quotes Saudi Arabia’s majestic date palm

10 April 2022
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Updated 10 April 2022

Saudi Arabia’s majestic date palm

With our hearts and minds so preoccupied by the multiple crises our world is currently going through, it is hard to find a mental anchor that can allow us to approach events calmly and see the bigger picture.
At times like these, I find it useful to give my mind some rest and to summon imagery that contrasts deeply with the challenges we otherwise face.
These days, my thoughts have turned to the date palm — a tall, slender and lush tree that stands confidently in the arid desert. In an environment so dry and barren, with little vegetation or water, a luxuriant tree providing such sweet fruit is almost an aberration.
There is very little movement to be seen in the desert, except perhaps for sheets of sand blowing across the dunes. The date palm, however, sways in wind from side to side like a graceful dancer.
Date palms represent self-reliance and abundance: Each part of the tree has a specific use. Dates are incredibly nourishing
and so abundant that a single season can provide enough fruit for many people. The fruit can be dried, stored and transported — perfectly suited to the Bedouin lifestyle.

We could all learn a lesson from these glorious trees — to bend with challenges instead of breaking and to compromise for a common good.

Hassan bin Youssef Yassin

Its leaves can be used to create roofs for shelter and can also be woven into baskets and mats. The leaf base can be used as fuel, its fiber for ropes or cloth and its seeds for cosmetics, medicinal purposes and animal feed. Bedouins use the stripped date clusters as brooms. Nothing in the date palm goes to waste.
In that sense, date palms are like camels, one of the largest mammals after whales and elephants. Foam from the camel’s mouth is used as medicine by the Bedouin, while its urine is known to help remove lice and its excrement is used to fuel fires.
In a world where we can feel surrounded by calamity, I marvel at the desert and its palm trees. They will always be there, providing for those with only the sand and the sky as their home, withstanding any strong wind with their flexibility.
We could all learn a lesson from these glorious trees — to bend with challenges instead of breaking and to compromise for a common good.

Hassan bin Youssef Yassin worked closely with Saudi petroleum ministers Abdullah Tariki and Ahmed Zaki Yamani from 1959 to 1967. He headed the Saudi Information Office in Washington from 1972 to 1981 and served with the Arab League observer delegation to the UN from 1981 to 1983.