Two Minutes with Dr. Yahya
On the Arab Manifesto of Learning
A Story of Arab Shiekh’s Oil Deal-Agreement Generosity.
Reported in the Arab American Encyclopedia-AAE
It was narrated, I am fond of writing about Great Arab Personalities. Sometimes taking into consideration the idiom: “No Body is Perfect”, I find some strange stories such as this one. So forgive me readers, I am still trying to revive the dead meet man, in order to create fresh Arab minds and souls.
After colonialism was defeated, and their power over the poor nations resources changed, they were smart though, but greedy to continue their powers or to retain some of it. Poor people are naïve and still generous with simple mentality thinks how to bring daily food. Colonialism began its strategies and tactics to keep the relationships with the poor but resourceful in some cases. Energy is acutely needed after WW1, ideas of colonialism came up with social but political factors such as education ties and diplomacy. The Muslim world as we said of the poor countries were naturally generous with their guests. That door of generosity was the key. When colonial powers in the name of multinational corporations negotiated oil, they used the factor of generosity. One of the newly producing oil area Shaikhs was visited to sign a deal with MNCs oil companies. This was his story:
There was an Arab Sheikh in the Gulf wealthy oil area. Two capitalists (one British and American Oil negotiators) wanted to make an agreement with one of the Shiekh’s oil in the Gulf Area. (I will discard the role of translator here). In the way to meet His Highness, the Shiekh, the British envoy asked the American:
– “How much do you think we have to offer to the Shiekh for oil yearly?”
– “A good deal is to offer a sum between 10 to 12 billions. I guess.” The American said:
-“No! I think this is too much! we will offer him eight billions, if he rejected the offer, then we will increase it to10 billions if he disagree, up to 15 billion negotiation. What do you think? They both agreed, so each will pay half of the amount. Both said in one voice, “So we will.” They arrived to his tent.
In the meeting with the Shiekh, he asked them not to talk until they have the Arab coffee. They did. Later, they offered him 8 billion for the oil every year. The sheikh paused in silence, the two envoy members (the capitalists) thought they did a mistake without intention, and may be they should begin with higher number than eight. they should offered ten billion as at first step. But the Shiekh looked at them, put his hand on his beard, seems to thinking deeply, then looked at the translator, and then talked:
– “Eight billions you said? Hmmm”.
The American said: “Yes your Highness. But we are ready to ………..,” the Shiekh, gave a sign with his hand to stop talking, then he said:
– “Eight billion! Hmmm! I think this is too much, we can’t handle this amount of money.” To their surprise he continued to say:
– “I will give you a generous deal, I will take only five billions each year, and you both take the rest for you as a gift, but with one condition.
The two envoy members were looking at each other, laughing deep with no sign,
– “What’s that your Highness” One of the negotiators (the American) said: The sheikh with his hand and fingers made a sign, (the thump moving on other fingers of the same hand, showing them what he means):
-“Yes your highness, what does that mean?” The sheikh smiled and said:
“ I need cash ….cash money.” The two envoy members in their car were laughing, repeating the sentence. The desert sand was annoyed of their loud voices.
Now let me ask you: Is this an Arab generosity or what? Arabs until now, they act in the same generosity, where their money in western banks, with one condition: no interest collected. Because collected interest, is haram. (illegal) according to Islamic Shari’a. I wander why the American banks collapsed.
This anecdote was similar in one Shikh’s biography in the 1960s written by a westerner. The sheikh felt proud of himself as an Arab showing his generosity to his guests. My question more is: does this generosity continues until this day. I don’t know, this is a taboo question. But it surely, still celebrated in national ceremonies.
Another story, but shorter, two years ago, an Arab president of one oil country talking about money, he was offered to pay 2.9 (two point nine) billion for compensation of the TWA victims. In his televised conference to his people, (I watched it on TV), he said:
“We will give the complete amount” then he continues to say: “What is the two billion in our budget?”
He did not recognize the 900 millions in the deal, because he did not grasp what the point 9 of a billion (.9 ) means. He discarded the amount of .9 billion. The money is not his anyway, it is generated from oil revenues. This was another type of Arab generosity, what do you call that? If you say: Arab ignorasity? You may be right! Long live (almost all) Arab and Muslim Leaders. www.hasanyahya.com (839 words)