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Wed 2 Sep 2009 06:11 AM

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All UAE pupils must sing national anthem - Ministry

Education chiefs says new move is designed to boost nationalism and patriotism.

All pupils at public and private schools in the UAE will have to sing the country’s national anthem every morning in a move to boost the “spirit of nationalism and patriotism”, according to education chiefs.

From the start of the 2009/2010 academic year, all schools will also have to fly the UAE national flag, said a circular issued by Minister of Education, Humaid Al-Qattami, reported news agency WAM.

The circular urged all educational zones and councils in the country to take the necessary measures to enforce the new decision, which is in line with the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai.

The decision, it added, was aimed at boosting the identity of the students by instilling in them the spirit of nationalism and patriotism.

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Paul Welsh 11 years ago

Boost the “spirit of nationalism and patriotism” Great idea in a country where only 20% are actually nationals and no one else can ever be anything other than a "guest worker". Why would a guest worker become patriotic for a country that clearly doesnt want them on a permanent basis? Cant wait for the if you dont like it leave brigade to come online!!

Etisalgood 11 years ago

Oh yeah, nice one, UAE. Lets instill in all these kids the "spirit of nationalism and patriotism" and then kick them out of the country when they turn 18 and their fathers are no longer allowed to sponsor them!

munter 11 years ago

Brigade! Other countries do this also. Its just a song, harden up.

Ali 11 years ago

I couldnt put it better Etisalgood. When I was in my teens, I used to attend UAE football matches, knew the anthem by heart, used to sing it before matches, and cried when the UAE lost in the 96 Asian Cup final..... Then I turned 18, and learned that I was no better than someone who stepped out of a plane yesterday. I had to come here on visit visas (and was also told I had to stay out for 1 month before each renewal)... Its rules so I have to accept it, but I have learned an important lesson; never be loyal to a place that doesnt want your loyalty. Of course I still love the UAE, but I will never again make the mistake of thinking this place as home

Expat who grew up here 11 years ago

I for one grew up in this country, I've been here since I was 4 yrs old, and that's exactly what happened to me, when I turned 18, dad couldn't sponsor me anymore. When he turned 60, after 40 years in the gulf and 20 in the UAE, he had 30 days to get his visa canceled. At my school, we sung the national anthem every morning, in fact it's the only one I know the words till this day. After university I came running back here to work, at "home", because just like many others who grew up like myself, we know no other home, this is where we grew up. But, my "home", after 25 yrs of having first landed here, still grants me at best a temp work visa, gives me 30 days to leave if I stop working, and treats me the same way it treats someone who got here last week, without any recognition what so ever for the years I spent here, or for the fact that my childhood memories are here - a stronger bond to a country than any citizenship can ever get anyone. Whenever I see a 20 yr old kid in the airport asking me all kinds of questions about why I'm here, I work hard to hold back some smart ass answer like, I was here before you were born I'm more Emirati than you are.... It's a shame, an entire generation of us who call this place home who'd probably show more loyalty than anyone else, slowly getting jaded over time and we come to realize that we're no different than someone who landed here last month and that we're patriotic to a place that doesn't recognize our connection or attachment to it. If I were the government the last thing I'd do is try to instill more patriotism in expat kids, for the sake of not disappointing them when they one day grow up and realize that home isn't really their home and that despite that their attachment is as strong as that of any Emirati citizen, they are just disposable workers. However, having said that, you can keep us from having citizenship, but you can't take away our memories, and I'm still always going to have the urge of claiming I'm more Emirati than a 20 yr old immigration officer at the airport.

Paul Welsh 11 years ago

Very intelligent comment may I say from the IYDLIL brigade. Other countries do this also is correct but in those cases the overwhelming majority are citizens of that country or want to be and thus have a feeling of belonging or wanting to. This will never be the case here and so what is the point as Ali and Etisalgood have mentioned? This type of issue is guaranteed to raise people's heckles from all sides of the argument but the root of it is fundamental to the UAE's future. Until the UAE seriously looks at its laws i.e one for nationals and one for all others (whether this is official or not!!) no "guest worker" or their offspring, however long they have been here will ever feel like this is home. Maybe that is the way the authorities want it but it is not a sustainable model. My kids are small and were both born here. They know nothing else other than Dubai but my wife and I make very sure they know where their roots are and they spend summers there in order to belong there as well. I will not let them grow up here beyond primary years as I feel the identity crisis will be a big thing. A shame, as if they were given some sort of rights they might stay and help build the country and spend here etc etc. My daughter was asked more than once in the Summer where she was from, her answer was to look at us blankly and we would say born in Dubai but British because of my parents. We have now taught her to say this instead of the blank look and/or Dubai!! Confusion in her 5 yr old mind already. She, despite being born here and knowing nothing else, has no rights and neither do we. Why should we then take part in house buying, community work etc etc. We are not wanted and treated as such. A big shame and one that will haunt this part of the world long after we are gone.

Paul Welsh 11 years ago

Before anybody says it. 1. I do not want to be a citizen here. 2. I do not want a passport 3. I can leave whenever I want and will but only when it suits If born in a country then you should at least have some rights beyond just being a guest. This would help expats born here and now 18+ and by extension their parents who came here long ago. This will never happen! We dont belong so thus stop trying to force on us some kind of patriotism. If you want that then you have to give rights to people.

Abu Ali 11 years ago

I wonder how many of you actually know Arabic. The majority of you guys are treated like an expatriate who came to the UAE yesterday because its this way, u look and act like an expatriate who came yesterday. Expatriates who mingled with Emirati nationals, speak Arabic, wear our traditional clothes and know nothing but the UAE, deserve some sort of residence visa though. Non-muslims and non Arabic speakers should never get the citizenship or any sort of permenant visas.

Omar 11 years ago

I fully understand the Expat who grew up here and also understand Paul. They are right 100%. Being a person with multi-origins who travels extensively, i believe the world has become a small village thanks to Bill Gates of the USA. I live in the UAE. i never need to show my ID card and with the e-gate, i never show my passport!!! until i go to my country or abroad! During so many years in UAE, i was stopped just once on Jumeirah road. The policeman asked for my driver's license and car registration in a very polite manner not even experienced in Swizerland! Yes, UAE has a HUGE challenge with their identity. It's primarily their problem and they are feeling the pinch more than anyone. I met an Arab merchant from the levant region in Deira who has been living in this country for 30 years. His wife is Russian. When asked him about having the citizenship of this country, he said: There is no necessity. I have been living here well with full respect much more than my own country. I have connections that can grant me the citizenship but there is no necessity!Nobody cares about your citizenship and it's working extremely well. There are nationalities from all over in different languages and religions and they have all been working for decades without serious problems! I know a Sudanese who was born here and living here decently. She does not like the country and feels that Sudan is better!!!Her father thinks so although she drives a car i doubt any has like in Sudan. Well, that's sad really bcz UAE gave her much more than what her original country did. Yet, she is not loyal. Having said that, i believe UAE must take solid steps in addressing this dilemma with a clear long term plan. I believe UAE must have its own citizenship law whereby they grant the citizenship to people who want it and who deserve it. i.e. Been here for 10+ years, loyal to the country, active in the community, priority should be given to people who speak the language of this country and ... This is the only way to reduce the gap / ratio between locals and expats 20 - 80. They can make it 40-60 in the coming 10 years! I would personally love to get the citizenship of UAE! Loyalty and citizenship are debatable. Japan is happy how it is where you do not see any foreigner, Canada is absolutely the other way round where they are distributing passports left and right without any logic!!! Finland is like Japan while its neighbor Sweden is like Canada. I met in Stockholm, Sweden people who have really bad criminal records in Lebanon. Yet, Sweden gave them its apssport and they travel the world with no restrictions. Is this fair? I also fully understand the right wing French politician Jean Marie LePen. 50% of the French football team failed to sing the national anthem during the world cup final in Paris in 1998! Bottom line, i agree that foreigners must know more about this country no matter what it's or they should not come!

ZeTallGerman 11 years ago

to Paul Welsh: I whole-heartidly agree! Well said! to Ali: "never be loyal to a place that doesnt want your loyalty" - also very well put. I used to live in Australia and we sang the national anthem every morning in school... HOWEVER (yes, it's a BIG however) we were citizens and not mere guests of Australia. We had RIGHTS. We were welcomed and treated as equals. Forcing patriotism upon anyone, be it foreigner or national, seems like yet another big step backwards for the UAE.