Today it’s the UAEs 45th birthday. The nation was founded when 6 Emirates got together in 1971 (a year later the 7th joined) to form the United Arab Emirates. It’s remarkable how in such short time, not only they build mega cities with grand visions, transformed their economy, but also managed to make it a global melting pot of people from all over the world, cultures and religions – while keeping their country’s identity strong.
Being in a melting pot, in a country that are shifting from the old-to-new way in just the span of a few generations, of course gives issues, friction and criticism from not just outside but inside as well. However in the short time I’ve lived here I’ve already seen several new labor, financial and other laws + additional initiatives taken effect, addressing various issues. I’m not sugarcoating and saying everything is perfect, but change is happening – at a faster pace than I see in any other country. It sometimes feels that 1 UAE year is 10 Denmark years!
Credit is due where credit is deserved.
The old generation used to live in the dessert, now the new lives in skyscrapers. And today just 10% of the population are local Emiratis. Imagine being a minority in your own country. Most communication is now in English – a foreign language to the locals. I don’t know many nations that would be fine with that, but overall it seems to work and people are happy. The Emiratis are a proud people, and while they cherish their country’s traditions and culture, they invite people from all over the world to come live in their country – as long as they contribute and respect their religion and laws.
I’ve been living in Dubai for 2,5 years now, and it gives a bit of perspective on things. Especially when I see people from Denmark post Facebook updates and express opinions related to immigration issues back home. There is a lot of opposition and many people seem reluctant to change. There is a fear of losing the Danish culture by letting others in the country. But here’s the thing… Dubai and the UAE did exactly that and succeeded in keeping their heritage and culture strong and at the same time prosper.
We live in a global world. It’s not going to change. You can’t fight it, just because it puts you outside your comfort zone. Do as Dubai, the UAE, embrace it and make the best of it.
Happy 45th UAE!