Thursday, May 12, 2011

Op-ed: Trouble-making is not a human right

Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, complains in a Gulf News op-ed about the condemnation the UAE has received for its crackdown on dissidents.
Of course, ‘freedom' means different things to different people. For those who think freedom means they have the right to disturb the peace, offend public morality, insult whomever they like or attempt to stir-up political dissent, the UAE isn't the place for them.
Those so-called activists have been infected by the revolutionary zeal in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere in the region where people, unable to afford the rising price of bread, schooling for their children or desperate for career opportunities, have struggled against oppression and corruption.

The UAE authorities had every right to stop them in their tracks; they've behaved like sheep without pausing to think that Emiratis aren't victimised by poverty, oppression or corruption — in fact, it's just the opposite. They are nothing more than troublemakers. They have no constituency and they do not represent the majority in any way, shape or form.

Our rulers cannot permit a handful of malcontents to disturb the status quo for their own ends. And I'm sorry but if HRW, Whitbeck or any other individual or organisation doesn't like it, then tough! We must guard against anyone who threatens our way of life.

This is the country we love and anyone who wants to live here must play by its rules or find someplace else; somewhere that permits them to stand on a public soapbox and complain to their heart's content even while they worry where their next meal comes from.

I'm just grateful that the UAE's founder Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who cared for us like their own children, aren't here to witness the ingratitude displayed by a few spoilt and selfish people today. It's up to all proud Emiratis to maintain their legacy and do everything in their power to keep our beloved land from harm.
It's hard to see how a few dissidents with no constituency could do harm. It's also hard to see how legitimate concerns can be aired if every criticism of government is defined as a criminal act of personal insult.

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