If you’re looking for some light reading from the Middle East, something peppered with the region’s wit and satire, then look no farther than Abu Dhabi and Sultan Saeed al Darmaki, presently a businessman running the construction-based Al Darmaki group. He has published his first official book, entitled Leave the Birds Alone. It was a highly personal endeavor, as the content is simply a collection of some of the wittiest or thought-provoking ideas and observations he has accumulated throughout his lifetime.
As most artists and writers know from experience, inspiration can strike at any moment – while driving the car, while brewing the morning coffee, or in the shower. Sultan Saeed says he owes his inspiration for the title of the book to the online game, World of Warcraft.
Sultan Saeed was playing the game with a friend, when the pair encountered some noxious (though simulated) birds in an uncharted dungeon. Perhaps because he is an animal lover, or perhaps because he had already worked out in his mind some strategy for success in the game that required the use of the birds, unharmed, Sultan Saeed started shouting at his friend, “Leave the Birds Alone!”
He is quoted as saying, “This incident has stuck with me all these years, so I decided to name my first book after it.” The title found him; he didn’t have to search for it.
Readers, though, can take this quote and assign to it some deeper meaning (maybe by considering it the perfect maxim to combat harm inflicted on birds from wind turbines?).
A single thought dominates each page of Leave the Birds Alone. Here are four examples:
“Qualities qualify you, more than qualifications.”
“Always pay attention to the small details; they are the hardest to find when missing.”
“One mistake can lead to another, yet not as much as one solution leading to another mistake.”
“Don’t say your life is peachy, as others may be looking to make a cobbler out of it.”
Furthermore, each page is graphically designed in accordance with its aphorism. For example, the second example quote from above (“Always pay attention…”) is written over and over, covering one line after the next, in very small font.
Sultan Saeed announced, “I don’t say this book will change your life or this book is going to help you become a millionaire, rapper, cowboy, space jumper…But I would say this book doesn’t insult intelligence or flatter stupidity. It’s just me sharing my thoughts.”
His goal in publishing this work was to amuse readers, and I think Leave the Birds Alone will continue to accomplish that. It is available for Kindle on Amazon, and hard copies are being sold, but only in Abu Dhabi.