ِDr Khalfan Al Harrassi –
After 49 years of building Oman, the longest-serving and best seasoned leader in the Middle-East and Arab world, the beloved father of Omani people, HM Sultan Qaboos left for the heavenly abode, and before leaving he ensured the reins of the country was smoothly handed over to the most qualified and wise leader HM Sultan Haitham bin Tarik.
For the Omani people, Sultan Qaboos was not merely a ruler, a king or a sultan! He was a visionary leader, an exemplary teacher, a sincere counsellor and a loving father, with whom more than 70 per cent of Omanis were born and raised during his steadfast half-century of leadership. The love and great affection the Omanis have for the deceased Sultan Qaboos is indelible and imprinted in the mind, soul and heart of every Omani citizen.
Without going into details that no amount of volumes can hold, HM Sultan Qaboos, with his unwavering commitment, revolutionized pre-1970 Oman and transformed it into a developed nation, while preserving its unique identity, heritage, customs, traditions, culture and safety, all of which differentiate Oman from the rest of the world!
From a poor country, dependent mainly on fishing and farming, HM Sultan Qaboos laid down, with well-studied phases and steps, strong and vibrant developmental infrastructure foundations through which massive modernization programmes and developments were achieved that enriched Oman with significantly high standards of living, to list a few, in schools, higher education, healthcare, social services, hospitals, roads, telecommunication, technology, sea ports, airports, hotels, army, police, ministries, banks, post offices, jobs, public and private civil service institutions.
Sultan Qaboos never compromised the comfort, life, security and peace of his country; his utmost objective was improving the life of the Omani people, while at the same time, with his external leadership wisdom, in which he committedly sought to solidify ties, bring peace, and develop mutual global understanding, by assisting others to solve their political tensions and gain regional stability. He became a man I would like to call a worldwide peace consultant and peacemaker!
We shall all remember the continuous wisdom of the speeches through which Sultan Qaboos encouraged Omanis to believe in their own abilities, and he encouraged us to work hard to maximize and achieve the huge potential that each of us possess, in order to serve Oman in its quest for a dignified, decent, promising and prosperous future.
Although we have all been deeply saddened by the tragedy, by the loss we and the international community have endured, our strong belief in Almighty Allah is what sustains us as we pray that our beloved Sultan Qaboos is now resting in the heavens. We shall translate our love to our previous Sultan into stronger love and loyalty to HM Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and to Oman. Could we only, we would say a humble and simple ‘thank you,’ to our beloved leader and father Sultan Qaboos not only for all you have done, but by the remarkable dignity you displayed in anointing your successor with such gravitas and dignity. Humble and simple because that was your way, and may we forever keep those qualities to the fore.
As, in your passing, you have wisely put Oman in the good and safe hands of HM Sultan Haitham bin Tarik. We should continue to work harder with honesty, diligence and determination for the future of Oman. The story that was started by Sultan Qaboos is not finished, but begun, and is to be continued…
The writer is a prominent educationalist who has worked in the Ministry of Education, as Director of the Foundation Institute and Head of the Department of Foreign Languages. He is the Head of the Essential Skills Unit at the University of Nizwa.