He turns 92 in March, inshAllah. His intention is to keep working until he is 100, so that he enter the Guinness World Book of Records.
Nizar and me spent the morning with him, and he answered all of my questions about the formation of the United Arab Emirates. The bulk of his work has been with the country’s ruling family. Among his many positions was as advisor to Sheikh Zayed, and secretary to the Federal Supreme Council.
I couldn’t stop asking questions. And he let me ask all of them, with patience unmatched.
I must admit that aside from the history lessons imparted, a favourite thread of our conversation was discussing our family ties in Gaza. I am always surprised at how much I know when it is time for me to have these conversations. And for this, I have my mother to thank.
I have never ever given a shit about lineage. (Arabs, our roots tribal, give many shits, in fact.) And though I find laughable this idea that “wlaad 3eela” (children of families from higher echelons of society) are better than others (because LORD, can I tell you some stories about so many of these people and the filth in which they swim), I do believe that it is critical to be aware of our roots, that we might respect our own histories. My conversation with him was very much a reminder of just this thing. And it was riveting.
Today, I am grateful for:
1. The hysterical fits of laughter into which Reemo and I are randomly thrown, over the lamest subjects.
2. Botim video chats with momma, Zanzoona, Damdooma, and Khalo Mohammad. ❤
3. That none of us cousins in the family live some weirdo double life which leads us into split personalityitus. (More on this eventually.)