“Al Tami Trenches” by Roya Hoodeh

When I arrived in the UAE and started teaching at American University of Sharjah (Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business), I thought what I could possibly do to engage my students in our Family Business Course beyond the usual tools. One day, I found myself reading “One Thousand and One Nights” to my little daughter Une. It was at that moment when I recognized that in the land of STORYTELLING stories should be an approach to create critical thinking in my classes.

I asked my students to use their imagination, experience, and ideas to create blog posts in order to express their thoughts and use their stories to navigate in my lectures, to generate a debate, and to expand our knowledge.

Here is one story … By Roya Hoodeh

wordleIt was a horrible day for the entire Al Tami family. A 48-year-old father of two was killed in a car accident, shocking the Al Tami’s and sending them into mourning. Little did they know that it was just the beginning of the bitterness of that incident?

The deceased victim, Ali, left his father, his loving wife, his two young sons, and his five siblings with all the wealth he had acquired ever since his working days at the age of 18. Ali had not left any will, and had not chosen a successor for the jewelry business that he ran. Lucky for him though, the family culture, which he came from, condoned collectivistic behavior and his brothers and sisters took it in their hands to look after his widow and orphaned sons after his passing.

Ali’s job was not as easy as he made it seem. He tended to his family, successfully handled his international company, and still had the time to be one of the most popular and influential members of the family.

The fateful accident naturally put the family through hard time, but this period was short-lived and was quickly overtaken by the harmony that resided over the Al Tami family. The first four, five years that the Al Tami family was without Ali was sad, but smooth sailing: Ali’s five brothers had split his work amongst themselves, keeping his business alive, meanwhile working on their own business ventures. All the shares were transferred to the two young sons aged 18 and 21, without their involvement in the work activities as they were still students.

Despite of the family’s constant support, Ali’s family was a little disappointed at the family’s decision, but said nothing in order to keep the peace… The peace that was about to end soon anyway…One eventful day, Ali’s younger brother, Badr, comes home exhausted from work in the diamond company, and gets into an argument with his wife, Mariam.

Frustrated and disheartened, Badr and Mariam attended the annual family gathering at Ali’s house that same evening. Upon their entrance it is when Mariam felt her blood boil at the fetching diamonds Ali’s wife was wearing. It was obviously an expensive designer’s, and moreover, it was much nicer than what Mariam had on. This jealous spouse, already infuriated with Badr because of how much time he spent away from home, began another argument with her husband as soon as they re-entered their home.

In Mariam’s eyes, Badr was out making more money for Ali’s family, than he did for his own. Soon after that, because of Mariam’s influence as an outsider to the Al Tami family, Badr called his brothers and said, “Pretend I’m dead also, like Ali, do the work I would normally do, and pay me my dividends.” This statement completely clashed with the Al Tami culture. The outsider’s influence, Mariam, had begun to destroy the unity of the Al Tami family, and of course, the companies under their control.

%d bloggers like this: