A Smile of Hope today talks about honesty relating to public assets. It’s about the great and famous engineers, amongst Egypt’s best of the best, Engineer Osman Ahmed Osman. He is the founder of The Arab Contractors. The company built a lot, and it’s one of the best companies whose goodness has affected the entire Middle East. It’s something deep-rooted, which makes all Egyptians proud. Engineer Osman Ahmed Osman and honesty.
I won’t talk to you about contracting and building, no! I will talk about honesty with public property. How will he deal with it? Let me have him tell the story, because he explained it in his biography
He said that the Egyptian government, towards the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s, asked him to build a school in Ismailaya. It was his hometown. The Englishmen were around during this time, in this town. He built the school, and almost was completely done—and he was about to turn it into the country. Right before he turned it into the country an issue had risen between the government and the Englishmen.
The issue became very intense, and the result was that the Englishmen took over the school and surrounding areas and turned them into accommodation for their army. Engineer Osman Ahmed Osman thought about it, and wondered if he should simply give the Englishmen the school which the kids of the town should learn in. Then he decided that he must stop them from taking it over. He kept thinking of a way to stop them.
While he was thinking of a way to stop them, he found the man from the British Army who was supposed to take over the school in front of him. He told him, “I’m here to take power of the school.” Engineer Osman Ahmed Osman thought quickly, and responded, “Please give me a chance, because my workers are all over the school and we haven’t finished completely. Give me two hours and come and take it.” The soldier told him, “I’ll be back in 2 hours.”
He brought his workers and brought several trucks, and told them take all the windows and doors down quickly on all the classrooms. This idea was to make the school not ready to be turned in. He put all the doors and windows in the truck quickly, and put it back in the company’s storage. The British soldier came to take power of the school, and then he realized he can’t do much with it because it had no windows or doors.
They let the school go, and the school continued like that for a year. After one year, the Egyptian government took power of its responsibilities once again. The Deputy Minister of Higher education asked Engineer Osman Ahmed Osman to finish the school so that students would start studying in it beginning next year. He told him, “Tell us how much it would cost, so you can finish it They didn’t know that he stored the doors and windows.
He told the deputy minister, “The cost is zero.” The deputy minister responded, “How is that possible?” He told him, “Not a penny, all the doors and windows are available in storage, and will be returned and installed.” The deputy minister said, “You could have hidden them and you would’ve gotten a bundle of money.” Engineer Osman responded with beautiful words by saying, “And how would I hide it, while God Who knows everything, saw me while I took it out?
And how would I hide it, and put my conscious away and walk in front of my countrymen? What would they say about me and what would I say about myself?”
How would I hide it while God sees me—is honesty. How do I hide it with my conscious as an Egyptian citizen? It would be nice if we learned integrity and the love of our country. That is when there will be a true smile filled with hope in our lives.