Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sheikh Maktoum

This morning we found out about the death of Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, and brother of Sheikh Mohammad, the man behind the growth and expansion of Dubai. I don't know much about Sheikh Maktoum but it seems he was a very good man who was loved by many. May his soul rest in peace.

He apparently died in Australia, he was 62 years old, and suffered from a heart condition, although it is not clear whether this is the cause of his death. An official mourning period of 40 days has been set, all public sector businesses are closed for 7 days, and all private sector businesses are closed for 3 days. All events that were to take place in Dubai today and in the next week or so have been cancelled or postponed, including the Dubai Shopping Festival, which was supposed to kick off today with some huge firework displays, the Fatboy Slim concert which was taking place tomorrow, and the Dubai Marathon. Global Village has been closed, and all public school examinations have been postponed. Local radio and television stations have interrupted their regular broadcast and have replaced it with readings from the holy Koran. Most of our clients have postponed their campaigns until after Eid, and some have even cancelled events that were set to take place a couple of weeks from now.

Our office was closed today as soon as we heard the news (but most of us stayed till the end of the day anyway) and it is also closed tomorrow. We resume work on Sunday and Monday, then we have our Eid holiday again on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I should have just stayed on vacation!!!

Sheikh Maktoum's funeral is to take place tomorrow (Thursday). For more info about the Sheikh, check the Gulf News website.

I just passed by the Choitram supermarket next to my house and it is as if people are afraid Dubai will be running out of food! The supermarket is so packed! I guess people are stocking up on food because they know they will be stuck at home for the next few days. All shops will be closed, most restaurants as well, no clubs, no music, nothing.

Again, may his soul rest in peace.

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