It’s raining. Continuously since early morning. And it’s cold, too. What you can call cold in Oman. It’s about 15 degrees Celsius. Totally unusual in Muscat, the capital of the country. Also the smell in the air I haven’t experienced this way since I’ve been living in Oman. It’s a mixture of rain, dust, plants, humidity – just like I know it from Bosnia-Herzegovina, the home country of my parents.
Sultan Qaboos - a visionary, political leader and peacemaker
Today it’s January 11th, 2020 – a day that will change the world of the Omani people and all who live here and feel being at home. Baba Qaboos, as Sultan Qaboos bin Said is called by his people, died with 79 years in the night of January 10th. He ruled the country with love for 49 years and built it up into a modern state that continues to cultivate traditions without neglecting respect and tolerance for all people, countries and traditions worldwide.
His people love him – and rightly so. A visionary, statesman, peacemaker, who put all his needs aside for dedicating his energy to the country and its people. He didn’t protect only his own people, also the expads. Priority in the Omani culture: Respect and equality for all! It’s the human being that counts, not his origin, nationality, religion.
Progress and emancipation
I’ve been living in this wonderful country for a year now. And even after this intense time full of ups and downs, I still feel that my heart is at home. There’re many reasons. Right from the beginning I feel the inner peace, which gives me back the freedom to develop and grow. The Omanis show an absolute respect towards women. Equality is priority. Not only in the private sphere – above all in the working world. Here it’s irrelevant whether you are a man or a woman. What counts is your competence and diversity. Sexism does not exist.
Women in Oman
The solution is very simple. If a woman is harassed and places an ad, the male colleague will face trouble by laws. Even management positions are occupied by women with over 3o percent. An Omani man will also never shake hands with me first. I as a woman decide whether I allow physical contact. It is a gesture of respect and not, as is often misunderstood by Western culture, to humiliate women. We owe this fact, which is strictly observed in everyday life, to Sultan Qaboos.
A day unlike any other
I must admit I was afraid of this day. Oman without Sultan Qaboos was unthinkable for me too. And I had imagined all kinds of reactions that could happen from the population. Will they sue? Will there be desperate mass public prayers? Will everything in the streets be dead? Will there even be demonstrations for the successor? Nothing like that. Everything around me is quiet – as usual. Yes, there is a kind of sadness in the rainy air, but also hope.
I’m going to the beach. Expect hardly any traffic. But it’s the opposite. The coast road is full of cars. Actually, the Omanis like to drive it down loudly in their sportive cars. Today everything is quiet and peaceful.
It seems as if the queue of cars is in harmony with each other. Sad and yet full of hope for the future. I stroll barefoot along the beach and soak up the scent. The sand is unusually cold and yet pleasant. The waves are not big, but loud. The grey clouds hang deep down heavily.
A silent philanthropist left very silently - Sultan Qaboos
It’s already dark and still raining. Sultan Qaboos has already been buried. In Islam, the burial must take place within 24 hours. I’m watching the ceremony on the live stream. He will be carried to his final resting place like one of his people. His last journey takes place in the SUV in which he also appeared for the first time as Sultan. That was his wish I was told. I’m impressed. As quiet and wise as he was during his lifetime, as quiet and wise he left Mother Earth. His tremendous good deeds, which he silently did worldwide, will remain – in the heart of all of us forever. Inshallah.
The rain brings new life
It’s already in the middle of the night. It’s still raining. Unusual for Muscat. But everything’s different now anyway. Images are emerging of a beautiful rainbow that appeared right over the Sultan’s tomb. The colors are vibrant and it’s a perfect arc. Such an impressive phenomenon can only appear during or after the rain. Isn’t it true that rain makes everything fertile and green? It’s as if the unusually long rain was sent as a hopeful message to tell the Omanis that they have no “dry season” to fear. Baba Qaboos has already provided for them to continue to look forward to a peaceful and secure future.
When my father left Mother Earth, my best friend from Oman told me, “Your father has travelled to this place where we’ll all go one day.” That sounded not only reassuring, but also true.
It’s this peaceful attitude to life that the Omanis represent and live. This is, what binds me to the country and its beautiful people.
Thank you Sultan Qaboos.