Oman donned the mask of normality on the day tropical cyclone Shaheen paid an unwelcomed call, momentarily, to Muscat and some in neighboring North Al Batinah Wilayats. Omanis and residents were listening to updates from the Met office without foreseeing in advance what it would bring into peril. Shaheen’s guest was unwanted and unwelcome even though Omanis are known for their tremendous generosity and characterized by their noble and kindly spirit when treating guests.
Since Shaheen thrust itself into Omani soil without invitation, permission, or welcome, it decided not to leave unnoticed. Roads were broken with suddenness and violence, trees were pulled by the roots, houses torn down, and worse. What else could it take before going away? Shaheen intended to cause lasting damage, but because Oman from the times of the Prophet, peace be upon him, has been at the mercy of Allah, the government and the people of Oman were exemplary in dealing with the period that immediately followed ruinous Shaheen.
With their courteous behavior marked by polished manners and respect for each other, Omanis showed great affection, devotion, and warmth regarding their home country and fellow citizens. On Friday, Oct. 9, 2021, more than 100,000 Omanis from different regions arrived at Al-Masanah, Suwaiq, and Al-Khabourah by road and sea. Trucks and ships loaded with food supplies and other vital goods also made their way from Dhofar in the far south to Musandam in the far north. Old and young, men and women, were united and determined, acted with haste and eagerness and without preparation to win victory over Shaheen. Their acts grew spontaneously from the seeds sown by their previous ancestors without direct control or supervision.
Omanis always have their way of dealing with such an unusual state of affairs. They do it without excessive display, nor do they do it with a show to attract attention and admiration. Omanis are unique in their tendency to keep a low profile in achievement. Their strenuous efforts in dealing with Shaheen’s aftermath have never been marked by futility and ineffectualness. Their behavior should not be viewed as pretentious but should teach fundamental values from which other nations need to learn.
• Dr. Musallam Al Maani is dean of Al Zahra College for Women in Sultanate of Oman