Holy Sheikh!

Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed al Qasimi, the Ruler of one of the seven emirates Ras al Khaimah, died today. As such, official mourning has been declared with effect from today for a week through, which the flags will be flown at half mast in Abu Dhabi, and even longer in some other emirates. Right now, business here seems to be operating fairly as normal, but it spurred a discussion that really shows how big an emphasis is put on mourning.

For example, all of the radio stations have stopped playing their regular tunes and are now broadcasting classical and traditional Arabic songs. So, no Britney or Usher for an afternoon pick me up. And, based on online chatter, many schools have been closed across the country, and there’s a talk of a public day of mourning tomorrow with government closed. In some of the other emirates, three to 7 days of government business has been put on hold.

It’s difficult to tell of the true impact, and if it will extend to social activities as well (apparently it’s not unusual), but if anything interesting happens, we’ll keep you updated along the way!

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