Ahmed Al-Falahi, the Omani resident among the books

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Nizar Qabbani said about him: “He was a battalion of poetry, circumstance, and narration.. He is one of the Arab gentlemen.” Many young Omani writers consider him the father of their experiences, and the master of their country’s heritage. As for him, he finds in all these descriptions an exaggeration that he does not deserve.

That is the founder of the Omani Book Association, the cute and hardworking writer, Ahmed Abdullah Salem Al Falahi, the owner of the largest personal library in the Sultanate, and the most hoarded of anecdotes. Rather, he resides in this library, breathing the air of its contents distributed over several rooms and corridors, within his small apartment.

His career is characterized by richness, career diversity, cultural perseverance and knowledge research, and his memory stores scenes and stories about the time of the Omani diaspora, and the era of development and renaissance, which made his biography interesting and worthy of being told.

Al-Falahi was born in the village of Al-Bateen in the Wilayat of Al-Qabil, around 1952 AD. Because of his father’s emigration to Zanzibar in search of a livelihood, he grew up in the care of his grandfather, the scholar and jurist. But his grandfather died when he was six, so his mother raised him and raised him, and she did well, especially since she was able to read and write, and had a beautiful handwriting.

And from what he remembers about his mother, she taught him grammar, through the “urgent expression” and poetry through Abu Muslim Al-Bahlani’s potty, and that she was wandering with him around the village, so images and scenes from the past that do not erase, such as the scene of the village being devoid of residents, and the closure of the village. Their homes are covered with huge locks, due to the migration of people to escape drought and drought.

After lean years, the fertility returned to Al-Batin, so the people returned from their emigration, and life returned to the village, and things became prosperous in it. With these new circumstances, his father returned from Africa. At that time, Al-Falahi had grown up a little, and he had become aware of what was around him, and among the things he eagerly sought was access to his grandfather’s huge library, which he was deprived of when he was young.

In his life, there were 3 milestones that had a great impact on his formation, personality and culture. The first stop was at the age of ten, when he accompanied his father for the first time outside the borders of his village. His arrival at the port of Muttrah was a great opening for him, as he saw for the first time the sea and ships, doctors and markets, and foreign nurses.

The second stop was when he reached the age of 12. At that time, he was visiting with his family one of the expatriate village men in the Gulf to work, and he was attracted by the attractive titles of some of the books in the latter’s house, among them was the book “One Thousand and One Nights”, which Al-Falahi insisted on borrowing, Until he responded to his request, he read it eagerly, discovering worlds and climates he had never heard of before. This book was one of the first non-religious books on which Al-Falahi was founded.

At the third stage of his life, he decides, at the age of 13, to embark on his first adventure. That was around 1965, when he and a number of his older relatives agreed to emigrate in search of education and livelihood. With his father’s rejection of the idea, he decided to flee to Dubai, and from there he took a boat towards Bahrain, where he arrived and lived for about two months, during which he enjoyed its cultural atmosphere, its libraries and publications, thus expanding his circle of knowledge, and even getting rid of some myths related to inventions of the era, such as the radio.

After Bahrain, he headed by sea to the Saudi city of Khobar, hoping to work by day and study in the evening. Our friend in Dammam got acquainted with two Omani personalities, with whom he had strong relations, and who played a role in his life, the poet Abdullah Al-Ta’i and Sheikh Muhammad Al-Shaibah. However, our friend’s stay in Saudi Arabia did not last long. After about a year, he left it for Kuwait. There some advised him to move to Baghdad to study, but he arrived late, and he was not accepted. Some of his acquaintances suggested that he travel to Damascus, where he lived and studied for a whole year, interspersed with visits to Beirut, and unfulfilled promises to travel to Egypt, which he was tight to.

Thus, we find that these movements of his, although he did not benefit from them financially or academically, but they introduced him to the ideas and cultures of that stage. He approached the ideas and personalities of the Imami Omanis, got acquainted with the nationalist tendencies and ambitions, and learned about the struggles of the Baathists, while his thought was drawn to the harsh conditions of his homeland.

At the end of 1968, our friend was in Abu Dhabi, where he resided for a while, and it happened at that time that he saw a Beiruti magazine, heralding the imminent change of the regime in Amman, so he quickly made his way to meet Sheikh Al Shaibah, who had moved from Dammam to Kuwait. While he was having lunch at the Shaybah table at noon, then Radio Kuwait broadcasts the news of the change in Oman, and Sultan Qaboos taking over the reins of government.

Al-Falahi left Kuwait quickly, returning to Amman, to participate in its construction through the city of Al-Khobar, but he was injured in Al-Khobar in a tragic traffic accident, which left him in a tragic condition in Al Sharq Hospital, under the supervision of a Lebanese doctor.

Four months later, he left his hospital and arrived in Oman to find his two friends, Abdullah Al-Tai and Saud Al-Khalili, who had been chosen as Ministers of Information and Education, respectively, in the first government under Sultan Qaboos. Al-Khalili offered him to work as a teacher with a salary of 65 riyals per month, but Al-Taei pressured him and convinced him that his place was the media, not the teaching. Accordingly, Al-Falahi joined the Ministry of Information, as an employee in the news department of the radio station, in early 1971, with a salary of 54 riyals, according to Al-Tai’s desire, and in line with his passion for research and knowledge.

After ten years in the radio, he spent as news editor and presenter of literary and historical programmes, he moved in 1981 from media to education, to work for a whole year in the management of missions, before a decision was issued to appoint him a cultural attaché at the Omani embassy in Bahrain, where he remained until 1987, where he was documented. His relationship with the cultural and poetic elites.

In late 1989, he moved to Cairo to work in the Omani Cultural Attache there. This was a new and different turning point in his life. In Cairo, he saw in nature, whatever he had read or imagined.

Between 2003 and 2010, he was appointed as a member of the State Council, and in 2010 a decree was issued promoting him to the rank of Undersecretary and appointing him to the position of advisor to the Minister of Education. Al-Falahi was honored in 2001 with the Sultan Qaboos Medal for Culture, Arts and Letters, and the Oman Civil Medal of the third degree, in 2015.

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