HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, of , for once managed to make me quit a way of behaving and give up a sentimental attitude that I developed in my early years in this desert.
It is an Arab attitude that developed while I was growing up, under our high rising palm trees shading our golden sands. It is simply not to sing anybody’s praises or to compliment any man for anything, no matter how praiseworthy he is. It has been a matter of personal belief that I must avoid giving the smallest praise to human beings for whatever deed they do.
“Thanks is only for God”, this is what we have learned here in the Arabian Gulf and what we say day and night, whether in our prayers or in our everyday life.
But Sheikh Hamad did really make me forget this belief for a while, when he managed - thanks to his distinguished activity, gravity, brilliance, confidence and diplomacy – to succeed where others have failed. This Arab , sophisticated negotiator and expert settlement-maker has been successful in his miraculous bid to make ends meet and bridge the gap of grave national split in Lebanon in the face of a situation of lethal sectarianism and overall economic breakdown.
Sheikh Hamad reclaimed the small country of Lebanon from imminent dangers that was threatening to crush it.
He proved once and for all to be up to the challenge that was entrusted to him. It was a challenge that he was so resolved not to sleep before overcoming and bring all the Lebanese together into a unified national stand again.
Sheikh Hamad invested the clout of his country and the Arabian Gulf in general to reach a historic and fair settlement that could bring the small bleeding Arab country back again and put it on track. For this end, he listened and talked to all the parties and toiled through thorny issues towards an agreement.
Sheikh Hamad acted on the basis of his constant Arab obligations towards solidarity, cooperation and unity against any imminent dangers threatening any Arab country. This became more prominent when that country was the dearest and closest to all Arabs, especially to us here in the Arabian Gulf.
Lebanon is our oasis, our summer resort, the place where our printing press, our hospitals and our newspapers reside, where we find our humour and our sadness; its people are ours. We were their hosts and they were ours. We shared with them coffee and dates and bread and butter. We also shared with them the fog of their cities, their springs and many happy evenings.
Arabs in the Gulf have become ’Lebanese’ by sentiment. We were all affected by their instability to the extent that we were actually in the heart of events there at every moment, as if they were occurring in our houses, our suburbs, our streets, and our hearts.
We have become addicted to Lebanon since we first breathed Lebanon’s breath. Even what happened in Lebanon did not cure us, as if our destiny was to support Lebanon which we love.
The purpose of this article is to express our admiration, respect and love for what Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa achieved. But I cannot help it if I take this occasion to express my love for Lebanon.
I say to Hamad: God bless your efforts and reward your past and future achievements. You have been the model of patience, perseverance, and following-up.
You have restored many of the sound fundamentals such as Arab diplomacy, unity and brotherhood, proving beyond doubt that Arabs are responsible people and that their leadership is adequate to solve any urgent problem.
I salute for making the state of a magnet that is admired, and restoring respect for Arab joint action. I also would like to extend my admiration and respect to my dear friend Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim for his shuttle action that set up the basis for ’the Lebanese miracle’ under the close guidance of the of .
Hamad, thank again for restoring the golden days of Arab diplomacy. The success of your efforts proved to the whole world that we, Arabs, can solve our problems by ourselves. Our experience in the UAE is further proof of that where HH Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, the Governor of Dubai, succeeded in placing the country among the great countries regarding economy, security and stability.
I, on behalf of every Arab man and woman, salute all and wish the best in your efforts to achieve more welfare, stability, development and an economic boom for our Arab countries.
You have provided proof that Arab solidarity is not merely empty slogans, but real and continuous deeds.
And I would like also to extend my deep thanks to the Arab Ministerial Committee in general and HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Foreign Minister, in particular for their efforts to reach a settlement in Lebanon.