Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy 40th to the UAE

My accolade goes to the Dubai Civil Defense
It is the sixth year I celebrate UAE National Day in Dubai.
In the current times of social, political and economic turmoil in the region and the world at large, it is a breath of fresh air to see a country happy, united and supportive of its leaders.

As one of the tens of thousands of expatriates who were lucky to land on the sunny, blissful and safe shores of the United Arab Emirates, I wish the country, its leaders and its people a Happy National Day.

Friday, December 2, marks the formal independence of the UAE from the United Kingdom and the 1971 unification of its seven component emirates – namely, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Fujairah.

The seven fellow members of the Federal Supreme Council
The “Spirit of the Union” is derived from the vision and leadership of the father of the nation, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It now lives on through UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and their five fellow members of the Federal Supreme Council – Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi (ruler Sharjah), Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammad Al Sharqi (ruler of Al Fujairah), Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi (ruler of Ras Al Khaimah), Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla (ruler of Umm Al Quwain), and Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi (ruler of Ajman).

Preparations for this year’s National Day got underway on October 24 and culminated on December 2, when celebratory events across the seven emirates marked the 40th milestone.

My friend Yahya Almarzooqi at National Day celebrations
Villas, apartments, offices, gardens, parks, public roads, cars… practically everything is decked out in the colors of the UAE national flag, under the slogan “Spirit of the Nation.”

An Emirati businesswoman went as far as to customize and decorate her BMW X6 with 150,000 individual Swarovski crystals. She had to get special permission from the RTA (Road Transport Authority to drive it. And she also customized her abaya (full story and pictures in 7Days, 28 November 2011).

The Al Manara Civil Defense Station
My accolade on this 40th National Day goes to the Dubai Civil Defense. I wish to thank them for all they will be doing to keep the city and its residents safe as they celebrate the occasion.

I pass the Al Manara Dubai Civil Defense Station on my way home every night. The sight there of the yellow fire engines and rescue cars, always ready to move, is a great comfort. I couldn’t help but notice the proud display of a giant UAE flag and decorations on the center, all through the countdown to December 2.

Lights all over the Station...
... in the colors of the UAE flag
The Al Manara Civil Defense Station, headed by Air Force Major Othman Mohammad Ahli, was inaugurated by HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in November 2010, when Civil Defense teams performed field parades highlighting their readiness to intervene in emergency situations.

The Civil Defense fleet at the ready
Corporal Youssef Hussein shows me the equipment
I was welcomed and given the run of the Civil Defense Station by Corporal Youssef Hussein who spoke with pride of the courage and dedication of the Civil Defense team and its preparedness to answer the dangerous calls it gets. He was also proud to show me the fire engines and other rescue and support vehicles, all fitted with the latest equipment and technology made in the Emirates. (Join me at the Al Manara Civil Defense Station in photos here).

Corporal Hussein says the Station is always pleased to welcome guests, families, children, schools and anyone interested to learn more about the Dubai Civil Defense and its operations. 

The Operations Center van...
... equipped with the latest technology
Among the functions of Civil Defense are to search for victims, rescue and deliver casualties and provide needed help; participate in the rehabilitation of afflicted areas and the resumption of public utilities services; supervise implementation of industrial safety measures in industrial and commercial establishments; and oversee fire preventive measures in private and public institutions.

Happy National Day to the enlightened UAE leadership, to the brave people at Civil Defense and to all my Emirati friends.