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Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy National Day...

Another National Day also passed by. I always wondered what was it that made us look forward for this day; was it the long weekends or the celebratory mood of the country. But yes, it was always one of those days of the year that I used to look forward to. I am an expat who came to this country to earn by bread and butter. I have seen the good days and the bad days too; but always felt this nation was no less than my own home country. Afterall; this nation helped me to weave dreams and to make them the reality.

I have been part of the National Day for past 13 years in this country. But this is the first time that I started really wondering on few things that should have been always a priority but was forgotten.

Recently I have been to a Movie theatre. Before the movie started; the UAE National Anthem was played on the screen. The scenes were beautiful and just made us love this country more and more. I felt so proud and happy that the video included almost all nationalities who lived in this country including my fellow country mates. The video was a perfect example for the Diversity and Inclusion that this nation always governed. But something hit me hard that made me feel ashamed of ourselves.

As the National Anthem started playing, I asked my son to stand up as I stood up with him. The eight year old boy kept looking back to see if anybody else was standing and was feeling embarrassed that only we were doing it. Once we sat back; his childish question came up; “Amma, why should ONLY we stand up and why not others? And when they are not getting up, then why should we get up? I felt shy!” All I could say was, “Beta, what have your teacher taught you? You should stand still when you hear the Anthem. That is how you respect the Nation. This is the place you were born and gave us a life. This is how we return our thanks to this Nation. Never bother, what others didn’t do or did do. Just make sure, that you are doing the right thing and not the wrong thing.”

A few days later; my son left ahead of me to wait for his school bus. As I walked towards his bus stop; I saw him standing close to the Municipality installed Recycle Bin. I wondered what was it that he was so eagerly inspecting in the waste bin. As I called out to him, he came running to me and said, “Amma, look there, there is a biggggggg national flag in that waste bin.” I was shocked and noticed that a long pole with a flag was dumped into the bin where half of the flag was outside and half inside. As I tried pulling it out, I explained to my son how irresponsible and disrespectful was that. Whoever had done that should have been punished. Finally, I went into one of the shops nearby and asked the staff to help remove the flag out and keep it safe. They immediately came out and carefully removed, folded and took it with them. Felt thankful.

I could see that it could have been a flag that was kept at some building as it had a long pole with it. But the pole had broken into pieces and therefore discarded. But how irresponsible can people be. How much further can people stoop. Before, we saw it, I am sure, there were many who had walked or drove past by. Many might have even stood right near it while they waited for their school bus or other means of transportation. This would have included children to adults; even Teachers and other officials. Why didn’t any of them feel the need to take the right action? We as adults needs to show our children how to respect each other and their emotions. The other’s pride should be considered ours and make sure that we do nothing to insult it.

In my country, we have been taught to stand up and stay still with our heads high whenever the Anthem was played.  Be it during a party or a conference or at the movies; the moment the Anthem played, the whole audience stood up in reverence. That is how we show our respect to the Nation’s pride and I believe it should be the case for any National Anthem. Then, why not here? Why are we not doing it?  We were asked to follow some ethics on how to respect our flag. What NOT to do with a flag and how NOT to misuse a flag for anything and everything.

I spoke to an Emirati colleague to know if there were any such rules that were to be followed. She said “YES; but not everybody might be knowing.” Is that an answer, ofcourse NO. There are NO two different rules to show respect. If you are to respect your country’s anthem by standing still; you should do the same for any country. That is the least we can do. But then, why are those rules not being followed? If you are not supposed to misuse your country’s flag; you are not supposed to do with any country’s flag.

This country is our dear home away from home. This nation’s pride is our pride too. If they have accepted us as one of them; learn to respect their pride as ours. Friends, let’s celebrate the special day. Let’s fly the flags high in the air. Let’s wave them all around. But, remember, after that, give the flag its due respect and not just throw them around. Let our kids grow up realising this and not feel embarrassed to stand up to an anthem even if none does it. Let them not litter another flag around and make sure they let none do it either. May we see a better National Day every year and turn into more responsible residents.

On the occasion of this National Day; wishing all the best and success to all the Leaders, Citizens and Residents of UAE. May every passing year keep up the Spirit of the Union high.

Happy National Day...