His Majesty Sultan Qaboos is the maker of the contemporary history of Oman, events of which have made a positive impact on the destiny of Arabian Peninsula too. His name came from among the rarest of Arabic names, but he became the most prominent Arab leader.
After his education in England, he returned to Oman with a vision clear in front of him. His Majesty stated in one of his speeches: “My father’s insistence on studying my religion, history and culture of my country had a great impact in broadening my awareness of my responsibilities towards my people and humanity in general. I also benefited from western education and underwent a soldier’s life. Finally, I had the opportunity to benefit from reading the political and philosophical ideas of many famous world thinkers.”
The events of July 23, 1970 constituted a historic turning point for the nation, which His Majesty articulated clearly: “Yesterday was darkness, but with God’s help tomorrow, dawn will rise on Oman and its people.” What an amazing day! That hero’s inspirational leadership was destined to be lauded in the coming ages. With genius, wisdom and insight, he sought, and achieved a life for his people in an incredibly short time. Indeed, a modern country of respect for law, and each other was to emerge under his forceful, compassionate leadership.
His vision focused on “empowering people before building in stone”, though many schools, hospitals and health centres were opened, with no region favoured or neglected and universities, colleges, institutes, and mosques were established in all parts of the country. The State Council was established, and Majlis Ash’shura representing all wilayats of the Sultanate to ensure their participation in creating development strategies and plans in the manner of an open parliament.
His Majesty also utilised his resources to exert control in mountainous areas and united the Omani people. He then set forth his plans for the economic stability of the country, and engaged with those who had been denied any form of consultation.
Thanks to His Majesty, the Arab League recognised the Sultanate of Oman as one of its members, and eventually became a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. His relations with Arab countries and his ability to solve some Arab issues thanks to his wise policies of reconciliation and unification led to a higher profile. During the period of youth unrest known as the ‘Arab Spring’, Oman rose to a place of prominence in regional affairs as it used its wisdom in regional and global roles that led to Oman being recognised during his reign as the ‘Arab Switzerland.’
During that period of much respected wisdom and vision, he rose in global estimation, and Oman became a regular meeting place for peace and reconciliation conferences. He played a key role in developing Oman’s relationship with Britain and France, and formed political relations with the American, Russian, Chinese and European super powers to become even more effective as a man of peace. In a statement he said: “We are always keen on being aware of our roles on the international scene in accordance with our policy, which it pursues from the beginning with all positivity and clarity, which is based on a foundation of firm belief in the principles of peaceful coexistence among all peoples, good neighbourliness between neighbouring countries and non-interference in the internal affairs of others and respect for mutual national sovereign rights.’’
Locally, this wise man of the world contributed to the establishment of cultural projects, the arts, sports tourism, and continued infrastructural development through such residential developments as ‘The Wave Muscat’ later to become Al Mouj, As Sifah, Muscat Hills, Bandar Khairan and the likes, while encoraging national and international investment through a variety of business incentives, and in doing so made more jobs available.
The history of Sultan Qaboos provides a great legacy for future generations. The character of the hero represents political ideology, the art of the possible, and not the art of the impossible, meaning that he is a man of wisdom, decision and logic that is uniquely, far from emotional. His powerful legacy will live on.
(Buthaina al Yahyaee, hailing from Bahla, is interested in photography, reading and writing.)