Land Rover has made a film that celebrates life as it used to be 50 years ago in the UAE, or the Trucial States, as the country was known then. In the early 1960’s, the country used to be a barren land where the use of 4×4’s was the norm rather than the exception. There were no roads to connect the neighboring Emirates, and 4x4s offered the only option for travel. Land Rover made the extraordinary film to document the past in order to mark its 70th Anniversary. The film depicts the lives of two people who used Land Rovers on a daily basis.
They are European expat and civil engineer Robin Webb and Ras Al-Khaimah resident, Majed Awwad who used Land Rovers to negotiate the rough and dangerous roads between the Emirates.
The film was made under the supervision of director Hind Shoufani, who worked with Webb’s nephew, on the movie named “A Journey of Rediscovery”. The movie tells the stories of Robin and Majed and the close bonds they shared with their Land Rovers. The film gives a realistic picture of the days before the formation of the United Arab Emirates, and pays tribute to seven decades of Land Rover by highlighting the key role their trusted 4x4s played in the lives of these two individuals.
Majed Mohammed Awwad made his way to Ras-Al Khaimah from Palestine through Egypt in the 1960s to work as an advisor, before he took on a job at the local municipality.
According to Awwad , anyone who owned a Land Rover then was considered to be very important as it was the only vehicle which was capable of overcoming all challenges.
As one of his final projects before he left the Middle East in 1968, Webb oversaw the design and construction of some of the first roads in the Ras Al-Khaimah.
“One of the great things about us doing engineering was that we had Land Rovers. We basically lived in Land Rovers the whole time. They were the most trusted off-road companions and the best way to connect people and states when few roads existed.” Mr. Webb said.
Webb’s work in Dubai involved assignments like making the souq wharf, dredging of Dubai Creek, extending the customs wharf. He also took on construction projects in Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Ras Al-Khaimah.
In order to travel to other emirates from Dubai, he had to negotiate sand dunes, gravel plains, the hard packed wet sand of the beaches and the huge sabkha flats at low tide in his Land Rover.
Salman Sultan, Public Relations and Social Media Manager for Jaguar Land Rover MENA said that it is difficult now to imagine how harsh the environment was in the UAE during the 1960s. In those days, a Land Rover proved to be literally a life saver so that motorists could get home safely before nightfall.
The complete shooting of the film took place in the UAE and it brings out beautifully that though things change with the passage of time, the memories still remain. “A Journey of Rediscovery,” brilliantly depicts how for Robin and Majed, the Land Rover was significant part of their journeys in the UAE. It is yet another important story that forms a part of Jaguar Land Rover MENA’s #MYLAND initiative, (Ardhi in Arabic), which is meant to celebrate the impact of Arab culture on the modern world today.
It shows the strong bond that exists between people and their 4x4s and confirms the key role Land Rover has played in developing the United Arab Emirates and the pride that Land Rover has with the region.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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