Flags and hearts flutter in homes across the UAE
DUBAI // The Emirati man who began a campaign for residents to raise a flag over every home before National Day says the project was a success because the entire community became involved.
Seeing people of other nationalities proudly displaying the flag is a testament to what the UAE should be celebrating, said Hasan Al Mazrouie.
"This was not only for the local community, it was for everyone who lives in the UAE," Mr Al Mazrouie said. "We live in one community, in one society.
"This is all teamwork because everyone helped us and they put the flag on their homes."
Mr Al Mazrouie began the campaign in response to a tweet by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who on November 1 wrote: "I hope we raise the UAE flag on top of every house."
He responded by opening the Twitter account @fogbaitna3alm ("above our house a flag") and appealed to Emiratis and expatriates to get involved.
Mr Al Mazrouie said having a flag above every house would "have a positive effect on children and adults, because it will increase their sense of belonging to the country".
"We also targeted expatriates as they are a big part of the UAE community, and many of them have had flags on the top of their houses," he added. "It makes us proud."
The public reacted quickly and positively. Twitter users began posting pictures of the UAE flag with the #fogbaitna3alm hashtag.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority donated 6,000 flags that were distributed in schools.
Abeer Al Rasbi, 36, put a flag on her house because of the campaign.
"It's good to show your love for the UAE and it gives the country a colourful look," Ms Al Rasbi said. "It also shows how the people of the UAE are always united."
Aisha bin Brook, 30, said she was proud of the initiative but hoped "the flag will be raised all year long".
Mr Al Mazrouie also started a dedicated website, fogbaitna3alm.ae, where people can upload photos of their homes into a picture album. The website has so far received 800 submissions.
A competition to choose the best decorated house began last Sunday.
"The competition details will be posted on our website, including the criteria for picking the best photo and the amount for the cash prize," Mr Al Mazrouie said.
* With additional reporting by Zaineb Al Hassani