UAE's Declaration Signing Dec.2nd 1971
Anniversary of signing of UAE's 1971 Declaration of Independence is a significant event in UAE's Calendar is and celebrated widely. Yet, in 1971, this historic signing was low key with little publicity or public celebration. In fact it seemed almost a private event inside Sheikh Rashid's Beach Palace with the pubic excluded and only invited guests witnessing this historic event. There were no local newspapers or television in 1971 to report or record the event so there are few published photographs, no published eyewitness accounts and no films or Videos in the public domain where the signing can be seen by all.
Almost a Non-Event!! A Spectator's Eye View
2nd December 1971 was a Thursday - a working day back then. 2nd December 1971 wasn't declared as a Public Holiday so everyone worked as usual. Signing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Jumeirah Guest Palace, sometimes called Beach Palace. News spread by word of mouth as much as by public announcements. There were no newspapers in 1971, some radio and some television. I worked at Port Rashid near to the Beach Palace. So around 3pm I drove to there, parked on the sand and joined a small crowd waiting outside the Beach Palace. We saw cars arriving and driving through the Beach Palace Gates although we couldn't see who were in the cars. Then cars stopped arriving. Nothing else was happening. But we still waited. Then cars began driving out of the Beach Palace. First was a very large black Cadillac with one of its rear windows open just a fraction. A hand pushed out through this barely open window and slowly waved up and down. Cadillac's windows were black so impossible to see who the hand belonged to. We waved back. Everyone assumed it was UAE's new President Sheikh Zayed. Next Sheikh Rashid's usual old white Mercedes Benz drove out. The crush of people travelling in his car made it impossible to pick out Sheikh Rashid. That was nothing unusual. His car was always full of people. Eventually the steady flow of dignatories' cars stopped. There was little to keep the small crowd interested so they dispersed and went home. I did the same. With no public announcements or celebrations plus lack of any street decorations meant the Signing of UAE's Declaration of Independence was a low key event , almost a non event from a spectator's viewpoint. There was no indication this Signing on 2nd December 1971 was to become such a significant part of UAE's history!
Eyewitness Account from outside Jumeirah Guest Palace