Zayed and the Union
By: Jawaher Abdulla
Edited: By Mai Yousef AlRemaithi
While browsing through the books in the library, a picture of our father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan caught my eye. It took me back to the rich history of the creation of our nation.
In his youth, Sheikh Zayed became the representative of the ruler in Alain. He made it his mission to do what is best for his people through the development of many sectors such as agriculture, industry, and trade. Under his rule, he built strong infrastructure of government buildings, housing projects, schools, hospitals, and roads.
His vision was not limited to Al Ain, but expanded to Abu Dhabi and other emirates, so the idea of a union came to mind to achieve a unified nation.
Edward Henderson, prominent British diplomat, once said that sheikh Zayed was handsome, smart, fun and with a strong personality, he was a man of presence and prestige.
In 1966, Sheikh Zayed started a new chapter in his journey by becoming the ruler of Abu Dhabi, and at that time his vision to unite the emirates expanded. He started to work on two complementary fronts, building the emirate and building the union.
Sheikh Zayed was fully aware that the idea of uniting all the emirates was a novel concept in the region, but he was confident in his idea.
After the announcement of the British government to withdraw its forces from the Gulf by the end of 1971, the difficulties of unifying the Emirates reduced, which made Sheikh Zayed along with Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai to take the first step.
In February 18 1968, the rulers of the two leading Emirates conversed in a meeting where the two rulers agreed to merge in many fields and in order to strengthen the federation further, they invited the rulers of the five other Trucial States as well as Bahrain and Qatar to join.
For the next three years the nine rulers agreed on the union, but in the summer of 1971 Qatar and Bahrain declared the independence of their counties. After that, the rulers of the six Trucial States had decided to form the United Arab Emirates at a meeting held in Dubai on July 18, 1971. 47 years passed, exactly the same date, this year Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted on his personal page on twitter about the two rulers Zayed and Rashid “Their vision has brought happiness and prosperity to our people. From our roots in the desert, we have journeyed to space.”
1971 was the year of union, the foundation of an independent, sovereign state which was formally proclaimed on December 2, 1971. When Ras al Khaimah joined February 10, 1972, this new state became officially known as Dawlat al Imarat al Arabiyya al Muttahida, or the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
With his wisdom and courage, Sheikh Zayed was able to build a powerful country alongside his people’s trust.
The year 2018 was named Year of Zayed to mark 100 years since his birth and to honor a great leader. The success of United Arab Emirates all goes back to Sheikh Zayed. His leadership skills and ambitions are the foundation of what our country stands for.