Emirati diplomat and author Omar Ghobash has almost finished writing a novel that imagines the final hours of his father’s life. Saif Ghobash, who was UAE’s first Minister of State for Foreign Affairs at the time, was assassinated in 1977.
The novel begins with his father waking up at 6 am to go for a swim at a nearby beach. He then returns home to have breakfast with his family before heading off to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“In those six hours or so, he reminisces about different things,” Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy said.
“My father participated in the issue of the islands that were invaded by Iran in 1971, took trips to see the Shah in Iran, and was educated in Bahrain and Iraq. In 1958, he was kicked out of Iraq after spending a month in jail there.”
The events, Ghobash said, are touched upon in the novel in the form of recollections, “to put some colour into a story that should be of interest”.
Ghobash’s father was assassinated at Abu Dhabi International Airport on October 25, 1977. He was mistakenly shot and killed by a man targeting Syrian foreign minister Abdul Halim Khaddam. The Emirati minister was seeing Khaddam off when the attack took place. Ghobash was only 6 at the time.
Ghobash did not say whether the novel has been given a title yet. But he said working on it has given him the opportunity to investigate segments of his father’s life that he knew little about.
The novel, he said, “tries to piece together the story of what actually happened, but also the story of his life”.
“There are huge chunks that I don’t know. But it gives me a certain amount of release in trying to imagine what he went through and the kinds of issues he had to deal with.”
Source: The National