By Edouard Aldahdah
Posted on July 27th, 2016 in General
I have been trying to get a photo of him. He was Miqhim Ibn Mhayd’s slave and one of his most trusted men. Following the relocation (exile?) of Miqhim from Syria to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the late 1950s, he acted as Miqhim’s agent to acquire several hundreds of desert bred horses, mostly mares, and mostly from the ‘Anazah but also from other Bedouin tribes, as gifts to Saudi royals and other senior officials.
As distressed ‘Anazah Bedouins from Syria gradually moved south to Saudi Arabia, they sought public sector and military jobs, registration and immigration documents, and various social and resettlement benefits in their new home country. They were eager to obtain the support and good will of Saudi officials and members of the royal family, and through Miqhim and his sons, presented them with their best mares. This explains the influx of hundreds of Bedouin mares in the Saudi royal studs in the 1960s. Several dozens of these mares found their way to the Saudi Arabian Studbook, where they were registered as “desert bred”.
Back in Syria, Farhan al-Olayyan gained increasing influence with the ‘Anazah who had not left yet, to the point of speaking in the name of Miqhim and his sons. While he always acknowledged his status as a slave, he settled in Miqhim’s former dwelling, sitting at the central Majliss spot where Miqhim once sat. Many Bedouins gave him mares so he could intercede with Miqhim on their behalf.
Farhan al-Olayyan literally emptied the Northern desert of its Bedouin mares over three decades from the 1960s to the mid 1980s. He knew where the best mares from the best strains were. He took the horses by will or by force. When the late Qatari consul to Syria, Yusuf al-Rumayhi started collecting desert-bred mares from the remaining Syrian tribes in the mid 1980s, and aged Farhan al-Olayyan regretfully told him he could not be of help, as the most had already left to Saudi Arabia, and all what remained were a handful of elderly mares.
This photo from 1958 purports to show him, labeled as N.1. Thamer son of Nuri son of Miqhim al-Mhayd labeled as N.8.