The following is my English translation of excerpts from “A Soldier from Oman, Memory’s Nectar” by (ret.) Inspector-General Said bin Rashid Al Kalbani.
It was decided at the Bait al Falaj hospital that I should be flown to Bahrain by a British aircraft for further treatment. I was first taken to the British base in Sharjah, and the following day to the clinic of the British base in Moharraq, and subsequently to Naeem Hospital in Manama.
There I knew nobody, nobody at all.
At dusk, the doctor came introducing himself as Dr Ali Fakhro, saying that he would operate on me. (That doctor later became the minister of health in Bahrain). After the operation, I was shifted to a ward with many patients. When I came round, I found my legs in plaster. I remember I had 200 Bahraini Dinar given to me by Maj. Denson. When looking for it, I found it safe, hidden beneath the plaster!
At that time, a number of Omanis were working in the Bahraini police. Upon hearing about me, they came to visit me. Amongst the ones I remember were Saud al Jahwari from the Mabrah town and Sultan al Rabiai from Falaj Bani Rabiaa. Their visit had a positive impact upon me, and I have always remained grateful to them.
After the plaster was removed, I began to exercise walking with nurses’ help.
One day I saw a demonstration. I was told it was held against the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in the 1967 war.
Through persistent exercises, my situation improved. I remained in Naeem Hospital for about four months, after which I was shifted to Qala, the Bahraini police headquarters, awaiting an aircraft to take me to Oman. During my stay in Qala, I made the acquaintance of many Omanis working in the Bahraini police force. Some of them came back later to Oman and joined the Omani police force.
I stayed there for fifteen days, and subsequently moved back to Bait al Falaj. Our regiment was then in Salalah. I joined the office of Brig. Gen. Maxwell, who informed me of my promotion to the rank of sergeant and awarded me the Dhofar Medal, which was given to anyone participating in the war in Dhofar. The Brigadier General told me in the presence of Capt. Ali al Balushi, “You can sit in my office now, but you should perhaps go on leave till your regiment comes back from Salalah”.
I did take leave and went straight to my hometown. Walking on crutches, I felt people looked at me as if I were handicapped. They thought I would always remain like that. I also felt I was powerless amongst my own family after I had been a man brimming with vitality and energy, participating in all the major events. However, on further reflection, I became all the more determined to take my condition as a catalyst for holding fast and overcoming all the difficulties I was facing. Putting my trust in Allah I persisted, with more energy than before, with attempts at walking. To avoid being noticed, I would go out daily to the plain, carrying with me bread, dates and water in a pot and would sometimes harvest honey. My condition improved as the days passed by, and, after about a month, I began to walk using just a single crutch.