Monday, May 7, 2007

Farewell Prince Abdul Majid

The body of Prince Abdul Majid should be arriving in Saudi Arabia any day now. Like many Meccans and Jeddaites I am profoundly saddened by the passing of this great man. The first I've heard of the name was when I was a young lad living in Madinah, and Abdul Majid had just taken up office as governor. At that tender age I was more interested in cartoons and computer games than I was in the wellfare of my city, yet even my youth clouded eyes couldn't help noticing the changes going all around me ever since he took charge. My fondest memory was the complete overhaul of a public park that I used to pass on my way back home from school. I remember it was called Al Majd (The glory) park and I immidiately associated it with Abdul Majid.

Many years later, and after a major house move, I re-encountered him. This time as governor of Makkah. At the time the region (especially Makkah) were in a terrible state of stagnation. Once, Abdul Majid arrived things finally started to move. Thanks to his work, he earned a double edged reputation. The public adored all the reforms going on under his governance. The parasites who lived on the corruption of the previous government absolutely hated him. The latter is reason enough to saint the guy in my book.

A couple of years ago I had the honor of meeting him face to face. It was a graduation ceremony and my little brother (I don't care how old are you kid, you'll always be my "little brother"!) was to be honored as the top of his class. There was Abdul Majid giving away smiles, certificates and words of encouragement to our newest batch of Saudi auto technicians when my brother's turn came. Abdul Majid then did something I never expected. He took my brother to his side and sat with him, completely ignoring the protests of his aides and henchmen. They sat there for quite a while, Abdul Majid congratulating my brother and joking with him, playfully pulling his ear like a fond uncle. As I took photos I could feel my chest bursting with pride (and yes, royal loyalty). Here was my little brother, a young Jawa boy hobnobbing with the nobs. Made me wish my dad was alive to see it.

When Prince Abdul Majed returned from his vacation (just before his relapse) my mom took one look at his face on TV and mournfully stated: "Your brother's prince is dying". He wasn't just my brother's prince. He was ours. People will mourn him and remember him as a man who believed in change. Me, I'll remember the fatherly prince who pulled my little brother's ear.

Good night, sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!


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