It was at the beginning of the seventies of the past century that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum toured the city and examined the conditions of people by land and air as we saw in a footage broadcasted yesterday by the Media Office through a channel for Sheikh Mohammed on YouTube showing HH flying a helicopter on a tour over Dubai.
At the time, he was neither a ruler nor a crown prince. He was the Minister of Defense, but he sought to know by himself the needs of people, and thus he approached them and still does. Rising in positions did not change him, but his actions sprang from his own beliefs rather than pretentious actsto seek fame
I meant to start my article by mentioning the time period when HH was examining the conditions of citizens in a desert area that looked remote. At that time, the human rights organizations knew nothing about this area or this part of the world. There were no social network sites; there was no Twitter; there was no Facebook. There were only rulers who loved their people and people who were loyal to their land and rulers.
The field trips and the open door policy are the main elements. The interaction of the ruler with his people was what that generation experienced. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has pursued the policy of his father and ancestors in communicating with his people, understanding their needs, reaching out to them, visiting their houses to fulfill their needs, giving them rides in his plane to their remote areas in the seventies and he still drives them in his car. In that footage, we saw him talking with an old man and drinking coffee. Some years ago, we saw him with that old man sitting together on a bare floor. He asked that man about what he needed 40 years ago and he built a new house for him and furnished it some years ago. This is only one example but HH’s acts of benevolence are countless. He did not do that for fame or glory, but because he is a ruler who performs his responsibilities and the duties entailed by his position. He gives people their rights as granted by the State.
Neither he nor Sheikh Zayedwerefortunetellers. They had insight. Zayed did not listen to what experts had to say when they warned him about desert reclamation. They were later amazed at the different types of plants and trees that grew throughout Abu Dhabi. Mohammed bin Rashid was inspecting muddy and empty areas by air but he was aware that this land will one day carry huge projects transforming Dubai from a small unknown city into a developed city competing with and exceling over major cities worldwide.
Our rulers are humans like us. This is their main feature that many are missing. They are humans who walk among us, examine people’s conditions, sit with citizens, eat their food, celebrate with them and share their grief. They are also aware that there are changes and gaps which they continuously seek to adapt to and fill.