OUTLOOK — By Abdullah Al Shailyi — I read in detail what was written by my colleague Dr Zakariy al Mahrami in a series of articles analysing Shaikh Nassir bin Jaid al Kharousi’s book Explaining the Behavioural Systems to their Majesties which was verified by Dr Waid Khalis. The article made me eager to read the book so I asked Dr Zakariy about how to get a copy of the book, he told me the publisher is the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage. He was deeply sad that such an important book and other books are published outside Oman, while it behoves us as Omanis to publish them ourselves.
Once I attended a celebration held in an Asian country to pay tribute to the Omani navigator Ahmed bin Majid and his contribution to many inventions pertaining to maritime sciences. During the celebration a book titled Abar Maritime History was launched. It was mainly about Ibn Majid and the role of Oman in the Arab maritime. Later I knew that the publisher of the book is based in the state of Qatar.
It is true that knowledge knows no boundaries and no nationalities. But when it comes to topics that are part of the Omani culture and heritage, you feel sorry that the things which are originally ours come to us from beyond our borders.
This raises many questions, first what is the entity concerned with bringing out the treasures of knowledge and encouraging the researchers, thinkers and scientists to author books doing? Is it the Ministry of Heritage and Culture? In the past the Ministry of Heritage and Culture published hundreds of books and manuscripts. The ministry’s library is teeming with books on heritage, science, jurisprudence, philosophy all authored by Omanis.
However, the ministry no longer gives much attention to the matter of publishing. Perhaps because all the books that were supposed to be published were already published, or maybe the ministry got fed up with the whole thing.
Printing and publishing in the Sultanate are now in a dire position with the writers, intellectuals, researchers and students seeking an alternative entity that can help them have their books published and distributed in the Arab world.
Besides, the authors are looking forward to have their books translated into living languages so that they can spread worldwide. I think those who are directly involved and concerned with the matter should be given the chance to speak about their woes in conferences and symposiums.
Are we today in need of an authority because the ministry is no more capable of performing its duties and keep pace with the rapid progress the world is seeing? An authority needs to be entrusted with encouraging the youths to write and translate the literary and scientific production of other nations.
No doubt this is the age of knowledge; we frequently hear the phrase ‘knowledge economies’. Many countries have already incorporated both knowledge and science in the national economies as better contributors than the sectors of gas, industry and trade. I think steps should be taken in order to have this sort of economy which basically supports science and knowledge.