Of the People, By the People, For the People? Sheikh Mohammed Tweet Backfired?

Monday 30 December 201912:32 pm
إقرأ باللغة العربية:

تغريدة لحاكم دبي محمد بن راشد عن "أحلام الشباب العربي الضائعة" تثير الجدل. بماذا رد المغردون؟

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted criticism of rulers who feared their people, he spoke of the "lost dreams" of millions of Arab youth, receiving a deluge of responses from activists and journalists reminding him of Emirati incursions in Yemen and Libya and the siege on Qatar and arrests of activists in his country.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum wrote on Twitter: “Life taught me that Caliph Umar bin Al-Khattab was afraid. He was afraid that a mule would stray on the road and he would be held accountable for it. Today we see the lives of millions of Arab youth falter, their hopes evaporated, because of a ruler who fears to sleep among his people.”

He added: "Life taught me if a ruler is afraid of his people, then the people must fear for the future of their country."

The tweet garnered more than 30,000 likes and 14,000 reposts. Some of the tweeps interacted with it positively, and some described him as "a wise ruler who cultivates hope for his people." Emirati journalist Saud Al-Kaabi replied to the tweet: "You are the one who sows hope, weeds out cares, pushes forth ambition, and refines the people and the place, you Sir are the major driver for all that is better for the people and the land."

Dubai's #SheikhMohammed tweeted criticism of rulers who fear their people, implying he is of the people and for the people, but the tweet exposed him to criticism on too many fronts. Will he think of his people before tweeting again?
Dubai's #SheikhMohammed is a much-loved leader; Does he appreciate that public figures are more accountable than others for every action they take?

Beautiful Words But…

Perhaps the reference by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to a story about the second caliph of Muslims, Omar bin Al-Khattab, who Muslims consider as a symbol of justice, is what prompted a number of Arab personalities and activists to respond, to call attention to Emirati policies in the region. Some of them also asked him to respond to the allegations of violations against his wives.

A Journalist working for Qatar’s Al-Jazeera channel, Ghada Oueiss, tweeted addressing the ruler of Dubai: "Let’s forget about the young people for a moment, talk to us about what the Western press writes about you. You are a public figure that means a model for youth, so what model of your personality does this press present?”

Bloggers interacted with Oueiss’s response, and Atef Al-Jadi wrote: "Life taught me to fear if my wife fled when asked why she fled!"

British newspaper The Times published last week a report on how Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid barred his ex-wife, Randa Al-Banna, from seeing her daughter, many years ago, and about her being assaulted when she tried to visit her.

Also, last July, the British newspaper, The Independent, revealed that his wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, escaped with their two children to London, where she asked the British judiciary to protect her and her family from her husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

A number of Arab activists questioned the fate of Emirati detainees arrested on charges related to freedom of opinion in the Emirate, which imposes severe restrictions on social media users under a law it issued to combat IT crimes in 2012.

In this context, Palestinian blogger Adham Abu Salameh wrote: "What about the tens of Emirati youth who left their homeland because they are threatened with arrest along with dozens of prisoners of conscience! Worse than that, their families are denied the right to travel to visit them. Is this the regime's fear of the people?!" Abu Salameh said: "Your words are beautiful, but unfortunately don’t belie your actions. How much we would have liked the Emirates to be the epicentre for all the people of the nation and a place of building not destruction.”

A large number of Arab tweeps reminded the ruler of Dubai of what they described as the unlawful policies of the UAE against the peoples in Yemen where Abu Dhabi supports the forces of the Southern Transitional Council against the legitimate government, and in Libya where it supports the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar against the internationally recognized presidential council.

Muhammad al-Masuri, a lawyer for former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, said in a post: "Life has taught me that what you have built in the Emirates in the past years, will be destroyed as quickly as it was built if you do not remedy it quickly."

Al-Masouri added: "Return to your former state, minding your business and concerned with your internal affairs, and do not allow the children among you to bring down the temple on everyone's heads. By God, the consequences of what is happening in the region because of your incursions are dire … This is my sincere and succinct advice!"

The activist Mohamed Abdullah Al-Masmari addressed the ruler of Dubai, saying, "Life taught me that your army, which you trained, armed, and spent billions on, collapsed in the blink of an eye in the mountains and valleys of Yemen before the barefoot Yemenis”.

Al-Masmari added: “Life has taught me that the UAE has become a thorn in the throat of the Islamic nation and a dagger in the back of every Muslim and every Arab. Life taught me that like alcohol your harms outweigh your benefits”

"Life will teach you that entering Libya, your support for the opposition, and spreading chaos with it will cost you a lot, maybe you will not remain a ruler for your people. Only then will you learn from life that lesson," said Hamed al-Zawy, a spokesman for the Libyan Presidential Council.

Another blogger reminded him of the Gulf crisis that has torn apart many Emirati families and their relatives in Qatar since 2017.

Fatima from Qatar wrote: "How beautiful to bring up the example of Caliphs and how just they were, but is it just to drag innocent nations into political conflicts and to complicate ties of kinship and to be oblivious to the weariness of the aged, the sick and mothers with their children who have to move from one country to another to visit their relatives, not to mention your lack of concern for the rise in the cost of purchasing tickets?”

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