FORTY SIX years ago, he disembarked from an old model civilian airplane at a humble airport in Muscat — a young man with a skinny body and thick beard.
His sharp perspective reflected foresight and big hopes for the advancement of a country overburdened with limitations, as if it was in an era which the wind of change has not reached.
At the time, the country closed itself — even the gate of the capital used to be closed when the night comes. This skinny young man, who came from an era of gushing civilization variables, wanted to put his country at the same level with advanced countries without taking it away from its culture and historical legacy.
He, who became the Sultan of Oman — the land and the people, does not fail to turn dreams into reality. His determination is like the mountain rocks in his country.
On that day, he said his hobby is to listen to classical music because it brings peace to the soul and helps clear the mind when looking into issues. This delicate man talked with determination, capable of creating a developmental miracle as manifested in his outlook for a better future for his country. He got what he wanted.
That is Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a knight who rode the future-winged horse of Oman to embark on various stages of building, such that development works were simultaneous for human resources and structures.
It was a difficult and exhausting path but it bore fruit — a modern State. Four decades and a half ago, the race was more intense.
Sultan Qaboos wanted to remove the effects of backwardness caused by the closure. He wanted to improve infrastructure in all aspects. If the 1970s and 1980s were dedicated for building, then the 1990s witnessed increased participation of citizens in decision making through the new constitution and parliamentary elections.
Thus, the Sultanate transformed into a point of attraction in all ramifications by the 21st century. The Sultanate distances herself from unending regional disputes while she is busy building humans and institutions.
She became a well-organized country, blessed with security and stability. She also enjoys global political ties based on openness to her regional neighbors. She extends friendship and peace to various countries across the world, hinging on calm identity, Islamic heritage-based culture and genuine Arab humanitarian values.
The Oman of today is the product of a man who dedicates himself to the service of his country. He is always conscious of the fact that diversity of opinions from time to time does not erase patriotism. This is why he engaged those who were opposed to their country to work on the remaining unexplored territory in history.
He made them ‘horses’ in the national equestrian field telling them, “Join us in building Oman.” Sultan Qaboos firmly anchored series of pillars without which, a country cannot develop. Therefore, the path of development was a mixture of the original and the contemporary. Here is the ever shining Oman with the novelties desired by the young chap more than 46 years ago. He is moving ahead of his time to remain at the forefront.
The country that deserves to be called Sultanate today exhausted her Sultan in the process of building and urbanization. Nevertheless, here is the man conquering ill health the same way he overcame previous tragedies. This is why the Omanis are grateful to Allah for his recovery and safe return to them, for him to continue making the Sultanate great.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times