THE Sultanate of Oman is celebrating its national day amid progressive development which has been continuing for the past 48 years.
Throughout this period, the country recorded the highest rate of integrated development in human resources and construction, and balanced foreign policies which are based on constructive cooperation with all countries.
On this occasion, it is impossible to talk about Oman’s achievements without talking about the one behind these achievements. He is Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed, whom I met for the first time after he assumed power in 1970. I saw in his eyes the challenge and persistence to transform his country from darkness to light.
The meeting was in a humble house which, I believe, is currently located near Al-Alam Palace where the sultanate headquarters is. I remember there was no infrastructure, no hotels and the airport was just an airfield. I remember staying in the tent of an Italian company – the first company to operate in Oman.
We spoke about his vision on Oman and I was amazed at the projects being mentioned, which could be described as dreams at the time. These projects included roads, hospitals, schools, Operetta Theater and Omani symphonic orchestra, among others.
Despite having limited resources, the young Sultan spoke about them and emphasized the fact that construction development should go hand in hand with development in the national sense.
I visit Oman from time to time and I see what Sultan Qaboos wanted to achieve as infrastructure and streets continue to develop. The Omanis have taken upon themselves to be active contributors to this development by working in all fields without looking down on any profession. They interpret on the ground whatever they learned in academic institutions.
Even in villages and provinces, you will find the Sultan’s touch which is based on proper planning aligned with the local environment. His concern has always been the advancement and progress of Oman, so he also ensured that Oman maintained its identity.
Anyone who visits Oman senses the originality of the Omani identity in all aspects. Through that, the perception on sequential and parallel human and infrastructure development becomes clear.
This symphony of development would not have emerged if Oman preoccupied itself with regional and foreign problems. As a result, its foreign policies, which are based on true being and implemented with wisdom, have resulted in zero conflict with its neighbors or even regional and foreign countries.
In fact, Muscat has been the voice of moderation and mediation in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League. For instance, during the Arab League meeting in Iraq, Oman rejected the proposal to isolate Egypt which decided to sign the peace treaty, Camp David, with Israel. This action was based on Oman’s conviction that isolation weakens Arabs.
The political method affirmed the correctness of Sultan Qaboos’ position on many problems in the region. In fact, it rendered Muscat as the capital of mediation and bridging the gap of opinions between parties in conflict.
Oman is not empty of realistic solutions; hence, it is considered a more neutral and wise mediator at an international level.
The construction movement, which has been continuing for the past 48 years, is now reaping many fruits of those dream-like projects. Muscat International Airport, which opened a few months ago, is considered one of the major projects of Oman. The airport aims to underpin tourism and transportation in the country.
Human resources development in Oman reflects the Omani personality. In the past decades, Oman recorded the lowest crime rate in the world. This is due to the country’s policy of ensuring no citizen or expatriate is treated unfairly.
The doors are open for all. This is in addition to the frequent tours of Sultan Qaboos in villages and rural areas, listening to the grievances and demands of his people. This is a source of self-reassurance for the Omani people.
This calm dealing with others expresses the civilized concept for Oman’s progressive movement which the Sultan wanted for his country. It made the people assimilate the disposition of their Sultan on progress and civilization.
Therefore, when we talk about 48 years of the creative development movement that the Sultanate of Oman has been treading on, we are actually talking about the Sultan’s dream which has become a reality. Congratulations to Oman and its leader.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times