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Nation remembers Sheikh Zayed

posted on 21/08/2011: 2235 views



In the book of history some pages are made exceptional because they record the deeds of giants among mankind, men and women whose impact is felt long after they are no longer with us.

They bring with them a depth of knowledge, a foresight for what is right, a sharp sense of justice and a desire to make life for everyone around them that much better. And their lives are measured not by what they say but by the tangible evidence of what they achieve. Such people stand tall and mark an era for their people.

"Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding President of the UAE and the Father of the Nation was one such man. Today, in this splendid and truly blessed land we mark his death anniversary by recalling the seeds he planted across the spectrum, seeds that today have reached fruition and placed the UAE squarely on the global map", said a report published by Khaleej Times today.

From science to technology, education to sport, from the encouragement to agriculture to maintaining tradition and wedding it to modern convenience, Sheikh Zayed spearheaded each initiative and move it surely and swiftly in the correction direction. Water, electricity, housing, transportation, the comfort of the family unit, these were the priorities.

And even as the signs of progress became visible, Sheikh Zayed impressed upon all the need to remember the past, to value tradition and custom, to show respect to elders and never forget what it means to be an Arab, to honour one's word and keep one's commitment.

He empowered women, protected and defended the Arab culture, was the voice of reason on the regional and world political stage, earned the respect of leaders of different hues with his pragmatic and sensible approach to international crises, he implemented several schemes designed to upgrade and improve community services, heighten social welfare and ensure first rate medical facilities.

These are not just labels that we mention on this day of remembrance but a litany of how much one person can achieve if his blueprint is fuelled with love and care for the people and the motivation is their benefit.

In the 33 years as President he was indeed a man for all seasons. From his intent to create a solid and unified entity out of the federation to making sure that the humblest in the land enjoyed the bounty of oil revenues and walked the land with pride and confidence Sheikh Zayed sent out one succinct and clear message: We want the science, knowledge and experience to ensure progress of our country and to turn these elements into durable cultural values for future generations, sparing them any recurrence of hardships.

It would be appropriate to state that for Sheikh Zayed everything was a labour of love. There was no goal, no mission, no deadline too difficult or too onerous if it was relevant to improving the lives of his people. His action reflected a caring and thoughtful man, one who was equally at home with children as he was with kings, as comfortable with commoners as he was with the powerful.

Another task taken on by Sheikh Zayed was that of instilling a commitment to tolerance, both in terms of religion and in other spheres, as a fundamental part of the UAE. Recognising that the Emirates needed both expertise from other countries and the active participation of expatriates in the country's development programme, he ensured that the country sought to build friendly relations with all, seeking to build bridges rather than engaging in unproductive rhetoric and also worked to ensure that all those who lived in the UAE, both citizens and expatriates, of whatever origin, could enjoy security.

A consistent opponent of those who sought to pervert the message of Islam, he showed, both through his own life and in the policies of his Government, his belief in dialogue between religious faiths and civilisations.

We remember him today for all this and more. There is a sense of gratitude that he was at the helm in those formative years and the man who along with his fellow Ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Dubai, and with the other Rulers of the emirates to ensure the emergence of the UAE on 2nd December 1971 and then fast track the nation to the forefront.

Today, the UAE is a force to reckon with. Enjoying arguably one of the highest standards of living in the world, it is a tribute to those that took the daydream and turned it into an incandescent reality.

The dream started early, long before the President. The youngest of the four sons of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1922 to 1926, Sheikh Zayed assumed charge as the Ruler's representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi and that was his first opportunity to move things according to the master plan. Even before that, as a young boy growing up in Al Ain he had two major ambitions. To green the land and turn it lush and rich and still maintain the grandeur and majesty of the desert and its unique eco-structure. That, and to give his people the sweetest fruit from the tree of life.

He succeeded in both endeavours and that is why on this day we have chosen to recall this magnificent leader's magnificent contributions to the commonwealth.

For us it is a matter of great pride and honour to salute such a man as he, for they come rarely, leaving behind a legacy that is incomparable. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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