Striking a chord where it matters. Citizens and residents of Oman come together with one voice to shower praise to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said on the glorious occasion of the 49th Oman National Day.
“Yesterday it was complete darkness and with the help of God, tomorrow will be a new dawn on Muscat, Oman, and its people.” Forty-nine years have passed since His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said expressed these words in a promise he made to the nation.
Today, Oman continues to reap the rewards of the land he has built around these very guarantees, morals, and above all, unity across all borders and avenues.
Whether it’s the safety and security, or the harmony that exists across factions of communities – from the far west to the east – that live in the Sultanate in peace, there’s a bond that Oman fosters around its people; one that has taken our nation forward along the road to progress and growth.
It’s something 65-year-old Indian expat and businessman Jaspreet Singh says he can relate to, having moved to the country 41 years ago. He tells us: “November 18th is a date that’s embedded in my brain just like the Independence or Republic Days of India. I will never forget it.
“It’s the day His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said was born, and the people of this wonderful nation have a lot to be thankful for – and that’s evident from the way things are portrayed by the people around this time of the year.”
One reason for that, as per Jaspreet, is the way His Majesty has carried the name of Oman within the nation and internationally.
“The respect that world leaders, politicians, and people outside Oman have for His Majesty is a true testament to how successful he’s been as a leader to the nation. Whether it’s in terms of religious or political tolerance and diplomacy, he has pioneered a strategy that’s fitting with modern times.
“Oman is truly a 21st-century nation under his guidance, and this is at a time when many other countries across the globe are still sparring to find peace among themselves.”
Jaspreet is right, as we realise how Oman is one among those nations where people of all religious and political beliefs come to work and live together… and in peace.
To find out just how tolerant the country is to its people, we take a walk down ‘Love Street’ in Shatti al Qurum, where we come across a band of some six youths jamming to Hindi songs and filming themselves for social media.
The leader of the gang, Litton Muneer, 15, is a Bangladeshi student, and he’s joined by his Omani, Indian, and Pakistani mates. He tells us: “There are not many places in the world where people of our nationalities can come together, spend the amount of time we do, and live in peace. Oman is one such place, and today we take pride in saying that we’re a part of this nation.”
This falls in line with His Majesty’s opening statement on the Renaissance Day of 1970: “I will proceed as quickly as possible to transform your life into a prosperous one with a bright future.
“Every one of you must play his part towards this goal. Our country in the past was famous and strong. If we work in unity and co-operation, we will regenerate that glorious past and we will take a respectable place in the world.”
His impact on the lives of the people of the nation are quick and far-reaching – even if they’ve just moved into the country.
Take for instance, Risto Dimitrov [pictured below], a Macedonian expat in Oman, who works as a trainer at the UFC Gym. Having moved here only two years ago, the young UFC fighter has already begun representing Oman on his own accord – and recently brought home the belt in an MMA fight in Croatia.
He says: “I’m very proud to have represented Oman and my country Macedonia in this recent fight. I took the Omani flag to Croatia to show the world where I live. And it’s the love of all the people of the country that pushes me to work harder and achieve my goals.
“This is what makes Oman the country that it is today. Everyone I know in this beautiful country has become a part of my family. And the love comes from the way His Majesty has led the way and built a path for the people to see and follow.
“When I hear about people unwillingly and unhappily living in countries after having left their families back home, I feel sorry for them. But, if there’s one place that can make you feel at home, it’s Oman.
“I moved here only recently when compared with how long many have lived here. But I feel like I belong here. I don’t want to move back – and this is where I want to be right now and for the foreseeable future of my family.
“Oman is safe, secure, and a country that allows everyone to co-exist in peace without discrimination of any kind.”
Risto’s words of love for His Majesty and the nation are echoed by those we interview over the course of the National Day week. But one testimonial that particularly stands out is that of Julian Lopez, a Filipino expat of 22 years in Oman.
He tells us: “The transformation and makeover that the country has witnessed in the last 49 years is nothing short of stunning.
“From the roads to the buildings and businesses that have taken shape over (nearly) five decades, everything that we see today can be put down to the efforts of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said and the people who have worked hard to make it all happen.
“One thing I have seen happen in Oman every so often is that everything it does is done in a manner to include every community in the country. There’s no place, business, or location that’s closed off to the people – and that is what makes the people so approachable and the land so habitable.
“What the citizens enjoy is also available to expats. That’s why this remains a multi-cultural land that’s tolerant even at a time when a lot of countries are taking offensive stands against each other.
“Oman is a role model and a big brother or sister figure to many countries in the GCC. And all of that comes from the humility and diplomacy of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said – who is a beacon of hope and all things good in this world.”