Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Dhu al-hijjah 11, 1445 H
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Seeing wisdom among fools a privilege


Lucky, fortunate, charmed, favoured, propitious, felicitous, providential, serendipitous, or privileged, some of us are just born that way, aren’t we? Some of us would fall in a swamp and come up smelling of roses, while others always seem to feel a little out of step and would trip up, landing flat on their face, on a red carpet in front of the media scrum... and so, sometimes, everything seems right or unfair, depending on luck.

On the other hand, you’ve heard the saying that, “You make your own luck'', and that can, in many cases be true, along the lines of the golfer Gary Player saying, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” That wonderful actor, Denzel Washington says, “Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you are prepared for it'', while others think that not everything is chance, that there are certain rules, and all you need is the wisdom to understand that knowledge and skills, along with a fair helping of understanding can make a world of difference.

The wonderfully incisive Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, wrote, “Above all, he liked it that everything was one’s own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognised for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared.”

But to get back to my main focus for today, I feel that maybe, in whatever guise we identify it, much of good fortune is actually privilege, and we are privileged to have the opportunity to be lucky, or not! Think about it... Do you feel safe and secure when you go to sleep, and that when you wake up tomorrow your world will be pretty much as it was when you fell asleep? Do you get fed fresh, healthy options as part of a balanced family diet everyday? Do you get to worship, and celebrate your religion without persecution? Do you have social and sporting opportunities with your peers? Can you move through your everyday environment without hindrance or harm? Do you go on family holidays? And are you free to choose your favoured clothing, accessories and the like.

Do your parents and teachers also encourage you to be questioning and to have well thought out opinions, with sufficient opportunities to express yourself? Are you free to make mistakes, without being bullied as a consequence? Have you been able to study the culture and history your ancestors without ridicule? Do you feel that if you work hard enough, you will have a choice of employment opportunities? Then, really, you may be lucky, but even more than that, you are privileged to be living in an environment, a community and society where respect is a cultural requirement that is consistently maintained.

The Sultanate of Oman is almost nebulous in its benign nature, which does not imply weakness, but rather an exquisite richness, and a confidence, maybe even a little arrogance in its humanity... and yes, that arrogance, rather than any conceit, is what gives Omanis the privilege of walking tall, among the other nations of the region.

The Sultanate of Oman may not have the embarrassment of riches of the Qataris, the massive population of the Saudis, the conflicted society of Yemen, the intrusive influences that can tarnish the United Arab Emirates, the cultural restraints of Iran, the volatility of Egypt, or the intensity of Lebanon to name just a few regional (MENA) ‘hotspots.’ But the Sultanate of Oman does have more than enough, and its people have more than enough.

The ‘Jewel of the Arabian Gulf’ however, still has so much more to offer... it is a land of privilege a land of opportunities... lucky? Maybe. But blessed with a people who deserve that privilege, because of the humble way they, themselves, express it.

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