x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

A shared nation

The festive long weekend served to remind us that the basic principles of the UAE help us to live and flourish together.

The nation goes back to work this morning regretting the end of a splendid long weekend, during which we celebrated some of the best aspects of the UAE.

Water coolers, break-rooms and work-site lunch groups will be buzzing with chatter about the weekend's many special events. Photos will be emailed to colleagues, friends and kinsfolk in this country and abroad. Those who attended the spectacularly staged and visually stunning show at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi will have bragging rights over those who missed it, or who saw it only on television. Patriotic scarves and lapel pins will be tucked away for future occasions.

Everyone who enjoyed any of the weekend's special events - and that surely includes expatriates as well as Emiratis - should take a moment to think about those who planned all the events, and about the performers, managers, pilots, police and firefighters, support workers and others who made it all happen.

National Day is a fine reason to have a party, and the UAE had a great one. But there is a higher purpose in occasions such as the one we have just enjoyed: to express the unity of all the peoples who live here. Despite the differences among groups, the UAE is a country where we share the values of mutual respect, and that's well worth celebrating.