In Memoriam: Ghazi al-Gosaibi, 70
Ghazi al-Gosaibi MA ’64, a Saudi diplomat who served under four kings and authored several novels, nonfiction works and poetry, died of cancer Aug. 15 at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He was 70.
Gosaibi had a long career in public service, most recently serving as minister of labor. In the 1970s, he was director of the Saudi Railways Organization, and later minister of industry and electricity, where he helped pioneer development of the Saudi petrochemicals industry. From 1984 to 1992, he served as ambassador to Bahrain, and then as ambassador to Britain from 1992 to 2002.
An outspoken critic of conservative Saudi society, Gosaibi was fired as minister of health in 1984 after publishing the poem “A Pen Bought and Sold,” which highlighted the corruption of the Saudi elite under then King Fahd. In 2002, he was removed as ambassador of Britain after publishing “You Are the Martyrs,” an ode to a Palestinian suicide bomber at the height of the second Palestinian uprising.
Gosaibi was born in Hofuf on March 3, 1940, to a prominent and wealthy family of traders. He earned a law degree at the University of Cairo, a master’s at USC and a doctorate in law at the University of London.
He published numerous books, including essays, poetry and love stories, some of which faced bans in his own country. Gosaibi’s best-known novel was An Apartment Called Freedom, which chronicled the lives of four Bahrainis leaving their homes to attend university in Cairo.
In 1999, he lost in the race for director general of UNESCO to Japanese diplomat Koichiro Matsuura.
He is survived by his wife, four children and eight grandchildren.