He was tempered to lead. He was an almost infallible mix of intellect and performance. Entirely unaffected by the importance he was entitled to as a leader, minister, writer, journalist and entrepreneur, Dr Abdullah Omran Taryam led from the front. He did not watch life from the sidelines. He never spoke from the God-given comfort of his chair, but himself moved in to tackle problems.
Often in driving rain, in semi-stormy conditions and during hours when many prefer the pleasure of home, he would be seen arriving at his headquarters in Sharjah. An Emirati to the core, he would often spend long hours with his juniors discussing the treatment of news, photos and editorials. He used to say that news was a sensitive affair and required utmost care, both in terms of information and accuracy. Most important, unlike many journalists he never treated the newspaper as a product to be sold. He held it close to his heart and wanted it to be appreciated, archived and made part of history.
One night he told me, “Never take sides, prejudice is self-destructive.”
On many occasions your reporter saw him leave his office just before daybreak. He seriously believed that there was no substitute for hard work.
He was a hard taskmaster with a heart of gold, a lot of us should know that.
He was humble and ensured that we never felt small in his gigantic presence.
His prose had a poetic energy that could match the best in the trade. Among his many pieces the one involving his brother became a talking point among journalists.
As a minister of the UAE he kind of set rules that have come to be known as effectively emulative. He broke new ground and rewrote the script of administration.
Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum mourned to the nation the death of Dr Abdullah Omran Taryam.
Sheikh Mohammed said, “I offer condolences to our people on the death of Dr Abdullah Omran Taryam, Emirati loyal son, statesman and renowned mediaperson. Today I lost a dear brother, Abu Khaled, and a loyal friend, known of good conduct, courage, clarity of opinion, intention and sense of belonging and loyalty to his homeland and leadership.”
I had the extraordinary pleasure of having known Dr Abdullah for nearly twenty years. But this is one piece I never wanted to write.