She should have become Emirati’s female pilot much earlier, but due to the fact that women were not allowed to join the country’s Armed Forces, she had to wait several years. Although she could have kicked some baddies’ butt earlier, 35-year-old Major Mariam Al Mansouri became UAE’s first female Emirati Air-Force pilot only in 2007. And now she’s officially the first female pilot who has been bombing ISIS in Syria together with others from Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and of course, United States.
Besides aviation, UAE also does not encourage female participation in key areas such as health, ministerial posts, judiciary and the list goes on. But not only Mariam became the first female pilot in the kingdom, she also received Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Government Excellence Award. If that was not enough to give Tom Cruise a run for his fighter jet, Major Mariam was the head who lead the UAE’s deployment of four F-16 fighters as Arab states joined the US in attacking ISIS strongholds recently.
While the Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khaled bin Salman, son of the kingdom’s crown prince, also piloted an F-15 against the militants this week, it was Major Mariam who stole the attention especially from the social media. A graduate of Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 2007, Major Mariam was born in Abu Dhabi and is one of eight children in the family. She also graduated from high school with a 93% grade average before joining UAE University for a BA in English literature.
The Emirates, a seven-state federation that includes the capital of Abu Dhabi and the Mideast commercial hub of Dubai, is one of five Arab countries that have joined the U.S.-led coalition carrying out the airstrikes in Syria since Tuesday. It is a major buyer of American-made weapons, with an arsenal that includes F-16 fighter planes and Apache attack helicopters.
The revelation about a female Muslim pilot bombing ISIS jihadists could be the biggest embarrassment to the terrorist group who has been brutally killing, raping and beheading innocents since the war started. Middle East netizens have been poking fun at ISIS – if those jihadists would still be rewarded with 72 virgins in heaven, now that Major Mariam is leading her F-16 Desert Falcon squadron crushing them.
She claims there was also no difference between men and women with regards to training and assignments; and she received no special treatment because of her gender. Ever since her mission was exposed, Major Mariam has been busy with a new task – rejecting marriage proposals (*grin*). Perhaps she’s not quite ready to quit flying to become a fulltime housewife. ISIS extremists can run but they certainly cannot hide, because “Lady Liberty” Mariam is not done yet sending more bombs for their dinner.
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