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A Shared Legacy, Promising Future

A Shared Legacy, Promising Future

Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 - 06:45
Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development for the United Arab Emirates. - AAWSAT AR
Asharq Al-Awsat - Noura Al Kaabi

Civilization, as a notion serving as a driver of the masses, sets the cornerstone of cultural activity. It also offers indices which countries are measured up against in terms of prosperity and development.

Should a civilization perish at a point, its cultural output endures the test of time…The Arabian civilization, for example, has roots running deep into history.

It offered a beacon of light for its contemporaries and built culture and science hubs that were sought by aspiring scholars from all walks of life. This contributed to boosting communication among the peoples. But what are the backgrounds and realities of that civilization? Did it help in developing humanity? Does it connect to modern day Arabs?

Many academics and historians, such as the French polymath Gustave Le Bon, wrote about the glories of the Arabian and Islamic civilizations and the good Europe merited from them.

They were brilliant in laying out strategies for revitalizing commerce and trade, such as holding seasonal festivals for boosting economic, artistic and political activity in the region.

One of those events is the prominent open air Souk Okaz market which was active from approximately 542-726 CE and served much more than a market—operating for two weeks each year, it was a place where Arabs would meet to formalize tribal rules, settle disputes, pass judgments, make agreements, announce treaties and truces, hold sporting competitions and races, poetry competitions, and religious gatherings.

These historical venues have long inspired organizing modern day events such as artistic exhibitions and cultural exchange summits where diversity, features of heritage, customs, traditions and art are introduced.

This helps to boost tourism, establish dialogue and achieve community mobility whereby the public retains historic values and youth is acquainted with elements of identity.

It is very vital to bring younger generations closer to their authentic Arabic identity and have them realize its true value. Also to present them to their historical backgrounds and the importance of the society and the region to which they belong.

Historical markets, which exhibited all details of life, customs, traditions, architecture, folklore, local dialects, and moral heritage, played a historical role in firming social and economic bonds among Arab tribes.

A broad recognition of the importance of such community activities has been preserved by the rulers and peoples of the Arabian Peninsula.

There are countless feats and examples of political leadership in the United Arab Emirates playing a pivotal role in reviving features of authentic Arab identity, so is the case with fellow compatriots in Saudi Arabia.

Whether be it through cultural, urban or community activities, the leadership in the Kingdom, throughout history, founded the modern Saudi state whilst working diligently to restore many of the features of the Arab civilization.

One of the efforts is Souk Okaz festival. Its 13th edition is being held at its historic spot in Taif, which is a city nestled in southwest Saudi Arabia. The event is held yearly, runs throughout August with wide Arab participation, and features a wide pavilion for the UAE.

These Arab platforms, with their cultural dimension, offer an important occasion for emphasizing the distinctive Arab identities, apart yet, showcase the common spaces that define future generations.

They revive the memory of common heritage treasures shared with Saudi Arabia to present generations.

UAE’s keenness to partake in the Souk Okaz cultural festival stems from a commitment to the present and future of rising generations and to consolidating long-term ties between the Saudi and Emirati peoples.

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