Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: How acts of kindness bind societies

Filed on August 25, 2021
Photo by Juidin Bernarrd/Khaleej Times

Three good men — a Moroccan watchman, a Pakistani salesman and an Indian driver — came to the rescue of a pregnant cat that fell off a balcony in Deira.

On Tuesday night, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, shared a video on his Twitter account: of three good men — a Moroccan watchman, a Pakistani salesman and an Indian driver — coming to the rescue of a pregnant cat that fell off a balcony in Deira.

As the owner of a grocery shop (the fourth man) filmed the ‘operation’ on his smartphone, the cat managed to land on its feet, safe and sound, thanks to the timely intervention of three men who didn’t know each other but have now become friends and even started a WhatsApp group to stay in touch. What brought them together was an urge to help, an urge to be kind and compassionate — and go that extra mile.

“Proud and happy to see such acts of kindness in our beautiful city. Whoever identifies these unsung heroes, please help us thank them,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted on the share. The video, as we all know, went viral. Netizens went wild with joy, and everyone was happy that cat and its unborn litter of kittens were “fine”. But it required the sentience of a person of the mettle of Sheikh Mohammed to tell a larger story. That within the brevity of the heartwarming clip lies the story of Dubai: a city that’s home to a multitude of nationalities, living and working together in peace and harmony. It needs a certain ambience — emotional, physical, spiritual — to get residents to step up.

These men were not grandstanding and playing to the social media gallery: it was an act that happened on empathetic reflex; and it is a kind of act that recurs over and over again, at times when you least expect it, reinstating the motor force of intent.

In many parts of the world, Dubai is known as a city of glitz and glamour; some reports point at its “lack of soul” evidenced by the largesse of excesses — which is invariably associated with soul-crushing materialism. It takes a little incident like the cat story to set the record straight. That random acts of kindness have always been the kind of stuff that brings a society together, blurring classist — and man-made — boundaries, highlighting the need to come together. And this is something Dubai excels at. The fact that the Ruler of the emirate acknowledges a debt of gratitude to “unsung heroes” raises the bar of a society’s settings immediately.

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