I admit it, I try to stay neutral, but I can’t. I know I am not Kuwaiti. It’s your country. And yet I live here, and the decisions and choices you make affect me, so now and then, even though I bite my tongue, something squeaks out.

I’m fussy about words. I hate the word “grill”, I hate the way it is used by politicians, I hate the way it is used by all the newspapers. To me, “grilling someone” has a disrespectful connotation. I hear “grill” and I see a group of porky pols dancing with glee while their intended victim is trussed and spitted, with a big red apple in his/her mouth, being turned over a roaring fire. It is an ugly picture. It is disrespectful.

Have some dignity. The people voted for you, Mr. Minister of Parliament, they put their trust in you. Here is what people need: They need housing. They need reliable sources of food. They need reliable electricity and water, they need reliable roads on which they can get to work. They need sensible laws which are approved by a majority, while keeping in mind the protection of the minorities. They need laws that benefit the majority, and they need those laws enforced equitably. They need government without the necessity of bribes, or knowing the right person to get the visa, work permit, import permit, stamp, etc. They need respect, and they expect YOU to set the example.

The people, Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti, need respect. Respect is not alleviating people of their debts; they were grown ups and signed the papers. Respect is looking to the future, preparing for the day when the oil no longer flows.

Disrespect for the people is posturing and making ridiculous accusations, rushing to buy the newspaper when it comes out to see if your accusation made the headlines.

Disrespect is calling for the resignation of the Education Minister when a deranged former prisoner streaks naked through a classroom, when that minister is trying to upgrade a seriously degraded education system.

Disrespect is making promises to people that you can’t keep, and promises that treat the citizens like welfare recipients and not people of a long and proud merchant and trading tradition.

Disrespect is making laws that “protect” women, while putting barriers in their way, preventing their ability to compete equally for jobs and pay and citizenship for their children.

Here is the way grown-ups solve problems: they negotiate. They ask questions. And after they have asked a question, they listen to the answer. Good government by the people involves a lot of give and take, it involves flexibility, it involves respect for your neighbor and his or her beliefs. It requires looking for inclusive solutions.

The current buzz is that Parliament will once again be dissolved. I can only imagine that the Emir would choose to do that only as a very last resort, and with a sickened heart; sick that elected officials cannot get on with the work of government and must be sent to “time out” like a group of naughty children.

Put away your grills. Dig deep, dig up the manners you were taught as proud Kuwaitis. Man up. Kuwait needs ministerial leadership willing to make the tough calls to get them through the current crisis and to plan for a long and abundant future.

I am not Kuwaiti – and living here, I have met some of the most amazing and wonderful Kuwaitis, people in whom I have the utmost confidence Kuwait has a promising future. I meet people who care about Kuwait passionately, who are raising their own children with care and attention, and who are looking at the big picture.

Change can happen. Change can truly happen in Kuwait. It can only happen if people of good will meet together, listen to one another, and break this gridlock, break this stalemate. To move forward will require new thinking, new faith in one another and in the transparent processes. It can be done. 🙂 Yes, it can.

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