Another book of informative essays from an Omani newspaper columnist.
It’s customary in traditional Omani culture to respect the opinions of one’s elders, and readers of Suleimany’s (Being the Safe Driver!, 2013, etc.) latest work may see the wisdom in that perspective. This volume of his collected columns from the Oman Daily Observer is as edifying and entertaining as his previous ones. In an increasingly connected world, it’s important to understand the views of people from all over, and readers interested in a Middle Eastern perspective will be pleased by this book. Its appeal is broad enough to accommodate those with interests in business management, religion or global politics. The author airs his opinions on morality, religion and international relations throughout; for example, on the Arab-Israel conflict, he writes, “It is time that the Arab world now come out to fully materially and really support our Palestinian brothers and sisters who have suffered for so long.” He repeatedly urges his readers to avoid hypocrisy in their personal lives and to value traditional family structures. He even relates his late father’s feelings on his sons’ failure to marry: “He was bitterly complaining that though we are in our own country—but we were following customs, habits and culture that were completely alien to the traditional old ways of doing things—rightly and properly!” Avoiding immoral behavior is a theme of much of the book, as is thoughtful living. For modern Omanis, thoughtful living involves adopting Western customs selectively and retaining traditional culture where possible and desirable. But although Suleimany values tradition highly, he evidently values compassion just as much. The author’s English is sometimes nonstandard, but his writing is consistently clear. Indeed, it’s easy to imagine that his writing reflects his speech, which lends the book the tone of an afternoon spent with a friend.
A look into one man’s life and values that’s a pleasure to read.