AL AIN // Police marching bands, a horse parade and vintage patrol cars welcomed officers, their families and visitors on the first day of the Al Murabba Heritage Festival on Thursday.
An audio-visual presentation of police forces before Union in 1971 was set against the backdrop of the sand-coloured walls of Al Murabba fort as traditional dancers moved to the music.
The aim of the festival is to help the public understand the history of the police.
Sepia-tinted photographs of marching soldiers, special forces in training and servicemen standing guard, framed against dunes, were all part of the history on display.
A mini arsenal of more than 20 pistols, rifles and semi-automatic weapons used by the forces in the 1970s was laid across wooden tables in a newly inaugurated Al Murabba police museum located behind the fort.
“Heritage preservation is a very important goal for the UAE,” said Maj Gen Maktoum Ali Al Shareefi, acting director general of Abu Dhabi Police.
“The nation is very interested in safeguarding the achievements of its ancestors.”
Maj Gen Mohammed Khalfan Al Ramaithi, commander-in-chief of Abu Dhabi Police, said Emiratis know by heart the saying of the UAE’s Founding President, Sheikh Zayed, that “our ancestors have left us a legacy of traditions of which we are proud. Our mission is to preserve and develop this tradition as a valuable asset for the nation and for future generations”.
The Al Murabba fort, with its conical tower and vantage points for shooting, was built in 1948 on orders from Sheikh Zayed. Located in the centre of Al Ain, the fort draws its name from the Arabic “murabba” or square.
It later served as a police station, a watchtower, a jail, a camp for guards and a meeting place for the ruler.
Children holding the hands of their fathers gathered inside the fort on Thursday to watch the horse parade and bands.
The event, organised by Abu Dhabi Police and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, celebrates the work and historical legacy of the police force through a series of parades, shows, exhibitions and cultural events.
“I liked the horse, the guns,” said Khalifa Al Amri, 9, a Grade 3 pupil with ambitions of joining the police force like his father. “I like to see how the police protected us before.”
“It is very important not to forget anything of the past so the young remember who we were and how things are upgraded in their generation,” said Major Tariq Al Ali, who helped collect mementos – from photographs to police badges – for the festival’s exhibitions.
A family of five visiting from Fujairah said the presence of four relatives in the police force drew them to the festival.
“It is good to learn about our history,” said Shaima Ali, 14, a Grade 10 pupil from Fujairah.
“This will help children be proud of the police force that is protecting my city, my country and my home.”
Police officers said the young people had little knowledge of the force’s history.
“For some of us born in 1970 we have some idea of how our country and people struggled, but the young people have no idea of the effort that was made to build the security of this country,” said Ali, a police officer. “We need to show the young about the past with festivals like this.”
The Al Murabba Heritage Festival runs until Tuesday, September 13 from 5pm until 10pm. Admission is free.
Source: uae news