Posts Tagged ‘middle-east’

Response to “We stay united, says Shaikh Saud”

Posted on: May 6th, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

I greatly admire His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

I was fortunate to live and work in Ras Al Khaimah for five years. I was honored to tutor two of his nephews. I met and became friends with people of all nationalities and religions.

While in RAK, I taught at the HCT Women’s College, started my own business, and was the corporate trainer for RAK International Airport.

As a Human Resources consultant and trainer, I prepared and conducted seminars for Ras Al Khaimah government and private organizations.

(The parents of a young Muslim woman ex-pat from Jordan allowed me to teach her how to conduct a 1-hour Motivation and Communication workshop. (Allow me to again offer a sincere thank you to government organizations in RAK who permitted her to conduct five workshops (for which she received my MacBook Pro!).

Those five years allowed me to experience the professionalism and friendship of the citizens with whom I interacted; the court, both hospitals, RAK Tourism, the Police, my Emirati sponsor (she and her family looked after me!) and all of the wonderful people at the RAK International Airport.

The one constant during that time was the leadership of Shaikh Saud. Echoing his many comments, I certainly support the commitment he, his family, and the citizens of Ras Al Khaimah, have made to protect their culture, their history, and their voice.

Justice Louis Brandeis (Dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928).) opined: (précis) All leaders must be on guard, regardless of how honest, sincere, loyal, and honorable, against the “insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

The United Arab Emirates must cease to listen to and follow the advice of those “without understanding.”

My greatest regret about my time in Ras Al Khaimah was my inability to help Emirati students overcome the UAE education system staffed by ex-pats “without understanding”.

The reality is that  “behind closed doors”, UAE citizens and their leaders were both denigrated and patronized. Sycophants promoting their own agenda are the bane of trusting and honorable leaders. My friends, my students, their parents, and RAK leaders deserve more.

A country must wrest control of their future from the experts (and consultants) who appear to be erudite and wise but are in fact unethical and immoral.

As the UAE continues to further trust its ability to analyze, choose and implement decisions, ways will be found to fulfill their commitment to preserve and protect their Arab culture.

I hope one day I may return to RAK to renew my acquaintances and to admire the changes and progress taking place.

Thank you to His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, for allowing me to experience a very meaningful five years.

(As an aside, please note: my daughter, using a picture I took in 2008, created the image (attached) of the RAK International Airport covered in snow. If this does not come through, please contact me and I will send separately.)




Dissociating democracy and development in Gulf: Tom’s Comment

Posted on: March 10th, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

Dissociating democracy and development in Gulf

Mishaal Al Gergawi is an Emirati current affairs commentator.

Tom Pattillo’s response:

This article is insightful.

The relationship of democracy to development using the experiences of Kuwait and Dubai is an interesting starting point.

Two points I would like to bring up.

1) Dubai may have made a decision to reduce its reliance on oil by diversifying into financial and tourism related industry.

But make no doubt, when the effects of the international financial crisis hit Dubai, Dubai immediately called on the “oil” rich Abu Dhabi to bail them out. Play it any way you want, the UAE (and thus Dubai) is still very much an “oil” based success.

2) The UAE is a “rentier” state. Accepting that will allow the UAE to move forward with creative and effective Emiratization initiatives.

All the “complaints” or “comments” about Emirati employment; not joining the private sector, wanting only government jobs, women being more industrious than men as students, employees, and citizens (even the challenges of obesity and resulting diabetes epidemic) can be laid at the “denial” of the UAE being a rentier state.

Rather than being embarrassed by its oil riches, the UAE has the potential to create a “unique” state with the best of both a traditional Arab approach to leadership and a democratic evolution.

The worst thing for the UAE to do is allow those without understanding to make suggestions that subtly undermine the validity of the Arab/Emirati culture in order to line their pockets.

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.