Dr Abdul Aziz strives to build cultural bridge
Pioneer meets with Saudi royalty
This is the eleventh in a series of articles on Dr Abdul Aziz Saud Abdul Aziz Al Babtain, a tycoon and poet, an outstanding intellectual in the galaxy of Kuwaiti pioneers. — Editor
Special to the Arab Times
DBy Lidia Qattan
r Abdul Aziz Saud Al Babtain is not a man who takes failure as the end of an issue; endowed with a sharp, inquisitive mind he can always discern in failure the seed of success if one works hard to achieve it.
Incidentally are such individuals who are capable of making things happening, for the belief they have in themselves is stronger than any drawback.
Calamity itself is a challenge one must overcome; for in admitting failure and pondering over it for too long it inclines one to surrender to defeat, to the annihilation of the human spirit, to oblivion itself.
The feeling of disappointment Dr Abdul Aziz experienced on the day his country was invaded by Iraq and seeing the Arab world divided into factions with 40% of the Arab world siding with Iraq the aggressor against Kuwait, it released a wave of cognitive energy that made him to see more clearly the situation his country was in.
In those moments more than ever he became convinced that, in his endeavor to re-establish the cultural link among the Arab Nations and other Islamic countries, by spurring higher education and becoming a patron of higher culture through prize giving and other related activities, he was actually helping to achieve that unity among the Arab nations which politics had disrupted.
Indeed he saw that in order to fight propagandistic lies and false beliefs, the mind of people had to be open to new ideas; that could only be achieved by a cultural campaign at highest level.
Intellectuals whose thoughts and ideas can find an echo in people’s mind are those who can stir events by inculcating a new belief in the masses.
Literature and poetry in the Arab world are a powerful vehicle for inculcating new ideas.
Dr Abdul Aziz resolved to adopt this strategy as soon as Kuwait was free and he could carry out his plan, not only building more schools and institutions of learning where they were most needed, but also to engage a small army of teachers in connection with the Al Azhar University in Cairo, to teach in them, and sponsor a greater number of brilliant students, helping them to reach a higher level of education.
While he was speeding towards Dhahran to meet the King, the thought of meeting old friends in Jeddah together with the scenery he was passing through, brought him back vividly to his mind the time he spent in hunting parties with falcons in the wilderness of Arabia and the rounds of soul-stirring poetry inspired by the contagious enthusiasm of his gathering. In those occasions the reciting of poetry was a spontaneous reaction, for most of his friends were either poets or enthusiasts of poetry, whose transcendent appeal stems directly from the noblest principles of the Arabian culture.
While deep in those thoughts, so intimate and so dear to him, Dr Abdul Aziz was brought back to the blood relation delving deep in the
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Seen in the light of the situation his country was-in, he felt in his own mission the call for the ancient tribal solidarity, which in the old days was drawing the whole tribe into a common undertaking.
Abdul Aziz was deep in thoughts when passing through the first town on his way, needing to quench his thirst he was startled to notice the temperature of his car had reached a dangerous level; the water in the radiator had evaporated, so stopping at a grocery store he bought a full pack of bottles to quench his thirst and fill the radiator.
Continuing on his way he rang to the airport of Dhahran to book a seat for Jeddah before three o’ clock. If there were no flights to Jeddah that day a taxi-plane was to be ready for him at his arrival around noon.
Precisely at noon Abdul Aziz was entering the airport. When he was told that he was in the waiting list, he wasted no time.
Ringing to his friends in Jeddah, the Amir Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Saud spoke to him.
The Prince was surprised to hear that Abdul Aziz Saud Al Babtain was in Dhahran on his way to see him, because he was presuming he was still in Geneva.
Hearing he was in his way he offered to send a plane to fetch him, but Abdul Aziz declined the offer, reassuring him that the officer in charge of the booking had already reserved a seat for him in the next flight.
Overhearing the conversation the officer readily complied and Abdul Aziz flew to Jeddah on schedule; at his arrival an escort from the Amir was waiting to take him to his palace.
The Amir, Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Saud was fasting that day in observance of a special religious occasion, hence after breaking his fast with few dates and some coffee he met Dr Abdul Aziz.
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the accompanying crisis in the Arab world immediately disclosed Kuwait’s true friends and foes; for the Iraqi propaganda had done its work in winning many sympathizers, swaying the world public opinion in its favor.
First among those who stood fast by the Kuwaiti cause, was King Fahad Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who from the early morning hours of the Iraqi invasion had been trying to contact the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, to no avail.
That day he could receive no one, not even Sheikh Zaied, the Amir of the United Arab Emirates, who flew in from Cairo to meet him.
Hence Dr Abdul Aziz Saud Al Babtain discussed the purpose of his visit with a triumvirate committee, formed by the Amir Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Amir Sultan Abdul Aziz Al Saud and the Amir Naief Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
After the meeting the Amir, Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Saud, invited him to dine with him, but it had been a long, exhausting day for Abdul Aziz, who as soon as he retired to his hotel room, in spite of roving thoughts crowding his mind surrendered to deep slumber.
To be continued