I searched in vain for Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi’s book “The Accompanying Minister” in Saudi Arabia; I immediately contacted my friend, and Dr. Al-Gosaibi’s chief of staff, Hazza al-Asimi, who had accompanied him on his medical trip for treatment, and he informed me that this book had not yet been published in Saudi Arabia, but that he would send me a copy.
On Sunday afternoon, I received a package in the post with the words “open by hand” written on the side; I was paying attention to the television whilst I was opening this package, and the television reported the news of the death of Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi whilst I was holding his book in my hands. What a strange world we live in!
I do not claim to have known Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi well, although I did meet and speak with him on a number of occasions, including occasions where I expressed my admiration for him and his work, and other occasions the details of which will be revealed in time. However I do have knowledge about what Dr. Al-Gosaibi produced with regards to ideas and literature, as well as knowledge of the political positions that he took up that made him a man that truly deserves to have been called a “statesman.”
The minister, ambassador, and poet, Ghazi Al-Gosaibi was a larger than life figure that was the center of discussion; he was a strong fighter, a creative conversationalist, a unique intellectual, and a great poet who had a fresh take on passion and patriotism. Dr. Al-Gosaibi did not write anything more beautiful than:
Like a dream I came
Like a dream I left
I began to shake off your hand
For how strange was our meeting
And what a short meeting it was
Oh, daughter of all the green fields.
I am the son of drought and everything that it produces
I have known the sap of all the sadness
I was weaned on this, and grew sick from it
Oh, all the happiness of all the birds
I am al the sadness of those who have been imprisoned.
Ghazi Al-Gosaibi had a unique characteristic, for he has been eulogized by all parties, and he gained the trust of kings, such as late King Khalid, may God have mercy on him, and late King Fahd, may God have mercy on him, while also enjoying the trust of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan, Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Naif, and also Prince Salman. Dr. Al-Gosaibi found himself a special position of love and respect, particularly from a broad section of Saudi Arabians. Al-Gosaibi became very famous, but he did not become over-proud [of this] and never felt as if he were more important than his country, or its leadership.
Ghazi Al-Gosaibi was a trusted minister, and he maintained a position that was not easy, confronting the “awakening” generation at its peak and ensuring that there was no conflict, and this was while he was a Minister of State during the reign of King Fahd, may God grant him mercy. Dr. Al-Gosaibi aided his country with his poetry, prose, and diplomacy; he was like an entire Ministry of Information in himself, particularly with regards to his series of poems “In the Eye of the Storm” that were published on the front pages of Asharq Al-Awsat. Al-Gosaibi wrote the beautiful verses:
We are the people of the Hijaz and Najd,
Here is glory for us, and there is glory.
We are the Arabian Peninsula that we give our lives for,
Sacrificing the brave and generous and the lion for its sake.
North of us are the grand nobles
South of us are the even nobler
We are the desert that defends [King] Fahd
All of us in the desert are panthers.
However even some of Dr. Al-Gosaibi’s fans disagreed with him over certain issues, especially after he took over the Ministry of Labour, however this did not affect everybody’s respect for Dr. Al-Gosaibi and his integrity, for everybody witnessed his honesty and patriotism. I respected Dr Al-Gosaibi, and when I met him I was cautious, I asked him “where is Ghazi [Al-Gosaibi] the fighter?” He laughed and answered “he has put down the bow.” Then he told me “stay in touch” and I answered “in this job, I have learnt not to get too close to those I admire and respect, in order to avoid being shocked.” He laughed and said “you haven’t seen anything!” We ask God to grant Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi forgiveness, mercy, and eternal peace.