August 26, 2012
On land near where the Emirates Palace now stands in Abu Dhabi, a young girl plays hopscotch on the fractured, arid ground.
This little girl is the daughter of Shaukat Ali, a photographer at our sister paper at Al Ittihad, the country’s first national newspaper.
Uzma Ali was around four years old when this image was taken in the mid-1970s. Unable to resist the lure of the huge cracks, she began playing hopscotch, while her father, unable to resist the appeal of a great photograph, clicked the shutter.
The location of the photograph is close to the grounds of the Emirates Palace hotel, behind the large billboard poster of Sheikh Zayed, both of which, of course, arrived many years later.
At the time this photograph was taken, dredging was taking place along the Corniche, with the construction of the breakwater and land reclamation. Waste was pumped on the empty land and when it dried, it produced these cracks.
* James Langton
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