Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Al-Gosaibi and the Political Leaders | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The book “The Accompanying Minister” written by the recently departed Saudi Minister and former ambassador Dr. Ghazi al-Gosaibi, may he rest in peace, is a real page turner. In this book, al-Gosaibi paints a picture with words of the features and personalities of a number of world leaders that he got to know during his long service as a state minister, and these world leaders include; Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Habib Bourguiba, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Francois Mitterrand, Helmut Kohl, Indira Gandhi, and many others.

Al-Gosaibi described Idi Amin as being eccentric to the point of imprudence, saying that his eccentricity was a source of consternation to both his friends and his enemies alike. Al-Gosaibi wrote “the myths surrounding his life and behavior are blended with the truth to the point that it is impossible for one to know where the myth ends and the truth begins.” In his book, Dr. al-Gosaibi recalls an occasion where Idi Amin offered to provide [Syrian President] Hafez al-Assad with a troop of bodyguards from Uganda, all of whom were dwarves, saying that their lack of size would help them to provide excellent security protection to the Syrian President as they would be able to hide under his table or chair and then appear [to prevent attacks] at the right time in a surprising manner!

Dr. Al-Gosaibi also mentions US President Richard Nixon in his final book, “The Accompanying Minister” writing that “when I met Nixon he was different than I imagined, perhaps this was due to the hostile manner that he was depicted in the media, but [when I met him] his skin looked pink and healthy, whereas I imagined that he would be pale and gray. He was taller and more handsome than I imagined, and he was more intelligent than he was given credit for. Even his infamous nose lived in harmony with his other facial features, and his face was different than how it had been depicted on camera or by cartoonists.”

Dr. Al-Gosaibi also drew a portrait of the iron lady of India, Indira Gandhi, in which he discussed her image [in the media]. Al-Gosaibi wrote “her image is that of a woman with a strong personality, hungry for power, extremely intelligent, and with an iron will, ambitious and stubborn.” However he writes than when he met her, he found “a 64-year old woman, slim, speaking in a barely perceptible voice, her appearance not suggesting ambition or a thirst for power.” Al-Gosaibi added that “one could only feel tenderness towards this woman who reminds you of a loving mother who thanks to the circumstances of the time found herself as the leader of a country with a population of 700 million, all of whom wanted food, water, education, and the good things from life.”

When you read the book “The Accompanying Minister” and all the beautifully written memories and scenes included there, one can only but ask; who but Dr. Ghazi al-Gosaibi could have written this?