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Compassion has been key to UAE's emergence as a global soft power

Mustafa Al Zarooni
Filed on April 2, 2020 | Last updated on April 2, 2020 at 12.11 am

The wellbeing of the residents is at the heart of all policy decisions that have been taken so far.

The true test of leadership is at the time of crisis, and people across the world are witnessing just that.

While some countries are applying draconian laws and means to prevent people from stepping out, in the UAE, the soft power of the leadership has helped deal with the crisis in a more humane and well organised manner. The wellbeing of the residents is at the heart of all policy decisions that have been taken so far. Compliance has been ensured without any heavy-handed means.

What's worth noting about this soft approach is that a majority of people are cooperating, they are staying indoors, cheering health workers, support staff, and the leadership from their balconies.

But that's not to say there are no offenders here and everybody is following the advisory of the government in letter and spirit. Some people are indifferent, too. They care little about the current crisis, and perhaps have not understood the gravity of the situation we are in. The government has employed technology to catch them and slap fines to ensure they learn a lesson.

Assurances from the leadership have worked, their messages to the public through social media have helped assuage concerns of shortage of food supplies. It is reflected in the behaviour of people. Take for instance, the shopping patterns of people worldwide. If we leave aside a few residents who have stockpiled food supplies to last until the end of Ramadan, a majority are not resorting to hoarding. Now compare this with other countries where people have emptied shelves at groceries stores.

The difference in behaviour is an achievement at the time of crisis like this one, especially since the emirates is home to people from all over the world.

People should understand and appreciate measures taken by the government and only then will they wholeheartedly support the measures. In the UAE, we are seeing this confidence among people. All the seven emirates have worked together to inspire such positive behaviour, and now this is working well as we fight the virus together.

Several initiatives have been taken to support people. Yes, the livelihoods of people have been affected, and the government is taking steps to alleviate the pain and suffering at this time. Whether you are salaried professional, or run a business, help will be at hand. Money is being pumped into the economy, relief is being provided through rebate on rents, discounts on utility bills, extension of grace period for visa renewals. The stimulus package is humane. The leadership is driven by compassion. Empathy is at the heart of all people-centric decisions. And is it is helping the UAE deal with the crisis better.

It might take some time before things return to normal, but until then people can rest assured that the leadership will be looking after them.

Besides, the UAE will continue to help countries that need assistance. It has forever extended support to the weak, and will continue to. These are the founding principles of the UAE. There are no hidden agendas that guide its policies. The leadership is guided by the sheer vision to improve the life of its people, to make the world better, and forge partnerships through which everyone can prosper.

-malzarooni@khaleejtimes.com   


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