Laila Al-Atrash: 'Writers are very poor in the Arab world because nobody gives you anything'

We sit down with the Palestinian-Jordanian novelist to talk about her writing and why she’s worried about freedom of expression in the Arab world

In the mid-1960s a young aspiring writer filed an explosive story on the crime of so-called honour killings in Jordan and Palestine. Long before the instant fame of social media, Laila Al-Atrash made a name for herself with her robust and challenging writing. Decades later, sitting in her Amman home, she smiles ruefully and says: “It seems I threw a stone in a pool.”

The ripples have been spreading ever since. Al-Atrash – a writer, journalist and free-speech advocate – occupies a peculiar space in international literature. Her 10 novels, three plays, short story collections and reporting are studied, quoted and analysed in universities worldwide. She appears in many PhD theses, and even the US military has recognised the value of her insights into Arab society, asking her to brief its troops.

'I am a ‘feminist writer’ but in my own way'

But much of Al-Atrash's work remains untranslated into English. One exception is her 1990 novel, A Woman of Five Seasons. The story of a young Palestinian wife struggling to maintain her personal independence while living in a fictional Gulf country, it was described as "sharp, amusing and memorable" by one critic.

Women in the Arab world are at the core of much of Al-Atrash's writing. Her new novel, A Woman Unlike Herself, follows the trials of an Afghan exile from a wealthy family, sick with cancer, who is married to a Palestinian in Amman. It is, Al-Atrash tells The National, "about fear of death, fear of leaving the country, fear of refugees, fear of sickness".

It is perhaps no coincidence that many of the women in Al-Atrash’s writing are refugees or exiles. Born in the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem, Al-Atrash is a graduate of Beirut Arab University and holds degrees in literature and law as well as a diploma in French. Her journalism, writing and activism have taken her across the Middle East and now, from Amman (where she lives with the sociologist, critic and translator Fayiz Suyyagh, a 2007 Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner) – she continues to explore Arab society through her writing.

Her willingness to confront taboos has led to her being branded a feminist writer, a label she embraces – with a caveat. “I am a ‘feminist writer’ but in my own way – it’s a social feminism,” she says. “From the beginning, women were very important in my writing, but I don’t divide women from men. Men need liberating more than women. In the Arab world, we need it because our men, unfortunately, are not liberated enough.”

It is the struggle between men and women within their societies that colours much of Al-Atrash's writing. Many of her characters – male and female alike – seek liberation, whether it be from social restrictions, poverty, familial obligations or from the circumstances of their birth. In A Woman of Five Seasons, the female protagonist, Nadia, feels alienated from other Palestinian and Arab women in the Gulf. Her marriage to Ihsan, a Palestinian man who uses life in the Gulf to change his identity and climb the social ladder, founders and he eventually forbids Nadia from reading. Stifled, she flees to London and begins a new, independent life working in the property industry, finding freedom in this second exile.

'We don’t have critics'

In 2012's Sons of the Wind, Al-Atrash takes us into the world of orphans and abandoned children. Her young boys and girls are left on the edges of society, living in hard-knock care homes. One of them, Sufian, looking back on his life, recalls: "We, the dwellers of the houses, did not need any explanation or proof from anyone to realise we were different.

“We realised that what distinguishes us cannot be for our advantage. Rather, it overpowers and compels us to be satisfied with fates which we cannot change or resist.”

It is tempting to ask Al-Atrash if her own experiences are in there, speaking through her writing. In one short story, The Letter (2007), 13-year-old Saad is taking dictation from Maryam, a mysterious female neighbour. When she gives him a pound for taking the letter he "flew into ecstasy".

“A pound, Saad, for a letter? Your mother gets paid half as much working from dawn ’til dusk, embroidering cotton towels, handkerchiefs and bed covers from the factory …But you, Saad, you get a pound for writing down a couple of words. And the pounds may multiply, so write, Saad, write.”

Was that a reflection of the prejudice that intellectual work is not ‘real’ work? “Yes. it’s not,” Al-Atrash shoots back. “Writers are very poor in the Arab world because nobody gives you anything.”

Not that this has stopped a flood of Arabic-language writing and Al-Atrash is an enthusiastic advocate of social media. “I think our problem in the Arab world is that we don’t have critics because most of that newspapers don’t pay for their critics,” she says. “Now it is only friends who write about their friends’ books.”

'We are suffering from the same problems'

She also balks at pigeonholing Arab women’s work. “I can’t say ‘Arab women’s writing’ because we write on the same subjects that men are writing about. So I hate saying ‘women’s writing’ because we do it due to our circumstances.

“In the Arab world we are suffering from the same problems, men and women. So you will find that we are writing about the same things because our problem is a societal problem.

“Politics are affecting us. Fundamentalists are affecting us. The economic situation is affecting the whole Arab world.”

Politics is never far from the surface of Al-Atrash's writing and journalism. In 2010's Desires of That Autumn, set in Amman, Ahmed, a young Palestinian living in a refugee camp, dreams of going home, but creates a fantasy world of wealth and success to impress a girl he is talking to online. When his dreams crumble, and peace in Palestine seems impossible, he becomes depressed and easy prey for the siren song of extremists.

__________________

Read more:

A new children's book character introduces the community to Emirati tales

'The Baghdad Clock' author Shahad Al Rawi on her first award-winning novel

Love and politics in Baghdad: The Iraqi female writers breaking taboos

__________________

"I didn't live in Amman for a long time, so when I came back it took me some time to understand the city," says Al-Atrash. "So, I wrote this novel and the question was: 'Is poverty the reason for fundamentalism?' … The novel answered that: no, it is not poverty only because if it were poverty, then everybody would be a fundamentalist." She also accuses extremists of exploiting vulnerable people's circumstances.

Jordan’s predicament as a central part of the Middle East has often fuelled Al-Atrash’s journalism and writing. As president of PEN in Jordan – the global writers’ network – Al-Atrash is worried about freedom of expression if proposed changes to the country’s cybercrime law get through parliament.

But Al-Atrash remains committed to the written word. In 2007, she helped to establish the Library of the Family and Reading for All projects in Jordan and was a senior figure advising the country’s Culture Ministry. And she sees new trends developing in Middle Eastern writing.

Citing the success of British-Turkish author Elif Shafak, Al-Atrash says: “After her, the trend is towards Sufism, because it’s tolerant, it’s about humanity.

“We have to know each other from that side. Maybe because of this common humanity, we want to live in a better place.”

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The 12

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue