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The Brave King - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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May God bless King Fahd bin Abdulaziz’s soul, the captain who sailed his ship, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , with utmost care during his rule, through the strong waves that shook the region and the entire world! As a politician, the late King never overlooked the religious status of his country and although strict, he never failed to smile.

Undoubtedly, an article can never do justice to the momentous reign of King Fahd. I can only relate meeting the rational and firm leader, an experience which has marked me for years to come!

I’ll never forget, for as long as I shall live, the time when I accompanied my father to greet the great King in Medina at a time when Saddam Hussein”s troops were occupying Kuwait . I was a young teenager then, far from the worlds of politics and the media. The late King was smiling, as was his habit, when he welcomed the citizens of Medina who came in their droves to greet him.

Addressing the assembled citizens, King Fahd spoke of Iraq invading its neighbor and presented the Kingdom’s plans to stand up against this illegal act. His indicated his reasons for accepting the help and assistance of friendly forces. That day, I listened to a firm sovereign with a continuous smile.

He made it abundantly clear that no one would attack an inch of the Kingdom’s soil. He referred to neighborly relations, state rule, and sovereignty. Calmly, the King spoke to the local community in a straightforward language and did not shy away from calling matters by their name.

He warned against some quarters taking advantage of the situation and directed his words at the men who used cassette tapes to spread ideas that target the solidarity of the country.

I personally heard the King convince his people without hesitating to take the momentous decision that resulted in the liberation of Kuwait and driving evil away from the borders of Saudi Arabia . I saw a King whose address taught me that the most critical decisions in the history of mankind are not taken by the people; it is for the leader to decide and save himself and the country.

Our brave King did not declare a state of emergency and prevent his citizens from speaking. Indeed, as other historic Kings have done before him, King Fhad chose a course of action and only then did he explain it to the people and untie them behind him. On that day, I truly saw a King! His image will remain with me until I die. How can I forget his firmness, resoluteness, determination and leadership, he the king who always smiled!

King Fahd took decisions concerning education, economic matters, and politics with initiative and decisiveness. He never lost touch with his subjects; every Saudi has a story to tell about an encounter with our late King during his reign of over two decades. He was renowned for his communication and amiability. When he met Saudi citizens, he shook their hands and asked after their uncles and cousins; one never failed to be surprised how many details the King remembered about different families and tribes.

I remember a great King and the only one my generation has ever known: King Fahd bin Abdulaziz. In the midst of all the trials and tribulations Saudi Arabia has passed through in the past twenty years, King Fahd stood out as a decisive leader, an enterprising monarch who transformed the Kingdom into an international player and a factor of global stability.

I have listened to the King speak about liberating Kuwait, and before that in Medina, as well as during the opening of the national television headquarters when he announced he was changing his title from His Majesty the King to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Under his supervision, the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina were significantly expanded. May King Fahd bin Abdulaziz’s soul rest in peace.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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