He was tempered to leadHE was undoubtedly a powerful mix of intellect and humanity. He was deservedly cruising through life when destiny made a devastating entry on January 30 and he passed into immortality.
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 was not a spectator but a participant. 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. On many occasions your reporter saw him leave office just before daybreak. An Emirati to the core, he never treated the newspaper as a product to be sold. He wanted it to be appreciated, archived and made part of history.
He ensured that we never felt small in his gigantic presence. Dr Abdullah, 66, time and again went out of his way to see his employees out of their troubles with regard to health and other issues. He would often be seen helping the disadvantaged by calling them home for food, old-timers narrated to us.
He lived his life in its entirety till the last day because he had never ever lived it the wrong way. His footsteps were absolutely firm till he left us because he had never taken the wrong path.
Dr Abdullah and his lovely family — Khalid, Amira, Omran, Aysha and their graceful mother — were kind of recovering (actually you never) from the shock of losing Dr Abdullah’s mother when grief made an unrelenting re-entry. The summer of ’13 was the darkest day in Dr Abdullah’s life. The subsequent winter carried him away — unfair to all and totally unfair to the family.
• Born in 1948
• Married, has 2 sons and 2 daughters
• Elementary, preparatory and secondary studies in Sharjah and Kuwait schools.
• Bachelor’s degree from Faculty of Letters, Cairo University, 1966.
• PhD from University of Exeter, UK, 1986.
• Teacher in Al Orouba Secondary School for 2 years.
• Director of Sharjah Educational District between 1968 and 1971.
• Member of the negotiation team for setting up the federal state of the UAE.
• Minister of Justice in the first federal government between 1971 and 1972.
• Minister of Education in the first federal government between 1972 and 1979.
• Minister of Justice between 1990 and 1997.
• Lent a helping hand to the late Taryam Omran in setting up Al Khaleej newspaper in 1970.
The newspaper resumed publication in 1980 before developing into Dar Al
Khaleej with 6 daily, weekly and monthly publications.
with his brother Taryam Omran, Dr Abdullah spearheaded the growth of Dar
Al Khaleej into a prestigious media house not just in the UAE but also
in the Arabian Gulf.
• Was chairman of the board of directors of
Al Khaleej Research Unit, which issues annual reports and miscellaneous
books dealing with Arab issues in general and GCC ones in particular.
The Unit’s activities include holding seminars and lectures in addition
to anannual conference which hosts experts and thinkers to discuss Arab,
GCC and local issues.
• Was chairman of the board of directors
of The Taryam Omran Foundation For Cultural and Humanitarian Work, whose
most important activities include:
1- Taryam Omran Centre for
Media Training and Development, which has so far trained hundreds of
media personalities in different disciplines free of charge.
2- Taryam Omran Journalism Award, which was awarded to many media personalities over the past years.
He released compilations on the inception of the UAE, education and
development and wrote many intellectual and political articles.
• He participated in many local, regional and international seminars and conferences in miscellaneous research centres.
• Was an active member of many research and study centres and intellectual, economic and political forums.
Dr Abdullah captured the hearts and minds of those who went on to create the United Arab Emirates, with his interest in development and the nation of which he was so proud. The UAE was born in 1971.
As a minister he is credited with playing the game by the rules rooted in high ethical moorings. It is recalled by everyone — who knew him or knew of him — that he never ever compromised on principles.
I had the extraordinary pleasure of having known Dr Abdullah for nearly twenty years. But this is one piece I never wanted to write.
The sky called The warriors truly are the great men who endeavour in life’s many wars. And by wars, I am not talking about the bloody massacres that true warriors are ashamed of today. Success is the war against failure, love is the war against hate, kindness is the war against greed, and every war that nourishes a soul are those wars that I believe in.
Now that it is clear what wars I am talking about, I am writing about a warrior who fought ignorance only to replace it with knowledge and literacy. A man who lived for a cause, who lived for every movement against darkness to the mind, and a man who did that with the sound of papers and the power of language. A man who from the sands of nature built an empire of knowledge and shared it with the world in favour of educative informing and a believer that his homeland would one day rise from the sands to become one of the world’s most important global hubs where great minds would meet, and it did.
On January 30th, a devastating day for the warrior’s soldiers, the sun set and the warrior did not get to witness another sun rise. The sky called and the warrior responded. The time came when his soldiers were to take over his mission and with no doubt they will continue in the footsteps of their master and mentor, who devoted his life planting the seeds of a sturdy tree that will branch out proudly and grow endlessly with his scent on every single leaf.
Unfortunately I never got to meet Dr Abdullah Omran Taryam, but I had the honour to work in his establishment at some point in time, and breathe in his empire where all great minds were sheltered from pollution to thought. However, I know one day, when I become a mother, I will be reading about him to my children before they go to sleep so that they wake up in the morning looking forward to being warriors, and every night they will cry out, “Mama tell us about the warrior from the sands just one more time.” He may not be here anymore, but he will be in the hearts of generations to come.
The author is a TV anchor and a freelance journalist