A tribute to the lasting legacy of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos

Opinion Saturday 19/November/2016 20:11 PM
By: Times News Service
A tribute to the lasting legacy of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos

The legacy of the father of modern Oman, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said will live on as we celebrate the 46th Anniversary of the birth of the Renaissance.
On July 23 1970, when he was 29 years old, he charted a new path that would lead to honour and justice for his people. At that young age, he demonstrated unparalleled courage to follow his convictions, that the people of Oman enjoy today. He fulfilled every promise he made and even exceeded many expectations. His nobility of spirit still lights up the nation, which has put the Sultanate in a dazzling light and in the radar of international recognition.
Compassionate leadership
His abiding compassion for others is legendary, as he continues to lead by example. Oman was deeply divided when he came to the throne. Yet, tribal feuds and status differences, complicated by territorial ambitions, did not diminish his confidence. There were turbulent moments in his life from many political fronts in the early years of his rein, but His Majesty prevailed over them systematically due to his belief in righteousness. His personal sacrifice to better the lives of Omanis is well-known, and his commitment to preserve the local heritage is unquestionable.
During a past National Day speech, he addressed the nation by saying,“We will not move forward if we ignore our customs and traditions.” It was a clear vision that he had to preserve and respect the rich culture of the country, that has been handed over from one generation to another for many centuries. It is true that in just a few decades he has transformed Oman from a laid back country to a modern nation, even while modernisation has kept intact the wealth of its history.
Immediately after taking office as Sultan, His Majesty won the hearts of the people by making himself available to them in his annual ‘Meet the People Tours.’ He demonstrated his keenness to rule by taking the advice of the people and involving them in strategic decisions. This is one of the factors that made him unique in the governance of a nation among other leaders, past or present. By making him accessible to ordinary people on a regular basis, he quickly gained huge popularity and the respect of the people of Oman.
Women’s rights defender
Unlike some Arab and Islamic leaders, His Majesty has fiercely defended the rights of Omani women over the years. In a speech addressed to his compatriots, he famously said, “If we don’t give women equal opportunities, then we are using only 50 per cent of our resources.”
More than twenty years after making this wise comment, his words ring true now, as women slightly outnumber men in the population of Omanis. In the higher education system, female students make up 52 per cent of all students enrolled in diploma and degree courses. Women now serve in the cabinet, at the helm of corporate businesses and are involved in creating the country’s legislation.
A world statesman
But His Majesty is not merely a national leader, but a world statesman, as well. His non-aligned political policies have worked well over the years in the international arena. Maintaining the Sultanate’s neutrality has won him many accolades. The world has also taken special note of his peaceful arbitration skills, as he brought feuding nations to the negotiating table. Superpowers, such as the United States, Great Britain, France, China and Russia, pay attention to his nonviolent ideals. His negotiating skills have mended many political fences and diffused potentially explosive issues, in the true spirit of his unselfish statesmanship.
Closer to home, His Majesty was a Founding Member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Indeed, the organisation stemmed from his original idea in the late 1970s to establish a political and economic alliance in the region for the six nations to coexist peacefully. In 1981, the first GCC meeting took place in Riyadh, marking Sultan Qaboos’ emergence as the leader of a wider vision at home, regionally and internationally.