Dr. Abdul Rahim Al-Suhaili *
When the Gulf Air plane landed at Abu Dhabi Airport, the UAE was preparing to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the union, and pictures of the late rulers of the Emirates and their neighborhoods filled the roads between the airport and the city of Al Ain. I was greeted by a HR official and then at night we set out on a road full of trees on both sides, and I remembered a friend saying, “You’re going to the edge of the Empty Quarter.”
Watching the palm trees touched my heart the most. I am an Iraqi and every Iraqi considers the palm his mother. In each of us there is a spirit within which a seed grows.
It was a one-month working visit at Tawam Hospital to inspect the nuclear medicine department’s equipment and make some tests and some recommendations. During this period, she realized that the state was going on a steady and confident pace, and she found all indications of care and attention. At my place of residence I would find dinner and breakfast already prepared in the fridge and bottles of fresh water by the bed, along with a list of the numbers of everyone I could contact. Then here was a post to introduce me to the customs and culture of the community, and a complete map of the city of Al Ain and its distinctive landmarks. It was not a big city, but it was elegant and above standard.
I completed my mission and met many personalities from the community, rulers, tribal sheikhs and an Arab from a tribal background.. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of belonging and returning to my tribal origins, which I feared losing during my stay in Europe and America. Here, in the Emirates, the roots remain, its irrigation and care do not stop and take root.
The eye was very green, inhabited by birds from lovebirds to parrots to falcons and peregrines. But it is a city that sleeps after 9 pm…
I went to Dubai for the weekend and found it to be a city that never sleeps, and I loved it. There was a world chess championship, and the city was lit up in preparation for the 15th anniversary of the Federation, and the day 2-12-1986 was a memorable day, and on the same day I called my family to congratulate my son Zaid on his birthday because he was born on that happy day.
Every tree had a shepherd who watered it, pruned it and harvested its fruits. Trees filled all the roads, spaces and farms, there were laboratories dedicated to growing palm cells in laboratories such as growing bacteria. In a rare scientific advance, the development of Tissue Culturing was a breakthrough that distinguished the country from the rest of the countries in the Middle East.
I met the Dean of the Medical College, Professor Bashir Hamad, and I saw him arranging his books, so I thought he was the Dean’s Secretary. When he came out and asked him, he said, “Welcome, I am the Dean! He was a humble and wonderful scientist. He is the founding dean.
Before the month was up, I was offered to stay and work as head of nuclear medicine and as a consultant, so I agreed right away, but at the same time decided to discuss my family.
On 07/29/1987 I was in my position at Tawam Hospital and a professor at the College of Medicine at the UAE University, filled with indescribable love and passion for the eye. I spend time with my friends every Thursday in their councils. We pray Friday together and stay up late on the farms after the falcon training campaign, and driving in the dunes sand and finally staying up in front of the fireplace until three in the afternoon
night. Since I left Al Ain for Dubai in 2004, friends have showered me with their kindness and promises that the doors will always remain open wherever I want and whenever I visit Al Ain. Until the Corona pandemic began.
800 words are not enough, and 80,000 words are not enough so that I can express what I carry inside me about that trip, the most important thing that distinguishes it from my meeting with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, may God protect him, who was a pious patron of his late father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Sheikh Zayed, may his soul rest in peace, was not only a father to the honorable sheikhs, he was a father to all of us, the pain of losing him and still is, may God have mercy on him.
A series of articles “Between Fifty and Fifty” tells the stories and tales of people who lived their present and their past in the United Arab Emirates.
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Director and Consultant Nuclear Medicine – Burjeel Medical City