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Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki: We are all Emiratis
May 25, 2012
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Is it just myself or am I not the only one who is getting really annoyed of hearing about a certain topic that is often talked about in a negative manner amongst some of the Emirati population in the UAE? That certain topic is about which Emirati citizens are pure or not.

I honestly don’t know how a topic that is the exact copy of the “White Supremacy” concept can be a favourite amongst educated groups of people. Does it really make a difference or should it be made obvious that Emirati citizens who are either of different origins, having parents who were not Emirati citizens, or having Non-Emirati mothers should be labelled as impure? It doesn’t make a difference at all, but it will make a difference to how they perceive you if they see you talking about this in a negative way.

The concept of Nationalism is based upon the love, loyalty and hard work of the citizens; it is not based on the colour of their skin, hair or eyes, it is not based on how their genetic code is the perfect combination for being a pure Emirati, and it is not based upon the way people speak or pronounce things.

There are those that argue that people who don’t exhibit a fixed set of cultural behaviours or follow a fixed set of traditions should never be considered to be from the country they have the citizenship of. Let’s be realistic, everyone is different and that is a good thing, differences provided opportunities for growth and prosperity. Another thing we need to know is that even though we are all different, in the end when it all comes down to love for the UAE, we are all united.

What most people tend to overlook in the traditions of the UAE, is that we were and always will be welcoming to everyone who comes to the country and we will always try our best to give people a second chance in life.

Why do you think that the UAE has developed at an extraordinary rate within the past 40 years? It is not only because of the oil, but it is because our leaders have emphasized the concept of tolerance and diversity which not only made it a safe place to live in but also made it a hub that bridges the East and the West together.

We owe a number of the good things that we have to Non-Emiratis and if we feel that making them Emirati citizens is one of the ways to reward them then it is not a problem because we will be getting more benefits out of them when they are Emiratis.

Some of you may be saying that what this country needs are more pure Emirati citizens. I have no issue with that but don’t let a noble concept like that be turned into a tool for xenophobia. People can always retain their cultures and traditions but they shouldn’t let that retention stop them from embracing differences. If you feel that you can’t retain them because of a foreign presence then the problem is with you and not with that presence.

We should be happy that we have Emirati citizens that can offer something to the country; regardless of pure or impure, at the end we are all humans. The concept of purity is fictional, we all live on the same planet and none of us have the right to say who does and doesn’t belong on it based on looks or origins.

If we had a doctor from abroad and we gave him/her Emirati citizenship then that is good. If we had another doctor who was already an Emirati then that is good as well. So if we have both then that is actually great for us, we should be thankful we can get the best of both worlds. In the end, we are all Emiratis and we want the world to know us based on who we are as a united people, not as a country with domestically divided ethnicities.

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The writer, based in Abu Dhabi,
is a graduate of New York Institute
of Technology (AD). He is the author
of Under My Black Halo.

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