A farewell to Al Arabiya

Those who credit themselves for every favorable opportunity are completely wrong. You did not learn how to walk as a child alone, and then move forward in the stages of life bit by bit.

When you look back, to kick start a new experience, in any direction, you will see your mother’s loving face, your father’s giving hand, your wife’s kind love and prayers, and your children’s excitement at your return. You will also find your siblings checking up on you and your friends’ worry about you. But if it weren’t for those of you who sift through these pages, and sit in front of the television, I would have felt very lonely, writing to myself on long winter nights.

I became passionate about reading since I was little, therefore I loved writing and travel. I’ve long lived with autobiographical books, so I had friends whom I could be left alone with, when I was alone.

With love alone, I came to you a few years ago, and with love for the truth and being victorious for it, we woke up and were joined by libraries, and long hours of work. As for today, with love, friendship and memories of learning from each other, I bid you a farewell that knows that paths cross

Turki Aldakhil

I was lucky to have the ability to start a conversation about an idea that intrigued me with the first person I meet, even if that person hadn’t been up with me the night before reading the same book. I am very grateful to the colleagues and managers who have given me the opportunity as a young man, who was believed in by someone his father’s age, and who sent him to cover an event in a city he has never visited before.

My voice

I met with the most prominent presidents, ministers, politicians, CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, and intellectuals. I insist that I was lucky, and very attached to the opportunity and hope, as I stayed up nights to prepare journalistic content, and then prepare for my program ‘Ida’at’ which made me appear in picture and sound in every home in the Arab world.

I still admit that getting flattered for the rasp in my voice by a young man or woman that I meet by coincidence takes me back to my childhood, and I do not hesitate to return the love, and take a picture or bend down to sign an autograph on a book.

I admit that I did not know the worth of my voice, if it even had value or was valuable, until after I entered the world of journalism by more than a decade, after I had been working in radio.

I learned by watching, listening and learning to know about critical things from others, at the start of every new job which is something that neither books nor training courses could teach me.

Early on, I learned that change is the law of life, even if continuity is what a successful manager seeks. With it, he could agree without hesitation, and reject without justification.

Naturally, continuity does not come with the owner of an idea who is loyal, persuasive, ready who will fight the world with love for his idea.

Leadership

When you find an employee or colleague insisting on an idea, all you can do is sit, listen and make observations, and then enable, not interfere, in the work of those who are good at their job.

He who interferes in minor details after having placed confidence in the person before him is also completely wrong. Many may be angered by my belief in delegating, but they may be forgetting that I have the right to comment, give my opinion and jump in before what we agreed upon goes out of context. Place your trust in those who deserve it, then you won’t need to make an annoying phone call in the middle of the night.

There are no previous impressions or prejudgments on any proposal. We meet, and I sincerely listen to you. If you are not able to wow me or convince me in five minutes, it will be hard to convince others in the little time that is available.

Spread yourself out as much as possible, and assume that whomever you meet is intelligent enough. Never fear criticism as honesty and openness always expose you to criticism, but be sure that I am nearby to defend you as long as we are on the same page that we agreed upon in the first place.

Remember, dear reader, that time inevitably passes. Time has taught people before us, but engaging the viewer and considering anyone who owns a phone with a camera as a potential reporter was not an easy idea to grasp in our Arab world.

We’ve reported a lot of news, which resonated greatly with those watching. A ‘reporter’ who decided to share a certain event with his friends and followers, may in the meantime catch a child with a great voice singing in the backyard of his home south of the kingdom, or a cleaner in Holy Mecca who will be met by a Pakistani visitor who will kiss his forehead after seeing the cleaner’s sincerity and dedication toward his job. Material like this cannot be neglected, and cannot be followed up on without getting in contact with the reporter who had no idea while documenting whatever it is that he was documenting, that he was playing the role of a successful journalist in shedding the light on a scene that not many can grasp its importance under normal circumstances.

Media is always looking for a story, and when you involve the viewer in the task of searching for that worthy story, the game becomes collective, and the screen becomes a target waiting to be directly shot from an obscure reporter!

I do not flatter, nor take lightly anything that has to do with my country, and defending its just causes past, present and future. For my sons and I, like many loyalists, are soldiers of this country from its north to its south. And I will not rest until I see it as my King and Crown Prince see it among the ranks of other nations, not just states.

Sleep does not tempt me, nor exhaustion from travel, or long hours in the night will give my country quarter of what it deserves even if each of us is loyal in his position, we would have shortened a long road and not everyone will praise you.

There is a lot of truth in the words of Imam Shafi’I’: People’s satisfaction is a subconscious purpose.

But I was always keen for people not to all agree on my faults. I am not saying I count my faults, but I know very well that I will not save any effort to anger those who deserve, if I am convinced of their mistake, to doubt themselves or others.

Love and tolerance

I am always greedy for God’s mercy, thankful for the love of my colleagues whom I learn from, from the youngest to the oldest. If I were to admit something, it is that I never went to bed a day with anger in my heart toward anyone hateful. And I still say what I believe, that I do not get angry except with those who deserve this anger, and those are very little.

Reprimanding is not one of my traits, but I hold the hand of those individuals, and tell them not to take away a few hours of sleep from me again by repeating the same mistake. This is all in love, as we are a people who are only good at love and tolerance even at the highest hours of anger.

With love alone, I came to you a few years ago, and with love for the truth and being victorious for it, we woke up and were joined by libraries, and long hours of work.

As for today, with love, friendship and memories of learning from each other, I bid you a farewell that knows that paths cross, and meet again, and that life brings people back together. I am filled with nostalgia, and I am still close, and will remain close to each one of you.

But this moment, the moment of a harsh farewell, is the lightest burden on me today, for one reason: Whenever I remember my oldest and only loss, her face appears to me. The one whom without her, I would not have been here, I would not have been praised by anyone, nor my name be known by the envious. The kind woman, whom I represent some of her traces on this earth, I will remain her child even if I pass 40 years of age. I will write her my letters, which I do not share with anyone, and I only say this when moving on to any new stage, the saying of al-Mutanabi: When the world blocks me because of its narrowness, there is not a part of me that is blind to you.

Thanks to you, my comrades of this path. My sincere prayer for you is: Protect the old Al Arabiya era, in the right of the people “To Know More” every second. Protect people’s attachment to it, a radiant idea, a sense of belonging and a stream of balance yet open, successful and dreams of more in our Arab world, from the oceans to the Gulf.

Al Arabiya is more than just a leading news channel, and a reliable source of information for millions, knowing how important that is. My promise to you is that we meet in the maze of life. With love I came to you, and with love I will see you… even if after a while!

________________________
Turki Aldakhil is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 14:04 - GMT 11:04
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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