The Saudi owned Al-Hayat newspaper is removing shameful translated articles by its editor Ghassan Sharbel who continuously heaps praise on Saudi kings and princes. After the removal of his article on the late King Fahd "The Custodian of the Ancestry and the Architect of the Renaissance", previously here, the Arab Digest is publishing his obituary of the former crown prince Sultan Ben Abdul Aziz before its gone!
Photo above, Sharbel, and below is his masterpiece:
Residing In His Smile
Sun, 23 October 2011
His smile was his passport to the hearts of his countrymen and his visitors. A smile is a key, a thread of affability. A smile is a window, into the cordiality of a man, and his desire for amicability; into his ability for dialogue, for coming together with others and deeply listening to them. For building bridges of trust, spreading hope, and making the present full of promises for the future. It was as though his smile was his weapon. Neither could crises inhibit it, nor could calamities abolish it. It was as though it was his message, and his affirmation that the horizon is open to better days. The bodies of some great men may tire, but they may have smiles that never do. It is as though it has become the property of their admirers. Some great men leave a message of reassurance, even if they themselves have departed:
Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz
In the school of the founder King Abdul Aziz, he was both a son and a student. It was a school of deep roots, of steadfastness in belief, and a love for the homeland that translates into love for the citizens. And his was a will to establish, to build and to fortify. And the secret to such fortification is cohesion between the leadership and the people, and mutual allegiance and faithfulness. The secret is open doors, open hearts, and direct contact. The secret is sincere fulfillment of promises, and honesty in pledges.
In the school of deep roots, the people’s love is the most effective weapon for the official. Power is guarded by dreams, and courage is guarded by wisdom. No decision is taken out of anger, and no policy is built upon vindictiveness. There is a practice in this creed that is always guided by its values of moderation, tolerance and solidarity. And a part of the Arab culture is a sense of moderation that does not see in disagreement a chance for estrangement, nor in a break justification for a confrontation.
He remained patient in the face of excessive policies by some of those who were fooled by a rash interpretation of the delusions of power. In the crucial hour, however, he was firm in confronting those adventures aimed at abolishing states and the rights of whole peoples. But he also had the ability of turning the page on dissonance in order to mend bridges. And he was quick to seek to heal wounds, start dialogues, and bring the belligerents together to encourage them to search for peace.
Guided by these values, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz carried out his duties in all the posts that he occupied. He was always keen on empowering the state, with an eye on the present and an eye on the future. He held on to core principles and was deeply aware of the requirements of modernization. Over five decades, he sponsored, from his position in the Ministry of Defense, building the armed forces. To begin with, Saudi Arabia is located in a turbulent region. The Islamic and economic position of the kingdom makes it always in the crosshairs. For this reason, he was keen on elevating the armed forces to the level that guarantees defending the country and maintaining its ability to take decisions.
Prince Sultan was the kind of statesmen on whom one could rely in crises, for their courage that goes hand in hand with their wisdom. And for their openness that shows no complacence and steadfastness that shuts no doors. Since he became Crown Prince, he was a strong supporter for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, and a protector of the realm. These qualities were an element of reassurance at home, and an asset for Saudi Arabia abroad. Prince Sultan’s approach contributed to solving old and intractable problems, such as those pertaining to borders and beyond. For this reason, the news of his death was met with a feeling of loss in both nearby and faraway capitals.
Prince Sultan’s preoccupation with the concerns of the state was also accompanied by a permanent preoccupation with charitable work; with helping the needy, treating the sick, giving hope for the anxious and restoring it for families. Then increased responsibilities led to assigning the responsibility for this charitable work to institutions, especially after the many successes abroad as well as at home. And perhaps it is such contributions that made the title of the ‘Sultan of Charity’ go hand in hand with every talk in Saudi Arabia about Prince Sultan.
Great men forge their images with their abilities for leadership and the people’s love for them. Prince Sultan was one such man, born of proud men and proud mountains. We grasp the cruelty of his absence on Prince Khalid bin Sultan, the publisher of Al-Hayat, despite the fact that he is accustomed to tribulations. If there is any consolation here, it is that Prince Sultan will remain in the memory of his many admirers, residing in his smile.