Today is the 43rd Anniversary of the United Arab Emirates. What the UAE has accomplished since December 2, 1971 is nothing short of remarkable. Much of the praise must fall on the shoulders of Sheikh Zayed, who was something of a Thomas Jefferson to his new united nation.
In creating and governing the nation, Sheikh Zayed drew from Arabian Bedouin traditions of consensus and consultation. He also was a firm opponent of harsh dogmas and intolerance.
“Muslims stand against any person of Muslim faith who will try to commit any terror act against a fellow human being,” said Sheikh Zayed. “A terrorist is an enemy of Islam and of humanity, while the true Muslim is friendly to all human beings and a brother to other Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This is because Islam is a religion of mercy and tolerance.”
The seven Emirates, formerly the Trucial States, are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Qaiwain and Fujairah, and Ras al Khaimah.
And never in my 48, soon to be 49, years on the planet did I expect to live in one of them. But it has been a phenomenal and peaceful pleasure to call Abu Dhabi home for the past four months.
Happy Birthday, UAE!