Get To Know Us!

Hello, America!

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of  The United Arab Emirates. Yes, I am the new guy in the palace, but with a full year of ruling beneath my belt (I speak metaphorically of course, as I wear nothing for a belt to hold up), I'm ready to get up, get busy, and do it one time, as the American prophet James Brown once so wisely said.

Even those of you who are not familiar with my benevolent visage surely remember my father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the greatest ruler that the United Arab Emirates has ever known. Among his many other accomplishments, he built the incredibly secure terrorist free operation known as Dubai Ports World, the second largest port operations business in the whole wide world, as well as the one with the coolest name. You can tell a lot from a name.

Many of you in the United States knew my father as the man who introduced the 'Be My Friend' program to foster camaraderie between Arabs and American boys and girls. I do believe that his intentions were good, regardless of the unfortunate turn that particular initiative took. At heart, my father was a good man.

As am I, although I have the good common sense to seek friendship primarily with American grown-ups. When thinking about my country, do any of you Americans ever ask yourself 'What the heck is an Emirate?'

Good question. Get to know us! An Emirate is a kingdom ruled by an Emir. And I suppose that the best way to explain the role of the Emir is to compare it to the role of the Governor of one of the states in your land, except than an Emir may be quicker to behead you when you talk smart about him.

So let's be friends. United Arab Emirates are one of the good guys. We're not those scary hairy Arab countries that you can't trust around your wife or around your airport. Your country and mine, we even have the same first name. And how very cool is that? 



2006, Mark Hoback