x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Emiratis tweet to reassure Bahrainis

Dozens of Emiratis use Twitter to tell their Bahraini "cousins" UAE troops are there to help, not harm.

Abu Dhabi // Emiratis have taken to Twitter to reassure their Bahraini neighbours that UAE forces sent to the troubled nation this week are there to help and not occupy the country, and to offer messages of support to compatriots stationed there.

On Monday, 500 Emirati police officers were sent to Bahrain, along with 1,000 Saudi soldiers.

Local Twitter feeds were also awash yesterday with messages of concern and support for the Emirati force.

Mohamed al Mahmoud, based in Dubai, was one Emirati who used the social networking site to salute police officers sent to Bahrain.

"Their job is very honourable," he tweeted in Arabic. "And when they protect our sister neighbour, they are actually protecting us too."

The 24-year-old told The National: "This part of the world is different from a lot of parts. Yes, we are divided by boundaries, but that does not break the bond between us. We share the same blood, culture and beliefs. They are basically our cousins and we are all descendants of one family."

Maryam al Ashkare, 23, from Al Ain, shared that sentiment and tweeted: "We are with Bahrain. We are brothers: this is the time to show our brotherhood."

Speaking about her tweets, Ms al Ashkare said: "All the troops have in their mind is to protect Bahrain and protect the UAE at the same time. If their country is hurt, the UAE is hurt too."

Mr al Mahmoud, who is new to Twitter, said he did not have many followers but felt it was important to tweet his message of support to ensure Bahrainis know that the UAE stands by them, and that he stands by his fellow "cousins".

"The GCC is a one-defence system," he said. "Anything that happens to them affects us, and anything that happens to us affects them."

Most tweeting Emiratis refused to comment on their political views, preferring to keep those private, but they were united in their wishes for the safe return of Emiratis there.

"We want them to come back in full health, and safely back to their land," Mr al Mahmoud said.

Other tweets came from Fatima A, based in Dubai, who also sent a reassurance to Bahrainis: "The Peninsula Shield forces established in 1986 aim to protect the security of the Gulf Co-operation Council, and are not for occupation," she wrote.

She went on to say: "May God protect the Peninsula Shield Force and our policemen and return them safely".

While wishing Emiratis a safe return, Noor Kamali, a 22-year-old from Dubai, also said the parents of police officers should be proud of their children. "I would like to tell all the mothers concerned for their kids in Bahrain: they should be honoured that their kids … went to protect and support our neighbours," she said.

osalem@thenational.ae