August 2nd – It has been 23 years since the brutal Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Within just a few hours, the sound of thundering blasts and gunfire shook the country, propelling it into a dark abyss. People were caught off guard at dawn: no sirens, no government warnings; local newspaper headlines the day before trumpeting Kuwait and Iraq’s ‘brotherly relations‘…
This was not a run of the mill invasion; it was a complete annexation of the country, an eradication of its identity. There were no Red Cross convoys traversing in and out of Kuwait distributing supplies and taking care of the injured. There were no reporters on the ground covering the killings, torture, and systematic looting of the country’s resources via satellite. No major charities were established to raise money for the Kuwaitis or Expatriates who were caught in the crossfire. No demonstrations or marches sprouted up supporting Kuwait’s liberation (unless they were organized by Kuwaitis themselves in cities such as London).
If you were out of Kuwait, what you owned, who you knew, how much you were worth, was irrelevant; you were a refugee, forever stuck in no man’s land, fingerprinted and scrutinized wherever you were.
Today, let us keep that in mind and remember the heroes – in and out of Kuwait – who helped unshackle the nation from the chains of occupation. We certainly won’t forget our nation’s feebleness, indecision & geopolitical naivete – fast-tracking Kuwait into that dark void to begin with.
The government may choose to forget; a stark reminder of its incompetence and impotence. But we won’t.
We were quoted in an insightful, well written post-Kuwaiti election ‘Wall Street Journal‘ article (by veteran Maria Abi Habib): ‘Election Isn’t Likely to End Kuwait’s Turmoil, Say Analysts.’
Well worth reading.
Honestly, I don’t have much to add.
The political charade continues with another election (the sixth one in seven years).
I am boycotting the election; my decision is intuitive in nature, not political. I am rejecting a system which I suspect is rigged, one that is in the habit of ‘resetting’ the arena in order to safeguard the status quo (one in dire need of transparency & reform).
At this point in time, Parliament & its members are irrelevant. Six months down the road an MP will uncover a ‘sensitive’ corruption deal, the collective political fracas will hit the fan and Parliament will be suspended (again).
Without a broad, tangible political overhaul of the system (driven by both public & private pressure) for full accountability of the Cabinet and Legislative branches, the situation will continue to deteriorate, impeding development, stability and quality of life.
Ultimately, I refuse to partake in a game with opponents who change the rules as they go along. Today, I choose not to play.
It’s hard to believe that I started this Blog seven years ago (2006) during the wave of what we now refer to as the ‘Golden Blogosphere’ period in Kuwait. It was a thrilling period, our major form of collective-communicative-venting tool at the time, miles before Facebook & especially, Twitter, took over.
As the years progressed our community grew, bonds were strengthened, but as Bob Dylan sang, “the times they were are a-changin,”: some became casual bloggers, others retired, and a few such as ‘Hilaliya’ modified their communicative anatomy (with exception of a few random posts); in our case, we opened it up to ‘Guest Bloggers,’ basically giving the blog back to the community that helped nurture us.
In the spirit of our ‘golden heyday’ (& 7th Anniversary) I’ve updated the Blog, moving it from the Movable Type system (which I found cumbersome & inflexible) to WordPress, adding all the modern Social Media bells and whistles (‘Like’ Buttons, ‘Share’ & so forth). The Blog is also smartphone-friendly now.
Thanks for your support.
In the meantime, I’ll be lurking in the shadows.
An excellent article by Bloomberg’s Fiona MacDonald, ‘Kuwait Opposition Rallies Urging Boycott of Tomorrow’s Election’ in which yours truly is quoted.
2006. 2008. 2009. Here we go again. Let’s hope I don’t end up here again in a year or six months because of political squabbling. Frankly, I don’t think the next Parliament will last long, but at least I did my bit. Don’t take the campaign tents down, yet.
Previous Election Day Posts:
2009 – http://www.hilaliya.com/2009/05/deja-vu-kuwait-election-day–.html
2008 – http://www.hilaliya.com/2008/05/casting-the-ballot-in-kuwait.html
2006 – http://www.hilaliya.com/2006/06/its-over-i-voted-1.html
This is the third time I am going to have to vote in less than five years.
I am not going to bore you with the political trials and tribulations on the ground. We’ve all been witness to that, are fatigued by it.
At this point in time, I don’t think my vote is going to make a dramatic difference, I think our issues are far larger and graver in magnitude than the issue of who makes it to Parliament and who doesn’t.
However, I will still stress the following: Vote Responsibly – vote for honest individuals who put the country ahead of themselves.
That’s all one can hope for.
Here’s a great Link for information on Candidates and their respective positions on a myriad of issues: www.voteresponsible.org