Dubai: Before you strive towards the future, you have to know where you’ve been in the past.

While the country’s success has been well documented after the formation of the federation, the UAE’s history from 1950 to 1970 continues to remain untouched territory among the Emirati youth.

“There were no historians or journalists at the time, but I don’t want [that part of] history to get lost. I wanted to tell the story of how their fathers and grandfathers did not go to school but worked hard to achieve what they did,” said Mohammad Al Fahim, author of an eye-witness narrative From Rags To Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi.

Speaking on Saturday at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Al Fahim took the audience back in time to the city of Abu Dhabi, when children ran barefoot through the desert, when families lived in barasti-like houses [traditional homes], and women did their laundry at the beach.

“The children I went to school with grew up to become ministers, ambassadors and businessmen… so what about the young generation who are well educated and well looked after, what can they achieve?” he asked.

His book explains the hurdles that the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan had to overcome when persuading the leaders of the other emirates to form a federation, and the resistance faced from Saudi Arabi and Iran.

“The youth have more experience of world affairs, so I want to promote the idea that people must work hard, sacrifice time, money and effort to achieve their goals,” said Al Fahim.