View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, December 1, 2008

World Record Breaking UAE Fireworks Celebration is Over the Top

Fireworks Frenzy
The UAE news this weekend features the forthcoming fireworks display to celebrate the 37th National Day of the nation.

On 2nd December, the world's largest and record breaking Fireworks Display will light up Abu Dhabi's night sky, beginning at 08.30pm and lasting for 45 minutes,

Over the Top
One would have thought organizers might have pulled the fuse on the fireworks festival this year in the light of recent and current events.

Atlantis Extravagance
Organizers of the Atlantis Hotel launch came in for stinging criticism because of headlines like this: ‘$3million firework display 7 times the size of Beijing's Olympic Games opening ceremony.’ What irked the international community was that this extravagance came at a time when millions around the world were experiencing the pain of housing foreclosures, unemployment and financial loss.

Since the opening of the Atlantis the world financial situation has become worse and many UAE businesses and residents, especially in Dubai are reeling.

Mumbai Terror
The news in the last few days has been dominated by terrorism in the heart of India’s business district, burning hotels in Mumbai, scores of innocent victims killed, hundreds wounded and thousands of families traumatized. Such an event tears at the wounds that people carry from other terrorist incidents.

With this context of financial pain and global terror, the UAE is on the brink of spending millions of dollars to stage the world’s largest and record breaking fireworks. The timing couldn’t be worse for a display of heartlessness and insensitivity, especially when this record is being seen by many as Abu Dhabi asserting its superiority over Dubai.

The UAE’s heart has been most evident in its generosity, most recently displayed in sizeable gifts to Pakistan and in the contribution of Dubai Cares.

According to the Mood
The singing, dancing, festivities and some scaled down fireworks should go on but the symbolism of burning so much money in order to feed the national obsession with world records is highly inappropriate and will seem like pouring salt in the global wounds.

Even President-Elect Obama is said to be judging the mood of his nation in order to stage an inauguration that is appropriate to the times.

One can imagine the headlines around the world: ‘UAE’s Heartless Fireworks Record While the World Burns.’

How much better to see the headline: ‘UAE Shelves Fireworks World Record to Make World Record Gift for Fighting Terrorism’?

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Atlantis Hotel world record fireworks display.