Rest in peace

On June 17 my friend, and chairman, passed away, much too early in his life. Abdulla al Abdul Salaam was 58 years old, and I had met him first in 2009 after my time at The Wave.

He was a man so full of energy and life - I aim to work quickly, but he liked to go at warp speed. He followed regional and world news with passion, and he supported Barcelona and watched its football matches without fail.

That day, the ROP and ambulance services were both efficient and kind, to all of those involved. Abdulla had been ill for a few weeks and couldn’t seem to get fixed. He died at night.

It was a great shock to us all, and the 200 or so who attended the burial wanted to say goodbye to him in the most dignified way possible.

We carried him to his place, and some family members undertook the necessary task to make sure he was laid at rest. Nothing like this can ever be enjoyable: but it was indeed dignified, and we had some time to say a proper farewell.

I do like the way that such matters are dealt with quickly in this culture, I am sure it helps the grieving process for those who have suffered the loss. Like all people, Abdulla had strengths and weaknesses.

He was a writer, and his most recent work, Yuppie Muslim, is both an easy and stimulating read. I recommend it. He was a philanthropist, and funded and ran an orphanage in Tanzania.

He needed people around him to pick up his vibe and make things happen for him, but he had boundless enthusiasm, and was always looking for a solution to a challenge or problem.

Abdulla had lots of encounters and several battles with the establishment, and some times it got to him, but I rarely saw him down - he always looked for a way to take things forward. He had little time for some of the families that run the majority of businesses here: he much preferred the wise words of His Majesty and the guidance given in his speeches.

For the many people that Abdulla cared for or looked after, his family at home and at work, there are uncertainties ahead, and all of us hope to maintain many of the initiatives he started. He desperately wanted the youth of this country to fulfill their potential, and expected them to step up to the challenge and make it happen.

I will always remember him for the sparkle in his eye, and his wicked sense of humour: these attributes are rare, and make people memorable. All those who knew you, Abdulla, wish that you rest forever in peace.

This is the last Wordsmith for a few weeks: I plan to be writing again after Eid. I thank all the readers who have taken the time to comment and send feedback to me. I wish everyone in the sultanate a restful summer - and for those observing Ramadan, and celebrating Eid, may it be a special spiritual and family time for you all.

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