Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

Memories of Sheikh Rashid: Ruler of Dubai makes poignant tribute to his father

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid marks 30th anniversary of father's death

Sheikh Rashid was known as the Father of Dubai.

Thirty years after his death, his achievements in transforming the city still resound around the world.

On Tuesday, a day before the 30th anniversary of Sheikh Rashid's death, the man charged with building on his legacy, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, paid tribute to his father.

Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said his father had a vision that was as deep as the sea.

"He was not very talkative but thought a lot," he wrote on Twitter. "His day began before anyone else and his dreams went beyond his years.

"He loved his wife, Latifa, and he loved Dubai. He was faithful to the Union. He went quietly after he filled the world with the sound of his achievements and this continues."

Sheikh Rashid became Ruler in 1958 at a time when life in the emirate was difficult.

The collapse of the pearl trade hurt Dubai, while the sun was slowly setting on the British Empire, bringing political uncertainty to the region.

But he swiftly set about establishing Dubai as a commercial centre. The energy in Dubai around this time, before any talk of oil, was captured by Edward Henderson, a British oil company representative, in his book Arabian Destiny.

“Things got done in double-quick time and those who were not quite up to it would disappear,” Henderson wrote.

"And the result? Oil boom conditions and an expanding town 15 years before any oil was discovered.

"'Goodness, what will he be like,’ asked someone, ‘if he does find oil’.”

Sheikh Rashid embarked on Dubai's first mega-projects, such as dredging the Creek to allow larger ships to enter.

He built the Jebel Ali Port in the late 1970s and oversaw the opening in 1979 of Dubai World Trade Centre.

It was the largest building in the region at the time and sent a signal that Dubai was a force to be reckoned with.

Sheikh Rashid also shared the vision of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, and the two set in motion the establishment of the UAE in 1971.

When he died in 1990, Dubai was on the path to becoming a global centre of commerce.

Updated: October 7, 2020 12:42 PM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email