribute everything His Majesty Sultan did for us, but I can quote some of his words that inspired his leadership and that which was fulfilled.
“Yesterday it was complete darkness, and with the help of God, tomorrow will be a new dawn on Muscat, Oman and it its people. I promise you to proceed forthwith in the process of creating a modern government. My first act will be the immediate abolition of unnecessary restrictions on your lives and activities. My people, I will proceed as quickly as possible to transform your life into prosperous one with a bright future,” His Majesty Sultan Qaboos said in his first speech on July 23, 1970.
Before HM Sultan Qaboos, Oman was as a poor country, with minimal education and Omanis were seeking opportunities outside of the Sultanate. Health care was a struggle, education was a challenge and living as an Omani was truly difficult. Now at this moment, with the passing of His Majesty, looking back to where we were in the past and where we are now, and everything that has been accomplished, we ralise we have come so far! Now Oman has become the key of maintaining peace in the region, and it has witnessed an economic rise through petroleum, tourism and agriculture.
“Everyone in this nation is equal. There isn’t any difference between big and small, rich and poor; for equality mandates, everyone to be siblings under the umbrella of social justice,” His Majesty Sultan Qaboos said in his National Day address on November 18, 1973. From that day equality was highlighted as an important ruling factor in our nation. Everyone was treated the same no matter where they were in Oman which was reflected in Ministries, Government sectors and individuals, this became embedded in the Omani culture. Since then there has been no differentiation between people.
“Education and training human is a laborious process. Yet, it is a necessary process. We shall, for our part, spare no effort to provide opportunities for the training of Omani’s at all levels of education,” HM Sultan Qaboos said in 1991 at Sultan Qaboos University. There were many places which had no schools and no teachers. Now, we have hundreds of schools, one in almost every village. Education has come a long way with some schools teaching more than one language such as English, French and German. Higher education, founding Sultan Qaboos University and supporting other private institutions to bring the level of education in the nation to a better standard, was all achieved because of His Majesty’s vision to contribute the best for its people and the people who live here.
“We belong to the international family. Our foreign policy is defined with clarity: A hand building from within and a hand offered goodness and giving, that continues our participation in world events and development,” said Sultan Qaboos in a speech aired on National Television in 1975. Oman’s policy has translated to be enemy to none and friends to all. His Majesty believed that Oman is not only a country but an idea that could be a space to promote peace by building bridges, solving conflicts and giving a chance to reconsider better options for humanity. Oman is in a very difficult geopolitical position. Yet, he maintained, and we continue to maintain the vision of Oman as the land of peace.
“We are continuing on the path in which the country in its blessed march, needs both men and women because no doubt it resembles the bird in relying on both its wings to fly his on the horizons of the sky. How can this bird manage to fly if one of its wings is broken? Will it be able to fly?,” His Majesty Sultan Qaboos said on Women’s Day in 2009. Today we have many women fulfilling leading positions in the country, from a social and capital perspective. We have fifteen women in the Omani State Council. We have three Ministers who are women, the most recent is the Minister of Art Affairs, Dr Suad bint Mohammed bin Ali al Lawatia and the Minister of Technology and Communication Eng Azza bint Sulaiman bin Said al Ismailiya.
As an Omani I can say from my heart that His Majesty accomplished his land and people. We are blessed to have had such a wise and visionary leader.
The author is a personal trainer and fitness coach resident in Muscat,
who is also an advocate of healthy lifestyles, especially for young Omanis.