Matar Hadher Bakheet Al Muhairi

COURTESY Ayesha Hadhir Al Mheiri

One of my favorite family photographs is of Matar Hadher Bakheet Al Muhairi, my great uncle. As a young man, Matar was a captain on a pearl diving vessel. Later he became a guard of the late Sheikh Shakhbout bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He accompanied Sheikh Shakhbout everywhere, even staying in Al Ain for months, away from his family in Abu Dhabi. He frequently escorted Sheikh Shakhbout to Qasr Al Hosn Fort. They were close, like brothers.

Matar served Sheikh Shakhbout until he passed away. After his death, Matar sadly began to lose his memory. This photo was taken before Matar departed for Al Ain on a trip with Sheikh Shakhbout. He is wearing his guard uniform, with a dagger and bullet sash.

His belt was adorned with intricate woven silver thread and fitted with an ornate pouch. He holds a falcon that belonged to Sheikh Shakhbout. Another family photograph that I cherish shows a view of Al Bateen where Matar lived. It is a place we still call home.

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