Ghazi Al Gosaibi


Saudi politician and poet One of inspiring and reform minding Saudis politicians Ghazi Abdul Rahman al-Gosaibi stemmed chronic corruption and extremism. A part of a select group of commoner technocrats in the 1970s he sought to modernise the kingdom. He was empowered by his huge personal wealth. He launched the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) when he was industry and electricity minister from 1975 to 1982. As minister of health, in 1984, he insisted that tendering for regional hospitals be carried out correctly. He was forced to step down. During his eight-year stint as ambassador to Bahrain, where he had his family roots, al-Gosaibi wrote a sad poem, A Pen Bought and Sold, for the king that he sent to the newspaper al-Jazeera. The poem expressed his sense of hurt and betrayal. The poem was given the front-page coverage and caused a major scandal. He was sacked. Married to a German lady, al-Gosaibi served as ambassador to Britain from 1992 to 2002 where he was popular. He wrote many books of non-fiction, novels and poetry. The best known of al-Gosaibi's was his novel 'Freedom Apartment' which described the coming of age of a group of Arab university students living in Cairo during the politically turbulent 1960s. The contents of the novel were seen as a coded attack on the lack of liberties in Saudi Arabia. Having a law degree from Cairo University (1961), al-Gosaibi did a master's in international relations at the University of Southern California (1964). He had a doctorate of law from London University (1970). Ghazi Abdul Rahman al-Gosaibi was born in the eastern city of Hofuf into a prominent merchant family. He died of stomach cancer.

Compiler: M. Nauman Khan

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