Sunday, 11 October 2009

The UAE is one nation … it’s time our passports said so

When I was a student in Paris in the mid 1990s and people asked where I was from, I would reply that I was from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah or any other emirate that the person asking me would recognise. It was never an issue, because I felt secure that ultimately it was the same country.

Sadly, after spending the past decade in the UAE I notice that not all Emiratis feel that way. Many typically reply that we are from one specific emirate, before even mentioning the country. I believe both federal and local governments have inadvertently encouraged these sentiments, which endanger the unity of our federation.

There are two main obstacles to overcoming such sentiments. First, “Place of Issue” in passports, and second, unifying car licence plates. The latter may be seen as an intra-emirate matter and unlikely to happen without the vision of someone like the late Sheikh Zayed, but I do dream of the day when my car licence plate reads “UAE” rather than a specific emirate. In the meantime, we can tackle the other obstacle.

Here are three examples. Recently a friend being interviewed for a job in a local government agency was asked if he could try to have his passport reissued from the emirate where the job was to make him more desirable as a candidate. Then, a director in a senior government agency once told me: “I’m lucky because my chairman only cares that we hire UAE citizens and has never insisted on us hiring only from our emirate.” Finally, one of my former students being interviewed by one emirate’s government department told me: “Fortunately, my passport is issued in that emirate so I will not have a problem.”

Emirati passports carry much the same information as those of any other country: first name, last name, date of birth, issue and expiry dates. However, one extra piece of information that seems innocent at first glance is “Place of Issue”, which basically means which emirate the passport was issued from. The United States, like the UAE a federal country, does not have “State of Issue” on its passports, although the State Department does keep passport holders’ address information on file. A similar system should be adopted by the UAE Ministry of Interior. Place Of Issue is already used as a tool to segregate nationals, an issue that must be resolved before it gets even more out of hand.

Other federal countries (Germany, for example) have an issuing authority note on the passport, but citizens who move to another state can obtain a new passport quite easily if they wish. This is not the case in the UAE. Here, moving to another emirate and obtaining a passport issued there is a strain. Unless your tribe’s name corresponds with a family name common in the emirate that you move to, it will always be a bone sticking out. Some tribes can migrate easily between emirates because their family name is common across the country. Others, however, are stigmatised even after living in an emirate for decades.

Does any of this matter? The answer is, yes it does. Depending on a passport Place of Issue a UAE citizen can have varying benefits that include land allocation, health insurance and job prospects in that emirate. I have written before about how some emirates discriminate against citizens from other emirates when filling government positions. One way to tackle this is to remove the Place of Issue from passports, which job candidates are required to produce.

My Jordanian friends of Palestinian origin tell me their passports carry a code that allows the government to identify them as migrants. As much as I disapprove of any system that segregates citizens of any country, at least the Jordanian system can be used only by the Ministry of Interior and not by low-level government agencies and private enterprises, which is the case in the UAE.

The UAE’s efforts to promote national identity are being compromised by our distribution of national identity documents that blatantly discriminate between citizens. Removing Place of Issue from passports – or standardising it to Abu Dhabi, our federal capital – would be a bold step. What we need now is bold men and women to make it happen.

*This article first appeared in The National on 11th October 2009

51 comments:

Khalfan Alsuwaidi said...

Thank you sir for your valuable input in this crucial issue that mostly affects citizens of northern emirates geographically located after the city of Sharjah. Shall I be optimist since we started to have one national ID card and consider this is the start for a brighter EMIRATI future? Or shall I still be worried about my future and my family future since I work in Abu Dhabi for more than 7 years but still don’t have a land to build a house on and cant offered to buy a property to secure a reasonable accommodation for my growing Emirati family? Not to mention the continuously rising accommodation rents. Although I have not been discriminated when it came to job opportunities, however I don’t feel secure since it seems that I’m not going to own a house ever in the capital. One more important issue is the place of issue of the family book, which is required for every official request not to mention the family name!
Many thanks,
Khalfan Alsuwaidi

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Car licenses in the US read CALIFORNIA and NEW YORK. They dont read USA. Even plates like those from Oman are uniformed BUT do specify where they are from.

So do Place of issue if not issued at the centralized issuing authority.

As for these things "endangering" our federation. Good. Abu Dhabi should have left the "federation" ages ago. We pay for others to live. Thats the simple truth.

Abu Dhabi benefits in no way (that I can see) from the other 6 emirates. Hell, 4 of them are still stuck in 1978.

Not only do I reply that I'm from Abu Dhabi, when asked if that's in the same country as Dubai, I answer No.

Maybe you could write a piece on how the federation has benefited Abu Dhabi in particular. It would be a good read.

Abdalla said...

A blessing in tragedy> What does AD benefit from the other emirates? It rules over them and gets to decide most of the rules and regulations and governs most of the population. Also it gets to hold all the important positions in the country. If they did leave the federation then it would have ruled over only a handful of local families and a bunch of newly naturalized groups. I dont think this is what they signed up for.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

I dont think the huge costs to Abu Dhabi are worth it. Let the northern emirates have their own governance and be back in the stone age without our money.

Hell, look at Sharjah unable to even provide power on it's own, Dubai needing bail outs... The UAE IS Abu Dhabi.

Paying for others to live isnt the smartest way to live, even if that gives you a bit more power over them.

Ayesha said...

To "A blessing in tragedy", When our father 'Zayed bin Sultan' untied this land under one rule; he was thinking of the people of this land & their prosperity, not how wealthy his emirate is or how much wealth each emirate can offer to the federation!

our future is not in investing in wealth and fortunes, our future is investing in the people of this land; fortune & wealth wither & fade away, the people & their deeds remain! The UAE (both government & its people) are known for their kindness, warmth & generosity! always extending both hands in help of other nations in distress or in need, that's the responsibility we need to carry over and pass as legacy to our children & future generations.

I am sadden to read what you have written & that it comes out from a brother against his family members.

This is the 'UNITED Arab Emirates', the 7 emirates; not AD or Dubai or Sharjah. The family of 7 are not similar, just like the fingers of a hand, but you need all 5 fingers to form a hand; & we need all 7 emirates to form 'The United Arab Emirates'.


*** Thank you Sultan AlQasimi for yet another great article. :)

Lawrence Jean-Serge said...

Main Entry: united
Function: adjective
Date: circa 1552

1 : made one : combined
2 : relating to or produced by joint action a united effort
3 : being in agreement : harmonious a united family

— unit·ed·ly adverb

Intellectual Primate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
@ said...

A Blessing> So you dont think AD's security is worth it? Obviously you are ignorant in political matters. You dont seem to understand that your borders would be in danger if poverty arises nearby. Or if you leave a certain emirate without help it may look elsewhere for it (KSA). Is that what a rich state wants? Cut all its ties with its neighbors? I dont think our government are as narrow minded as you. I suggest you go back to your poetry and restaurant critiques and leave the politics to other people.

Anonymous said...

"The UAE IS Abu Dhabi"

That's an oxymoron, you moron. Notice the word united? Notice the plural s in Emirates?

hala said...

a blessing in tragedy ... what the other emirates contribute to AD is manpower ... emiratis commuting weekly between their home towns and AD to work .. if they didnt do the job who will? the sons of wealthy local families?? the newly emiratized citizens??
besides have you actually been to government offices in AD? just one thing to say here ... take the highway to the northern emirates .. and LEARN!

Intellectual Primate said...

This is addressed to a blessing in tragedy:

You speak of Abu Dhabi as a city state that could've/should've stood on its own. You are obviously either young, uneducated or both! Let's imagine the UAE in the 60's; Saudi from west, Iran from the North and Indian pirates everywhere. Do you know why Sheikh Zayed bless his soul wanted to create an even larger union that included Qatar and Bahrain? Because unity gives you strength, yes good old strategic strength that money can't buy. Had AD gone it alone, and ignored these poor states which are stuck in 1978 as you say then they would funded fronts of Iran and Saudi as Hezbollah in South of Lebanon and the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt. Did you think AD would've survived like that?

And as to Dubai, you can bet that Iran would've had a much more aggressive policy towards the UAE had it not seen value in its commercial ties with Dubai. Regarding Dubai needing a bail out, everyone in AD invested in Dubai, so I can hardly imagine how you disapproved of its boom and methods and how the federal bailout would not benefit AD assets in Dubai. Finally, if Dubai goes bankrupt, you will need to spend much more than $80 billion dollars to get the world to understand that you are not Dubai and get serious investor attention, assuming you don't want to continue to fund and produce every single thing that happens in AD of course.

So my dear in the end, while wealth is certainly important , AD couldn't have reached this stage without all of the Emirates, yes ALL OF THEM and the union would've been greater had Qatar and Bahrain been members of it - this is the ultimate goal of the GCC. One gulf nation, this is the wisdom Sheikh Zayed and he saw this very clearly which is why he was named the Sage of Arabs. Follow his path instead of disrespecting is legacy as you've done above. Shame on you

Anonymous said...

A Blessing in Tragedy, for god sake!! Are you serious?!! Where are you living?

I don't agree with what you stated about the weakness of all other emirates other than Abu Dhabi, if you really studied the history of the UAE and followed the current events, you would realize that each emirate has its own unique strength and potency that contributed to the union of the emirates, it's not all about money!!

I have to admit, it's so miraculous how harmonious our union is, having seven different emirates with different ruling families following one leader, despite having people who think in this shallow way like you.

Mohamed Al Ali said...

Dear A Blessing in Tragedy,
what you said is probably true. Abu Dhabi helps out a lot, but not only Abu Dhabi, the entire Arab World is behind in a lot of aspects compared to Europe, America & Japan. with you saying that 4 Emirates are still stagnated in 1978 (how offensive + rude + racist) i am pleased to tell you that Abu Dhabi might as well be considered 1978 compared to a lot of countries.
if a country is developed or not, that doesn't make it shameful nor a disgrace.
certainly abu dhabi helped out other emirates (that's its duty constitutionally!)
you are simply planting hatred in a peaceful country that did not encounter any instability for +35 years!
it is not my job to educate you, and certainly not anyone else as well to do so, it is your duty as a human being to enlighten yourself. apparently you need it, given that you are still ignorant when it comes to the history and reality of your own country and region.

Anonymous said...

The real question, and I think its just poorly articulated by Blessing/Tragedy is, what are the benefits to any of the emirates of being federated. From a lay-man's perspective, the emirates and their halls-of-power appear to operate unilaterally at the municipal level, at the fiscal level, at the justice level, and at the level of social-order-level, etc.

So, can someone knowledgeable in this please paint an outline of what the function of the federation is, such that if you take it away, all the emirates will feel pain?

tx

Danish Farhan said...

All the responses to blatant illiteracy from "A Blessing in Tragedy" do nothing but empower his/her "theory" with acknowledgment.

I urge all readers to state your arguments, but do not engage in an silly discussion with the ignorant.

Moe said...

Gosh, may this country never experiance the political divide that my country has witnessed, Amen. For that person questioning the good that comes out of Political unity: know that you are lucky to be born in unity. Appreciate it and preserve it. Praise the leaders for it. Dont fall for the evil trap of materialistic greed. A "united nation" in good & bad comes first. This is the real weatlh. Peace to all.

illuminati said...

"A Blessing in Tragedy", you sure have carried a great deal on your shoulders for being part of a UNITED country. Seems its just too much for you to handle !

Im only regarding you as a brother in Islam, nothing more. For being a young educated Abu Dhabi-an (as this is what you are looking forward to be reffered at) still proves that you still a great to learn about the establishment of our great country.

The tribilism that you still emphasize on still shows your pre-islamic traits instead of unity. Bing a young arab citizen, you should have known better. So please, this country has been established from the blessings of our great fathers Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed may peace be upon them both. Many Emirati nationals, for the past 37 years, have risked their lives for the development of this country, asking nothing in return. Their priority was only to seek the Unity of this great land, may God protect it from all harm (which includes you unfortunately).

Instead of making childish, unthoughtful comments, lets just express our gratitude on Sultan's great efforts for wrting such a great articles as he is a prime example for the new Emirati generation that many should follow. So, dear brother in Islam, it really saddens me having to share similar emblems on my passport with u !

**Sultan Al Qassimi, as always "allah ya36eek el 3afyeh wi yesid lik 5e6ak" !

MICHEL said...

A Blessing in Tragedy

You will never appreciate freedom until you loose it.... there is no need for you to loose your unity to figure out its benefits. Your argument is similar to the Texas governor who wanted to leave the USA(He was called Moron!!!). You can also look at the EU and see the benefits they got with all the differences in language culture.....France and Germany according to your argument could have been better off alone without other poor EE countries? My advise is that you should read and read .....until you get out of your cave and see the light .....

Aangelika lancsak said...

Thank you Sultan for this excellent article. You are one of the outstanding "brains" and global thinkers in the gulf and as a humble European I appreciate your mission. Keep on doing the good work. Best wishes & God bless.
Angelika

Mi said...

It is not surprising to see such divide emerging in a materialist world (not only in the UAE), or a racist comment whose argument is mainly based on importance of money: who has it and where is it spent.

Yes UAE has the money, but it is nothing without people investment. I'm sure if that Blessing Tragedy received the right education he/she won't talk that ignorantly about his own country.

Anonymous said...

Dear A Blessing in Tradegy,

You said "WE pay for others to live"?????

Is the federal budget coming out of your pocket?

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

To "A blessing in tragedy", When our father 'Zayed bin Sultan' untied this land under one rule; he was thinking of the people of this land & their prosperity

And is our current govt thinking of us when they open bars, let street walkers walk freely around our cities, allow foreigners to buy apartments to later rent to us?

Thats a joke.

As for me being uneducated... I was actually rather well educated, in the US, by ABU DHABI, not the UAE. And to your dismay (I hope) I will soon be handed another piece of paper from Abu Dhabi stating that I'm even more educated! Think of it as bringing down the system from within the system.

Yes, I understand that those emirates would probably look elsewhere for support. Let them. Once upon a time, it was a benefit to Abu Dhabi to "share"

I dont believe it is anymore.

Danish farhan... You stick to Denmark, Ill stick to my country. Infact, I can see that many of you are actually NOT Emarati. That means that your views on this matter are less than zero.

Anonymous said...
Dear A Blessing in Tradegy,

You said "WE pay for others to live"?????

Is the federal budget coming out of your pocket?

No, as I dont live in a democracy I dont have govt transparency. And I dont pay taxes and so It isnt my money. BUT the wealth of Abu Dhabi IS the property of the citizens of Abu Dhabi. Land, subsidies... HH. Sh. Zayed made that a priority. One that I dont think should be handed out to everyone else when we have our own (Abu Dhabi citizens) that are still without.

If people like Khalfan above have issues with how he is treated, let him talk to HIS rulers, not mine.

I find his post a bit weird though, as his family is basically Abu Dhabi royalty and I dont see how he is facing the problems he is... Unless he's a FAKE Suwaidi. They exist.

I suggest you go back to your poetry and restaurant critiques and leave the politics to other people.

The restaurant critiques ARENT my entries. Obviously someone cant read. Might I suggest you 1. Learn to read, 2. Learn to pay attention, and 3. mind your own business. Come on to my blog and Ill tell you what number 4 is.

So, can someone knowledgeable in this please paint an outline of what the function of the federation is, such that if you take it away, all the emirates will feel pain?

That would be interesting indeed. Sh. Sultan, might that be a future article? You'll note this is the 2nd time I've suggested this.

with you saying that 4 Emirates are still stagnated in 1978 (how offensive + rude + racist)

So you'd rather I lie? I like being truthful. Truth, people in Abu Dhabi see the northern emirates Emaratis are animals. From the back pages of some lost barbaric history. Fact. I'm sorry if that hurt you, but it's the truth. They may or may not be that, but that IS the view. And I doubt it will change anytime soon.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

apparently you need it, given that you are still ignorant when it comes to the history and reality of your own country and region.

No sir I dont. And I dont see what history has to do with Abu Dhabi's spending NOW.

I said ONCE UPON A TIME it might have made sense. It doesnt anymore.

As for me learning more about my region.. Maybe you can teach me? Can you? IN ARABIC? The tongue of the REGION? I doubt.

One gulf nation, this is the wisdom Sheikh Zayed and he saw this very clearly which is why he was named the Sage of Arabs. Follow his path instead of disrespecting is legacy as you've done above. Shame on you

One gulf nation? We cant even get a currency right. And I'm sorry, but if I EVER share a nation with the likes of kuwait, I'll shoot myself.

Shame on me? Lets get real, I am not the one who has turned the UAE into the laughing stock of the world with high priced call girls on every corner. I might suggest who has but I'd probably be jailed for it. Exactly why the author never seems to talk about those issues. we can have our views, as long as they are in line with the masses.

That is the UAE's real legacy. A country that lost it's way the moment it's founder died, and sadly, I doubt anyone will ever be able to put it ont rack again.

Im only regarding you as a brother in Islam, nothing more.

Pre-islamic traits? Who ever said you were wrong? I am an ABU DHABI CITIZEN BEFORE a UAE citizen and BEFORE a Muslim.

I make no apologies for that. Infact, many of the UAE's problems ARE from our so called Arab and Muslim "brothers" who in oh, about 10 years will start to DEMAND citizenship.

MICHEL said...
A Blessing in Tragedy

You will never appreciate freedom until you loose it.... there is no need for you to loose your unity to figure out its benefits. Your argument is similar to the Texas governor who wanted to leave the USA(He was called Moron!!!). You can also look at the EU and see the benefits they got with all the differences in language culture.....France and Germany according to your argument could have been better off alone without other poor EE countries? My advise is that you should read and read .....until you get out of your cave and see the light .....

Are you Emarati? No, I didnt think so. Please refrain from speaking to me, Unless you are from this country, OUR politics are NOT yours to meddle in.

Intellectual Primate said...

Blessing in Tragedy,

"Are you Emarati? No, I didnt think so. Please refrain from speaking to me, Unless you are from this country, OUR politics are NOT yours to meddle in." ya3ny enta emirati youm teba o '6abyani youm teba? 9edg enek mub 3araf enta mno wela wain teba?

"I am an ABU DHABI CITIZEN BEFORE a UAE citizen and BEFORE a Muslim." shu bate3bed el'3ezlan??!

Elkalam weyak '6aye3 la2anek lo naga3tlek 3eshreen majestair wethna3shar dektoorah batem ensan '3air ra8y.

Mula7a'6ah basee6ah: eltafatu7 ely ta6reeh fedbay o mub 3aybenek tarah yay yezer bu'6aby kelha, men yas wereeem lain elsa3deyat o yay ebser3ah... falteshamat wayed.

bs ana bagoolek shay way7ed, ma3a enek enta fena'6ary ensan meb ela mal 1978 ela men el3a9r el7ajary ba3ad bs la2anek weld leblad tarak za3alatna o 3awart galbna 3alaik o 3ala 7al leblad el2enta menha. re'6ait 2m 2bait baytem jawzek 7amel she3ar o 2sm dawlat elemarat el 7abeebah. Allah ehadeek.

mangool ela Allah yer7amk ya Zayed o salam Allah 3ala ayamek.

Anonymous said...

Here's a gulfie perspective:

When Khaleejis see what the UAE has achieved (and I don't just mean prosperity) there is without a doubt a sense of awe for the progressive thought that went into making the tiny and vulnerable statelets of the Gulf into a united federation. I do not doubt for a second that most Bahrainis and Qataris have looked at the UAE model and wondered whether it would have worked well for them (I am neither Bahraini nor Qatari).

Do you think our neighbours to the north and the south would have so openly expressed their expansionist ambitions had most (or all) our states/emirates been under one federation?

What Shaikh Zayed did in the early 70s was a nightmare for the likes of Sykes and Picot.

No other Arab states have managed that since.

Anonymous said...

Since this blessing/tragedy is such a xenophobe, I wonder if she'll favour kicking out the South Asian labourers and getting her hands dirty to build her swanky city with her own hands

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Elkalam weyak '6aye3 la2anek lo naga3tlek 3eshreen majestair wethna3shar dektoorah batem ensan '3air ra8y.

Mula7a'6ah basee6ah: eltafatu7 ely ta6reeh fedbay o mub 3aybenek tarah yay yezer bu'6aby kelha, men yas wereeem lain elsa3deyat o yay ebser3ah... falteshamat wayed.

bs ana bagoolek shay way7ed, ma3a enek enta fena'6ary ensan meb ela mal 1978 ela men el3a9r el7ajary ba3ad bs la2anek weld leblad tarak za3alatna o 3awart galbna 3alaik o 3ala 7al leblad el2enta menha. re'6ait 2m 2bait baytem jawzek 7amel she3ar o 2sm dawlat elemarat el 7abeebah. Allah ehadeek.

mangool ela Allah yer7amk ya Zayed o salam Allah 3ala ayamek.

Either write in Arabic, or Write in English, I'm not going to decode your stupidity.

Anonymous said...
Since this blessing/tragedy is such a xenophobe, I wonder if she'll favour kicking out the South Asian labourers and getting her hands dirty to build her swanky city with her own hands

I'm a guy you moron. And no, I wouldnt, because Indians are easy to control. You beat them. Arbab! Dont arbab! I do what you want!

See, Problem solved. (I seriously am not kidding)

Arab nationals see themselves as higher than westerners or Indians or (enter any nationality here) when they are probably the biggest threat to the UAE's inner stability.

I would actually, if in charge, start deporting 10% of the UAE's residents OVERNIGHT. at random. I'd start with Arabs that have become too big for their own good. The high up pimps, the MDs of shifty securities companies, those "experts" and "advisors" that suggest to our leaders such nonsense as paying for an "embassy" of a nation that doesnt exist, or giving citizenship to Iraqi women in bikinis, or men who curse the UAE behind closed doors and kiss our asses in front of us.

Then I'd instruct the police to murder 5000 westerners, at random. Hell, worse has happened in other places.

Anonymous said...
Here's a gulfie perspective:

I understand, the UAE (with Abu Dhabi's money) had accomplished much. It has also made so many mistakes, and sadly, never ever wants to own up to them. It's taboo to say oh crap, we messed up.

And that's a very scary thing, when a govt is never wrong.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

The simple fact is, the UAE may officially be one nation, but not only do the citizens of separate emirates not get along, you also have issues within the emirates themselves.

You have Bani Yas, you have newly naturalized Omanis or Yemenis, you have the Ajam, and even they cant get along with one another as they have old and "new" families.

You have those who are from Abu Dhabi, but originally from elsewhere in the federation, you have those naturalized of Jordanian or god knows what origin...

The suggestion that our passports should say or not say one thing is irrelevant. You could write "Issued In Candyland" and it would make no difference.

Animosity is rampant, and all the different... sects I guess you could call them, are basically at a "thought war" with one another.

That is the cold hard truth. You have TV shows like Ajeeb Ghareeb, or cartoons like Sha'abiyat Al CArtoon that make light of these matters, try to paint a rosy picture of our differences.

When was the last time you saw a Sudanese guy sitting with a guy from Al Ain? Doesnt happen. Infact, the Sudanese guy HATES the guy from Al Ain because he is better off, and the guy from Al Ain hates the Sudanese guy because he's "Stealing the country."

Intellectual Primate said...

blessing in tragedy,

decode this: you're a bigot.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

You are free to your opinion.

I see TRUTH and HONESTY have no place in your world. Thats fine. I dont hold you or anyone else to the same tenants I hold myself to.

Maybe I'm rough around the edges, and maybe I could "phrase" things differently. But I'd rather not. I was taught to be straight to the point and truthful. Maybe you were not taught the same. Not saying my way is better or yours is, just saying different strokes for different folks.

At least I can accept your opinions even if they clash with mine. You however cant, like a child you lash out with names.

It's to be expected. Your online name fits you well, Though I fear real primates might be ashamed to be associated with you.

Good night!

Intellectual Primate said...

blessing in tragedy:

That fact that you want to beat Indians, deport 10% of the residents, and MURDER 5000 westerners at random makes me wish that you and whoever thinks like you from around the world were all shipped to an island and never looked at again. You are a racist from the stone age. I never thought there were Emiratis like you! Do you think anyone in AD agrees with you? At this point I will say it, you are truly a phenomena because you reject not only the UAE but also Islam as secondary to your AD identity.. do you pray to deer (the animal)?! BTW, the stuff I wrote you in English that you couldn't decode really fits you so read it.

Butti Al Muhairi said...

if it wasn't for Dubai & Sharjah, there will be no Abu Dhabi nor Doha, this is a reality.
Sharjah was the first to have a University city, then Dubai joined the trend, afterwards Doha joined as well, and last but not least Abu Dhabi.
Dubai started a sports city, & guess what abu dhabi developed Yas Island. & of course everyone knows the Emirates & Etihad Competition (Emirates started in 1985, & etihad started in 2003.
air Arabia started in 2003, fly dubai in 2009, and abu dhabi will start its own budget airlines in the coming few years.
In UAE, the 7 distinctive emirates contribute for the development of the nation.
i hate to admit that Abu dhabi is always last to join the crowd, always copying, & never take the initiative to start something original.
I love Abu Dhabi to death, because its part of my beloved country, the realities i presented are only for some (not all) abu dhabi citizens who think that being from Abu Dhabi is better than being from elsewhere !

Mohamed Al Ali said...

Dear A Blessing in Tragedy.
you are clearly westernized.
being poor is not shameful, being backward is not shameful. every human being deserves respect.
if some (not all) abu dhabi citizens consider other emirates "animals" the least thing you can do "as a decent human being" is not to promote it.
why are you judging a person based on bank accounts? why are you going this low ?
if some citizens of other emirates are not fluent in English that doesn't make them backward!!! Arabic is our mother tongue and only Arabic that "should" matter.

+ this blog is in English, hence, replies are in Arabic, if this blog was in Arabic, i bet the replies would triple!
so you have no right to judge when you know the matter.

And believe me you need to read more about political science, international law, diplomacy, HUMAN RIGHTS, & civil wars in order for you to understand a the basis of a country & the concept of society.

you are ignorant to me (my opinion, & i have the right to it) if you are fluent in English + studies in the states that does not make you by default (well educated).

from your writings you are very offensive, even if what you are saying is a reality, there are some things that you just cant say because they are racist.

you were lumping people & stereotyping in most of what you wrote, that makes you ignorant, since you don't seem to think wisely before you write. Given your age (i presume 23+) and your education, you should choose your words carefully so that you don't come through as racist and stereotyped.

Khalid Al Suwaidi said...

"-Is the federal budget coming out of your pocket?
No, as I dont live in a democracy I dont have govt transparency. And I dont pay taxes and so It isnt my money. BUT the wealth of Abu Dhabi IS the property of the citizens of Abu Dhabi. Land, subsidies... HH. Sh. Zayed made that a priority. One that I dont think should be handed out to everyone else when we have our own (Abu Dhabi citizens) that are still without.-"

because you dont live in a democracy you have no right to say that the money of Abu Dhabi is for it's citizens. The money of Abu Dhabi is for whoever they want it to be for, maybe American Hospitals, maybe the war in Afghanistan, maybe the poor in England, maybe for the roads of Oman.

because Abu Dhbai is no Democracy. you shall shut up and let the govt spend the amount they want on whatever they want !!!

Intellectual Primate said...

It seems to me what blessing in tragedy really has a problem with is the policies of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and the rest of Al Nahayan family which were enshrined by HH Sheikh Zayed bless his soul.

Asma Mohammed said...

blah blah blah...

the union of the emirates will never collapse

قطار الاتحاد الذي سيربط الإمارات السبع في الدولة سيدخل الخدمة بحلول نهاية عام 2013 أو أوائل 2014

for those who cant read Arabic (how embarrassing if the don't)
The UAE's national rail will have its first train service by the end of 2013 or early 2014

Love Y'all =)

illuminati said...

"a blessing in tradegy" u sure got lip boy, which i salute you for. Maybe you should start more using it for things that really matter. Besides, is commenting on blogs the best you can do ?? Come on...show us that your better than hiding behind a cyber identity !

Trust me, for the sake of God, its better to refer yourself as a Muslim before anything else. You are entitled to your own opinions, but sometimes you should, maybe just for a glimpse, educate yourself more in getting to know the real picture.

اللـه يهديك وحفظ دولتنا من كل شر

Maryam Bin Mohammed said...

to illuminati said...

maybe its a She so we might as well say

اللـه يهديك أو يهديتش وحفظ دولتنا من كل شر

Cheers

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

I never thought there were Emiratis like you! Do you think anyone in AD agrees with you?

My father (Who is a high govt official) agrees with me, most of my family, most of my friends (that include a minister's sons and members of very prominent families btw)

This IS what most people in Abu Dhabi FEEL and THINK. They just dont say it. Once again, at least I'm honest.

The money of Abu Dhabi is for whoever they want it to be for

THEY? Who is THEY? please explain.

because Abu Dhbai is no Democracy. you shall shut up and let the govt spend the amount they want on whatever they want !!!

No, I wont shut up. MAKE ME TOUGH GUY. Thats the problem, too many have "shut up" for way too long.

Intellectual Primate said...
It seems to me what blessing in tragedy really has a problem with is the policies of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and the rest of Al Nahayan family which were enshrined by HH Sheikh Zayed bless his soul.

I do. A human, no matter who, can make mistakes. When the welfare of your own people is second to you making money, I take issue with that.

Dear A Blessing in Tragedy.
you are clearly westernized.

On the contrary. I went to the west, hated it, saw what mistakes they have made, got my piece of paper that they charged me triple for, came back, just to find that my country is about 10 years away from starting to make those same mistakes. I am very far from "westernized."

do you pray to deer (the animal)?

No sir. I dont think deer are above me. I pray to what I think is above me. I wonder if yo pray to deer though. If you do, try killing it and eating it. Deer tastes real good.

from your writings you are very offensive, even if what you are saying is a reality, there are some things that you just cant say because they are racist.

I 100% disagree. There is NOTHING that shouldnt be said. Maybe I picked that up from the Americans (I studied in the south... cowboys and guns and all) but no, nothing should EVER EVER go unsaid.

I'm offensive? Thank you. That is a great compliment actually.

And believe me you need to read more about political science, international law, diplomacy, HUMAN RIGHTS, & civil wars in order for you to understand a the basis of a country & the concept of society.

Ahahaha! Civil rights and the UAE in the same paragraph? Shall we tune into CNN and watch HH so and so beat the shit out of a pakistani guy AGAIN?

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

being poor is not shameful, being backward is not shameful. every human being deserves respect.
if some (not all) abu dhabi citizens consider other emirates "animals" the least thing you can do "as a decent human being" is not to promote it.

Never said it was, and I never promoted it. Check again, I simply stated a fact, that many in Abu Dhabi feel and think this way. It was YOUR need to be defensive that made YOU not COMPREHEND what I wrote. You read it, just didnt comprehend it. Not my fault.

if some citizens of other emirates are not fluent in English that doesn't make them backward!!! Arabic is our mother tongue and only Arabic that "should" matter.

I agree 100%. Did I say anything to the contrary? No, I didnt. Do you understand what you read at all? Or do you just want to be angry at someone who is making sense because you dont like what he has stated?

Trust me, for the sake of God, its better to refer yourself as a Muslim before anything else.

When the UAE becomes a real Islamic country, I will become a better muslim. Thanks for your insight though. I hear the same in the weekly government forced khutba at Friday prayer.

you are ignorant to me (my opinion, & i have the right to it) if you are fluent in English + studies in the states that does not make you by default (well educated).

Actually it does. 1. I have papers from better educated people and organization than either you or I affirming that I am infact well educated. *dances* Though I seriously do NOT suggest that anyone go to the states to study. It's just not worth it.

and 2. What do you base your opinion on? I'm curious. What parts of what I said were wrong? None. All facts. So your opinion is based on your FEELINGS, and that makes your opinion biased and illogical. or... WRONG.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

but sometimes you should, maybe just for a glimpse, educate yourself more in getting to know the real picture.

And just what is THE REAL PICTURE.

All of you have spoken like true Arabs. Lots of talk, so much rhetoric, and no real follow through. Thats why Israel is still around after over 1/2 a century. Talk.

What education shall I seek? What shall I read? What is the real picture. Give me specifics please.

I am such a flawed person, I humbly ask you all for guidance to help me see the errors of my ways!

That was sarcasm btw people.

All the above comments remind me of when our fair govt offers a press release.

"The minister of so and so wishes to extend welcome to all parents and students this academic year and to thank the ministry and it's depts for their great achievements in conducting what was needed to finish all the new regulations in time to help the UAE into a new age of internationally regarded and accepted academic criteria!"

What the hell was done exactly? What were the "Achievements?" Which depts did it? what are the new regulations? and which internationally accepted criteria?

So though I thank you all for adding NOTHING after 40 comments, I must admit that many of you would fit into govt life very very well.

Night everyone!

Mohamed Al Ali said...

you are a retard, you say stuff and you imply stuff, you called people animals and proud to look downward to other people.

i cant sink low to your level anymore.

you are stereotyped and opposing to a civilzed argument.

your words reflect who you are and your background.

as we all said you are racist, there is a thin line between being honest/straight forward & racist/rude. And you crossed the line way too far.

illuminati said...

"a blessing in tragedy", and there it goes again. Having a dad who is a high government official, and sons of ministers...paaleeeze, as if that counts for anything mate ! Besides, its the dads that contributed to the development of this country, not the kids your talking about !

besides, u never know..there might b ppl who are currently taking part of their precious and busy time to respond to unconstructive comments, who might be wealtheir, blue blooded decent or just better citizens to this blessed land. So mr. my dad is a high government official and my friends are part of the un touchables in this country, all what i would say, and as what my people always say

اللي يحيد عمره يمشيلنا معاشات، يقطعه

and that would go to you and all the people of Abu Dhabi that u mentioned that agree with your views (which im only certain that they r a handful).

It's over for me now, will start commenting on this that r REALLY worthwile

lots of love from the Northern Emirates

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

paaleeeze, as if that counts for anything mate !

Actually , in the UAE, IT DOES, "mate."

Maybe you are delusional into believing that you live in some utopia where everyone is equal. You dont.

I have MANY examples of me, same old me, walking into an establishment, getting out of a car thats "regular" and going back in a car with a triple digit plate. Guess what, you're treated differently.

Again, reality. Me, in a BMW or Hummer with a nice plate and a guy from Fujairah in an Altima WILL BE TREATED DIFFERENTLY. FACT. I didnt say it was right, i didnt say it was good, I SAID ITS A FACT.

Same thing when it comes to POLICE. Our fine civil servants. I go to the airport in a regular car, I get a ticket. I go in a hummer with a 3 digit plate, the cop actually WALKS around that car and tickets the rest.

Example 2. I call the cops because someone has parked in my parking space. You can in Abu Dhabi pay for parking as long as you pay for it to be covered. The cops come and ticket the Lebanese lady. after she's gone the COPS talk about how THEY are destroying the country and how SHE probably makes ALOT for all her NIGHTLY ORDERS.

So no, it is not a "handful" of people. Most REAL Abu Dhabi-ians (Not the trash that came in later) feel this way. It just isnt the "politically correct" thing to say.

As for ME calling people animals, I didnt, I stated the FACT that THAT IS WHAT PEOPLE IN ABU DHABI THINK. If you cant handle reality, I really dont know what to say to you.

As for your lines. Good for you. I dont have lines. Those lines are what have made this country lag behind the 1st world.

So back to the original article. You can write whatever you want on the UAE's passports. The fact is that we are very very much divided. Both unto ourselves and unto the foreigners who live here.

FACT.

Intellectual Primate said...

Blessing in tragedy

Fact 1: you cannot read Arabic.

Fact 2: you did say you wanted 5000 westerners killed at random -> this makes you a racist and a bigot beyond a doubt. you can't hide that.

Face 3: you say that you're not saying that these realities are good but only FACT. However, you are one of those people who seems to keep carving people off every time she is cornered. First you cut out other emirates, then the police, then the AD "the trash that came in later". Yet you still say there are many people who agree with you? Really? Can you count them on both hands? This is a joke.

In the end what I find really hilarious and makes me laugh every time I think of it is that fact that whether you like it or not you are an Emirati by citizenship and when you are in the presence of the rulers and in public you can do nothing but say good things about the emirates. So just eat yourself from the inside. One country made up of seven emirates and people like you going extinct.

@ said...

Its obvious that this guy feels he missed out on a lot of opportunities, that probably went to foreigners! He is the type that makes all of us emiraties look bad. When I hear one of my foreign friends tell me a story of how he got mistreated by a "local" I think of people like Blessing. Its good to share your thoughts with people so that we can find out who's the bad seed amongst us. Im happy that you will live your life with all that hate eating you from within. I'll enjoy my Dubai and Sharjah with all my indian friends who probably worked harder in this country than you or your father. it makes sense when you consider yourself a dhabyani before a muslim cause you obviously indulge in many sins like envy and greed.

Ali AlShamsi said...

Blessing in Tragedy,
Thank u for your honest comments, we need ppl that do not fear to express themselves. I agree with some of what you said and disagree with some. However, bear in mind Abu Dhabi is a new state. Moreover, there is no 7 emirates, really there is clans who build this place and protected it from other countries for ages before the royal families of today before UAE before all. So if anything my loyalty should be to my clan. In the gulf we have never had any ties to the land because it was just a desert (except for farmers) . We were Virtual Countries called clans and alliances were happening for temporary reasons. Which what you state right now not working for you. Yet again, they formed countries all over the gulf for one reason. Security. And this reason cannot be nullified over time. Also don’t forget that we are clans before we are UAE locals, some of which is all over UAE so obviously they will think of their families well fair nothing more nothing less.
One last thing to say .. with the way you think the answer to what you believe in is simply a uprising movement and take over Gvots to direct the UAE the way u whish, cause what u ask for will not happen unless you remove all the HH from the top. I won’t ask u what u want to do or assume that u will plan a rebellion movement for the sake of your security. But am just thinking loud here and am not encouraging anyone to do that cause we have seriously one of the heaviest intelligence arsenal focused in a very small country plus 5 militaries on permanent stationed here, so whatever anyone think to try will be stopped before anything.
The only way to change this country into whatever the most citizens believe is better for the, is to introduce a communication system between decision makers and UAE locals, technology is a good method like what HH Moh. Bin Rasid did with facebook vote. The people should have a direct line decision voting channels with the rulers and decision makers. If that did not happen soon and in a transparent not the shitty fake Parliament thing, I predict a serious rebellion with the next 15 years.
Again am respecting your opinion and am not being sarcastic on whatever I wrot up there, my English isn’t that fluent but I tried to express. :)
(Sultan , very interesting article)
Regards,

David said...

Very interesting article, and great comments.

What the UAE is going through draws parallels with identity issues throughout the world.

Take Great Britain. Is allegiance to England or Scotland over the Union, or is it the Union over England or Scotland? Nowhere would that question inspire more heated debate than in Northern Ireland...

Add the European Union to this debate... Very few Europeans feel allegiance to this federation they are part of... But perhaps they will perhaps with time...

I loved Ali Al-Shamsi's post, and really shows how viewpoints are contingent on age, memories history...

Today's young people, like Sultan al-Qassemi - should favour the union more - being part of a tribe will mean less. However, others - like Blessing in Tragedy - have no experience of the insecurity of the past - and the gifts the federation has brought them...

In the end you can only hope for good debate - something Mr Qassemi has inspired here...

Khalfan Alsuwaidi said...

to ... A Blessing in Tragedy

"I find his post a bit weird though, as his family is basically Abu Dhabi royalty and I dont see how he is facing the problems he is... Unless he's a FAKE Suwaidi. They exist"
That is true there are "fake" Suwaidis and they exist; as long as there are people how where raised and “get educated by the money of their governments” needs to be deported from this land since they don’t get the vision of their leaders! Do you know what is your problem that soon will kill you as a result of heart attack, is that you don't read, you don't realize the history of the country and you don’t know a simple fact that tribes from this lands have never settled until gathered by the wisdom of our father Zayed bin Sultan! Alsuwaidi tribe is everywhere from Fujairah to RAK to Ajman to Sharjah to Dubai to AD to Qatar to Bahrain to Saudi and they have contributed in every place they lived in out of their nature of serving their people! If you don’t know this fact, it is a real disaster since you will end by ruling your own kingdom!
When I spoke about my situation, I was speaking on behalf of all those UAE nationals who live in this country but still get isolated by selfish people like you. I don’t think you understand the moral of the article and I don’t think you can see the vision of the leaders and I don’t think you dear to mention your real name and let go your “A Blessing in Tragedy” identity.
One last thing: I am a Muslim, an Arab and I will always be from UNITED ARAB EMIRATES and will not accept the idea of not being united! I just want to know didn’t you listen to any story from the period before 1971?

Intellectual Primate said...

Dear Khalfan Al Suwaidi,

Thank you for speaking from all our hearts. Athlajt 9odoorna e9ara7ah.

Barek Allah feek ya5y o 3ashat el emarat

o5ok Mish3al Al Gergawi

Borders said...

Its maybe not my place to say this, but I am sure Sheihk Zayed understood the importance to unite with other emirates and even with neighboring countries.

So it was his first major accomplishment to unite with other emirates and make it one strong country. If it was a step backwards and would not help Abu Dhabi, why did he make many efforts even before he became the Ruler not to sacrifice some southern villages (I dont recall their names) to Saudies?

I wonder If Sheihk Zayed had not have united all emirates, would there still be an independent Abu Dhabi now ruled by its own citizens?