Our Local History between Documentation and Distortion

مجلة مدارات ونقوش – العدد 11

 461 عدد المشاهدات

Jamal Bin Huwaireb

When we talk about history and documenting it, we are talking about the national security of our state. Those who believe that history is merely tales, accounts and past events, are committing a big mistake because the science of history is of great importance, as it forms the foundations on which states have depended in the past, is depending on now and will continue to do so in the future.

The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, RIP, says: ‘Science and history go hand in hand. With science, man can underline his history, and save it for future generations, to learn about it, and know what the fathers and grandfathers did’
In this benevolent state, since its founding in 1971, we have recognized some of the investigative historians, but they were few. Some of them were close to the rulers. But they left without much effort in the field of documentation of history; either due to fear, embarrassment by some events, or because they were busy with their official tasks or f with the documenting of other things, not as crucial as history is.

Our late teacher Hamad Bou Shihab, RIP, was busy with poetry; collecting and publishing the books of verse instead of collecting and publishing the history of the state. He knew the events and the news of this country from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in both Hijri and Gregorian calendar and specific daily and hourly details in some cases. But he left us in 2002. We only took little knowledge from him and other scholars such as writer and historian Ahmed bin Sulayem, who incorporated some historic events in his poems, but left us in October 1976 after the establishment of Heritage and History Committee, which was born strong during his time but vanished after him

Lack of Interest
Years have passed and the history of this country is only known to a few of us. We are confused by the fact that the students who studied at universities, both at home and abroad, were not interested in this science. I do not blame them, for history is not important from their viewpoint, and they consider it insignificant for their intellectual formation and practical experience. People always talk about food, water or health security etc., but never about “historical security”.

Roman poet and philosopher Cicero, died in 43 BC, says: ‘History is the witness of the times, the light of truth, the life of memory, the teacher of life, the messenger of antiquity’. So history is a witness to all events and we will be a part of history with the lapse of time.

The Greatness of History
Do you know that one third of the Holy Quran is about history? Read the holy Quran. If history wasn’t important, Allah, glorified and exalted be He, wouldn’t allot one third of His book to it, making history the teacher of life as the Almighty said: ‘In their history verily there is a lesson for men of understanding’. Those who do not learn from history, where should they learn from? History does not repeat itself, except to those who did not study history, and didn’t learn lessons from it.
In the UAE, if we entered the index of Dubai Public Library and searched for the history of the UAE we would find 671 results. If we review these results, we will conclude that most of them are poetry or cultural books about literature and heritage.

If we explored the catalog of the public library in Abu Dhabi, we would find 903 researches, most of which are poetry and cultural books about heritage and literature. All these books are important, and I do not underestimate their significance, but we find little about the history of the state.


We, in the UAE, need to build an army of historians, scientists and academics to protect our history from distortion and alteration, just as our esteemed leaders did, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and his brothers HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, when they built a strong army to protect the homeland, the people and their gains, with its great reputation and vast experience, unparalleled in the Arab world.