Any history of modern Oman will be written in two segments —“Before Sultan Qaboos” and “After Sultan Qaboos.”
For, in our times, no leader has so quickly transformed society from near-medievalism to modernity, and a country from being insignificant within its region to becoming a globally-recognised force for good. Of no other country, has the name been so synonymous with that of its leader.
Internationally, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos was admired and envied, by other leaders, as a relentless force for global peace, reconciliation, and mediation. His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, upon ascension to the throne, put it succinctly, “He set up a modern state from scratch, a country that is now recognised by all, far and near.”
HM Sultan Qaboos achieved this for his people and his country by the sheer vigour of his personality, but gradually, his deeds matching his words. In an interview with Foreign Affairs Journal in 1997, he said, “I believe in evolution and not a sudden evolution.” He spectacularly unified a nation riven with discontent, poverty, divided tribal allegiances and remoulded it according to his vision — of unity, respect, compassion, and strength. He was passionately loved by the people of Oman, and it became almost offensive to contemplate a life without their Sultan Qaboos, who had ridden many a political and natural storm. So much so that when he left us for his heavenly abode, we lost much of our light.