Category Archives: MISCELLANEOUS

Kuwait’s ‘Islamic’ Dictatorship


Kuwait has been an official state since it’s independence from Great Britain in 1961, further back it was an official political entity since the 1922 Treaty of Uqair. Even further back during the 18th Century, it was a thriving sea port for the busy spice trade between East and West, and even before that, during the 17th Century, it started as a settlement for Bedouin tribes seeking refuge from massive seasonal drought around the Arabian Peninsula. Indeed, the earliest recorded history of the State of Kuwait goes back to the year 1613.

Throughout Kuwait’s history, no religious animosity was demonstrated, no sectarian bigotry was recorded, and indeed, no religious affiliations were bragged about, until Oil created wealth, which in turn created education, which was (at the time) heavily influenced with Arabism and Pan-Arab ideals and values.

Kuwaitis thrived on their own self-disciplined tolerance and peaceful co-existence, not just with themselves, but with other people as well. When the Saudi Monarch Abdulaziz Ibn Saud and his family were overthrown by the Al Rasheed, they sought refuge in Kuwait. When Sa’adun Pasha, leader of the Muntafiq Tribe fled the Ottoman Wali in Basrah, he sought refuge in Kuwait. When the Israelis attacked Palestinian villages and kicked them out of their own homes, Kuwait offered them a temporary home, all 400’000 of them, until some of them turned rogue and bought into Saddam’s lies. The same goes for the Lebanese, the same goes for many others.

This short and brief history describes Kuwait as a haven for freedoms and liberties, and if one goes into more detail in this regard, one can clearly outline the massive tolerance of the Kuwaitis, people and government, throughout its history. All this was done without any Islamic Political Movements like HADAS and the Salafists dictating religion to the masses.

Fast-forward to the present day, and here’s what we get:

1-Women must wear the Hijab when in Parliament.
2-Women must have the authorization of their guardians in order to get a Passport (Edit: This was annulled by the Constitutional Court last week)
3-Voting for women is “Haram.”
4-Women and Men must wear admissible swimwear.
5-All Shisha (hubbly-bubbly) joints, cafes and restaurants are to close by midnight.
6-Females saluting Males is “Haram.”
7-Standing up to the National Anthem is “Haram.”
(…and much more trivial stuff I can’t recall at the moment!)

What is being enforced on us as a people is not religion, nor is it a return to religious piousness, Kuwaitis were always pious, and observed religion (all religions) in ample fairness and respect to all the inhabitants, including Kuwaiti Jews and Christians, not including the many other denominations that came as expatriate workers, who helped build Kuwait up from a mud village into a city of skyscrapers and advanced financial institutions. All lived side by side in peace and respect, for both themselves and to others, ever since the 18th Century. They never needed people like some of today’s MP’s dictating religion and claiming their God-given destiny to bring back the populace to its religious piousness. Those people do not represent me, and as far as I’m concerned, they don’t represent what Kuwait stands for. Moreover, had they truly been Kuwaitis, and had they known Kuwait’s true history of tolerance and respect, they wouldn’t have brought these complications up in the first place!

I believe in Democracy. I believe it can work in Kuwait, and I believe in free speech. I condone these values, as someone who ‘at least’ believes in equality for all. What I don’t believe in, and what I can’t condone, is a weak and fearful reactionary government that responds favorably to idle threats made by socially insignificant malcontents and religious zealots who think that, just because they can hold a group prayer in mosques, that automatically makes them leaders and protectors of the people’s religious values.

Drawing from my own ‘limited’ experience, it’s very hard to be a leader. You need charisma, intellect, objectivity, tolerance, a belief in oneself and one’s plight. Most of all, however, you need a consensus of opinion. This can only be brought about through open, frank and fair dialogue between the opposite sides.

Evoking a Fatwa that restricts personal freedoms, and then forcing the Government to implement this Fatwa, in direct conflict with the country’s constitution, is not a consensus, it’s a dictatorship! At the very least, it’s the beginnings of a state where the power of the few overrules the rights of the many, where the law of the land is the rule of men, not of the Law, where there is no protection for civil liberties, where there is no tolerance for any form of political opposition when men in power invoke religion, and where allegiances are made and created through socialization and blind allegiance.

This type of state is an Authoritarian state, it is the middle ground between Democratization and Dictatorship, and right now, we’re witnessing Kuwait moving through this middle ground towards a Dictatorship. This is a dangerous time for Kuwait’s Democracy, and I fear that MPs such as Mohamed Hayef’s (and other like-minded individuals) recent collective uproars are precursors of even more sinister things to come.

“What is past is prologue”
– William Shakespeare

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!

IREX and Kuwait Bloggers Sponsor Kuwait’s 1st Blogging Workshop

irex kuwait.JPG

The International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX)*, in association with a group of active and experienced bloggers, is sponsoring a workshop on September 28 in Kuwait . The event will be held at Marina

at 7:15pm.

The workshop will provide local bloggers and members of the public interested in on-line media and citizen journalism with the opportunity to learn more about issues affecting freedom of expression and the internet in Kuwait.

Panelists and participants will discuss:

  • The Growth of Blogging in Kuwait.
  • The Effect of Blogging on Public Debate and the Traditional media.
  • How to Create and Maintain a Successful Blog.
  • Legal Concerns and Restrictions on Bloggers.

The panelists:

Bader Al-Furaih (founder of Kuwait blogs and Safat)

Reem Al-Shammari

Abdullatif Al-Omar

Hasan Ramadan

Zayed Al-Zaid

Mohammed AbdulQader Al-Jasem

The panel will be moderated by veteran blogger and occasional Hilaliya Guest Writer Mohamed Al-Yousifi (

To register for the event please go to:

This event is open to the public.

For more information please contact us on 66189918

August 2nd

As the state wrangles over Iraqi UN compensation payments, rising corruption, unemployment, visa trafficking, electricity and water dilemmas, and a myriad of other usual problems, let us look back at August 2nd, the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait (that’s right Mr. Kuwait Government, the Iraqi invasion and occupation, not the ‘Baathist‘ invasion, not the ‘Saddamist’ occupation – you can’t rewrite history).

There is nothing to say really. It’s all been said elsewhere and it’s all been said in the following article ‘A Soldier’s Diary: A Kuwaiti Volunteer Looks Back at ‘Liberation’ – you’ll know what we went through and how we feel about Kuwait in its current incarnation.

بين سيمبا و موفازا

في البداية أود التوجه بالشكر الجزيل للأخ العزيز عامر الهلال على دعوته الكريمة للكتابة في مدونته التي يُطلق عليها اسم ديوانية المدونين , و في الحقيقة كنت مترددا للكتابة في مدونة هلالية كون أغلب قراءها اعتادوا على قراءة المواضيع المكتوبة باللغة الانجيليزية , و لكني قلت لنفسي اكتب يا ولد واللي فيها فيها , شكرا مرة أخرى


منذ قدوم ابنتي سلمى الى هذا العالم و أنا أحاول جاهدا تجاهل دخولي عالم الأُبوّة و الابتعاد المتعمد عن التصرف كـ رب أسرة حاله حال بقية الآباء , ربما كان السبب في ذلك احساسي العميق بأني لا أزال شاب مراهق يعيش الحياة بحرية و بلا التزام , و عادة ما تبدأ المعركة قبل موعد السفر مع زوجتي – و حماتي – كوني كنت أرفض رفضا تاماً اصطحاب سلمى معنا في السفر قبل بلوغها سن الخامسة نعم , أنا أريد أن اكون الطير الحر الذي لا يضطر الى دز العربانة أو التوقف عن التجول في المجمع التجاري لاطعام ابنته في موعد وجباتها الخاصة أو أخذها الى الحمام استجابة لنداء الطبيعة , و لكن ماذا أقول ؟ فقد نجحت المدام – و حماتي – في اجباري على اصطحاب سلمى لرحلتي اللندنية الأخيرة لا أنكر بالطبع أن السفر لأول مرة كـ أب له متعة خاصة لم أكن أشعر بها من قبل , فمتابعة و ترقب ردة فعل الأطفال و هم يكتشفون العالم الجديد شعور ممتع فعلا , فهي لأول مرة تشاهد حديقة , و لأول مرة تشاهد شوارع التسوق , و لأول مرة تشاهد حيوانات غير مألوفة في بيئتنا الصحراوية كالسنجاب و البجعة و البط و الغراب و بما أني أحد هواة العروض المسرحية , فقد كان لا بد لي من أصطحابها الى مسرحية ليون كنج المعروفة , و قد كانت المسرحية ممتازة للاطفال من خلال الأغاني و الرقصات و الألوان و الديكورات و الشخصيات , الا أنني كنت طوال العرض مشغول عن بطل المسرحية سيمبا لمراقبة تفاعلات العلاقة بين الأبناء و الآباء بين الحضور و قد لفت نظري أحد الآباء الذين كانوا يجلسون في الصف الأمامي , فقد كان هذا الأب متحمسا للمسرحية أكثر من طفله , يفتعل الضحك بصوت عالي و يفتعل التفاعل مع أقل حركة لأي ممثل على المسرح محاولا لفت نظر ابنه لاستيعاب لحظة السعادة – الرائعة – التي يعيشونها معاً , لا أنكر أنني في البداية استهجنت ازعاج هذا الأب و كنت أود أن أقول له هوِّن عليك , فهذه مسرحية أطفال و الجميع يعرف القصة , حاول أن تقلل من الأكشن رحم الله والديك , الا أنني بعد تقمص شخصية سيجمونت فرويد أحسست بأن هذا الأب انسان مشغول في العمل طوال الوقت و هو لا يرى ابنه بالقدر الكافي مما يجعله يشعر بالذنب , و بالتأكيد سيحاول أن يستغل المسرحية للتقرب الى ابنه و مشاركته فرحته قبل أن ينتهي الويك إند و يعود كل منهم لمشاغله الخاصة و القطيعة لا أخفي عليكم أنني شعرت بالحزن قليلا عند هذه اللحظة , فقد بدأت أفكر بالانسان و حياته , فهو يقضي النصف الأول من حياته يقاتل للهرب من سلطة الآباء و يتذمر من سيطرتهم , و فور النجاح في التخلص منها و التمكن من استنشاق هواء الحرية و الاستقلال يتزوج الانسان , و ينجب الأبناء , ليجد نفسه فريسة فخ آخر و هو ارضاء الأبناء و الخضوع لهاجس التقصير عليهم و الشعور بالذنب الأزلي ان تعرضوا لمكروه بسببه هذا هو الانسان و هذا قدره , أما بالنسبة لـ سلمى , فقد استمتعت بأول ربع ساعة من المسرحية ثم استسلمت لسلطان النوم العميق , و لا عزاء للميتين باوند

Where Is The ‘Green’ In Kuwait?


Kuwait, large, empty patches and plots of desert land around homes, bridges, buildings – many in central Kuwait and inside neighborhoods – why can’t they beautify or ‘green’ the areas: palm trees, grass, parks – anything?

Kuwait should plant millions of palm trees like the UAE at least – if any city needs additional oxygen it’s hot, dusty Kuwait.

I am sure they can arrange a grossly overinflated tender for that…




Kuwait Should Be A Secular State


A Mosque In Downtown Kuwait

As radical as it may sound, the above title is absolutely true of all Democracies!

It is by no means contradictory to Islamic Sharia, far from it – It actually protects Islam and Sharia and all religions from misuse and misinterpretation, if only the opponents read wisely.

With all the factions coming up in Kuwaiti Politics these days – with each considering the other blasphemous – the political waters become murky to the electorate with regards to the choices they make.

If one considers that voting for HADAS or the Salafists, for example, would initiate the reshaping of the government into an Islamic one, the same would be true for the Shiite groups, the Liberals, the Tribalists, and so on.

To counter this fear – while providing equality to the entire population – the Kuwaiti Government needs to be reshaped Kuwait into a Secular State. Within this state, Religion is protected, in all its various forms and definitions, while the Rule of Law keeps it in check, so that no one religion or belief can demolish or defame the other. At the same time, the Government held accountable by each religious group so that no particular favoritism is given to any one group with regards to rights and obligations to the State and its Head.

This, in essence, is the very definition of a true Democracy. Anything else is a workaround. By that I mean, a twisting of the facts in order to address the development of a particular agenda that may or may not be productive to the society at large.

An ‘Islamic Democracy’ means the implementation of Sharia Law onto everyone, referenced by the power monger’s own interpretation of this Law, be it Wahaabist, Taliban, Hadas or Hezbolla.

A ‘Tribalist Democracy’ means the ‘Bani-Somethings’ exert their will and influence onto all those that are not of their tribe.

A ‘Liberal Democracy ‘means the right to throw wild Animal House style parties at college (to some, at least!) without concern for the more moderate of our society, and so on…

But the biggest threat of all, the one we are surely to face if these latest elections results don’t provide the needed results, is an Authoritarian Government, where the individual’s rights and obligations are subject to the whims of the ‘Ruling Elite’, unabated, unobstructed and unchallenged.

Here is where the line was drawn back in 1961/62, when Kuwaiti society decided to implement a constitution that would protect them and their generations from this type of rule. Here we are, 47 years later, deciding on what type of government to represent the people.

In my blog, I posted many entries about how to select and decide upon the right candidate for the job, and I’m reinforcing this point again here: By choosing wisely, all these political groups and their agenda’s will be limited it, but if they come into power, they will modify the government’s ‘modus operandi’ so that it becomes more ‘user friendly’ to their agenda, therefore, we the people will be at their ideological mercy.

In short, Kuwait should be a Secular State in order for all ideologies be absorbed and protected for their individual followers. Everyone has a right to think and say what he or she likes, as long as these actions to not infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others. Everyone should also have a right to be protected from corruption, as long as this protection is not extorted into a new form of corruption.

Pre-Marriage Checkup or ‘No Marriage’


The new marriage law providing for pre-marriage checkup will be in force on Sunday, August 2, 2009, Assistant Undersecretary of Kuwaiti Ministry of Health for Medical Services, Dr. Yousuf Al-Nesf announced Wednesday.


“The aim of the legislation is to ensure a healthy and happy family and eradicate the hereditary and communicable diseases in Kuwait”, said Dr. Yousef Al-Nesf during the announcement.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Al-Hamoud, supervisor of family affairs at the Justice Ministry, said if the results of the lab tests proved that the would-be marriage is unsafe due to the illness of one or both of the partners, the marriage contract would be cancelled.

“A marriage officer is authorized to solemnize a marriage only after receiving a certificate that verifies that the couple conducted a checkup and were physically fit,” Al-Hamoud reminded.

The survival of the fittest or is it catalyzing the process of being the fittest ?

Do we need to accelerate the nature’s process by adopting such rules?

Are we morally justified ?

And The Beat Goes On


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

George Bernard Shaw

Succesful Student Startups: Top Characteristics


We all understand that money can be a powerful motivation.

Most of us don’t realize it, until we starting making some money by ourselves at regular intervals of time.

Students can be enterprising, independent and smart.
The question is how ?

They can do a lot of multi-tasking with their studies, researching into unknown territories, coordinating events, excelling at extra-curricular activities and so on.

Well that gets one, some good experience, dedication, time management skills, and people management.

However, students may be “Independent” financially.
Not because they are deprived of finances, but because it helps them understand the principles of generating money by their ideas.

How to convert an idea into a money making machine… ?

The product/service which probably may qualify to be a successful startup has certain characteristics such as:

  1. It caters to a specific need of a larger community or immediate smaller group
  2. It is easily accessible by different means (consider online access and never forget the traditional way)
  3. The demand for it is perpetual (lasting an indefinitely long time). It need not have to be in super high demand. It needs to be asked daily. E.g. Bread.
  4. It does not require a lot of investment at the beginning
  5. Can be coupled with other existing products/services (especially useful while starting, e.g. you can bundle your product or service with some other product/service. e.g. Think DELL and Microsoft)
  6. It can be started in a garage or in the basement. (no huge real estate requirements)
  7. Can be started with a single individual or two. Two is preferred.
  8. It can be described easily to an average individual
  9. Takes less time to monitor by the business owner (Spending an hour or two at the beginning should be suffice. Remember your primary objective is still to succeed at studies)
  10. Should be able to diversify
  11. Being aware of financial lessons which are not taught in classrooms, but gained by experience is a HUGE advantage when one graduates.

The idea here is not to make ONLY money, however in a long run, be able to learn how to shape an economy.

Once one masters certain principles of making money, money just keeps flowing.
Keep the input and output flow of money at almost the same rate.

Keep the money always flowing, never keep it static.
Otherwise one runs a big risk of not making more or even losing it.