National Archives Documents the Nation's Memory

National Archives Documents the Nation

Since its inception, the National Archives has realized the importance of documents in the history of nations and peoples; therefore, it managed to employ the documents to scientific research which dominates its publications in particular. These publications are a true documentation of the history and heritage of the UAE and the Gulf region, and as they are based on upright sources, students and researchers adopt them and give them priority as references. In this book Dr. Mohammed Mursi Abdullah – the former director of the National Archives – documents the impact of the desert on Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s life as well as the noble original Arab qualities and ethics the desert had instilled in him.

Recently, the National Archives has published a new book called Zayed Son of the Desert Maker of Civilization which covers the early years and the growing up of Zayed in Liwa, Dhafra, and Khatam, where he learnt the principles of the Holy Quran, memorized poetry and literature. From desert people he heard the up-to-date news together with the modern and ancient history of the desert. This awareness of history and heritage formed the core of his experience and political culture. Zayed has gained most of his political competence from his knowledge of his predecessors, Al Nahyan rulers, and their history. Al Nahyan sheikhs were known for their patriotism, courage, wisdom, generosity, and sagacity. 

The desert inspired Zayed to master the art of reconciling conflicting parties, and that helped him to achieve success when he was in charge of Al Ain and the Eastern Region. This aptitude gained him prominence when he became an active player on the Arab world scene and he managed to reconcile disputing groups within Arab countries. He learnt from the desert and its tribes the principle of consultation, listening to others’ opinions, and appreciating the views of people of wisdom and counsel. 

The subjects of the book and its supporting documents and information investigate the impact of the desert on Sheikh Zayed’s life as well as his talents, culture and achievements. In addition to the introduction, the book contains topics such as Desert University, The Bedouins the Arab Nobles, Zayed and Leadership Talent, Zayed and Development and the Arabian Peninsula, The Early Years of Leadership in Al Ain, Zayed Ruler of Abu Dhabi Emirate, Zayed and the Establishment of the Union, Zayed and the Building of the Modern United Arab Emirates, Zayed the Arab Leader, Zayed and Kuwait Issue and Zayed and the Arab Future. 

The subjects of the book reveal Sheikh Zayed’s visions and his farsightedness for the future as he was looking forward to achieve prosperity and honorable life to his fellow tribesmen in the desert; this is what he did after 1966, when he ruled Abu Dhabi. The English traveler Thesiger, who crossed the desert of the Empty Quarter in 1948, deemed the Bedouins the Arabs nobles for their noble morals. Thesiger met Sheikh Zayed at Al Muwaiji Fort and was impressed by his good reputation among the Bedouins as well as his strong character, his generosity and his wisdom. Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was blessed with good manners together with the art of leadership and he enjoyed high status among his people. His leadership talent sprang from his love for his people; his parental commitment towards them which led them to rally around him. Statistics confirmed that the population of Abu Dhabi in 1966 was 22000 capita, but jumped to 46000 in 1968, as many of the emirate’s citizens, who had previously migrated in search for education and livelihood, returned to their homeland that Zayed developed and covered with green areas, trees, flowers, palm trees, and complemented with services and facilities such as schools, hospitals, parks playgrounds, theaters and cultural institutions. 

God endowed the UAE with a leader who was known for his great achievements. Thus he led the historic march and the notable transformation during his reign, and he overcame the challenges he faced with his inherent political abilities which enabled him to maintain a respectable position among the great men and makers of civilizations. The book monitors three stages in Sheikh Zayed’s life. The First stage starts from his life in Al Ain as governor of the Eastern Region in 1946; the second stage depicts the time between 6/8/1966 up to 2/12/1971 when he became the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and the third stage is when he was chosen as President of the United Arab Emirates until shortly before his death. The book discusses his unionist beliefs and his keenness to adopt a consultative approach. 

Furthermore, the book exposes his interest in heritage and contemporariness; his interest in advancing Emirati women and in the field of higher education, which he enriched with the establishment of the UAE University and a number of colleges and research centers, specialized in desert environment, technology and energy. 

Moreover, he established bodies to develop educational as well as psychological services, and established academies and colleges in various disciplines. Above all, he established the Cultural Foundation, which revived the cultural movement in the UAE. 

The book shows that Zayed had left his mark in all fields; history has proven his courageous and noble stances. Zayed had been a rising star as the president of the United Arab Emirates and as an Arab leader. The book touches on the stances of Sheikh Zayed on Kuwait issue and concludes with his aspirations and policies that are based on reality and future quest.