The New Kuwait


An electrical generator depot burning in Faiha following an explosion.

If what I am about to convey to you seems grim, it’s because it’s the truth, and the truth usually is that way.

In my opinion, Kuwait is not what it used to be. I don’t mean the advancement in economic and educational levels, I mean on a social, ethical level. For example, it used to be the case, back when I was growing up, that when a policeman passed by, people would actually respect the authority he represented. Nowadays, police officers get scolded whenever they try to do their job of regulating the speed laws, thanks to glorified MP’s who come-a-running whenever the guilty parties cry “wolf’!

It’s a shame to see Kuwait in the state it’s in right now; Economic uncertainty, Environmental time-bombs, Political instability, Geo-political threats, Social discord (despite what the naysayers say!), and through it all, a shadowy, semi-dominant authority rules over all, pitilessly exercising it’s power of coercion and manipulation in between the cracks of jurisprudence and double-meanings in order to either quietly privatize or blatantly rip off the entire state, leaving nothing but polluted crumbs for the rest of the populace to fight over.

Think I’m exaggerating? Consider this:

  • It’s been almost a month since the Mishref Sewage Plant disaster and the investigation is still ongoing as to exactly who was to blame between the Ministry of Public Works and the Contractor! Ironically, though, this issue was flagged as a potential problem by the Green Line Environmental Group back in 2007, and was issued in a report to the Ministry back then. At the same time, local newspapers report on Kuwait’s Oil investments in Vietnam and China, in light of the global economic downturn and potential reduction of Oil supplies in the region. One has to ask where all this money came from, and where will it go.
  • Government schools have just opened up their gates for the beginning of the school year and the MP’s are still shouting over the decision to ‘endanger the children with the Swine Flu epidemic’, as well as the usual drivel regarding the lack of preparedness in confronting Swine Flu and addressing educational needs! Also, Funnily enough, the recent decision by Kuwait University to raise the minimum acceptance requirements for new students because they are pushing the notion that a 3.0 GPA is better than a 2.8 GPA simply because the University “doesn’t have enough seats!” -If you don’t believe that one, just look at today’s Al Qabas newspaper!
  • The Government pushes Parliament to issue a new law that penalizes whoever ‘endangers the national unity, whether in deeds or in words’, while simultaneously allowing a football match to take place between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi teams – despite local sensitivities on such issues – and begins to internationally endorse the notion that it’s contemplating Iraq’s suggestion to restructure Iraqi debt owed to Kuwait! On this particular note, and to put it clearly, this Kuwaiti (me) is definitely not in favor of these decisions; I believe Iraq should remain indebted to Kuwait until all dues are paid, in complete accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions. Such is the way of ‘civilized’ and ‘educated ‘societies, and not tribal ones.

While all this is happening, some MP’s are calling onto the Government to curb ‘illegal Disco Clubs’ in Kuwait as it is in conflict with social morals and standards!

Never mind the MP whose son is the chairman of a company that extorts salaries from poor expat workers, never mind the MP whose KD5 Million check bounced and has been ‘out of sight’ for the past 4 months, and is nowhere to be found, never mind the MPs who paid, bartered & coerced their constituents for votes just to get elected to parliament.

Instead of focusing on pressuring the Government to clamp down on the rising problems of housing, health and education – like we voted them to do -these characters are asking the government to instead clamp down on illegal acts of immorality in Kuwait and its Islands, as if Kuwait was one big Playboy Mansion!

Unfortunately, this is the New Kuwait, a country with laws but no responsible lawmen, a country with a government that is not governing as it should, a country with rights that are not given. In short, a country with no foreseeable future except the inevitable collapse.

In one of my older posts, I mentioned that “What we need to do is dare to think outside the confines of our traditionalist ways, and encourage other to do so as well. ” How many of us are actually prepared to do that, I wonder.

People need to change the way the State’s Authority is practiced and implemented in a manner that commensurate with their own credibility and reputation. I say “people” because this is still a Democracy, governed by the People for the People, and not a state that is governed by a handful of royals, loudmouth MP’s and Fundamentalists who are out for their own gains. We are still living on this land, and we deserve better. Keeping in mind the feebleness of the individual needy constituent when it comes to his own personal gains, the corrupt MP will eventually find it extremely difficult to succeed if he is constantly confronted with people who aren’t afraid to lose some personal privileges for the sake of the ‘Greater Good’ that is Kuwait’s future prosperity. This will inevitably turn the Parliament into a more effective tool in the face of the Government, who will come to respect (not fear) it’s wishes and demands, and eventually do some good for a change.

To make a long story short: If you want to change something, change yourself first, only then will other changes eventually follow. This is what happens to prosperous societies such as those of Singapore, Post-WWII Europe, Japan, China, and yes, even the United States!

Ironically, what has clearly been prescribed in the Holy Quran is being shunned, very few of us actually attempt to better ourselves as people – we tend to negate life’s priorities. Yet we can easily call ourselves “Muslims” just because we speak casually in classical Arabic with heavy religious undertones, grow our beards, perform the five basic tenets of Shahada, Prayers, Paying Zakat, Hajj and Fast during Ramadan while we threaten the Government with feeble, idiotic threats if nothing’s been done to curb social deviance? That’s the double standard Mr. Islamic MP according to any dictionary you pick up.

Islam – the religion as a whole – is not simply a set of rules or regulations, it’s a covenant with the Creator to be the best you can be while ensuring that the lives of other people all around you are equally improved, whether you’re a leader or a follower. Personally, I feel sorry for the candidates, who buy into the lies and deception; I sincerely hope that change is for the better, socially before officially, and we can finally rid ourselves from all those loudmouths who thrive on social misconduct and use it as fodder for their political gains. One can only hope, especially one in despair.

If, however, some of you think that it’s not all that bad and things are actually better than the apocalyptic scene I just presented, I hope you’ll excuse me if I present you with these words of wisdom!

9 thoughts on “The New Kuwait

  1. Humans will always be human. Because of our small population and the fact that we have a slight economic edge over some thoer countries we assume that our problems will be solved by that.
    Unfortunately changeing someones attitude is dam nnear next to impossible and that is what is required here. People need ot stop usingpre-wired notions that they cant justify and need to think before they act regardless of whether it’s with regards to cupcakes from dean and deluca despite the fact that everyone thinks they are pregnant again from all the fat they harbour or that phone bill they will never pay or the fact that they’d rather call up their buddy from the dewaniya to sort thing out with regards to paperwork than go and anstand in line. People just need to think before they act. The minute they start doing that things will begin to improve.

  2. Finally, a thoughtful and a reflective post.
    I still believe that the change can be bought by a handful who cross the threshold by strong example and focus.
    We need more of those who can see simple facts as simple facts and use common sense to connect things.
    The seriousness of progress in real sense is clouded with false prosperity. This post shouts at the top of its lungs to see the truth and be honest to oneself.
    ~ Soul

  3. Quiet a good one and is really very critical of the day by day deteriorating situation in here. At the same time it makes us wonder we might lose another good blog.
    Reminds us expats, that indeed there a VERY FEW good citizens of this country out there. But again I would like to stress the words VERY FEW here, because that really is the hole that is sinking this country. Anyway keep nice things like this coming every now and then and Insha Allah lets hope a miracle to happen to set all things straight.

  4. be the change you want to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi (co-incidentally, his b’day was on the 02nd of Oct.)
    Powerful words to be followed by all..

  5. Sometimes as a foreigner in Kuwait, I don’t feel my words on the subject hold as much value as when a Kuwaiti says them. You have reflected how many of us feel; regardless of nationality, but who love this country. Thank you for a very straight-forward and insightful article.
    Kuwait is still being raped – this time by many of those in power. This country has SO MUCH potential and it is being wasted in discussion of nonsense.

  6. Freedom but no freedom.
    The macro view isn’t that ‘free’ as we see it in the micro version of Kuwait.
    The diplomats can sense that unsaid binding terms and conditions, don’t they ?
    ~ Soul

  7. You have the freedom to vote and write (within parameters) but not the freedom to see a banned film, a banned play, or walk to the nearest Borders Book and Music and get the latest books like in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain or UAE.
    You have political freedom but not a personal one.
    Let me guess this year’s ‘Book Fair’ is also full of cookery and religious books?

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