Greetings to the city of Muharraq

Hussein Shobokshi

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I regularly receive dozens of invitations to attend conferences, seminars, forums, meetings and exhibitions on a wide range of political, economic, social, intellectual and cultural issues.

However, many of such events turn into “duplicated copies”, having same faces and same themes, and some of them are repeated “periodically” in which merely the location of the city or the host country is changed, but the subject and its treatment remain boring and monotonous.

This is evident in the periodic events celebrated by choosing a city as the capital of Islamic culture. But what encouraged me to accept the invitation is that it is in Bahrain, which has adopted a clear and explicit approach for a long time, in which culture is respected as an interface that reflects the country’s rich heritage and the unique style of diversity and coexistence in the Arabian Gulf.

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The events that accompanied the launching of the announcement of the choice of “Muharraq” as the capital of Islamic culture were to a great extent “startling”, “distinctive”, “different” and “unique” by reactions from the constellation of guests and distinguished guests who came from all over the world. In the events, the culture was presented in a comprehensive, attractive and integrated manner.

In the past, these events were made up of a solemn sermon for the character of the frowning eyebrows, with a loud voice, pointing with the right and the left index finger, and the spittle dripping out of his mouth, then a poem was thrown.

Greetings to Bahrain and to the Muharraq for the hospitality and good choice raised the bar and made it difficult for those to follow

Hussein Shobokshi

Rich and unique history

At this time the occasion was full of beautiful melodies, art, paintings, rich food, books and lectures, all of which presented a celebration of Muharraq and its rich and unique history of co-existence, tolerance, openness and acceptance, reflecting the culture of the ancient Dilmun and new Bahrain.

The event was dazzling and meticulously prepared by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), which managed to make all of Bahrain interested in the success of this event. Everyone was ready to help with any question and in a very positive spirit.

This type of “live” and “interactive” event reflects in a real and practical way the spirit of tolerance, creativity and innovation found in the spirit of Islam, which was discovered by its people from China to Africa, where they created chanting, music, calligraphy, painting, sculpture, weaving, knitting, trade, pottery and other forms of creative artistic design reflects the civilizations, peoples and nations that have “come together” as Islam has ordered.

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This is reflected in the comprehensive “culture” that gathers, not disperses and not fragmented. The launch of Muharraq as the capital of Islamic culture was a “journey of love” launched by BACA and reflected on the faces of all those who did not leave the smile nor signs of satisfaction and admiration.

Much of this kind of positive event for my age is more pronounced and more influential than speeches and poems that are lavishly disbursed in the belief that they are influential, and their failure has been proven to be flawed. Greetings to Bahrain and to the Muharraq for the hospitality and good choice raised the bar and made it difficult task on who will come after them and in this let the competitors compete.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.
Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the “Global Leaders for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.

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