“Thank you, Khalifa”, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, as he called upon citizens and residents of the UAE to show gratitude to Sheikh Khalifa, the President. Sheikh Mohammed expressed his thanks to the President while marking the anniversary of his own accession on January 4, by asking his 2.4 million Twitter followers to thank Sheikh Khalifa through words, pictures and videos. The call has been answered across the UAE in a unique show of appreciation.
The nation has much to celebrate. This country is viewed by many around the world as a nation of great development and determination that has achieved extraordinary things in a short space of time – and which is intent on continuing that march of progress for years to come. It is a beacon of stability and prosperity in an often turbulent region. It is also a giving nation, reaching out to provide aid to the international community and to assist those whose need is greatest.
It is easy for outsiders to be cynical about such spontaneous and overwhelmingly positive outpourings of appreciation, but these feelings have been sparked by the tangible progress this country has made and by the deep sense of pride felt by those who are part of that evolving success story. That progress manifests itself in many aspects of daily life, from the high standard of living and quality of life enjoyed by many, to the great infrastructure projects – roads, hospitals, schools and more – that have transformed this nation in a matter of years.
It is the curse of some nations blessed with oil revenues to squander that windfall, but the UAE’s leadership has always sought to ensure that the economic gains oil provides should support development throughout the nation and be for the benefit of all this country’s citizens.
It is in this context that outsiders should view the nation’s show of appreciation for this country and its leadership. This country is a success, but beyond the tangible achievements, its people have shown the spirit to push the boundaries and achieve their dreams of building a better and stronger nation.