Yahya Al Naabi-
I WAS deeply impressed by an article written by storywriter Mahmoud al Rahbi under the title ‘ Our Traders and the Ugly Face of Money’ which was published in last week’s issue of Shurufat supplement of Oman Arabic daily.
Part of the article revolved around the way in which funds are raised to support the budget of the Omani Society for Writers and Literati.
Personally I believe the attempt to prompt rich Omani traders to donate money to the society and to support the cultural activities were all in vain.
The identity of any society is inextricably linked to culture and arts which need to be nurtured and cared for most importantly by donating money. We know some benevolent rich traders in the Gulf states like Al Auais, Al Babteen, Al Majid and many more who generously donate money for the cultural institutions.
Unfortunately, in Oman the wealthy traders shy away from benevolent acts and give a wide berth to such initiatives in spite of the fact that some of them hail from families known for their cultural contributions throughout the Omani history;
they have enriched the Omani cultural scene with lots
of literary works of all genres.
Instead of adding up to their forefathers’ achievements, the grandsons have exploited the legacy of their forefathers to amass wealth taking advantage of their high-ranking jobs to accumulate substantial fortunes. Gossip is swirling among the people about the elite who are said to have transferred public funds to their own bank accounts and to the interest of relatives.
Regrettably these people never think of donating little money to the cultural institutions.
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos is keen on promoting the cultural heritage of Oman and improving its cultural scene.
This issue has been taken as a key pillar of the Renaissance objectives and was accorded considerable attention in His Majesty the Sultan’s royal addresses.
His Majesty the Sultan repeatedly announced that there is no confiscation of opinion to either individuals or institutions thereby laying the ground for a parallel cultural renaissance to go side by side with the developments that took place in almost all aspects of life in Oman.
However, this segment of businessmen has always strove to pull the society to the darkness of ignorance and shut the people out of enlightenment.
A couple of years ago I was deeply grieved to see a private institution from a neighbouring country coming to Oman to collect manuscripts to print and publish them.
This happens while our own cultural institutions are crippled by lack of fund and the welathy people’s abstention from supporting these activities.
These affluent people are too busy accumulating wealth and appropriating vast plots of land illegally. But our history is going to be rewritten in a different way surely not in favour of those whose deeds are directed against the progress of the society.