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It is an in­tro­duc­tion that has to be done. I love my peo­ple and to them I write these les­sons from my own life. Per­haps it will be an opener to writ­ing the his­tory of our coun­try, to keep the mem­ory alive. Qis­sati is the start of my bi­og­ra­phy.” Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum

His High­ness Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, shares his in­sights about life, lead­er­ship and rare fam­ily anec­dotes in his new book Qis­sati (My Story), which he terms an “in­com­plete bi­og­ra­phy”. |

If you want a good read with fas­ci­nat­ing in­sights and rare rec­ol­lec­tions of His High­ness Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, then Qis­sati is the book for you.

The book, the ti­tle of which means My Story, was termed an “in­com­plete bi­og­ra­phy” by Shaikh Mo­ham­mad and of­fers pow­er­ful in­sights into life in the desert, about fam­ily and gover­nance be­fore the era of air-con­di­tion­ing and long-haul flights.

Shaikh Mo­ham­mad, a gifted poet, philoso­pher and a pro­lific writer, had pub­lished sev­eral books in the past. This new book of­fers his rec­ol­lec­tions and mus­ing, start­ing from a very young age.

The pub­li­ca­tion of

Qis­sati (50 sto­ries in 50 years), co­in­cides with cel­e­bra­tions to mark 50 years of his ser­vice to the na­tion.

Gulf News just ob­tained Shaikh Mo­ham­mad’s book and here’s our at­tempt to get the key take-aways:

CHAP­TER 1: “From here we started and there we reached ”

“The first les­son I learnt in life is to serve oth­ers. This is the les­son that my grand­fa­ther, Shaikh Saeed Bin Mak­toum, taught me. He taught us to serve the peo­ple first and fore­most.

“I love to break new records in front of my peo­ple. To reach new heights. I be­lieve that what drives na­tions to­wards de­vel­op­ment is not money and wealth but am­bi­tions ... great am­bi­tions.”

CHAP­TER 2. “My fa­ther, vis­it­ing the king of kings”

“I learnt from my fa­ther, Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Mak­toum, the value of sim­plic­ity, of be­ing down to earth. Of be­ing close to the peo­ple ... and how to serve them. It was my life’s great­est les­son.”

CHAP­TER 3. “Sleep­ing with scor­pi­ons”

I say, some­times, sleep­ing with scor­pi­ons is much eas­ier than liv­ing with them. When I was young, my fa­ther used to send me to the desert, to a guy named Hu­maid Bin Amhi. Hu­maid taught me about desert life. I would wake up in the mid­dle of the night sev­eral times due to scor­pion bites.

“I re­alised later that Hu­maid put baby scor­pi­ons on my bed on pur­pose. I learnt that bites from baby scor­pi­ons helped build im­mu­nity for bites from ma­ture scor­pi­ons. (Not ev­ery­thing that hurts you is evil. Some­times, it’s for your own good and pro­tec­tion).

“Scor­pi­ons ap­par­ently look for some warmth at night. A cou­ple of years ago, as an adult, I got bit­ten by a scor­pion and I re­alised that I still have the im­mu­nity. “

“The scor­pi­ons of the desert are much eas­ier to deal with than hu­man scor­pi­ons. I hate ru­mour mon­gers. They ruin your heart. They de­stroy in­sti­tu­tions. They fo­cus only on the neg­a­tive. They never tell you about the pos­i­tives ... and good side of peo­ple.”

CHAP­TER 4. “What my fa­ther taught me”

“My fa­ther, horses and Dubai. These three are my ear­li­est mem­o­ries that will stay with me for­ever. Horses com­bine pride, com­pas­sion and power — all at the same time. That was my fa­ther. And this is Dubai. He taught me how to read the desert and an­i­mals. I learnt from the desert that ar­ro­gance has no place here.”

CHAP­TER 5. “Lat­ifa, my mother”

“In Ara­bic, Lat­ifa means the del­i­cate woman. The com­pan­ion. The rare hu­man be­ing. In life, Lat­ifa is my mum, my heart. The most beau­ti­ful, the most del­i­cate, the best com­pan­ion in my life. Lat­ifa’s job was the life com­pan­ion of Rashid Bin Saeed Al Mak­toum, the Ruler of Dubai for more than four decades. Rashid Bin Saeed changed when she passed away. He was never the same after she passed away.

“She had great love for her chil­dren.

They will say, after a long time. Here they ex­isted, here they worked. Here they ac­com­plished. Here they were born, raised, loved and beloved by peo­ple. Here they launched that project and here they cel­e­brated its ac­com­plish­ment. Here they started, and here they reached in a cou­ple of years.

But I was the one clos­est to her heart. I have never seen love like her love, a heart like her heart, and a com­pan­ion­ship like hers.”

CHAP­TER 6. “Lat­ifa, my mother Part 2”

“My mum was a beau­ti­ful princess. My mum was the most beau­ti­ful of all queens. My mum was the tallest of all palms. If she walks, a deer ac­com­pa­nies her with Al­lah’s bless­ing.

“I re­mem­ber, when I was about the age of 7, at Hu­maid’s place. He was teach­ing me the art of hunt­ing. Then I saw a gazelle, left by its mum shortly after birth. I sat there hug­ging the calf, hop­ing that its mother would come back. At sun­set, the mother did not come. I kept hold­ing it, and knew who would com­pen­sate for its loss: My own mother. She gave me life. And she would give this calf too. My mum, her smile, was life. It was the most beau­ti­ful thing in life.”

“There are so many beau­ti­ful things I re­mem­ber about her. One day, she was ex­plain­ing to me my first trip to Lon­don, talk­ing to me about a strange coun­try, about an ad­ven­ture that awaits. She said I was go­ing to fly in the belly of a big bird, to cross oceans. I was sur­prised, amused when she told me that I would sleep in­side a high-rise build­ing ... When she told me about the trip to Lon­don, I couldn’t sleep all night.

“My mum bought me two new kan­douras and a nice jacket. I was happy.”

CHAP­TER 8. “185 years look­ing for Dubai”

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

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

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

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

CHAP­TER 9. “A big storm, like Judge­ment Day”

“The year was 1961. A pow­er­ful storm hit Dubai. I saw a leader in front of me. How he acted in a cri­sis. How he sent his sons and cousins first, rather than send- ing other peo­ple, out­side — to the streets, to the sea in or­der to help and save peo­ple.

“That time, there was a ship, MV Da

Ra, an­chored off Dubai. For 13 years, this ship was sail­ing be­tween Mum­bai and the Gulf. It moved peo­ple and goods. While the storm lashed, a blast hit the ship. It went up in flames. We went to the ship on small boats to help in the res­cue ef­fort. That day, we helped around 500 peo­ple. The les­son: The true test of a leader’s abil­ity comes in times of crises.”

CHAP­TER 10. “The kind­est man I ever knew”

“The day my grand­fa­ther died. Peo­ple loved my grand­fa­ther, Shaikh Saeed Bin Mak­toum. He passed away on Septem­ber 10, 1958. He was known for his pa­tience. He spent 46 years con­stantly re­new­ing Dubai, which un­til now is an un­fin­ished story of re­newal. Dur­ing his reign, Dubai went through nu­mer­ous chal­lenges. Each time, Dubai was like a Phoeni­cian bird, able to re­gen­er­ate.

“In 1939, a huge fire hit Dubai’s Deira dis­trict. About 300 houses and shops were gut­ted. There were ca­su­al­ties. A year after, 1940, an­other fire erupted, this time in Bur Dubai, with more than 400 houses and shops in flames. At the same time, the pearl trade went down, with the Great De­pres­sion.

“In 1945, many Dubai res­i­dents con­tracted measles. Back then, Dubai only had a small in­fir­mary to deal with dis­eases. With that les­son, Shaikh Saeed or­dered the build­ing of a big hos­pi­tal from his own money. It is now known as Rashid Hos­pi­tal.

“Crises test the real met­tle of a leader, some­one who takes re­spon­si­bil­ity. Dur­ing his fu­neral, when we were walk­ing be­hind his body, my fa­ther was hold­ing my hand ev­ery so tightly. I didn’t know if that was grief, or he just wanted me to re­mem­ber that mo­ment.

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

The UAE gov­ern­ment is keen to achieve and sus­tain the high­est lev­els of na­tional food se­cu­rity, His High­ness Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said yes­ter­day.

“Food se­cu­rity is very im­por­tant to en­sure qual­ity life for UAE so­ci­ety and is a fun­da­men­tal re­quire­ment to achieve the UAE’s com­pre­hen­sive and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment,” said Shaikh Mo­ham­mad while re­view­ing the re­sults of the gov­ern­ment ac­cel­er­a­tor team’s ef­forts to adopt mod­ern agri­cul­tural tech­nol­ogy at Emi­rates Tow­ers yes­ter­day.

Shaikh Ham­dan Bin Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Shaikh Mak­toum Bin Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Shaikh Man­sour Bin Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, were also present.

“Achiev­ing food se­cu­rity is ■ an es­sen­tial part of the UAE’s ap­proach,” added Shaikh Mo­ham­mad. “We want the UAE to be­come a leader in food se­cu­rity by de­vel­op­ing a sus­tain­able and in­te­grated food se­cu­rity sys­tem that em­ploys fu­ture tech­nol­ogy to in­no­vate so­lu­tions to the chal­lenges of se­cur­ing food sources. We do recog­nise that achiev­ing food se­cu­rity for our so­ci­ety is the foun­da­tion of our com­pre­hen­sive de­vel­op­ment jour­ney.

“We want a bet­ter fu­ture for com­ing gen­er­a­tions and ev­ery­one in the UAE should have safe and healthy food. We want to de­velop tools and so­lu­tions for the chal­lenges of food se­cu­rity and in­no­vate models and prac­ti­cal mech­a­nisms to im­prove the agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion sec­tors in the coun­try to pro­vide sus­tain­able and re­li­able re­sources.”

While vis­it­ing the head­quar­ters of the Gov­ern­ment Ac­cel­er­a­tors Pro­gramme, Shaikh Mo­ham­mad was briefed on 10 strate­gic ini­tia­tives de­vel­oped by the ac­cel­er­a­tor teams to adopt mod­ern agri­cul­tural tech­nol­ogy.

Leg­is­la­tions Lab

The UAE has be­come a hub for in­no­va­tion and de­vel­op­ment, and it is on the right track to build a strong knowl­edge based econ­omy, Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid said dur­ing a visit to the Leg­is­la­tions Lab yes­ter­day.

“The Leg­is­la­tions Lab en­sures our vi­sion in the race to­wards the fu­ture. We won’t work to de­velop fu­tur­is­tic leg­is­la­tions in the UAE only, but we will ex­port it to the world to ben­e­fit from it,” Shaikh Mo­ham­mad said.

Shaikh Mo­ham­mad at Mons Of­fi­cer Cadet School in Alder­shot, UK, in 1968.

OUT SOON! The English of His ver­sion High­ness Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum’s book new Qis­sati avail­able will be in three weeks.

WAM Shaikh Mo­ham­mad re­views the re­sults of the gov­ern­ment ac­cel­er­a­tor team’s ef­forts to adopt mod­ern agri­cul­tural tech­nol­ogy at Emi­rates Tow­ers yes­ter­day.

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