(Their Memory Our History) .. A book of Oral narratives documenting the history of the UAE society where tolerance prevailed.

(Their Memory Our History) .. A book of Oral narratives documenting the history of the UAE society where tolerance prevailed.

(Their Memory Our History) .. A book of Oral narratives documenting the history of the UAE society where tolerance prevailed.

The book offers documented information on the UAE past with its social, cultural and economic aspects, and its contents - including people's accounts and testimonies - confirm that tolerance has always prevailed in the UAE society. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father was the one who instilled and nurtured this virtue in his people. He was an extraordinary leader who knew how to run the events of history in the service of humanity, achieving a great transformation and a quantum cultural leap in the UAE society in a record time. Since Sheikh Zayed enjoyed a paramount and most influential position on all levels, all the elderly narrators with whom the interviews included in the book were conducted, spoke about their encounters with him or what they knew about him, they also talked about his good influence on the people's hearts and minds and the development of his people and country.
The book documents people's memories, the details of their daily lives, their feelings, their relationships, as well as their poetry and suffering. These details which the present generations are not acquainted with are totally missed in all official historical records.
The book began with a list of narrators’ names in an alphabetical order. It starts with the narrator Ahmed Hadhir Mohammed Bin Jassim Al Muraikhi's accounts who introduced himself, his family and his clan "Al-Muraikhat". He recounts his memories of time and place details to acquaint the reader with Dalma Island's features, houses, inhabitants and their daily works. He dedicated a part of his account to talk about "Al Tawashah" the pearl trade profession; which his family had practiced for centuries. Al Muraikhi takes the reader on a trip to the islands of the Emirates, for their role in history and their being the records and the memory of the citizens of the Nation. He focuses on the period of Sheikh Zayed's reign before the establishment of the UAE, then he compares between the life in the past and in the present. He talked about Sheikh Zayed's role and contributions, which resulted in the development witnessed in the UAE upto the present time.
The book does not only introduce male narrators but also includes some elderly women who lived through the stage prior to the establishment of the Union, such as the narrator, Bakhitah Bint Qanoon Saeed Al Falasi, whom the desert Bedouin environment and its distinguished traditions had refined her. She had great respect for her father the gallant poet. She excelled in the art of hunting in the prairies with the various traditional tools and methods known then. She learnt Bedouin life concepts and noble values. The Narrator recounts her recollection of the various life aspects of women and their work alongside the men in that crucial period of the history of the nation and the years before the establishment of the UAE.
The book also includes an interview with the narrator "Khamis Rashid Bin Zaal Al Rumaithi" who was born in Abu Dhabi more than 80 years ago, there he lived and received his father's advice and guidance with diligence and keenness. He was self-taught who mastered reading, writing and reciting the holy Qur'aan. He also bore responsibility early in his life. Now he keeps in his memory recollections of many details and accounts. He used to compose and orate poetry.
The narrator Rashid Saif Rabie Balhaima Al Dhahiri spoke about the desert and Bedouin values, his knowledge and close relationship with camels, his experience in taming and treating them. He has lived in the deserts and oasis. His memory retains a lot of events and incidents, observations, experiences and recollections of the games he used to play in his childhood and youth. He supports Bedouin customs and desert hospitality traditions. He has been courageous, lived peacefully and has many memories of the old days, the most notable was his meeting with Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the conservations and poems that were exchanged during the meeting.
The book "Their Memories Our History" presents an interview with the narrator "Salim Saeed Salem Al Hassani," who had many occupations starting from agriculture, building and then military service which refined his skills with precision and commitment. He was brave and gave up his hesitation. He was one of the pioneers in the UAE Parachute Division, and managed accordingly to accompany the rulers and sheikhs. In his interview, he recounts some of his past memories, the challenges he faced, the opportunities he had, the hardships, the travels and the old life traditions at that time.
Salim Bin Abdullah Al Humaid Al Wahshi recounts his memories of education and his hobby of book acquisition, which lead him to establish a large library and put it as a Waqf to serve all researchers and readers. It was an initiative from him to return the favors to his country the UAE.
The narrator, Salim Mohammed Bin Kabina al Rashidi, recounts his memories of desert life, his seven year journey in the vast unknown desert, the dangers he encountered, his tracing skills in the desert, and his commitment to the important mission with which Sheikh Zayed entrusted him, namely escorting Wilfred Thesiger in the crossing of the desert of the Empty Quarter, taking care of him and preserving his life. This trip had a positive outcome; since Thesiger wrote about it in his book entitled: "Arabian Sands."
The narrator, Saeed Ahmed Nasser Bin Lootah recounts his experiences in the fields of culture and commerce. He was known for his scientific and economic initiatives, and was instrumental in founding and establishing the world’s first Islamic bank and first Islamic school. He believed in women's role so he conducted research to explain her rights and duties.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Ali Bin Saif Al Khatiri recalls his memories of the Second World War, which he witnessed as a child, as he suffered the hardships of living in scarcity and deprivation. Now he looked at the present luxuries with gratitude and thanks to Allah and then to the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Al Khair. He is proud of the values of humility and tolerance of Sheikh Zayed's Sons.
The book "Their Memories Our History" also includes an interview with Sheikh Mubarak Bin Qaran Rashid Al Mansouri, who grew up in the desert and witnessed the stage of nomadic mobility in the different parts of the desert. He also witnessed the period when people used to live sufficiently on dates and milk as their only sources of food, and the transformation from the desert life to prosperity. He lived through the days of the development of the desert. He has been providing opinion and advice in the social and economic affairs of his tribe. He talked about the excellent impact he had from Sheikh Zayed's companionship for about 40 years.
Sheikh Musallam Salem Bin Ham Al Aameri talks about the conversations and relations with themes of humanity, wisdom and justice that had been exchanged between Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his father Salem Bin Ham, who had always accompanied Sheikh Zayed. He described that companionship as "great fortune" to him, since he had learnt the customs, traditions and values of benevolence, respect as well as the principles of generosity, and the concepts of wisdom by attending Sheikh Zayed's Majlises. In the interview, he recounts some stories that many people do not have the chance to know.
The book also offers its readers an interview with Dr. Aisha Ali Ahmed Bin Sayyar, who was born and lived in Sharjah. She spoke about education, campaigns to eliminate illiteracy, formal education that began in Sharjah in 1952. She also spoke about her university education at Ain-Shams University, and female involvement in public work and her work under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation.
Obeid Rashid Ahmed Bin Sandal Al Ali recounts his memories of decades of hardship, scarcity and austerity he lived through, then he witnessed the era of prosperity and affluence that the union brought about under the leadership of the Founding Father and Builder, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He has been fond of sports, art and heritage. He is interested in passing UAE heritage on to the future generations and in introducing the same to the other people of the world.
The narrator Ali Hassan Saeed Bin Al Sheikh Al Rumaithi recollects the memories of his childhood when he devoted his time to learning and working in various professions such as carpentry, dhow building, blacksmithing and traditional house building. He excelled in inventing sophisticated and amazing tools, worked in shipbuilding, and has been a shipmaster. He cruised all the ports of the Gulf, India and Africa and gained extensive experience in several fields, which resulted in his assuming the post of "Heritage Advisor" at the Emirates Heritage Club. He is considered a rich encyclopedia of many stories, experiences and skills.
Through the memoirs of the late narrator Muhanna Butti Mohammed Hazeem Bin Sakhir Al Qubaisi, the reader is introduced to important historical and social stages that were not registered in records.
As the book contains documented historical information and events so it is considered an important source of history that researchers and new generations can depend on it.

The Book: "Their Memory Our History"
The Author: A group of narrators and elderly people.
The Publisher: the National Archives, Abu Dhabi, 2018, First Edition, 438 pages