It’s all over the wires now (LINK):
“The one million citizens of Kuwait, where government financial assets have topped $166bn, are to receive a grant of 200 dinars ($690) each, the government announced on Sunday.
“In accordance with directives by the emir, the cabinet decided to provide all Kuwaiti citizens with a grant of 200 dinars each,” state minister for cabinet affairs Ismail al-Shatti said after the cabinet weekly meeting”.
I have a suggestion: How about the government keeps its meagre KD 200 and offer us the following:
* Uninterrupted water.
* Strong infrastructure.
* Decent health care and hospitals in all areas.
* Eliminate or lessen bureacracy.
* Shares to all citizens in newly privatized companies.
* A “Vision” for the future of Kuwait and its citizens.
* Decent jobs without glass ceilings to young people.
* Clean up the environment and limit toxic and environmental waste from oil companies and factories.
I’ll take any of the above goals as opposed to getting KD 200 every few years while the country makes billions off oil unable to efficiently spend or nurture the revenue.
Oh, I almost forgot, the public would also appreciate stable internet that doesn’t “break” days or weeks on end (I can’t even imagine how financial and public institutions are coping with this).
In a welcome and positive move, the newly-sworn in Kuwaiti Cabinet has agreed to pass the “5 Constituencies” draft bill (Click HERE for the AFP article)
The reformers, the “Orange” activists made a difference; politics fused with social conscience can work. The demonstrations, the blog articles, the marches, the uploaded videos and satellite feeds, the role the young reformers played alongside reformist MPs, and most of all, the men and women who ventured into 50 degree heat and voted for reformers, all made history. Everyone played a part, everyone had good days and bad days, everyone got knocked down on their derrieres, but that’s fine because Kuwait is bigger than all of us.
Let us hope that the Government – who listened to the people and formed a cabinet in tune with the demands of the public – and the National Assembly start off working on positive lines towards the wellbeing and development of the country.
Are our problems over? Will corruption suddenly be eradicated from all of Kuwait? Will major projects suddenly materialize, upgrading infrastructure and services to citizens, as well as additional sources of revenue for the country?
No. But passing 5 Constituencies is a step in the right direction. Kuwait has wasted a lot of precious time already.
We all have a lot of catching up to do.
“The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved”.
CONFUCIOUS (551 BC – 479 BC)
People Want Decisive Action, Tangible Accomplishments
By Amer Al-Hilal
Reprinted from Arab Times (6th July, 2006)
Elections are over. The people have spoken. The new Parliament is an opposition one in the true sense of the word. The reform movement is as formidable as ever and its main defenders in Parliament have returned imbued with a sense of energy and determination.
Even with 25 Constituencies and unlimited resources, the government and its supporters could not extinguish the flames of reform and the vociferous spirit rallying against corruption. Last minute “yellow journalism,” interviews with tainted Ministers and empty talk about “national unity” could not dispel how people felt both about corruption and the aimless, unproductive role the government has played during the last few years. Infrastructure problems such as the water shortage issue only augmented people’s frustrations at the government, a government that has failed consecutively to advance Kuwait into the 21st century.
The ball is in the government’s court now. The people and the Parliament have demanded that certain individuals do not return to a new cabinet and that the government take a heightened stand against corruption – prevalent in all of Kuwait not just government bodies – which taints everything it touches whether it be housing, social issues, technological upgrades, among other issues. Corruption is no longer a symptom of a failed society; it is now an ailment which not only menaces all of Kuwait but renders it impotent.
If the government is serious about privatization, upgrading Northern oil fields, improving health care and the environment, tackling unemployment and creating new jobs, then it needs to listen to the Kuwaiti street. Nevertheless, we want things done right, if the government upgrades or privatizes, we want a transparent mechanism that benefits the Kuwaiti citizen, not some Tom, Dick or Harry who is “close to the inner circle.”
The government cannot blame Saddam or Iraq for the lack of progress and development in Kuwait. There are no more internal problems within the branches of the Ruling Family impeding progress. Oil is not at $7 a barrel. There are no more scapegoats.
People want decisive action and tangible accomplishments. They are tired of rhetoric concerning ‘national unity’ and ‘navigators steering the Kuwaiti ship safely to shore’ and all the other useless jargon the public has been spoon-fed the last quarter of a century.
If the government is serious about reform, it will help pass 5 Constituencies (or even one Constituency) it will eradicate corrupt elements from future cabinets, it will work on a plan to upgrade Kuwait’s infrastructure and seriously analyze the needs of the young Kuwaiti men and women coming of age who need decent jobs, security and prosperity to help build this country.
However, if the government chooses the defiant route ignoring the will of the people, then we all tumble into another political abyss the results of which will not be pretty and the government will not be able to blame its incompetent performance on “internal elements hurting Kuwait’s national unity.”
During my years as a diplomat in Washington D.C., I presented dozens of briefings and lectures on the Kuwaiti-American bilateral relationship to a wide demographic of American citizens (‘think-thank’ analysts, lobbyists, students, military personnel) and a guaranteed effective icebreaker would be the following statement:
“Following the invasion of Kuwait, your Embassy – situated on our Gulf Road – was probably your only one in the world with pro-American graffiti on the walls.”
Behind the humor was a heartfelt statement symbolizing the gratitude and affection Kuwaitis held and – still hold – for the United States due to its liberation of Kuwait and continued support of peace and stability in the region.
I think the following quote by Italian Director Sergio Leone best sums up how we all feel about America:
“America is really the property of the world, and not only of the Americans, who, among other things, have the habit of diluting the wine of their mythical ideas with the water of the American Way of Life. America was something dreamed by philosophers, vagabonds and the wretched of the earth before it was discovered by Spanish ships and populated by colonies of the world.”
Today is the United States’ birthday, its day of independence. Kuwaitis salute your people and wish them peace, happiness and prosperity.