The day we lost and gained a president

Our trusted and hard-working CP is now our President and that realisation definitely struck an emotional high



by

Rasha Abu Baker

Published: Mon 16 May 2022, 11:10 PM

These past few days have been very intense and difficult to say the least. I am certain that I can speak for most Emiratis, as well the majority of UAE residents, when I say that since the sad news broke on Friday about the demise of our beloved President Sheikh Khalifa, we have endured, and are still enduring, a mixed array of conflicting emotions that are so difficult to put into words.

The emotional rollercoaster began with the crashing low following the unfortunate news of Sheikh Khalifa’s passing following a long battle with illness. There had been rumours surrounding his ill health for a while but we have always felt reassured that despite his health struggles, our President was doing his best and we took comfort in knowing that he was still present and amongst us.

As the late Sheikh Khalifa was laid to rest that same day, the country began a 40-day mourning period. As both local and international media began to scramble to cover the news with special packages and coverage of the tragic day, hundreds of thousands of Emiratis and kind-hearted people flooded social media platforms and forums to mourn with each other, and express their sympathies and their feelings of immense loss and grief. As one woman wrote on Twitter: “As an Emirati, I remember the moment they announced the passing of Baba Zayed and the grief that came with it. His leadership, humility and compassion for his people were instilled in his son. The news of Sheikh Khalifa’s passing fills us all with the same sadness and sense of loss.”

And the highs began soon after, with the announcement that our former Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had been named as the country’s new President.

The much-anticipated announcement filled us with hope and reassurance once again. In many ways, our ‘new’ President isn’t really ‘new’ at all. He is familiar to us as the Al Nahyan clan have always been. He sits amongst his people. He is also accessible, another trait our leaders are known for. I remember the first time I encountered His Highness; it was at a local café, ‘Jones the Grocer’, which was just down the street from my previous workplace. He was sitting at a table with a group of people chatting away, just a normal lunch meeting at a casual eatery.

He was a man of the people and people loved this about him. He is also approachable and never known to have never turned anyone in need away.

The second time, and actual time I was able to come face to face with him, was when I was invited as part of a workgroup a few years ago at the Sea Palace where he went around to greet us. “It is an honour to meet you, Sir,” I said, as he held his hand up and shook my hand.

Our trusted and hard-working CP is now our President and that realisation definitely struck an emotional high. It’s an exciting new beginning full of possibilities.

Going by his proven track record, our new President is poised to deliver continued development and benefits for his country. He has done so much in the service of his country, and we are in the best possible hands.

Already a key player on the international scene having helped forge great relations with countries all around the world which helps Emiratis at home and abroad. He has also been at the forefront of UAE politics, decision-making and diplomacy …and what a magnificent job he has been doing.

He is an inclusive leader who can appreciate and respect all cultures and traditions while still preserving our own — wisely integrating old and new, present and the future, to create a beautiful and unique modern nation.

As an Emirati I feel that we’re in good hands, have always been, just like we were under Zayed, Sheikh Khalifa and now his successor Sheikh Mohamed. The natural successor to Sheikh Khalifa in maintaining the legacy and mandate. We trust his judgement and we know he is more than capable of guiding the nation on its current trajectory of success and prosperity.


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