These are my children and we are a family: Mohammed

These are my children and we are a family: Mohammed

DUBAI — It has been said that never is a man standing so tall than when he stoops to speak to a child. His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, took that adage to a whole new level when he met and spent quality time with a group of Emirati orphans as part of the celebrations of the fifth anniversary of his accession as Ruler of Dubai.

By (With inputs from Wam)

Published: Wed 5 Jan 2011, 8:31 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:43 AM

Welcoming the excited 30 boys and girls at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort, Shaikh Mohammed disarmed them completely by saying, “I came to this desert to meet you as my children.” It was heartwarming and so gracious that the leader and his ‘family’ reflected that glow of warmth and togetherness.

The Ruler urged them to express their love of the UAE and the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He even gave them a spontaneous lesson in valuing the bounty and blessings they received and asked them to honour their religion by being true to it.

“We are here as one family, we are both Arabs and Muslims.... five decades ago, we lived in small mud huts with very few hospitals and schools and were short of the urban, economic and educational development we enjoy in the UAE today,” he added. He then asked them to take full advantage of every opportunity to educate themselves and the children listened with rapt attention.

He told them that education was their future weapon and that through it came knowledge, patience and wisdom. Shaikh Mohammed also pressed home the need to respect the elderly and to spare no occasion to show one’s love for the home country.

Responding to the children’s questions, Shaikh Mohammed opened up and shared his thoughts when he said: “My eldest daughter is Hassa. My passions are horse riding, hunting, hitch-hiking, reading, writing poetry. My favourite colour is blue, the colour of water and the sky, 4WD vehicles, visiting friends and relatives and living in the sands of the UAE deserts.”

He also told them that he had a special affinity for animals and believed in their protection.

Talking to them about his own ambitions and dreams, he said, “As a child, my ambitions were simple and did not include becoming a ruler or a vice-president. I was rather more interested in pleasing my father and obeying and learning from him.”

After a pleasant meeting Shaikh Mohammed received two gifts from the children and viewed a number of their paintings which showed remarkable imagination and talent. He also gave them gifts in return.

Present at the meeting were Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Cabinet Affairs Minister, Lt. Gen Rashid Musabbah Al Fattan, Director of the Office of the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Ibrahim Bumalha, Advisor to Shaikh Mohammed for Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs and Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director-General Of Protocol Department.

One could see that the children were delighted but it was also good to witness the Ruler enjoying their company and it was clear that if he could have stayed longer he would have.

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