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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Back on Track

Due to my mental state in the last few months, I have strayed from the original intentions of this blog, that is to provide valuable  information for folks looking to relocate here. I apologize for that.

Abu Dhabi literally means Father of the Gazelle. The story is that some Bedoin tribesmen followed some gazelle (a type of deer) tracks until they found the tracks ended at a fresh water spring on an island. They then moved to the island and started a thriving business of pearl diving, fishing and trade. The island became known as Abu Dhabi. It occupies a very strategic position in the Arabian Gulf. One does not refer to this body of water here as the Persian (Iranian) Gulf as it risks a fistfight. They are the same though.

First some background information. The United Arab Emirates became a country in 1972. Before that it had been a loose association of Bedoin tribal factions and the British  government known as the Trucial States or the Pirate Coast. This was in Britain's colonial days and they agreed to defend the area until their money ran out and they pulled out of the region.

This sudden decision by the British left the area in chaos. There were several Bedoin tribes that were hostile to each other and they fought to maintain their power and territory. However there was a visionary Sheik known as Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan that changed history. He was a natural diplomat and convinced the warring factions that it was in their best interest to unite into one country. He is the equivalent to our George Washington. He is much loved by the citizens here as they know he had their best interests in mind. He loved his people. He died in 2004.

Vast oil reserves were found in the U.A.E in the late 60's and Sheik Zayed wisely knew that for his young country to progress, the talents and expertise of Western expats was needed. He set up the system as it is today that foriegners are allowed to live and work here, but only for the betterment of his country. He made Abu Dhabi the most livable country for expats in the Middle East. And I can even get beer here! His legacy is a clean, safe, prosperous country. The U. S. can take some lessons from the U.A.E.

 I instantly took a liking to the guy when I saw a video of him driving a huge 60's era Chrysler over the sand dunes with an ear-to-ear grin. He also had a nickle-plated Audi 500 specially built for him. He could handle camels, shoot guns, fight with a sword, and was respected as "one of the guys" from his peers and citizens. He was also an expert falconer and loved his land, people and traditions. His son rules the country now and he would be wise to follow his father's footsteps.

Sheik Zayed's policies make it possible for me to enjoy a good life over here. I am happy and his people are happy. I wish I could say the same about our own crappy politicians in the U. S.

Unfortunately, the U.S. media portrays Muslims in a very bad light. I know them to be a freindly and warm people. They do not hate us, but American policies of late have them confused. Be assured that the vast majority just want to get along like the rest of us. 


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