All posts by Hilaliya

About Hilaliya

Founder & Webmaster www.hilaliya.com.

And The Beat Goes On

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“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul”.

George Bernard Shaw

The Disintegration Of Kuwait

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A few days ago I attended a conference in Dubai.

I attempted to check in at the ‘Kuwait Airways’ desk at Dubai Airport, amidst a frenzied crowd, and was told there was ‘an eight hour delay from the ‘Kuwait Airways’ side’

The crowd around me, consisting of families and businessmen were cursing the state (“What is wrong with our country?” and “Why are they refusing to develop it – where is our money going?”). There was anger in the crowd, pure venom. They didn’t care if Emirati citizens or foreigners were listening – they have had it with Kuwait’s lack of services and mean, tight-fisted ways and they were verbally generous.

We scurried, managing to transfer our tickets to Emirates Airlines – departing at the original KA time – at the brand new, gleaming, high-tech Terminal Three (there was a work-in-progress metro rail outside that looked like something out of ‘Epcot’).

The trip was smooth. Even in Economy passengers were treated with the utmost respect and service was excellent (if it were Economy in ‘Kuwait Airways’ the personnel would have treated us all like garbage, especially the Asians).

A perfect landing by the Emirates pilot was briefly interrupted by a screeching brake.

We are sorry ladies and gentleman, there was a driver who managed to speed across our tarmac during our arrival,” said the pilot. Passengers burst out laughing, “Yes, we definitely are in Kuwait now!” they hollered.

We exited our planes and were met with crowds of laborers and tourists, cigarette smoke, filthy ambience, dim lighting and the obligatory pink airport signs – yes we had arrived at Kuwait Airport, a far cry from whence we came. But hey, its home isn’t it. We were relieved and content.

Two days later, the electricity goes off in my neighborhood, for three hours. The Ministry of Electricity’s line was constantly busy. I went to check the local transformer/electrical building and found expatriate Ministry of Electricity technicians waiting, unable to do anything (“Please call the Ministry,” they implored me, “we are waiting for the hajji Kuwaiti engineer.”). They wanted my help in contacting their ministry – think about that for a minute.

This morning I open a newspaper and see quotes by Ministry of Electricity Under-Secretaries admitting there will be more power cuts this summer. Bloggers and columnists have been writing about this crisis for over five years – why didn’t the government do anything about it? Oh wait, they spent half a billion on decrepit generators that didn’t do the job – genius.

Let me say one thing to the movers and shakers (and I know for a fact you, your kids and your relatives follow this and other blogs): enough is enough, get your heads out of your posteriors, forget your egotistical, tired summits and conferences, and get working for the state, for this country. It is time you provided basic services to people without humiliating them – there is a resentment and anger towards government and officials in this country that you are not aware of.

We are a rich country. Use our resources wisely and work for us – that is what you are there for: public service.

Patience is not indefinite. And God won’t forgive those who don’t take care of their flock.

Kuwait Has Done Its Bit

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We’ve done our bit.

Now the Government needs to step up to the plate.

Congratulations Kuwait

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L-Right (Aseel Al-Awadi, Rola Dashti, Salwa Al-Jassar and Masouma Mubarak) L-Three: Stephanie McGehee/Reuters; right, Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP-Getty Images

Our faith in the system and people of Kuwait was reaffirmed today.

Following years of uncertainty and gridlock, the people of Kuwait have voted for change. I am certainly in high spirits, and relieved. We were hoping one or two women would make it in, we got four!

Some newcomer independents also won and ‘Hadas’ took a big hit in the 3rd District (my district). The ‘fatwas’ and mudslinging by xenophobic elements towards women and progressive candidates backfired, reenergizing and intensifying support for them.

Congratulations to the qualified ladies and newcomers.

Deja-Vu Kuwait ‘Election Day’ – Third Time The Charm?

Rain in Islam is a blessed event, and it rained slightly today on ‘Election Day’ (our third in over three years). Hopefully, it is a positive omen of things to come.

Voting took a maximum of ten minutes, including a detour by a Candidate (who gave the obligatory two minute campaign speech) on my way to voting.

It seemed very quiet this year, with reports of low voter turnouts from all the districts.

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Let us hope the third time is the charm.

Here are a couple of previous stories: last year’s ‘Election Day’ (2008) post ‘Casting The Ballot In Kuwait’ and the prior post ‘It’s Over, I Voted’ (2006).

Word To The Wise

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Remember.

One week to elections.

Please don’t vote for people who don’t respect women’s political rights, who court and fund foreign extremist elements, who auction their shoes for so-called ‘freedom fighters,’ who lambast the Prime Minister yet accept funds from him, who issue fatwas based on personal interests and who accept ‘campaign contributions’ from foreign citizens.

Here endeth the speech.

Your Criterion And The Candidate

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‘National Assembly’ Extension

May 16th, Election Day, is on the horizon.

People often ask what my personal criterion is in electing someone – some of it instinctual, most of it is real politik-based, in other words, candidates who perform their duties in a realistic, level-headed manner with the national interests at heart, devoid of extremist, foreign ideologies and immune to the vaults of riches and personal self-aggrandizement.

In many cases, however, there are candidates who are smart, educated, progressive but don’t particularly fit a ‘code,’ a set of questions that I mentally scrutinize concerning the candidate:

  • Who will the candidate support as ‘Speaker of the Parliament’?

  • Will the candidate accept a cabinet position?

  • Does the candidate have any business interests with the state?

There are a couple of exceptional candidates, from both genders, look impressive on paper, but offering them a vote would be fruitless – they wouldn’t meet the aforementioned benchmarks. I don’t know about you, but I am not in the business of electing individuals interested in cabinet positions (or in individuals who enjoy the ‘status quo’) – to me those are wasted votes.

What are your personal benchmarks for the ideal candidate?

Kuwait Political Fatigue.

Political fatigue and cynicism are in the air. People aren’t even into election rallies. And the ones who are, hear the same tales of ‘If I am elected.’ Newspapers are tedious to read. Late night TV shows featuring candidates have become deja vu. There are some candidates who aren’t even running because they fear parliament might be disbanded again.

People fear even if they vote right, the government will deliberately hijack its own political process baiting the ‘Problem MP’s’ by imposing Defense Minister Sheik Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah as Prime Minister on them and that in itself will court trouble and controversy.

Even if the government doesn’t impose the Defence Minister on Parliament, the same schtick will occur: there will be a session or two of Parliament followed by a four month hiatus. They will reconvene in October, the government will hand in a lacklustre ‘cut and paste’ development program and the Parliament will go haywire. Then we all get hit by an ‘unconstitutional dissolution.

Will that stop me for voting? Of course not – after all I can spare an hour on May 16.

Do I think my vote will make a difference on Election Day? No.

Space Age Surra Co-op

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The above shot is of the proposed Surra Co-op (under construction); it has a bold, futuristic vibe.

Hayef And ‘The Nude Bomb’

David Niven and ‘The Streaker.’

Mohammad Hayef Al-Mutairi, former MP, self-appointed ‘defender of public morality and public property’, a man who makes the Spanish Inquisition’s Tom├ís de Torquemada look like a member of the ‘Vienna Boys’ Choir,’ is at it again. Apparently his Parliamentary skills (or lack thereof) seem to revolve around a ‘weekly ‘insert item’ lambasting’ technique. One week it’s diwaniyas, another it’s public funds, followed by how the act of female officers saluting is ‘haram‘ and so forth. Now all of this would be fine and dandy if it were just hot air, but when he does it, governments collapse.

This week Hayef’s hang-up involves a naked man on KTV3. According to the ‘Arab Times’:

“Urging the ministry to immediately open an investigation on the issue, Al-Mutairi asked about the role of the committee tasked to edit shows before airing them. He also inquired about the procedures taken to identify those who committed the mistake and prevent its recurrence in the future.According to the source, Kuwait TV Channel 3, on Tuesday evening showed a completely naked man – one of the participants in a European Ski Tournament. Al-Mutairi pointed out there is no room for indecent images in a conservative country like Kuwait. “We prohibit the publication of immoral photographs or showing of pornographic films in the country, how much more the airing of a naked man in television,” he asserted.

First of all, the former MP’s biggest mistake was promoting KTV – is there anyone in their right mind who still watches it? And when I say ‘right mind’ I mean people who don’t think ‘Moby Dick’ is a venereal disease or who think Charlton Heston kissing a female ape is heretical.

Sometimes you just gotta let things go. We need more David Nivens in Kuwait and less Hayefs.