Friday, September 30, 2011


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Child labor

Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights. They are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


reincarnation (rē"inkärnā'shun) [key][Lat.,=taking on flesh again], occupation by the soul of a new body after the death of the former body. Beliefs vary as to whether the soul assumes the new body immediately or only after an interval of disembodiment. Although some religions teach that it may inhabit a higher or lower form of life, most believe that the soul is consistently reincarnated in the same species.

See J. Head and S. L. Cranston, ed., Reincarnation: An East-West Anthology (1961) and Reincarnation in World Thought (1967).

transmigration of souls

transmigration of souls or metempsychosis (mutem"sukō'sis) [key][Gr.,=change of soul], a belief common to many cultures, in which the soul passes from one body to another, either human, animal, or inanimate. The Australian aborigines believe that an infant is a reincarnation of deceased ancestors and that the soul is continually reborn. Some Indonesian peoples hold that ancestral souls reside in sacred animals, sometimes in preparation for a new incarnation. Similarly, several tribes in western Amazonia avoid eating certain animals, such as deer, because they believe ancestral souls have entered the animals' bodies.

Metempsychosis is a fundamental doctrine of several religions originating in India. In Hinduism, the individual soul enters a new existence after the death of the body. The sum total of past moral conduct, or karma, determines the condition of the soul and the quality of its rebirth. The cycle of rebirth is eternal unless the soul is released by knowledge or arduous effort (see yoga). This release (moksha or mukti) is a form of salvation, and is possible only for the most devout. Buddhist doctrine does not accept the soul or transmigration as such, treating both as illusory. Rather, there is an eternal, undifferentiated stream of being (samsara). Out of this, existences are produced and prolonged according to karma, or past actions. The individual is not a separate entity, but rather a grouping of elements. They revert to the original primal stream when desire, the cause of the transmigratory cycle, ceases. Only devout Buddhists or saints (i.e., those who abandon all desire) are able to realize this oneness.

The Celtic version of metempsychosis does not have the ethical aspect of its Indian counterpart. The Druids of Gaul supposedly taught that after death the soul left one body to enter another, but the second body was not necessarily earthly; little else is known of their beliefs. Examples of metempsychosis in pre-Christian Irish legends indicate that these transmigrations occurred only in the lifetime of heroes. The belief in transmigration was rare in ancient Egypt, although occasional instances occur of a soul uniting with a god, a soul entering an animal for a lifetime, or a voluntary metamorphosis of a person into another form for his own benefit.

The Greek version, an indigenous product, appeared in the Orphic Mysteries, but its best-known proponent was Pythagoras. He believed that souls were reincarnated in various bodily shapes. Empedocles, in his poem Purification, accepted Orphic and Pythagorean beliefs. Plato's views on metempsychosis are derived from these same sources. Plotinus believed that future destiny depended upon the life of the soul in previous incarnations. It is possible that these beliefs were influenced by contact with Indian religion.

Jewish treatment of metempsychosis, as found in the kabbalah, was limited by the need to conform to orthodox scriptures, and the theory of transmigration was tolerated rather than approved. The Jewish theories, derived mainly from Gnostic, Manichaean, and Neoplatonic sources, teach that man has absolute free will, but that his soul is tied and sullied by contact with matter. Demon (imperfect) souls try to prevent the fulfillment of the finite divine plan. To act out this plan, the spotless souls descend from their original abode in heaven and are incarnated. Punishment and atonement for sins is achieved by another incarnation; but before this happens, the now impure soul flits about as a disembodied spirit. If the pious suffer, it is believed to be for sins committed in a previous existence. At the end of the cycles, when all the incarnated souls are once again pure, the Messianic period begins. No theories of transmigration are admitted into Christian religion.

See J. Head, ed., Reincarnation in World Thought (1967); J. Algeo, Reincarnation Explored (1987).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Listen to this--people! :-)

BBS revival people! :-)

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Amjad Ali Khan

He was all of 6 years old, when Amjad Ali Khan gave his first recital of Sarod. It was the beginning of yet another glorious chapter in the history of Indian classical music. Taught by his father and guru, the great Haafiz Ali Khan of Gwalior, Amjad Ali Khan was born to the illustrious Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of music. Today he shoulders the sixth generation inheritance of this legendary lineage.

After his debut, the career graph of this musical legend took the speed of light, and on its way the Indian classical music scene was witness to regular and scintillating bursts of Raga supernovas. And thus, the world saw the Sarod being given a new and yet timeless interpretation by Amjad Ali Khan. Khan is one of the few maestros who consider his audience to be the soul of his motivation.

As he once said, "There is no essential difference between classical and popular music. Music is music. I want to communicate with the listener who finds Indian classical music remote."

He has performed at the WOMAD Festival in Adelaide and New Plymouth, Taranaki in New Zealand, WOMAD Rivermead Festival in UK, Edinburgh Music Festival, World Beat Festival in Brisbane, Summer Arts Festival in Seattle, BBC Proms, International Poets Festival in Rome, Shiraz Festival, UNESCO, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Adelaide Music Festival, 1200 Years celebration of Frankfurt and Schonbrunn in Vienna.

In the matter of awards, Amjad Ali Khan has the privilege of winning the kind of honours and citations at his relatively young age, which, for many other artistes would have taken a lifetime. He is a recipient of the UNESCO Award, Padma Vibhushan (Highest Indian civilian award), Unicef's National Ambassadorship, The Crystal Award by the World Economic
Forum and Hon'ry Doctorates from the Universities of York in 1997, England, Delhi University in 1998, Rabindra Bharati University in 2007, Kolkata and the Vishva Bharti (Deshikottam) in Shantiniketan in 2001. He has represented India in the first World Arts Summit in Venice in 1991, received Hon'ry Citizenship to the States of Texas (1997), Massachusetts (1984), Tennessee (1997), the city of Atlanta, Georgia (2002), Albuquerque, NM (2007)and the Key of the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma (2007). April 20th, 1984 was cleared as Amjad Ali Khan Day in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1995, Mr. Khan awarded the Gandhi UNESCO Medal in Paris for his composition Bapukauns. In 2003,the maestro received “Commander of the Order of Arts and letters” by the French Government and the Fukuoka Cultural grand prize in Japan in 2004.

He represented India in the first World Arts Summit in Venice, received Hon'ry Citizenship to the States of Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee and the city of Atlanta. April 20th, 1984 was declared as Amjad Ali Khan Day in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1995, Mr. Khan was awarded the Gandhi UNESCO Medal in Paris for his composition Bapukauns.

His collaborations include a piece composed for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yoshikazu Fukumora titled Tribute to Hong Kong, duets with guitarist Charley Byrd, Violinist Igor Frolov, Suprano Glenda Simpson, Guitarist Barry Mason and UK Cellist Matthew Barley. He has been a visiting professor at the Universities of Yorkshire, Washington, North Eastern and New Mexico. BBC Magazine had voted one of his recent CDs titled ‘Bhairav’ among the best 50 classical albums of the world for the year 1995. In 1994, his name was included Biographical in International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, 5th edition. In 1999, Mr. Khan inaugurated the World Festival of Sacred Music with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In 1998, Khan composed the signature tune for the 48th International Film Festival. In March 2002, Mr. Khan released his Carnegie Hall concert recording, Sarod for Harmony-Live at Carnegie Hall to commemorate his fiftieth performing year. In 2003, Maestro Amjad Ali Khan performed for His Royal Highness Prince Charles at his Highgrove Estate for the second time after earlier recitals in 1989, 1995 and 1997(at St. James Palace).

He has been a regular performer at the Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Kennedy Center, Santury Hall (First Indian performer), House of Commons, Theater Dela Ville, Muee Guimet, ESPLANADE in Singapore, Palais beaux-arts, Mozart Hall in Frankfurt, Chicago Symphony Center, St. James Palace and the Opera House in Australia.

In his case, the term 'beauty of the Ragas' acquires a special meaning as he has to his credit the distinction of having created many new Ragas. It is love for music and his belief in his music that has enabled him to interpret traditional notions of music for a new refreshing way, reiterating the challenge of innovation and yet respecting the timelessness of tradition.

Two books have been written on him. The World of Amjad Ali Khan by UBS Publishers in 1995 and Abba-God’s Greatest Gift To Us by his sons, Amaan and Ayaan published by Roli Books-Lustre Publications in 2002. A documentary on Mr. Khan called Strings for Freedom won the Bengal Film Journalist Association Award and was also screened at the Ankara Film Festival in 1996.

In 2007, Mr. Khan featured in the Southbank Centre’s recently launched the Royal Festival Hall hoardings project ‘Rankin’s Front Row’, where his photograph is included in the frieze that will run the length of the river façade of the Royal Festival Hall. This year see the premier of Samagama Sarod Concerto with Conductor David Murphy and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Khan performed at the Central Hall of the Indian Parliament on the commemoration of India's 60th year of Independence in 2007.

In 2009, Mr. Khan presented his Sarod concerto Samagam with the Taipei Chinese Orchestra. This year also sees the collaboration with Guitarist Alvaro Pierri. Recently, Amjad Ali Khan was nominated for a Grammy award in the best traditional world music album category. Khan has been nominated for the album 'Ancient Sounds', a joint-venture with Iraqi oud soloist Rahim Alhaj. In 2010, the Khans collaborated with American Folk artist Carrie Newcomer at Lotus Arts Festival in Bloomington. On the ninth anniversary of 9/11, Amjad Ali Khan gave a Peace Concert at the United Nations in New York in the presence of the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon. His concerto for Sarod and orchestra, Samaagam, the result of an extraordinary collaboration with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, is the latest embodiment of his unique ability to give new form to the purity and discipline of the Indian classical music tradition. Samaagam was released worldwide in April 2011 on Harmonia Mundi’s World Village label.

In the season 11/12, Amjad Ali Khan will be the focus of a 4-concert residency at the Wigmore Hall in London. Other highlights include recitals at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Enescu Festival in Bucharest

Married, with two sons, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan are well known names in the music scene and are the seventh generation of musicians in the family. ‘Coming Masters’ as the New York Times calls them. Amjad Ali Khan's wife Subhalakshmi Khan has been a great exponent of the Indian classical dance, Bharatnatyam, which, she sacrificed for her family. As a soul, so in his heart, he is a man who has proven his indomitable belief in the integration of two of life's greatest forces, love and music. He is a living example of a man who practices that integration each day of his life, both on stage and off stage.

Amjad Ali Khan

Listen to Amjad Ali Khan for a change -- young people! :-)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My latest crush . . . .

My latest crush is Anoushka Shankar! :-)


I want to live in an igloo! :-)

A Boy Among Polar Bears

This touching clip from A Boy Among Polar Bears, by the BBC Natural History Unit, looks at the relationship between a father and son in the Arctic. It explores the facts and information shared about the ancient skills needed to build an igloo. This crucial knowledge is passed down through the generations by the Inuit people who have lived in the region for over 2,000 years.

Pandit Ravi Shankar

Listen to Pandit Ravi Shankar for a change -- young people! :-)

Ravi Shankar

Short Biography

Ravi Shankar, the legendary sitarist and composer is India's most esteemed musical Ambassador and a singular phenomenon in the classical music worlds of East and West. As a performer, composer, teacher and writer, he has done more for Indian music than any other musician. He is well known for his pioneering work in bringing Indian music to the West. This however, he did only after long years of dedicated study under his illustrious guru Baba Allaudin Khan and after making a name for himself in India.

Always ahead of his time, Ravi Shankar has written three concertos for sitar and orchestra, last one of which in 2008. He has also authored violin-sitar compositions for Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal, music for Hosan Yamamoto, master of the Shakuhachi and Musumi Miyashita - Koto virtuoso, and has collaborated with Phillip Glass (Passages).
George Harrison produced and participated in two record albums, "Shankar Family & Friends" and "Festival of India" both composed by Ravi Shankar.

Ravi Shankar has also composed for ballets and films in India, Canada, Europe and the United States. The latter of which includes the films "Charly," "Gandhi," and the "Apu Trilogy".

In the period of the awakening of the younger generation in the mid 60's, Ravi Shankar gave three memorable concerts - Monterey Pop Festival, Concert for Bangla Desh, and The Woodstock Festival.

Ravi Shankar is an honourary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is a member of the United Nations International Rostrum of composers. He has received many awards and honours from his own country and from all over the world, including fourteen doctorates, the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan, Desikottam,Padma Bhushan of 1967, the Music Council UNESCO award 1975, the Magsaysay Award from Manila, two Grammy's, the Fukuoka grand Prize from Japan, the Polar Music Prize of 1998, the Crystal award from Davos, with the title 'Global Ambassador' to name some.
In 1986 Ravi Shankar was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha, India's upper house of Parliament.

Deeply moved by the plight of more than eight million refugees who came to India during the Bangla Desh Freedom struggle from Pakistan, Ravi Shankar wanted to help in any way he could. He planned to arrange a concert to collect money for the refugees. He approached his dear friend George to help him raise money for this cause. This humanitarian concern from Ravi Shankar sowed the seed of the concept for the Concert for Bangla Desh. With the help of George Harrison, this concert became the first magnus effort in fund raising, paving the way for many others to do charity concerts.

His recording "Tana Mana", released on the private Music label in 1987, brought Mr. Shankar's music into the "New age" with its unique method of combining traditional instruments with electronics.

The love and respect he commands both in India and in the West is unique in the annals of the history of music. In 1989, this remarkable musician celebrated his 50th year of concertising, and the city of Birmingham Touring Opera Company commissioned him to do a Music Theatre (Ghanashyam - a broken branch) which created history on the British arts scene.

Mr. Shankar has several disciples, many of which are now very succesful concert artists and composers.

Perhaps no greater tribute can be paid to this genius than the words of his colleagues:

"Ravi Shankar has brought me a precious gift and through him I have added a new dimension to my experience of music. To me, his genius and his humanity can only be compared to that of Mozart's."

- Yehudi Menuhin

"Ravi Shankar is the Godfather of World Music"
- George Harrison

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Robert F. Kennedy


University of Capetown, South Africa
June 6, 1966

Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Vice Chancellor, Professor Robertson, Mr. Diamond, Mr. Daniel, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I come here this evening because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a land which defined itself on a hostile frontier; a land which has tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology; a land which was once the importer of slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that former bondage. I refer, of course, to the United States of America.

But I am glad to come here, and my wife and I and all of our party are glad to come here to South Africa, and we are glad to come here to Capetown. I am already greatly enjoying my visit here. I am making an effort to meet and exchange views with people of all walks of life, and all segments of South African opinion -- including those who represent the views of the government. Today I am glad to meet with the National Union of South African Students. For a decade, NUSAS has stood and worked for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- principles which embody the collective hopes of men of good will around the globe.

Your work, at home and in international student affairs, has brought great credit to yourselves and your country. I know the National Student Association in the United States feels a particularly close relationship with this organization. And I wish to thank especially Mr. Ian Robertson, who first extended this invitation on behalf of NUSAS, I wish to thank him for his kindness to me in inviting me. I am very sorry that he cannot be with us here this evening. I was happy to have had the opportunity to meet and speak with him earlier this evening, and I presented him with a copy of Profiles in Courage, which was a book written by President John Kennedy and was signed to him by President Kennedy's widow, Mrs. John Kennedy.

This is a Day of Affirmation -- a celebration of liberty. We stand here in the name of freedom.

At the heart of that western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all society, all groups, and states, exist for that person's benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any western society.

The first element of this individual liberty is the freedom of speech; the right to express and communicate ideas, to set oneself apart from the dumb beasts of field and forest; the right to recall governments to their duties and obligations; above all, the right to affirm one's membership and allegiance to the body politic -- to society -- to the men with whom we share our land, our heritage, and our children's future.

Hand-in-hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard -- to share in the decisions of government which shape men's lives. Everything that makes men's lives worthwhile -- family, work, education, a place to rear one's children and a place to rest one's head -- all this depends on the decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people, and I mean all of its people. Therefore, the essential humanity of man can be protected and preserved only where the government must answer -- not just to the wealthy; not just to those of a particular religion, not just to those of a particular race; but to all of the people.

And even government by the consent of the governed, as in our own Constitution, must be limited in its power to act against its people: so that there may be no interference with the right to worship, but also no interference with the security of the home; no arbitrary imposition of pains or penalties on an ordinary citizen by officials high or low; no restriction on the freedom of men to seek education or to seek work or opportunity of any kind, so that each man may become all that he is capable of becoming.

These are the sacred rights of western society. These were the essential differences between us and Nazi Germany as they were between Athens and Persia.

They are the essences of our differences with communism today. I am unalterably opposed to communism because it exalts the state over the individual and over the family, and because its system contains a lack of freedom of speech, of protest, of religion, and of the press, which is characteristic of a totalitarian regime. The way of opposition to communism, however, is not to imitate its dictatorship, but to enlarge individual human freedom. There are those in every land who would label as "communist" every threat to their privilege. But may I say to you, as I have seen on my travels in all sections of the world, reform is not communism. And the denial of freedom, in whatever name, only strengthens the very communism it claims to oppose.

Many nations have set forth their own definitions and declarations of these principles. And there have often been wide and tragic gaps between promise and performance, ideal and reality. Yet the great ideals have constantly recalled us to our own duties. And -- with painful slowness -- we in the United States have extended and enlarged the meaning and the practice of freedom to all of our people.

For two centuries, my own country has struggled to overcome the self-imposed handicap of prejudice and discrimination based on nationality, on social class, or race -- discrimination profoundly repugnant to the theory and to the command of our Constitution. Even as my father grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, signs told him that, "No Irish Need Apply." Two generations later, President Kennedy became the first Irish Catholic, and the first Catholic, to head the nation; but how many men of ability had, before 1961, been denied the opportunity to contribute to the nation's progress because they were Catholic, or because they were of Irish extraction? How many sons of Italian or Jewish or Polish parents slumbered in the slums -- untaught, unlearned, their potential lost forever to our nation and to the human race? Even today, what price will we pay before we have assured full opportunity to millions of Negro Americans?

In the last five years we have done more to assure equality to our Negro citizens and to help the deprived, both white and black, than in the hundred years before that time. But much, much more remains to be done.

For there are millions of Negroes untrained for the simplest of jobs, and thousands every day denied their full and equal rights under the law; and the violence of the disinherited, the insulted and the injured, looms over the streets of Harlem and of Watts and Southside Chicago.

But a Negro American trains as an astronaut, one of mankind's first explorers into outer space; another is the chief barrister of the United States government, and dozens sit on the benches of our court; and another, Dr. Martin Luther King, is the second man of African descent to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent efforts for social justice between all of the races.

We have passed laws prohibiting discrimination in education, in employment, in housing; but these laws alone cannot overcome the heritage of centuries -- of broken families and stunted children, and poverty and degradation and pain.

So the road toward equality of freedom is not easy and great cost and danger march alongside all of us. We are committed to peaceful and non-violent change and that is important for all to understand -- though change is unsettling. Still, even in the turbulence of protest and struggle is greater hope for the future, as men learn to claim and achieve for themselves the rights formerly petitioned from others.

And most important of all, all the panoply of government power has been committed to the goal of equality before the law - as we are now committing ourselves to achievement of equal opportunity in fact.

We must recognize the full human equality of all of our people -- before God, before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this, not because it is economically advantageous -- although it is; not because the laws of God command it -- although they do; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.

We recognize that there are problems and obstacles before the fulfillment of these ideals in the United States as we recognize that other nations, in Latin America and in Asia and in Africa, have their own political, economic, and social problems, their unique barriers to the elimination of injustices.

In some, there is concern that change will submerge the rights of a minority, particularly where that minority is of a different race than that of the majority. We in the United States believe in the protection of minorities; we recognize the contributions that they can make and the leadership they can provide; and we do not believe that any people -- whether majority or minority, or individual human beings -- are "expendable" in the cause of theory or policy. We recognize also that justice between men and nations is imperfect, and that humanity sometimes progresses very slowly indeed.

All do not develop in the same manner and at the same pace. Nations, like men, often march to the beat of different drummers, and the precise solutions of the United States can neither be dictated nor transplanted to others, and that is not our intention. What is important however is that all nations must march toward increasing freedom; toward justice for all; toward a society strong and flexible enough to meet the demands of all of its people, whatever their race, and the demands of a world of immense and dizzying change that face us all.

In a few hours, the plane that brought me to this country crossed over oceans and countries which have been a crucible of human history. In minutes we traced migrations of men over thousands of years; seconds, the briefest glimpse, and we passed battlefields on which millions of men once struggled and died. We could see no national boundaries, no vast gulfs or high walls dividing people from people; only nature and the works of man -- homes and factories and farms -- everywhere reflecting man's common effort to enrich his life. Everywhere new technology and communications brings men and nations closer together, the concerns of one inevitably become the concerns of all. And our new closeness is stripping away the false masks, the illusion of differences which is at the root of injustice and hate and war. Only earthbound man still clings to the dark and poisoning superstition that his world is bounded by the nearest hill, his universe ends at river's shore, his common humanity is enclosed in the tight circle of those who share his town or his views and the color of his skin.

It is your job, the task of the young people in this world, to strip the last remnants of that ancient, cruel belief from the civilization of man.

Each nation has different obstacles and different goals, shaped by the vagaries of history and of experience. Yet as I talk to young people around the world I am impressed not by the diversity but by the closeness of their goals, their desires, and their concerns and their hope for the future. There is discrimination in New York, the racial inequality of apartheid in South Africa, and serfdom in the mountains of Peru. People starve to death in the streets of India; a former Prime Minister is summarily executed in the Congo; intellectuals go to jail in Russia; and thousands are slaughtered in Indonesia; wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere in the world. These are different evils; but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfections of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, the defectiveness of our sensibility toward the sufferings of our fellows; they mark the limit of our ability to use knowledge for the well-being of our fellow human beings throughout the world. And therefore they call upon common qualities of conscience and indignation, a shared determination to wipe away the unnecessary sufferings of our fellow human beings at home and around the world.

It is these qualities which make of our youth today the only true international community. More than this I think that we could agree on what kind of a world we want to build. It would be a world of independent nations, moving toward international community, each of which protected and respected the basic human freedoms. It would be a world which demanded of each government that it accept its responsibility to insure social justice. It would be a world of constantly accelerating economic progress -- not material welfare as an end in of itself, but as a means to liberate the capacity of every human being to pursue his talents and to pursue his hopes. It would, in short, be a world that we would all be proud to have built.

Just to the north of here are lands of challenge and of opportunity -- rich in natural resources, land and minerals and people. Yet they are also lands confronted by the greatest odds -- overwhelming ignorance, internal tensions and strife, and great obstacles of climate and geography. Many of these nations, as colonies, were oppressed and were exploited. Yet they have not estranged themselves from the broad traditions of the West; they are hoping and they are gambling their progress and their stability on the chance that we will meet our responsibilities to them, to help them overcome their poverty.

In the world we would like to build, South Africa could play an outstanding role and a role of leadership in that effort. This country is without question a preeminent repository of the wealth and the knowledge and the skill of the continent. Here are the greater part of Africa's research scientists and steel production, most of it reservoirs of coal and of electric power. Many South Africans have made major contributions to African technical development and world science; the names of some are known wherever men seek to eliminate the ravages of tropical disease and of pestilence. In your faculties and councils, here in this very audience, are hundreds and thousands of men and women who could transform the lives of millions for all time to come.

But the help and leadership of South Africa or of the United States cannot be accepted if we -- within our own countries or in our relationships with others -- deny individual integrity, human dignity, and the common humanity of man. If we would lead outside our own borders; if we would help those who need our assistance; if we would meet our responsibilities to mankind; we must first, all of us, demolish the borders which history has erected between men within our own nations -- barriers of race and religion, social class and ignorance.

Our answer is the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress. This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease -- a man like the Chancellor of this University. It is a revolutionary world that we all live in; and thus, as I have said in Latin America and Asia and in Europe and in my own country, the United States, it is the young people who must take the lead. Thus you and your young compatriots everywhere have had thrust upon you a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived.

"There is," said an Italian philosopher, "nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." Yet this is the measure of the task of your generation and the road is strewn with many dangers.

First is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills -- against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. "Give me a place to stand," said Archimedes, "and I will move the world." These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this generation. Thousands of Peace Corps volunteers are making a difference in the isolated villages and the city slums of dozens of countries. Thousands of unknown men and women in Europe resisted the occupation of the Nazis and many died, but all added to the ultimate strength and freedom of their countries. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage such as these that the belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

"If Athens shall appear great to you," said Pericles, "consider then that her glories were purchased by valiant men, and by men who learned their duty." That is the source of all greatness in all societies, and it is the key to progress in our own time.

The second danger is that of expediency; of those who say that hopes and beliefs must bend before immediate necessities. Of course if we must act effectively we must deal with the world as it is. We must get things done. But if there was one thing that President Kennedy stood for that touched the most profound feeling of young people across the world, it was the belief that idealism, high aspiration, and deep convictions are not incompatible with the most practical and efficient of programs -- that there is no basic inconsistency between ideals and realistic possibilities -- no separation between the deepest desires of heart and of mind and the rational application of human effort to human problems. It is not realistic or hard-headed to solve problems and take action unguided by ultimate moral aims and values, although we all know some who claim that it is so. In my judgement, it is thoughtless folly. For it ignores the realities of human faith and of passion and of belief; forces ultimately more powerful than all the calculations of our economists or of our generals. Of course to adhere to standards, to idealism, to vision in the face of immediate dangers takes great courage and takes self-confidence. But we also know that only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.

It is this new idealism which is also, I believe, the common heritage of a generation which has learned that while efficiency can lead to the camps at Auschwitz, or the streets of Budapest, only the ideals of humanity and love can climb the hills of the Acropolis.

A third danger is timidity. Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world which yields most painfully to change. Aristotle tells us "At the Olympic Games it is not the finest or the strongest men who are crowned, but those who enter the lists. ... So too in the life of the honorable and the good it is they who act rightly who win the prize." I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the world.

For the fortunate amongst us, the fourth danger is comfort; the temptation to follow the easy and familiar path of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who have the privilege of an education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. There is a Chinese curse which says "May he live in interesting times." Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind. And everyone here will ultimately be judged -- will ultimately judge himself -- on the effort he has contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which his ideals and goals have shaped that effort.

So we part, I to my country and you to remain. We are -- if a man of forty can claim the privilege -- fellow members of the world's largest younger generation. Each of us has our own work to do. I know at times you must feel very alone with your problems and with your difficulties. But I want to say how impressed I am with what you stand for and for the effort you are making; and I say this not just for myself, but men and women all over the world. And I hope you will often take heart from the knowledge that you are joined with your fellow young people in every land, they struggling with their problems and you with yours, but all joined in a common purpose; that, like the young people of my own country and of every country that I have visited, you are all in many ways more closely united to the brothers of your time than to the older generation in any of these nations; you are determined to build a better future. President Kennedy was speaking to the young people of America, but beyond them to young people everywhere, when he said "The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world."

And, he added, "With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth and lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on Earth God's work must truly be our own." I thank you.

Robert Kennedy

"This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease." - Robert Kennedy

Penélope Cruz

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cyberspace: My World!

I live in Cyberspace. My world is BBSes. My world is Internet.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Historical background

In the late 1960s, Dr Ove Fernö was studying why smokers found it so difficult to give up. One of his friends, Dr Claes Lundgren, had noticed that submariners who were not allowed to smoke could cope by switching to chewing tobacco. Fernö was convinced that the key to the problem was abstinence from nicotine, and postulated that tobacco craving and withdrawal symptoms could be controlled by providing smokers with nicotine from an alternative source. However, pure nicotine is not easy to deliver – nicotine is an unstable compound. Various nicotine delivery forms were tested, and a chewing gum formulation in which nicotine was bound to a resin (to prevent the drug from being released too quickly) was launched as the first NRT product - Nicorette® Gum - in the global market in 1978. Continued development resulted in the introduction of the Nicorette® Patch in 1992, Nicorette® Nasal Spray (1994), Nicorette® Inhalator (1996) and Nicorette® sublingual tablet (1998). The name Nicorette® derives from nicotine delivered in the ‘right’ (= rätt, in Swedish) way.

NICORETTE® - A History

The very existence of nicotine replacement products was due to NICORETTE® scientists looking to help overcome challenges faced by the Swedish Royal Navy. Because smoking was banned on board submarines, crews became increasingly short-tempered at sea and the Navy needed a solution to this problem. This led to the development of a breakthrough alternative to smoking – a chewing gum which gradually released controlled quantities of nicotine, pioneered by NICORETTE® in 1967.

The first NICORETTE® NRT product offered a replacement to nicotine to be used in very specific situations – for submariners to manage cigarette cravings – but it wasn’t long before the potential benefits of this innovation for a wider group of consumers was realised. Launched to quitters in Switzerland in 1978, NICORETTE® Gum helped people to wean themselves off cigarettes and was one of the earliest 'lifestyle' therapies.1

Since then, NICORETTE® has been the driving force in developing the NRT category worldwide by developing different options of NRT – from products to methods to support smoker’s with their battle against their cravings to help them quit, whether they are ready to quit straight away or cut down and then stop with the help of NICORETTE®.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Over The Rainbow

Over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Let's Log Off -- now.

Let's Log Off -- now.
Let's go back to . . . .
Homing Pigeons
Shady nook under that old ban'yan tree . . . cozy, perfect place for reading
... Let's Log Off -- now.

See you real soon comrades -- in my Tree House! :-)

What's happening in my life?

I'm on BlackBerry Messenger! Yippee!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011



of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, died. He
was in his late eighties and had been Ruler of Abu Dhabi since 1966, and UAE
President since the formation of the Federation on 2 December 1971. He was
succeeded as Ruler of Abu Dhabi by his eldest son and Crown Prince, His
Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who, on 3 November, was also
elected unanimously by the Supreme Council of Rulers of the UAE as the country’s
second President.
Sheikh Zayed had been involved in government since 1946, when he became
the Representative of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in the Eastern Region of the emirate,
and, upon becoming Ruler in 1966, he took the initiatives that led to the formation
of the seven-member UAE Federation five years later. For the citizens of the
Emirates, the vast majority of whom were too young to recall any other leader,
he was not merely a President and Ruler, but he was also like a father. His
passing prompted, as was to be expected, an outpouring of grief throughout the
country, both among citizens and amongst the UAE’s large expatriate population,
many of whom have lived much or all of their lives in the Emirates.
President Sheikh Zayed, however, was not merely a national leader, but a
widely-respected Arab and world statesman, as was shown by the fact that many
Kings and Heads of State, Crown Princes, Prime Ministers and other senior
government figures from around the globe flew in to attend his funeral or to pay
their condolences to his successor. Among them were representatives not only
from the Arab world, such as the Kings of Bahrain and Jordan, the Sultan of
Oman, the Emir of Qatar, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the Presidents
of Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan and Algeria, but also from Asia, including
the Presidents of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and from Europe, including
the President of France and Britain’s Prince Charles, Africa and the Americas.
He also received the rare tribute of a special motion of condolences in Britain’s
House of Commons.
Obituaries in some of the world’s leading newspapers, such as The New York
Times and The Times, as well as the many messages of condolence received by
President Sheikh Khalifa, from world figures such as Britain’s Queen, the US
and French presidents, the Emperor of Japan, the Secretary-General of the United
Nations and numerous other monarchs, presidents and prime ministers, paid
credit both to his achievements in developing the United Arab Emirates into a
stable, modern and tolerant state, through a sagacious use of the country’s oil
and gas revenues, but also to his wisdom in international affairs, holding fast to
his own basic principles, while seeking to promote conciliation and peace-making
wherever the opportunity arose.
Thus Britain’s Queen Elizabeth expressed her condolences to President Sheikh
Khalifa ‘on the death of your distinguished father . . . who served your country
with such dedication and dignity over many years. I am sure that the prosperity
of the UAE today will be widely seen as a testimony to Sheikh Zayed’s wisdom,
skill and devotion to the service of the state’.
US President George W. Bush commented: ‘The United States mourns the
passing of a great friend of our country . . . Sheikh Zayed was . . . a pioneer, an
elder statesman and a close ally. He and his fellow rulers built their federation into
a prosperous, tolerant and well-governed state’.
France’s President Jacques Chirac, expressing ‘deep sorrow and emotion’,
described Sheikh Zayed as ‘a man of peace and vision’. In a message to Sheikh
Khalifa, he added: ‘The work accomplished by Sheikh Zayed is huge . . . Man of
peace and vision, he kept promoting the virtues of compromise, reason and
dialogue in a region troubled by crises and conflicts. His name will remain closely
associated with the cause of peace and development in the Middle East to which
he devoted his life’.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted in a statement that Sheikh
Zayed had ‘devoted tireless efforts to building the state and nation and, in so
doing, earned the respect of the population for his wisdom, generosity and his
achievements in building a prosperous economy. Sheikh Zayed’s wisdom, strong
belief in diplomacy and generous assistance to developing countries also won
him wide renown outside his own country – in the Islamic world and even further
afield. And he was a friend of the United Nations, who always sought to strengthen
relations between the Organisation and his country’.
He was honoured in a special commemorative session of the UN General
Assembly, a rare mark of appreciation.
Insofar as it was possible to detect a single thread running through the
statements and messages, as well as through the response of UAE residents, it
was that the life and achievements of President Sheikh Zayed were characterised
by his deep religious faith, his vision, his determination and hard work, his
generosity, both at home and abroad, and the way in which he devoted his life
to the service of his people and to the pursuit, at home and elsewhere, to helping
those in need and to the creation of a better world.

The United Arab Emirates today is his memorial – not just the physical
infrastructure but, more importantly, its people – while the international response
to his passing is testimony to the way in which he gave to his country a voice
listened to, with respect, around the world.
In a statement on the election of Sheikh Khalifa as the new President, the
members of the UAE Supreme Council noted their ‘keen desire to be loyal to
the principles of leadership and the values of justice and right laid down by His
Highness Sheikh Zayed’ and pledged to follow his path. In their view, such is the
best way of honouring his memory.
Born around 1918 in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed was the youngest of the four
sons of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1922 to
1926. He was named after his grandfather, Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa, who ruled
the emirate from 1855 to 1909, the longest reign in the three and a half centuries
since the Al Nahyan family emerged as leaders of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi, like the other emirates of the southern Arabian Gulf formerly
known as the Trucial States, was then in treaty relations with Britain. At the time
Sheikh Zayed was born, the emirate was poor and undeveloped, with an economy
based primarily on fishing and pearl diving along the coast and offshore and on
simple agriculture in scattered oases inland. Part of the population was nomadic,
ranging across a wide area of south-eastern Arabia in search of pasture.
Life, even for members of the ruling family, was simple. Education was generally
confined to lessons in reading and writing, along with instruction in Islam from
the local preacher, while modern facilities such as roads, communications and
health care were conspicuous only by their absence. Transport was by camel or
boat, and the harshness of the arid climate meant that survival itself was often
a major concern.
In early 1928, following the death of Sheikh Sultan’s successor, his brother
Sheikh Saqr, a family conclave selected as Ruler Sheikh Shakhbut, Sheikh Sultan’s
eldest son. He was to hold the post until August 1966, when he stepped down
in favour of his brother Zayed.
Throughout the late 1920s and 1930s, as Sheikh Zayed grew to manhood,
he displayed an early thirst for knowledge that took him out into the desert with
the bedu tribesmen to learn all he could about the way of life of the people
and the environment in which they lived. He later recalled with pleasure his
experience of desert life and his initiation into the sport of falconry, which became
a lifelong passion.
In his book, Falconry: Our Arab Heritage, published in 1977, Sheikh Zayed noted
that the companionship of a hunting party
. . . permits each and every member of the expedition to speak freely and express
his ideas and viewpoints without inhibition and restraint, and allows the one
responsible to acquaint himself with the wishes of his people, to know their problems
and perceive their views accurately, and thus to be in a position to help and improve
their situation.
From his desert journeys, Sheikh Zayed developed an understanding of the
relationship between man and his environment and, in particular, the need to
ensure that sustainable use was made of natural resources. Once an avid shot,
he abandoned the gun for falconry at the age of 25, aware that hunting with a
gun could lead rapidly to extinction of the native wildlife.
He learned, too, about the coastal fishing communities, and the age-old offshore
pearling industry, which had begun as long ago as 5000BC, and involved diving
without artificial aids to the seabed to harvest the pearls that were to be found
there in profusion. By the 1930s, as a result of the world economic depression
and of the Japanese invention of the cultured pearl, the industry was dying, and,
besides gaining an insight into the hardships faced by those involved, he also
saw the urgent need for alternative sources of income to be found. His recognition
of the dangers of dependence on one single source of income, linked to the
vagaries of international markets, was a lesson that he carried forward into later
life, when he insisted, with considerable success, that the United Arab Emirates
needed to diversify its economy beyond the lucrative exploitation of oil and gas.
His travels in the remoter areas of Abu Dhabi and his voyages offshore provided
Sheikh Zayed with a deep understanding both of the country and of its people. In
the early 1930s, when the first oil company teams arrived to carry out preliminary
surface geological surveys, he was assigned by his brother the task of guiding
them around the desert. At the same time, he obtained his first exposure to the
industry that was later to have such a great impact upon the country.
In the year 1946, Sheikh Zayed was chosen to fill a vacancy as Ruler’s
Representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi, centred on the oasis of Al Ain,
approximately 160 kilometres east of the island of Abu Dhabi itself. Inhabited
continuously for over 5000 years, the oasis had nine villages, six of which
belonged to Abu Dhabi and three, including Buraimi, by which name the oasis
was also known, which belonged to the Sultanate of Oman. The job involved not
only the task of administering the six villages but also the whole of the adjacent
desert region, enabling Sheikh Zayed to learn the techniques of government as
well as deepening his knowledge of the tribes. In the late 1940s and early 1950s,
Saudi Arabia’s territorial claims to Buraimi provided him with the opportunity
to gain experience of politics on a broader scale.
Sheikh Zayed brought to his new task a firm belief in the values of consultation
and consensus, in contrast to confrontation. Foreign visitors, such as the British
explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, who first met him at this time, noted with
approbation that his judgements ‘were distinguished by their acute insights,
wisdom and fairness’.
Sheikh Zayed swiftly established himself not only as someone who had a
clear vision of what he wished to achieve for the people of Al Ain, but also as
someone who led by example.
A key task in the early years in Al Ain was that of stimulating the local economy,
which was largely based on agriculture. To do this, he ensured that the ancient
subterranean water channels or falajes (aflaj) were cleaned out, and personally
financed the construction of a new one, taking part in the strenuous labour that
was involved.
He also ordered a revision of local water ownership rights to ensure a more
equitable distribution, surrendering the rights of his own family as an example to
others. The consequent expansion of the area under cultivation in turn generated
more income for the residents of Al Ain, helping to re-establish the oasis as the
predominant market centre for a wide area.
With development gradually beginning to get under way, Sheikh Zayed
commenced the laying out of a visionary city plan, and, in a foretaste of the
massive afforestation programme of today, he also ordered the planting of
ornamental trees that, now grown to maturity, have made Al Ain one of the
greenest cities in Arabia.
In 1953, Sheikh Zayed made his first visit to Europe, accompanying his brother
Shakhbut to Britain and France and attending an international arbitration tribunal
on the legality of offshore oil concessions in the emirate. He recalled later how
impressed he had been by the schools and hospitals he visited, becoming
determined that his own people should have the benefit of similar facilities:
There were a lot of dreams I was dreaming about our land catching up with the
modern world, but I was not able to do anything because I did not have the
wherewithal in my hands to achieve these dreams. I was sure, however, that one day
they would become true.
Despite the lack of government revenues, Sheikh Zayed succeeded in bringing
progress to Al Ain, establishing the rudiments of an administrative machinery,
personally funding the first modern school in the emirate and coaxing relatives
and friends to contribute towards small-scale development programmes.
Oil production was to provide Sheikh Zayed with the means to fund his
dreams, with the export of the first cargo of Abu Dhabi crude in 1962. Although
oil prices were then far lower than they are today, the rapidly growing volume
of exports, from both onshore and offshore, revolutionised the economy of Abu
Dhabi and its people began to look forward eagerly to receiving similar benefits
to those already being enjoyed by their neighbours in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait
and Saudi Arabia. The pearling industry had finally come to an end shortly after
the Second World War, and little had emerged to take its place. Indeed, during
the late 1950s and early 1960s, many people had left Abu Dhabi for other, oilproducing,
Gulf states where there were opportunities for employment.

The economic hardships experienced by Abu Dhabi since the 1930s had
accustomed the Ruler, Sheikh Shakhbut, to a cautious frugality. Despite the
growing aspiration of his people for progress, he was reluctant to invest the new
oil revenues in development. Attempts by members of his family, including
Sheikh Zayed, and by the leaders of the other tribes in the emirate to persuade
him to move with the times were unsuccessful, and eventually the Al Nahyan
family decided that the time had come for him to step down. The record of
Sheikh Zayed over the previous 20 years in Al Ain and his popularity among the
people made him the obvious choice as successor.
On 6 August 1966, Sheikh Zayed became Ruler, with a mandate from his
family to press ahead as fast as possible with the development of Abu Dhabi.
He was a man in a hurry. His years in Al Ain had not only given him valuable
experience in government, but had also provided him with the time to develop
a vision of how the emirate could progress. With revenues growing year by year
as oil production increased, he was determined to use them in the service of
the people, and a massive programme of construction of schools, housing,
hospitals and roads got rapidly under way.
Of his first few weeks, Sheikh Zayed later said:
All the picture was prepared. It was not a matter of fresh thinking, but of simply
putting into effect the thoughts of years and years. First I knew we had to concentrate
on Abu Dhabi and public welfare. In short, we had to obey the circumstances: the
needs of the people as a whole. Second, I wanted to approach other emirates to
work with us. In harmony, in some sort of federation, we could follow the example
of other developing countries.
One of Sheikh Zayed’s early steps was to increase contributions to the Trucial
States Development Fund, established a few years earlier. Abu Dhabi soon became
its largest donor. At the beginning of 1968, when the British announced their
intention of withdrawing from the Arabian Gulf by the end of 1971, Sheikh Zayed
acted rapidly to initiate moves towards establishing closer ties with the emirates.
Along with the late Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who
was to become Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed
took the lead in calling for a federation that would include not only the seven
emirates that together made up the Trucial States, but also Qatar and Bahrain.
When early hopes of a federation of nine states eventually foundered, Sheikh

Zayed led his fellow rulers in achieving agreement on the establishment of the
UAE, which formally emerged on the international stage on 2 December 1971.
While his enthusiasm for federation was a key factor in the formation of the
UAE, Sheikh Zayed also won support for the way in which he sought consensus
and agreement among his fellow rulers:
I am not imposing change on anyone. That is tyranny. All of us have our opinions,
and these opinions can change. Sometimes we put all opinions together, and then
extract from them a single point of view. This is our democracy.
Sheikh Zayed was elected by his fellow rulers as the first President of the UAE,
a post to which he was successively re-elected at five-year intervals.
The new state came into being at a time of political turmoil in the region. A
couple of days earlier, on the night of 30 November and the early morning of 1
December, Iran had seized the islands of Greater and Lesser Tunb, part of Ra’s
al-Khaimah, and had landed troops on Abu Musa, part of Sharjah (see section
on Foreign Policy).
On land, demarcation of the borders between the individual emirates and with
the Federation’s neighbours had not been completed, although a preliminary
agreement had been reached between Abu Dhabi and Oman (a final agreement
on the UAE border with Oman was ratified in 2003).
Foreign observers, who lacked an understanding of the importance of a
common history and heritage in bringing together the people of the UAE, predicted
that the new state would survive only with difficulty, pointing to disputes with
its neighbours and to the wide disparity in the size, population and level of
development of the seven emirates.
Better informed about the character of the country, Sheikh Zayed was naturally
more optimistic. Looking back a quarter of a century later he noted:
Our experiment in federation, in the first instance, arose from a desire to increase
the ties that bind us, as well as from the conviction of all that they were part of one
family, and that they must gather together under one leadership.
We had never (previously) had an experience in federation, but our proximity to
each other and the ties of blood relationship between us are factors which led us to
believe that we must establish a federation that should compensate for the disunity
and fragmentation that earlier prevailed.
That which has been accomplished has exceeded all our expectations, and that, with
the help of God and a sincere will, confirms that there is nothing that cannot be
achieved in the service of the people if determination is firm and intentions are sincere.
The predictions of those early pessimists were overwhelmingly shown to be
unfounded. In the 33 years that have followed, the UAE has not only survived, but
has developed at a rate that is almost without parallel. The country has been utterly
transformed. Its population has risen from around 250,000 in 1971 to an estimate
of around 4.3 million by late 2004. Progress, in terms of the provision of social
services, health and education, as well as in sectors such as communications and
the oil and non-oil economy, has brought a high standard of living that has spread
throughout the seven emirates, from the ultra-modern cities to the remotest
areas of desert and mountains. The change has, moreover, occurred against a
backdrop of enviable political and social stability, despite the insecurity and
conflict that has dogged much of the rest of the Gulf region.
The country has also established itself firmly on the international scene, both
within the Arab region and in the broader community of nations. Its pursuit of
dialogue and consensus and its firm adherence to the tenets of the Charter of the
United Nations, in particular those dealing with the principle of non-interference
in the affairs of other states, have been coupled with a quiet but extensive
involvement in the provision of development assistance and humanitarian aid
that, in per capita terms, has few parallels.
There is no doubt that the experiment in federation has been a success and
the undoubted key to the achievements of the UAE has been the central role
played by Sheikh Zayed during his years of leadership.
During his years in Al Ain he was able to develop a vision of how the country
should progress, and, after becoming first Ruler of Abu Dhabi and then President
of the UAE, he devoted over three and a half decades to making that vision a reality.
One foundation of his philosophy as a leader and statesman was that the
resources of the country should be fully used to the benefit of the people. The
UAE is fortunate to have been blessed with massive reserves of oil and gas and
it is through careful utilisation of these, including the decision in 1973 that the
government of Abu Dhabi, the emirate with the lion’s share of reserves, should
take a controlling share of the oil reserves. Together with its total ownership of
the associated and non-associated gas reserves, agreed with the oil concession
holders several years earlier, this ensured that the new state would have the
financial resources necessary to underpin the development programme. Indeed
there has been sufficient to permit the setting aside of large amounts for
investment on behalf of future generations, now largely managed through the
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
The financial resources, however, were always regarded by Sheikh Zayed not
as a means unto themselves, but as a tool to facilitate the development of what
he believed to be the real wealth of the country – its people, and, in particular,
the younger generation. As he stated:
Wealth is not money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power
that we value. They are the shield behind which we seek protection. This is what
has convinced us to direct all our resources to building the individual, and to using
the wealth with which God has provided us in the service of the nation, so that it
may grow and prosper.
Unless wealth is used in conjunction with knowledge to plan for its use, and
unless there are enlightened intellects to direct it, its fate is to diminish and to
disappear. The greatest use that can be made of wealth is to invest it in creating
generations of educated and trained people.
Addressing the graduation ceremony of the first class of students from the
Emirates University in 1982, Sheikh Zayed said:
The building of mankind is difficult and hard. It represents, however, the real wealth
[of the country]. This is not found in material wealth. It is made up of men, of
children, and of future generations. It is this which constitutes the real treasure.
Within this framework, Sheikh Zayed believed that all of the country’s citizens
have a role to play in its development. Indeed he defined it not simply as a
right, but as a duty. In one address to his colleagues in the Federal Supreme
Council, he noted:
The most important of our duties as Rulers is to raise the standard of living of our
people. To carry out one’s duty is a responsibility given by God, and to follow up on
work is the responsibility of everyone, both the old and the young.
Both men and women, he believed, should play their part. Recognising that in
the past a lack of education and development had prevented women from
playing a full role in much of the activity of society, he took action to ensure that
this situation was addressed rapidly. Although women’s advocates might argue
that there is still much to be done, the achievements have been remarkable, and
the country’s women are now increasingly playing their part in political and
economic life by taking up positions at all levels in the public and private sectors,
with the first woman being appointed to the Cabinet late in 2004, the day before
he died. In so doing, they enjoyed Sheikh Zayed’s full support:
Women have the right to work everywhere. Islam affords to women their rightful
status, and encourages them to work in all sectors, as long as they are afforded the
appropriate respect. The basic role of women is the upbringing of children, but,
over and above that, we must offer opportunities to a woman who chooses to
perform other functions. What women have achieved in the Emirates in only a
short space of time makes me both happy and content. We sowed our seeds
yesterday, and today the fruit has already begun to appear. We praise God for the
role that women play in our society. It is clear that this role is beneficial for both
present and future generations.

Remarkable progress has now been achieved by the women of the Emirates,
due in no small measure to initiatives taken by Sheikh Zayed and by his wife,
HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, who is the President of the country’s General
Women’s Union. Already playing a prominent role in the civil service, health,
education and business, and even in the police and armed forces, the UAE’s
women are now increasingly active in the political process, through membership
in the various consultative and legislative bodies, and, as noted above, in the
In an interview in October 2002, Sheikh Zayed noted that: The Woman is the mother, sister, aunt and wife of Man, and we should not, therefore,
deprive women of their rights, which God has instructed us to respect and observe.
Women should be respected and encouraged in whatever work they might do.
‘The UAE General Women’s Union has contributed actively to the enhancement
of the role of and contribution of women,’ he noted, ‘while at the same time,
together with this contribution, UAE women have maintained and preserved
the values of our society’.
Sheikh Zayed long, and emphatically, made it clear that he believed that the
younger generation, those who have enjoyed the fruits of the UAE’s development
programme throughout their lives, must take up the burden once carried by their
parents. Within his immediate family, he ensured that his sons took up posts in
government at which they were expected to work, and not simply enjoy as
sinecures. Besides his heir as Abu Dhabi Ruler and successor as UAE President,
Sheikh Khalifa, most hold senior positions in the federal or local governments.
When in the early 1990s, some young UAE men complained about the perceived
lack of employment opportunities at a salary level that met their expectations,
he bluntly offered them positions as agricultural labourers, so that they might
learn the dignity of work:
Work is of great importance, and of great value in building both individuals and
societies. The size of a salary is not a measure of the worth of an individual. What
is important is an individual’s sense of dignity and self-respect. It is my duty as the
leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert
themselves in order to raise their own standards and to be of service to the country.
The individual who is healthy and of a sound mind and body but who does not work
commits a crime against himself and against society.
We look forward in the future to seeing our sons and daughters playing a more
active role broadening their participation in the process of development and
shouldering their share of the responsibilities, especially in the private sector, so as
to lay the foundations for the success of this participation and effectiveness. At the
same time, we are greatly concerned to raise the standard and dignity of the work
ethic in our society, and to increase the percentage of citizens in the labour force.
This can be achieved by following a realistic and well-planned approach that will
improve performance and productivity, moving towards the long-term goal of secure
and comprehensive development.
In this sphere, as in other areas, Sheikh Zayed was long concerned about the
possible adverse impact upon the younger generation of the easy life they
enjoy, so far removed from the resilient, resourceful lifestyle of their parents.
One key feature of Sheikh Zayed’s strategy of government, therefore, was the
encouragement of initiatives designed to conserve and cherish features of the
traditional culture of the people, in order to familiarise the younger generation
with the ways of their ancestors. In his view, it was of crucial importance that the
lessons and heritage of the past were remembered. They provide, he believed, an
essential foundation upon which real progress can be achieved:
History is a continuous chain of events. The present is only an extension of the past.
He who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present and future, for it
is from the past that we learn. We gain experience and we take advantage of the
lessons and results [of the past]. Then we adopt the best and that which suits our
present needs, while avoiding the mistakes made by our fathers and grandfathers.
The new generation should have a proper appreciation of the role played by their
forefathers. They should adopt their model, and the supreme ideal of patience,
fortitude, hard work and dedication to doing their duty.
Once believed to have been little more than a backwater in the history of the
Middle East, the UAE is now known to have been a country which has played a
vital role in the development of civilisation in the region for thousands of years.
The first archaeological excavations in the UAE took place 46 years ago, in 1959,
with the archaeologists benefiting extensively from the interest shown in their
work by Sheikh Zayed. Indeed, he himself invited them to visit the Al Ain area to
examine remains in and around the oasis that proved to be some of the most
important yet found in south-eastern Arabia. In the decades that followed, Sheikh
Zayed continued to support archaeological studies throughout the country, eager to
ensure that the achievements of the past became known to the people of today.
Appropriately, one of the UAE’s most important archaeological sites has been
discovered on Abu Dhabi’s western island of Sir Bani Yas, which for over 25
years has been a private wildlife reserve created by Sheikh Zayed to ensure the
survival of some of Arabia’s most endangered species.
If the heritage of the people of the UAE was important to Sheikh Zayed, so
too was the conservation of its natural environment and wildlife. He believed
that the strength of character of the Emirati people derives, in part, from the
struggle that they were obliged to wage in order to survive in the harsh and
arid local environment.
His belief in conservation of the environment owed nothing to modern fashions.
Acknowledged by the presentation to him of the prestigious Gold Panda award
of the Worldwide Fund for Nature, and by the inauguration, early in 2001, of
the Zayed International Prize for the Environment (whose first recipient was
former US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter), it derived,
instead, from his own upbringing, where a sustainable use of resources required
man to live in harmony with nature. This led him to ensure that conservation
of wildlife and the environment is a key part of government policy. At the same
time he has stimulated and personally supervised a massive programme of
afforestation that has now seen over 150 million trees planted.
In a speech given on the occasion of the UAE’s first Environment Day in
February 1998, Sheikh Zayed spelt out his beliefs:
We cherish our environment because it is an integral part of our country, our
history and our heritage. On land and in the sea, our forefathers lived and survived
in this environment. They were able to do so only because they recognised the need
to conserve it, to take from it only what they needed to live, and to preserve it for
succeeding generations.
With God’s will, we shall continue to work to protect our environment and our
wildlife, as did our forefathers before us. It is a duty, and, if we fail, our children,
rightly, will reproach us for squandering an essential part of their inheritance, and
of our heritage.
Like most conservationists, Sheikh Zayed was concerned wherever possible to
remedy the damage done by man to wildlife. His programme on the island of
Sir Bani Yas for the captive breeding of endangered native animals such as the
Arabian oryx and the Arabian gazelle achieved impressive results, so much so
that not only is the survival of both species now assured, but animals are also
being carefully reintroduced to the wild.
As in other areas of national life, Sheikh Zayed made it clear that conservation
is not simply the task of government. Despite the creation of official institutions
like the Federal Environment Agency and Abu Dhabi’s Environmental Research
and Wildlife Development Agency, the UAE’s President believed firmly that
there was also a role for the individual and for non-governmental organisations,
both of citizens and expatriates.
He believed that society can only develop and flourish if all of its members
acknowledge their responsibilities. This applies not only to concerns such as
environmental conservation, but to other areas of national life as well.

Members of the Al Nahyan family have been rulers of Abu Dhabi since at least
the beginning of the eighteenth century, longer than any other ruling dynasty
in Arabia. In Arabian bedu society, however, the legitimacy of a ruler, and of a
ruling family, derives essentially from consensus and from consent and the
legitimacy of the political system today derives from the support it draws from
the people of the UAE. The principle of consultation (shura) is an essential part
of that system.
At an informal level, that principle has long been practiced through the institution
of the majlis (council) where a leading member of society holds an ‘open-house’
discussion forum, at which any individual may put forward views for discussion
and consideration. While the majlis system – the UAE’s form of direct democracy
– still continues, it is, naturally, best suited to a relatively small community.
In 1970, recognising that Abu Dhabi was embarking on a process of rapid
change and development, Sheikh Zayed established the emirate’s National
Consultative Council, bringing together the leaders of each of the main tribes
and families which comprised the population. A similar body was created in
1971 for the entire UAE, the Federal National Council, the state’s parliament.
Both institutions represent the formalisation of the traditional process of
consultation and discussion, and Sheikh Zayed frequently urged their members
to express their views openly, without fear or favour.
At present members of both Councils, as well as lower-level Municipal Councils,
continue to be selected by the rulers, in consultation with leading members of
the community in each emirate. In the future, Sheikh Zayed predicted, however,
a formula for elected representatives would be devised. He noted, though, that,
as in so many other fields, it would be necessary to move ahead with care in order
to ensure that only such institutions as are appropriate for Emirati society are
Questioned in 1998 by The New York Times on the topic of the possible
introduction of an elected parliamentary democracy, Sheikh Zayed replied:
Why should we abandon a system that satisfied our people in order to introduce a
system that seems to engender dissent and confrontation? Our system of government
is based upon our religion, and is what our people want. Should they seek alternatives,
we are ready to listen to them. We have always said that our people should voice their
demands openly. We are all in the same boat, and they are both captain and crew.
Our doors here are open for any opinion to be expressed, and this is well known
by all our citizens. It is our deep conviction that God the Creator has created people
free, and has prescribed that each individual must enjoy freedom of choice. No-one
should act as if he owns others. Those in a position of leadership should deal with
their subjects with compassion and understanding, because this is the duty enjoined
upon them by God Almighty, who enjoins us to treat all living creatures with dignity.

How can there be anything less for man, created as God’s vice-gerent on earth? Our
system of government does not derive its authority from man, but is enshrined in
our religion, and is based on God’s book, the Holy Quran. What need have we of
what others have conjured up? Its teachings are eternal and complete, while the
systems conjured up by man are transitory and incomplete.
Sheikh Zayed imbibed the principles of Islam in his childhood and they remained
the foundation of his beliefs and principles throughout his life. Indeed, the ability
with which he and the people of the UAE were able to absorb and adjust to the
remarkable changes of recent decades can be ascribed largely to the fact that
Islam has provided an immutable and steadfast core of their lives. Today, it
provides the inspiration for the UAE judicial system and its place as the ultimate
source of legislation is enshrined in the country’s Constitution.
Islam, like other divinely-revealed religions, has those among its claimed
adherents who purport to interpret its message as justifying harsh dogmas and
intolerance. In Sheikh Zayed’s view, however, such an approach was not merely
a perversion of the message but is in direct contradiction of it. Extremism, he
believed, has no place in Islam. In contrast, he stressed that:
Islam is a civilising religion that gives mankind dignity. A Muslim is he who does
not inflict evil upon others. Islam is the religion of tolerance and forgiveness, and
not of war, of dialogue and understanding. It is Islamic social justice which has
asked every Muslim to respect the other. To treat every person, no matter what his
creed or race, as a special soul is a mark of Islam. It is just that point, embodied in
the humanitarian tenets of Islam, that makes us so proud of it.
Within that context, Sheikh Zayed set his face firmly against those who preach
intolerance and hatred:
In these times, we see around us violent men who claim to talk on behalf of Islam.
Islam is far removed from their talk. If such people really wish for recognition from
Muslims and the world, they should themselves first heed the words of God and His
Prophet. Regrettably, however, these people have nothing whatsoever that connects
them to Islam. They are apostates and criminals. We see them slaughtering children
and the innocent. They kill people, spill their blood and destroy their property, and
then claim to be Muslims.
‘Muslims stand against any person of Muslim faith who will try to commit any
terror act against a fellow human being,’ he said in his interview with Al Ahram
in October 2002. ‘A terrorist is an enemy of Islam and of humanity, while the
true Muslim is friendly to all human beings and a brother to other Muslims and
non-Muslims alike. This is because Islam is a religion of mercy and tolerance.’
In accordance with that belief, Sheikh Zayed firmly condemned the wave of
terror attacks that have taken place around the world in recent years.

In September 2001, following the attacks against the United States, he noted in
a message to Heads of Government of the members of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation (NATO) as well as to the leaders of Russia and China that:
the UAE clearly and unequivocally condemns the criminal acts that took place last
week in New York and Washington, resulting in the deaths and injuries of
thousands. There should be a direct move and a strong international alliance to
eradicate terrorism, and all those who provide assistance to, or harbour it.
He recognised, however, the necessity not only of eradicating terrorism, but of
tackling its fundamental causes, and, in particular, what he described as ‘the
daily and continuous acts of terrorism being committed by Israeli occupation forces
in the occupied Palestinian territories against the unarmed Palestinian people’.
Besides the international campaign against the types of terrorism, there should
be, he said, a strong international alliance that worked, in parallel, to exert real
and sincere efforts to bring about a just and lasting solution to the Middle East
conflict. ‘The Arabs and the Islamic world cannot accept what is happening in the
occupied Palestinian territories – the daily killings, deportations and destruction.
All of this is politically and morally unacceptable’.
‘We can work closely together at this critical and dangerous time through which
we are passing,’ Sheikh Zayed told the foreign leaders in September 2001:
We are confident that we can deal with the situation that we face. But we require,
too, that your Governments should work in a parallel and effective way to ensure a
just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
We request all leaders to work in full frankness on the two tasks in parallel and
at the same time, thus working for the achievement of a just and lasting solution to
the Middle East conflict, based upon the application of international legitimacy and
enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination, to an
end of occupation, and to establish their own independent state on their territory
with Jerusalem as its capital.
‘There will be no permanent peace,’ Sheikh Zayed had noted, ‘unless this is
done. For the eradication of one or more individuals will not end the problems
(of terrorism) in a permanent way when hundreds or thousands of others may
step forward to replace them.’
In a paper delivered on his behalf to an international conference on terrorism
held in Abu Dhabi in January 2003, he added: ‘We cannot accept any link
between terrorism and a specific religion or race . . . Terrorism is an international
phenomenon that has no religion or race . . . We categorically reject the deliberate
attempts to link terrorism with the right of a people to resist occupation’.
Sheikh Zayed was an eager advocate of tolerance, discussion and a better
understanding between those of different faiths, and in particular, has been an

ardent advocate of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, recognising that
this is essential if mankind is ever to move forward in harmony. His faith was
well summed up by a statement explaining the essential basis of his own beliefs:
‘My religion is based neither on hope, nor on fear. I worship my God because I
love Him.’
That faith, with its belief in the brotherhood of man and in the duty incumbent
upon the strong to provide assistance to those less fortunate than themselves,
was fundamental to Sheikh Zayed’s vision of how his country and people should
develop. It is, too, a key to the foreign policy of the UAE, which he devised and
guided since the establishment of the state until his death.
The UAE itself has been able to progress only because of the way in which its
component parts have successfully been able to come together in a relationship
of harmony, working together for common goals. That approach has also been
applied in the sphere of foreign policy. Within the Arabian Gulf region, and in the
broader Arab world, the UAE has sought to enhance cooperation and to resolve
disagreement through a calm pursuit of dialogue and consensus. Thus one of
the central features of the country’s foreign policy has been the development of
closer ties with its neighbours in the Arabian Peninsula. The Arab Gulf Cooperation
Council, (AGCC) grouping the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and
Oman, was founded at a summit conference held in Abu Dhabi in May 1981,
following an initiative by Sheikh Zayed, and has since become, with strong UAE
support, an effective and widely-respected grouping. Intended to facilitate the
development of closer ties between its members and to enable them to work
together to ensure their security, the AGCC has faced three major external
challenges during its short lifetime, first the long and costly conflict in the 1980s
between Iraq and Iran, which itself prompted the Council’s formation, followed
by the August 1990 invasion by Iraq of one of its members, Kuwait, and then
by the US-led invasion of Iraq in early 2003. Following the 1990 invasion of
Kuwait, units from the UAE played a significant role in the alliance that liberated
the Gulf state in early 1991. Subsequently, while supporting the international
condemnation of the policies of the Iraqi regime and the sanctions imposed on
Iraq by the United Nations during and after the conflict, the UAE expressed its
serious concern about the impact that the sanctions had upon the country’s
people. And, as the impending invasion of Iraq loomed in late 2002, President
Sheikh Zayed also reaffirmed his belief that ‘War never solves a problem.
Listening to the sense of reason is the right way to resolve differences between
countries . . . This must be based on the principles of justice and the rule of law.’
In the run-up to the war, Sheikh Zayed tried hard to persuade Iraq’s leadership
to go voluntarily into exile, so as to prevent their country suffering from a third
catastrophic conflict in just over two decades.

Later, once the war had taken place, he expressed his disappointment:
Our position on rejecting the war was clear and frank, and we had tried with all
our efforts to prevent the war . . . Now, as the catastrophe has taken place, . . . we
will not fall behind in supporting our Iraqi brethren, and assisting them with any
technical expertise they may need . . . and helping them with all that we can afford.
In that process, the UAE has emerged as one of the major international donors
to Iraq’s reconstruction programme. It has, at the same time, welcomed the
restoration of sovereignty to Iraq that took place in mid-2004, and has offered
the hand of friendship, and assistance, to the new Iraqi Government.
Another key focus of the UAE’s foreign policy in an Arab context has been the
provision of support to the Palestinian people in their efforts to regain their
legitimate rights to self-determination and to the establishment of their own
state. As early as 1968, before the formation of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh
Zayed extended assistance to Palestinian organisations, and continued to do so,
although he always believed that it was for the Palestinians themselves to
determine their own policies. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority
in Gaza and on parts of the occupied West Bank, the UAE has provided substantial
help for the building of a national infrastructure and for the refurbishment of
Muslim and Christian sites in the Holy Land. While much of the aid has been
bilateral, the UAE has also taken part in multilateral development programmes
funded by multilateral agencies and groupings and has long been a major
contributor to the United Nations Relief Works Agency, UNRWA. With the outbreak
of the second Palestinian Intifada (Uprising) in September 2000, the UAE, acting
on the instructions of Sheikh Zayed, stepped up its assistance to the Palestine
Authority, and has also been a forceful critic not only of the repressive policies
of the Israeli Government, but also of the failure of the international community,
in particular the United States, to force the Israelis to desist. In Sheikh Zayed’s
view, a solution to the issue could come about only with an end to Israeli
occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, coupled with an implementation
of the relevant international resolutions, of the agreed road-map to peace and of
the agreements signed by both sides, so that a Palestinian state can be established
in the West Bank and Gaza.
Substantial amounts of aid have also been given to a number of other
countries in the Arab world. In Lebanon, for example, and on Sheikh Zayed’s
personal initiative, the UAE has funded a major programme of clearing the
many hundreds of thousands of land mines left behind by the Israelis when
they were forced to withdraw in 2000, so that the Lebanese civilian population
may return to their homes and land. Other countries like Egypt, Syria, Jordan,
Yemen and Morocco have received substantial loans and other aid for their
infrastructural development programmes.

Sheikh Zayed had a deeply held belief in the cherished objective of greater
political and economic unity within the Arab world. At the same time, however,
he long adopted a realistic approach on the issue, recognising that any unity, to
be effective, must grow slowly, and with the support of the people. Arab unity,
he believed, is not something that can simply be created through decrees of
governments that may be simply temporary political phenomena. That approach
has been tried and tested both at the level of the UAE itself, which is the longest lived
experiment in recent times in Arab unity, and at the level of the Arabian Gulf
Cooperation Council.
On a broader plane, Sheikh Zayed sought consistently to promote greater
understanding and consensus between Arab countries and to reinvigorate the
League of Arab States. ‘Relations between the Arab leaders,’ he believed, ‘should
be based on openness and frankness’:
They must make it clear to each other that each one of them needs the other, and
they should understand that only through mutual support can they survive in times
of need. A brother should tell his brother: you support me, and I will support you,
when you are in the right. But not when you are in the wrong. If I am in the right,
you should support and help me, and help to remove the results of any injustice that
has been imposed on me.
‘Wise and mature leaders,’ he felt, ‘should listen to sound advice, and should
take the necessary action to correct their mistakes. As for those leaders who are
unwise or immature, they can be brought to the right path through advice from
their sincere friends’.
Within that context, Sheikh Zayed consistently argued throughout the 1990s for
the holding of an Arab summit conference, at which the leaders could honestly
and frankly address the disputes between them. Only thus, he believed, could the
Arab world as a whole move forward to tackle the challenges that face it, both
internally and on the broader international plane:
I believe that an all-inclusive Arab summit must be held, but before attending it, the
Arabs must open their hearts to each other and be frank with each other about the
rifts between them and their wounds. They should then come to the summit, to
make the necessary corrections to their policies, to address the issues, to heal their
wounds and to affirm that the destiny of the Arabs is one, both for the weak and
the strong. At the same time, they should not concede their rights, or ask for what
is not rightfully theirs.
Welcoming the holding of the first of the annual summits, in Jordan in March
2001, Sheikh Zayed noted that:
The spirit of understanding and brotherhood which has prevailed during [the] sessions
and discussions has brought me great satisfaction. [The] serious deliberations on
the key issues . . . have proved that sincere intentions and frankness are the way
for us to achieve success . . . Dialogue is essential between brothers, and we are
happy because the Arabs recognise the correct path to follow towards reconciliation
and solidarity, and to surmount the negative elements and mistakes of the past, in
order to move away from divisions and rifts.
That positive beginning in 2001, however, came to naught in late 2002 and early
2003, as the majority of the leaders of the Arab world failed, in Sheikh Zayed’s
view, to address themselves sufficiently to the looming crisis in Iraq that preceded
the 2003 invasion, and then to the threats to stability throughout the region that
subsequently emerged, not only in Iraq.
The UAE President acknowledged readily that unanimity among the Arab
leaders, although desirable, cannot always be achieved. He was, therefore, the
only leader openly to advocate a revision of the Charter of the League of Arab
States to permit decisions to be taken on the basis of the will of the majority. Such
has been the experience of the society from which he came, and such has been
one of the foundations of the success of the federal experiment in the United Arab
Emirates. It was time, he believed, for a similar approach to be adopted within the
broader Arab world. That did not mean in his view, however, that essential rights
and principles should be set aside. These included, of course, the principle of the
inviolability of the integrity of Arab territories. This principle has been a matter of
major concern to the United Arab Emirates since its formation, because of the
Iranian occupation in 1971 of the UAE islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser
Tunb. President Sheikh Zayed and other senior UAE government officials made
repeated calls for the occupation to be brought to an end peacefully, either
through direct negotiations, or by referral to the International Court of Justice
or to international arbitration.
Sheikh Zayed believed: Our relations with Iran are based on the best interests of the people of the two countries . . . Apart from the issue of the occupied islands, our relations have not
been subjected to any kind of difficulties, and it is against this background that we
have repeatedly urged Iran to join us in finding a peaceful solution to this problem
through mediation and understanding.
Here, as on other foreign policy issues, Sheikh Zayed consistently adopted a firm
but calmly worded approach, eschewing rhetoric that could make the search for
a solution to problems more difficult.
In the 1990s, the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia were the cause of
considerable concern to the UAE President. The time had come, he recognised,
for the UAE itself to play a more pro-active role in international peacekeeping
operations. The UAE Armed Forces had already begun to establish a record in
such peacekeeping activities, first as part of the joint Arab Deterrent Force that
sought for a few years to bring to an end the civil strife in Lebanon, and then
through participation in UNISOM TWO, the United Nations peacekeeping and
reconstruction force in Somalia.
In early 1999, Sheikh Zayed was among the first world leaders to express
support for the decision by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to launch
its aerial campaign to force Serbia to halt its genocidal activities against the
people of Kosovo. Recognising that there would be a need for an international
peacekeeping force once the NATO campaign ended, Sheikh Zayed ordered that
the UAE Armed Forces should be a part of any such force operating under the
aegis of the United Nations. From late 1999 to 2001, the UAE contingent serving
with the UN’s KFOR force was the largest from any of the non-NATO states, and
the only one from an Arab or Muslim country.
While ensuring that the UAE should increasingly come to shoulder such
international responsibilities, however, Sheikh Zayed also made it clear that the
UAE’s role is one that is focused on relief and rehabilitation.
In the Balkans, and Iraq and Afghanistan and in other countries, the policy
adopted by the United Arab Emirates clearly reflects the desire of Sheikh Zayed
to utilise the good fortune of his country to provide assistance to those less
fortunate. Through bodies like the Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation
and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, established by Sheikh Zayed before the
foundation of the UAE, as well as through institutions like the Red Crescent Society,
the country now plays a major role in the provision of relief and development
assistance worldwide.
The UAE itself has been able to progress only because of the way in which its
component parts have successfully been able to come together in a relationship
of harmony, working together for common goals.
Within the Arabian Gulf region, and in the broader Arab world, the UAE has
sought to enhance cooperation and to resolve disagreement through a calm pursuit
of dialogue and consensus. However, the pursuit of agreement and consensus
did not, in Sheikh Zayed’s view, justify the setting aside of essential rights and
principles. These include not only support for the basic fundamentals of human
and civil rights but also the principle of the inviolability of the territorial integrity
of states, whether Arab or others.
Pursuit of these rights and principles has characterised the foreign policy of
the state, bringing Sheikh Zayed’s own philosophy and humanitarianism to bear
far from the boundaries of the state itself. In essence, the philosophy of Sheikh
Zayed, derived from his deeply held Muslim faith, was that it is the duty of man
to seek to improve the lot of his fellow man.
His record in over half a century of government, from local to international
level, is an indication of the dedication and seriousness with which he sought
to carry out that belief.