How the UAE was formed

Background on informant: Informant is a senior at USC, studying communications. She was born and raised in Dubai and plans to move there after graduation. Her father went to school in the United States, as did her sister.

Informant: The way it’s phrased is different from what’s written down. The UAE used to be occupied as British territory. Before it was the UAE, every city was it’s own state. The leaders of the state’s came together, including Bahrain and Qatar, and said “let’s become one giant country, and by giant, I mean really small. But you know what I mean.” But then Bahrain and Qatar were like ‘nah, we’re just going to be our own thing.’ Then they said ‘Let’s kick out the British people and apparently we shooed them away” which I don’t think was a real thing because in reality, it was just an agreement. But the folklore is “yeah, we kicked them out.” I think it’s because we still want to claim its our country. Even though it’s the Emirates’ country, there are a majority of foreign people. Because of that, we still hold ourselves superior saying it’s our country, we got our own independence that way and they can’t say what we can and can’t do.

Analysis: This national legend was certainly interesting. As the informant notes, it’s likely neither true nor recorded. But it sheds light on the character of the country. This is what she learned as how the UAE was created even though she herself says this is not what occurred in reality. She knows that this is not the history but still the folklore persists. And that’s the interesting part. The context in which the folklore is told sheds light on some of the current political and cultural anxieties — that “there are a majority of foreign people” — so it is important for the Emirates to reinforce the legend that they reclaimed their country.