By Khalid AlAmeri (@KhalidAlAmeri)
Everybody interacts with the society they live in on a daily basis. By default you are going to drive on the streets, shop at the malls, or walk in the parks: it is simply a way of life.
However, with the way society impacts our lives, a lot of people are quick to point out the problems that their society faces, but when it comes down to getting on the ground and actually making a difference the numbers drop significantly!
Why is that? If something bothers you that much you would change it, right? If you did not like the way the furniture is laid out at home, you would move it around. If your desk at the office was messy, you would tidy it up; and if you car was dirty, you would take it for a wash. These are only a few examples but you get the idea; you do something about it
So why is it when a street, a park or a beach is all littered up, people are content to complain day after day about how messy it is, assuming that someone else should be responsible for cleaning it up. It simply amazes me how little accountability some people feel towards their role in the community, and how much they demand from others.
But all that is changing and let me tell you why. Every year, on the 2nd of December, nationals & citizens of the UAE take to the streets in celebration of the country’s National Day; the day the leaders of the emirates came together to create what we know today as “The Spirit of the Union”.
Cars come out decorated, people come out with all sorts of party equipment, specifically that awful spray string that seems to have become so popular (please do not ask me why), and families picnic well into the night.
Most of the time, it is a day filled with happiness, joy and great pride in what our country has accomplished in such little time; a day where our forefathers are celebrated, and a day where we ensure that their legacy lives on.
And then the aftermath of the celebrations emerges; the garbage-laden streets surrounded by the trash-infested parks are sad. It hurts to see your beautiful city being used as a trash can, and the thing that hurts the most, is that there is not a care in the world, that is until now.
This year, someone said enough is enough and started a twitter account called @Ndhefeh_Blady, which in English translates into the cleanliness of my country. The mission was set to let the people of the UAE know that “WE” the people of the UAE are ultimately responsible for the cleanliness of our country and if you are with me (the person behind the account), join me on Jumeirah Street at 9am the day after National Day.
The movement spread like wildfire; young Emiratis around the UAE started their own mini campaigns, tweeting and BB broadcasting left, right and center the locations of their ‘Clean Ups”. One young lady staying up till 5 in the morning spreading the word and creating #hashtags on twitter to ensure the biggest turn out possible.
This is the kind of mind shift I am talking about; while the youth of our Nation will honk, litter and car screech late into the night, there is this new breed of Emirati questioning: how does that actually represent my love for my country, its leaders and its people? Well, the answer is pretty simple, it does not.
What does, however, are people who protect their country, care for it when it is in need, take the time to lend a helping hand for the greater good, and ask for nothing in return. It is a love that sometimes has to go one way, no credit asked for, and that is the beauty of it.
I believe the Clean Up initiative has left its mark in the hearts and minds of the people of UAE and I look forward to celebrating National Day again with my fellow Emirati brothers and sisters next year. See you on December 3rd of 2012.
22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We Start – Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur – Community Talk – Scenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability – Too Blunt For Words – To The Point