Now is the time to remember the work of those who are building the nation for future generations
Together the UAE is stronger
The beginning of a new year is a time to reflect on the 12 months which have passed, count your blessings and be thankful. As we all contemplate what 2018 holds and count the many ways to be grateful, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has found a unique way to give thanks – 247,000 times, at the last count. To mark the anniversary of his accession as Dubai’s ruler, he has asked the nation to thank Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for his tireless work and contribution to society. In an open letter to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, he wrote: “I do not thank him in my name but in the name of my people. I do not thank him for something personal but for a nation he is building for future generations.”
The letter and an accompanying video has been viewed 247,000 times on Twitter while the hashtag ShukranMohammedBinZayed was trending in the UAE today. Coinciding as it does with the 12th anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's accession and the eighth anniversary of the opening of the Burj Khalifa on January 4 – both important dates in the history and evolution of Dubai’s progressive growth – it is testament to the humility and unity that defines the relationship between the country’s leaders. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid could well have used the occasion to herald his own emirate’s achievements. Instead, he used it to make a heartfelt gesture, as he has done in previous years, only this time he dedicated it to a person rather than a cause. That gesture is a symbolic one, for the qualities he praises in the Crown Prince are those enshrined in the constitution of the UAE and were instilled by the Founding Father Sheikh Zayed, from being a “defender of the country” to “imparting to youth the spirit of heroism, manhood and militarism” and “laying the groundwork for a new centennial”. Those qualities are significant because nation-building is one thing; sustaining it is quite another. The legacy of Sheikh Zayed lies in the hands of his successors and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s letter, together with the reciprocal praise from Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince to a "brother, teacher, inspiring leader and partner in the development process", are a tacit acknowledgment of the responsibility that rests upon the nation’s leaders in carrying that baton forward. Coming at a time of profound change in the Gulf, such as the reforms seen in Saudi Arabia, and when much of the region is stricken with conflict, that message of solidarity is the essence of the Year of Zayed. Their recognition of the fact that together they are stronger will drive the nation forward this year and beyond.
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