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The Camels Are On the Horizon

First, thanks to Wikipedia Commons for the fine pictures of the camels in the Jordan Valley. Second, if you have not heard this video going around on TikTok, take time to listen to it now. The commentary after the video assumes you have heard it.




Here is the transcript taken from YouTube:


The camels are on the horizon.


I don't know if you guys have seen this commentary floating around, but I'm going to read it to you because I think it is significant. The founder of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid, was asked in an interview about the future of his country, and he replied, "My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I ride a Mercedes, my son will ride a Land Rover, my grandson will ride a Land Rover, but my great-grandson will have to ride a camel again" and asked why, his response was "hard times create strong men strong men create easy times, easy times create weak men, and weak men create difficult times. Many will not understand it, but we need to create warriors, not parasites."


"Add to that the historical reality that all great empires, the Persians, the Trojans, the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, and later the British, all rose and perished within 240 years. They were not conquered by external enemies; they were rotten and destroyed from within. America has reached that 240-year mark, and it is starting to become visible and accelerating. We are past the Mercedes and Land Rover years; the camels are now on the horizon. The greatest generation consisted of 18-year-old kids that stormed the beaches of Normandy, and now two generations later, some kids, some 18-year old's, want to hide in a safe room when words hurt their feelings. They want free stuff from the government because they think they are entitled to it. The camels are on the horizon for sure. History has a funny way of repeating itself."


Analysis

When I first heard the story, I thought it was great. It delivers a point in line with my expectations and my values. It originally started as a Facebook post with some 2.3 million views. The video has spread through social media, with the current video you watched coming from Tik Tok. Many people, like myself, thought the story had punch and was worth sharing. While the story is excellent, there is a story behind the anecdote. The story is a compilation of sayings that come from different people.


The story was sent to a fact-checking company that had this to say: First, there really was a Sheik Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum who died in 1990. He was the former prime minister of the UAE and is referred to as the "father of modern Dubai." His son, a sheik and a Prime Minister, died earlier this year. The first part of the story, where the sheik says, "my grandfather rode a camel," was attributed to the sheik. Many people in his entourage recognized the quote from numerous interviews he gave with the Western press. Sheik Rashid constantly pushed Dubai to diversify, to avoid returning to the camels.


Ironically, another sheik from Saudi Arabia made a similar, if not the same, quote about grandparents and camels. According to Oxford's Essential Quotations (5th ed.) Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani's quote was, "My grandfather rode a camel. My father drove a car. I fly in jet planes. My son will drive a car. My grandson will ride a camel." Sheik Zaki is also known for another quote, "The Stone Age came to an end, not for lack of stones, and the Oil Age will end, but not for lack of oil." Perhaps Sheik Zaki was prescient about the upcoming green energy revolution.


The second half of Sheik Rashid's parable, beginning with "hard times create strong men," can be traced to the 2016 science fiction postapocalyptic novel entitled Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf. The quote from the book (page 20) reads, "hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times." Four words were changed for the video rendition.


The final line about raising warriors, not parasites, does not come from the sheik or Hopf. It's a mystery about its source and how it was included in the story.


It's not essential as to the authentic sources of the quotes. It is crucial to how the story makes us feel. The sheik's parable is reminiscent of the problem that all wealthy families have (and all wealthy countries). An online wealth consultant says that in 90% of cases, prosperous family fortunes are squandered by the third generation. Forget rags to riches. What most often happens is rags to riches to rags. In more than half of all cases of wealthy families, a family's money is exhausted by the children of the wealth creator. It goes back to the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son. We haven't changed in 2,000 years, and that same unprepared heir issue is now worldwide. The problem has expanded to include countries and empires. The story has some good points to make, but who among our leadership is listening?

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