Biography of Ghazi Al Gosaibi
Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al Gosaibi (3 March 1940 – 15 August 2010) was a Saudi Arabian liberal politician, diplomat, technocrat, poet, and novelist. He was an intellectual and a member of the Al Gosaibi family that is one of the oldest and richest trading families of the Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Al Gosaibi was considered among Saudi Arabia's topmost technocrats since the mid-1970s. The Majalla called him the "Godfather of Renovation" while Saudi journalist Othman Al Omeir argued that he was "the only great man in Saudi Arabia."
Al Gosaibi was born on 3 March 1940 to one of the richest families of the Kingdom in Huffa located in Al Ahsa province. The family was of Najdi origin. His mother was from the "Kateb" family of Mecca. She died when he was aged nine months and he was raised by his grandmother.
He received primary and secondary education in Bahrain which was a British protectorate during that time. He attended the University of Cairo and received a degree in law in 1961. Later, he moved to the United States and graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in international relations in 1964. He later finished his PhD in law at University College London in 1970; his PhD thesis was about the Yemen crisis which took place from 1962 to 1967.
Al Gosaibi began his career working as a lecturer at King Saud University in 1965. He held various positions, including associate professor, dean of the faculty of commerce and head of the department of political science. In 1965, he served as a legal consultant to the Saudi reconciliation committee; the job was related to negotiating with the Egyptian forces in Yemen. He also served as the director general of Saudi Railways Organization in 1970,chairman of Jubail Petrochemical Company (Sadaf) and Yanbu Petrochemical Company (Yanpet), member on Public Investment Fund, Supreme Manpower Council, and Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu.
Al Gosaibi was one of the technocrats in the 1970s who were chosen by the Saudi government for assigning public positions and posts. In 1976, King Khalid appointed him the minister of industry and electricity, and he held the position until 1983. During his tenure, he established a state-controlled petrochemical firm, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) which he also headed in 1976. He also served as the minister of health from 1983 to 1984. He was removed from office without any explanation in 1984. Then he served as the ambassador to Bahrain (1984-1992), and was subsequently appointed the Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1992. Al Gosaibi replaced Nasser Almanquor as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland following the latter's removal due to his support for the fatwa (religious decree) asking for the death of British writer Salman Rushdie. In 1999, he nominated himself to serve for the post of director general of UNESCO. However, he was not elected, and Japanese diplomat Koichiro Matsuura became the director general. In the election, Matsuura won 34 votes, Al Gosaibi 13.Al Gosaibi's term as Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland ended in September 2002.
Next Al Gosaibi was appointed minister of water and electricity in mid-September 2002 when the ministry of agriculture and water was divided into two independent ministerial bodies; his tenure lasted until April 2004. During this period, Al Gosaibi was also appointed a board member of Saudi Aramco and served in the post until October 2004. King Fahd appointed him as the minister of labor on 13 April 2004 following the split of the labor and social affairs ministry into two. He helped promote the national strategy of Saudization into practice and motivated private firms to employ a greater proportion of Saudi nationals. He served in the post until his death in 2010, and was succeeded by Adel Fakeih in the post.
Al Gosaibi was a member of the honorary committee of Painting & Patronage from 2000 to 2010. He also actively participated in the organization of its first and second programmes held in London in 2000 and Riyadh in 2001, respectively.
Al Gosaibi, while serving as minister of health, was dismissed in 1984. He had openly asked for and supported the transparent tendering for regional hospitals. This criticism of Al Gosaibi targeted Saudi Oger, owned by late Rafik Hariri, who had been closely associated with King Fahd. Since Al Gosaibi was not able to meet with King Fahd, he wrote a poem for the King, entitled "A Pen Bought and Sold". The poem, which was published on the front page of Al Jazirah, indirectly accused the ruling elites, including Prince Sultan, then minister of defence, of corruption. King Fahd fired him after reading the poem.
Al Gosaibi was also removed from his post as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2002 due to his poem, a short verse entitled "You Are the Martyrs", in Al Hayat in mid-April, supposedly praising a Palestinian female suicide bomber. The poem was allegedly dedicated to a Palestinian teenager, Ayat Akhras who blew herself up on 29 March 2002 in the Kiryat HaYovel supermarket in Jerusalem, resulting in death of two Israelis. Al Gosaibi described her as the "bride of the heavens" who "stands up to the criminal" and "kisses death with a smile." The poem also included critical views about the United States and the Arab political and intellectual elite, who, for Al Gosaibi, did not assume any responsibility with regard to the Palestinian conflict.Before his removal from his post by the Saudi government, Al Gosaibi had faced censure from the British government because of the aforementioned poem
Ghazi Al Gosaibi Poems
So do witness prophets and saints
land more barren,
like the tyrant's conscience
(although there's nothing more beautiful
another my limbs
Our words are dead
like the tyrant's conscience
They've never bathed in the fountain of life,
never known birth pangs or wounds,
the miracle of walking on spear points.
We dream of a world free of chains
rising from our paralyzed pens
That a season of roses
will blossom in our dying hearts