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Reliving the Royal Story: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s “Qissati”

by | EDITOR’S CHOICE, Feature, TOP STORIES

Jan. 24, 19 | 7:15 am

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has recently launched his book titled “Qissati: 50 Stories in 50 Years” immortalizing his 50 years of service to the nation as he shares stories about his family as well as the growth and emergence of Dubai and the UAE.

HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, was one of the few who received a copy of the book early on which he accepted with full gratitude.

“Qissati” or “My Story” is an autobiography of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid that highlights most of his life changing moments and historical decisions that he initiated when he began his first steps upon assuming his first public position as the Chairman of the Police and Public Security in 1968 until he became the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai in 2006.

The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan at Union House on December 2, 1971, three years after the meeting in the desert. Photo courtesy of Al Ittihad

A ruler’s perspective

The memoir places the readers in the Dubai ruler’s perspective – placing them in HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid’s shoes starting from his post as the youngest minister of defence in the UAE’s first Cabinet in 1971 when the UAE was established. It then describes several phases that Dubai had undergone to transform towards the globally renowned city that the world has recognized today.

Dubai is not a mere coincidence. It is a long journey. That journey started with Sheikh Maktoum Bin Butti, who laid the foundations. And then his brother, Saeed Bin Butti, who taught us about pure justice. That’s the first lesson in Dubai’s unwritten Constitution. The second lesson, also taught by Saeed Bin Butti, is that we don’t make enemies — and we don’t give anybody an excuse to be our enemy.

 

Then came Sheikh Hasher Bin Maktoum, followed by Sheikh Rashid Bin Maktoum, who oversaw Dubai’s stability and security and economic development.

 

Then came Maktoum Bin Hasher in the late 19th century. He was a visionary. A genius. He laid the foundation for investments and commerce. In 1912, my grandfather Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum, when he started his rule, Dubai’s population increased significantly as trade flourished. This is the insight we inherited from my grandfather: always find ways to diversify.

 

And that’s why when someone asks me: “Why is Dubai always looking for new projects? From Media, to Internet, to ports?” The answer is in Dubai’s unwritten constitution. “Diversification is our foundation.”

One of the most sensitive tasks I had is building a united army for UAE – WAM

Lifelong lessons from family

The book is likewise a reflection of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid’s personal thoughts and public life: he vividly describes the moment his when his father, the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, declined the opportunity to be the first President of the UAE, and how his father insisted that the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan should be the one to lead the young country.

“I learnt from my father, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the value of simplicity, of being down to earth. Of being close to the people…and how to serve them. It was my life’s greatest lesson. I saw how kings fall in the past — in the 40s, 50s and 60s. And I saw them again this decade. The question is: Where is Rashid and Zayed? They are in the hearts of the people. And those kings and presidents, where are they in history?”

 

The young Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – WAM

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid also outlines several fond memories of his mother, Sheikha Latifa bint Hamdan, across several chapters of his book. The stories shared by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid of his mother highlight the warmth, care, and unconditional love of a mother to a child spanning several generations and how his mother’s happiness reverberates towards those who are close to her.

“She had great love for her children. But I was the one closest to her heart. I have never seen love like her love, a heart like her heart, and a companionship like hers. She had a very strong personality, lovable. All who knew her loved her.” 

The book also spoke about the trials and challenges that HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid’s grandfather, the late Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum, had to face as Dubai encountered two huge fires at Deira in 1939 and at Bur Dubai in 1940 burning down hundreds of houses and shops, followed by the pearl trade going down due to the Great Depression, as well as the measles outbreak in 1945 which became the catalyst for the late Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum to build the hospital now known as the Rashid Hospital.

Sheikh Mohammed, centre, with the late Sheikh Rashid, third from right, at the Empire State Building in the 1960s

Crises test the real mettle of a leader, someone who takes responsibility.

 

During his funeral, when we were walking behind his body, my father was holding my hand every so tightly. I didn’t know if that was grief, or he just wanted me to remember that moment.

 

Till today, I still don’t know the answer. But I know that this is the path that we will all take. And what is left when a person leaves is his good deeds…will immortalize his memory among the people.

The book will be available to the public in three weeks.

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