Saturday, June 09, 2007

My Reaction: لأجل الكويت

I recently received an email that addressed the sad state that Kuwait is in. It asked for any sort of helping hand or voice to aid in triggering our country’s betterment in any way. Personally, I think that this illustrates the deplorable disease that is gradually leading to our home’s downfall.

I thought long and hard about this topic and one of the conclusions that has burdened me on a personal basis is the absence of a national symbol other than the fluff we see splattered on billboards and walls portraying abnormally iridescent and rather fake smiles that disguise the corruption and dishonorable management of our government and land. During the 1960’s, there was a nationalistic movement that included the Arab Cause; however, in the 1970’s, hope for unity and justice faced a faction that hampered down any progressive advancement and thus, weighed down sincere efforts toward our nation’s flourish. Symbols of patriotism and pride started to vanish during this time. In the previous years, Kuwaitis used to honor and salute the Arabic Nation with enthusiasm and respect. Yet now, the Arabic Nation has disappeared and has pulled Kuwait down with it.

One of the factors that led to the loss of a national symbol of Kuwait is globalization. The spread of global culture particularly that of the West, from films, politics to all sorts of entertaining elements that foster the idyllic and quite unrealistic life that is seen being led in the movies has seduced us into believing that the essence of our mores is inferior and subordinate; it has led to the disfigurement of our culture as well as doubting the traditions of other Arab countries.

Kuwait’s national symbols were dedicated to their cause throughout the 1960’s until the 1980’s, with their efforts resulting in our home’s social and political improvement. Yet after that period, our country’s regression gradually started its backwards fall that contradicts the deep values that our country embraces, values such as decency, humbleness, honor, ambition and honesty. Now I am not going to name any names or point fingers at any members of the ruling family who hog both governmental positions that quickly reflect one’s inability to deal with integrity and righteousness or people from a specific class in society or others who abuse their family name as well as flit around town in their daily tasks that include large scale robberies and theft, but each day, we let out a distraught sigh as we read boldly printed names of individuals in our society that have not really given anything back to Kuwait. Heck, they have done quite the opposite. Unfortunately, our wise government continues to boast about the so-called good deeds of these people to such an extent that streets and schools were named after these scumbags who are also known as happy-go-lucky public figures.

I asked myself, “How can we strengthen and glorify Kuwait’s fading dignity and honor?”

1- Interlacing national symbols with the government: Let us take the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an example. Instead of placing base and thieving persons who bask in their comfortable private jets heading to God knows where, why doesn’t the government grant the title to nationalistic, enlightened and sincere individuals? There has to be some sort of attempt to battle off unprincipled and fraudulent people and assist the rise of those with a clean conscious and high ethical standards in order to guarantee a promising future for each and every Kuwaiti civilian.

2- Lessening the spread of global culture: I think it is every Kuwaitis obligation to preserve our national identity. “But doesn’t that mean that we’ll be seen as narrow-minded and not open to any sort of change?” Well my dear reader, have you ever heard of the saying “The French are very French?” For years, France has turned its back to the American culture’s captivating everything. From the upkeep of almost every historical site – starting from the conservation of its cobblestone streets and ending with world renowned structures and statues – to the constant commemoration of historical dates, individuals and occasions, France is certainly a leader in safeguarding its identity from the undistinguished mass of global culture.

3- The most significant happening that Kuwait underwent is the Iraqi invasion in 1990. However, what was learned from it? How many streets, schools and districts were named after the 600+ prisoners of war whose blood was shed for a country that now clearly does not value their worthy lives? To this day, nothing was named after the prisoner of war Faisal Al-Sane’a, who is one of the many nationalistic elements that ceased to be for the sake of Kuwait. Personally, I think that governmental institutions are doing an extremely lousy job of making everyone relive the hard times that Kuwait went through. “But why would anyone want to remember those days filled with grim death?” Let us look at our frizzy haired, crooked nosed and quite homely Jewish cousins. Whenever someone mentions World War II, one of the first things that come to mind is the Holocaust and specifically, the annihilation of the Jewish people – who were among the mentally and physically sick, elderly, gays/lesbians, gypsies and other social outcasts in the deliberate obliteration of “burdensome” people that hampered economic and social growth - who were living in Europe during that time. Although that was more than sixty years ago, almost every single Jewish individual has a firm grip on the struggles that their ancestors endured. Remembering and reviving historical events is one of the factors that makes the Jewish people determined, secure and motivated as well as an aspect that nurtures the drive to continue cultivating their distinct culture. And what has our government done? In the early 1990’s, there was a radio program called “Tales of the Invasion” (أحاديث الغزو). The program was simply a raw and real documentary that recounted first-hand interviews with Kuwaiti army officers, volunteers, family members and other Kuwaitis who told their personal stories that occurred during the Iraqi invasion. However, some people frowned in hurt, “We do not want to hear of such depressing things,” and members of the Kuwaiti government as well as those who did not want to shed light upon members of a particular family that fled and abandoned Kuwait during the start of the invasion quickly sealed off the broadcasting of genuine Kuwaiti history. Today, the 2nd of August passes by us as if it is just another day and not the first date that marks the invasion of our country. Instead of turning a blind eye to our past, we must embrace and honor it as if the war has happened yesterday in order for our country’s future generation to inherit the weight of responsibility toward themselves and in turn, toward others.

4- Establishing a strong grip on democracy since it is the only guarantee of Kuwait’s existence. Throughout history, Kuwait was identified as a liberal port open to all people and ideas no matter how contradictory they are. Our country has met with a diverse and differing amount of ideologies before and after the discovery of petroleum, starting with the Arab Cause to Marxism to fundamentalism and many more philosophies that faced global opposition. Historically speaking, Kuwait has always held onto freedom of thought and demolishing democracy threatens the very foundation of our country’s survival. Fighting and sustaining democracy in Kuwait is key.

5- The fifth element is the Kuwaiti woman, for she has provided many services that benefited our country’s good. She has played a significant role in the nationalistic movement as well as taking a part in the resistance during the Iraqi invasion where a number of women lost their lives. How has the Kuwaiti government honored the Kuwaiti woman? Has anything been dubbed under a female’s name in Kuwait? It is as if the Kuwaiti government regards its female citizen as a shameful disgrace it continually veers away from in embarrassment! There are a lot of Luluwa Al-Qatami’s in our society who continue to fight with relentless will to establish and strengthen women’s dignity and voice as well as labor in tasks that promote the overall advancement of Kuwait. The case surrounding women in society becomes a serious and crucial issue when civilizations grow and develop and when freedom of thought is secured. However, when freedom of thought is silenced and when societies are bogged down by prejudice and ignorance that worsens a civilization until the point of collapse, we notice that women’s position becomes an irrelevant issue; it slowly weakens and fades away. For that reason, we have to pay particular attention to the Kuwaiti woman’s significant role in society by advocating her rights and honoring her imperative role in our country.

And that, my friends, is a wrap. Phew!


James Lavelle - Revolution
Basement Jaxx - Red Alert
Delerium Ft. Sarah MacLachlan - Silence
C-Mos - 2 Million Ways (Axwell Remix)
Axwell Ft. Steve Edwards - Watch the Sunrise
Crazy Penis - You Started Something

at 2:01 AM


  1. Blogger Equalizer posted at 10:57 AM  
    It is very difficult to maintain a culture without a foundation, and by that I mean a solid democratic governement. What we have here is a mess. A parliament with weak powers that is elected still on the basis of tribes / religion and ideological allignments, let alone the ones that bribe their way to their seats. Corruption is likely to flourish in such systems and as more and more citizens get disenfranchised in their own country they tend to dream about other places in the world. Hence adopting Western values and culture. Youngsters have no clue about what it used to be, but what it is (unfortunatley a disaster in the making) and looking for the better in other cultures will always be on their minds.
  2. Blogger Carly posted at 3:57 PM  
    You have voiced what I have been saying to my husband for years; although, I am an American, and it is not really my place to say it. From the first time I went to Kuwait, in the early 90's I wondered about what I saw, the demise of older Kuwaiti architecture/structures and their replacement with everything new. I am not just talking about buildings destroyed from the invasion either. I was excited when I was first coming to KW because as an artist, I was anxious to see Kuwait's expression of itself in its cultural venues. I imagined artistic flare somewhat, but smaller than, Morocco or Iran. I spent many days looking for it, but alas, it was not there.
    What I saw was pale imitations of western styles and culture. It was sad.
    As for the women issue...I don't see how one could even call Kuwaiti women citizens if her progeny is not considered Kuwaiti based on their mother's citizenship alone.
    I hope that Kuwait will reclaim itself, reclaim its Arabness in all of its *real* richness, and find what works for Kuwait and it *citizens* and inhabitants, not just the select few.
  3. Blogger Bu.Seif posted at 9:41 PM  
    As-Salaam 3alaikum--

    So why the insistence on a democracy? All you've done is mention what Kuwait was:: "a liberal port open to all people and ideas no matter how contradictory they are." Tell us why you think democracy would bring this country success.

    The way you've presented your ideas in section 4 of this post gives me the impression that you think a democracy would allow--if not encourage--diversity of ideiologies. You mentioned Marxism and "fundamentalism." Democracy doesn't necessarily do that.

    In fact, marginalization is more a natural result of democracy than any such ideological diversity! I could go on, but I'd rather read what you have to say, first.
  4. Blogger Erzulie posted at 12:04 AM  
    Equalizer: True, but I think that instead of looking outwards for solutions on how to deal, one should self-educate his/herself about the past, know what worked and what did not and know the details of what is happening now in order to implement locally friendly regulations. Most importantly, it is up to the government as well as every parent to guide the young toward enlightenment since the process does not grow randomly. This is where government sponsored programs should be instituted so as to assure a better future.

    Carly: And it is sad. The lack of appreciation toward Kuwaiti culture and preserving its deep roots is fatal. From national/local programs that benefit children and adults to the Greek ruins in Falaika Island as well as other old Kuwaiti homes that have been demolished, the Kuwaiti government does not give a hoot about Kuwait since it is busy ogling the amount of dough that will come out of cold-hearted real estate.

    Bu Seif: Your blogger profile does not state your age or anything else for that matter. The only thing that you have labeled yourself with is your blog name, “Al-Shari’ah.” With that said, you have stated what you believe and your opinions about my post just as I had the same opportunity and freedom to write up my views. That in itself is democracy. You expressed your views and I have expressed mine. We may agree or disagree on many things, but in the end, respect for others’ opinions, no matter how much they diverge from yours, is a must so that you can also gain other people’s respect for your stance.
  5. Blogger Bu.Seif posted at 2:11 PM  
    I only signed up for blogger to be able to respond to your post. Why do you take offense to that? And I haven't yet entirely stated what I believe, because you have not done so yourself. All you've said is Kuwait needs democracy so that it can be successful, but you haven't explained WHY that is. That's all I'm asking. If you are unable to, then that is fine.

    Giving out opinions is fine, but if you want someone to take them seriously, they should at least be backed up with sound and reasonable argument.

    And no, this is not what a democracy is, because "freedom of expression" and all those other things democracy is being touted for today are not necessarily unique to democratic government, therefore you cannot really say that a democracy means freedom to do such things.

    It is the rule of the people, and any other attribute it has been assigned today is only an attempt on the part of its adherents to make it seem more than what it really is. It is not just a democracy that can give you these things; many other systems can. It is important to make this distinction, otherwise we would all just be fooling ourselves and believing in the hype.
  6. Anonymous skunk posted at 9:00 PM  
    agreed on item 3.

    being one of the expats that stayed during the whole 7 months its a fucking shame that today you can drive all over the country and not know that the invasion even happened.

    even the invasion museum is hidden away.

    but perhaps its understandable considering the one period that kuwaitis should be proud about is also the ruling elite's most cowardly.

    not only have the dead not been properly honoured, but the living resistance fighters were just given a pat on the back,.... and thats it. whoop dee fuckin do.....

    as for globalisation being to blame, well to an extent yes, but i'll take a different angle to your take..... it seems to have more to do with the appearance of the gulf arab's position in the world. ie ooh youre from the gulf, you must be rich. for some reason people decide to perpetuate that stereotype by taking loans for stupidly big houses/cars/ expensive vacations etc. its all for show, for everyone out there, the arab expats, and even for the neighbours.

    as far as democracy goes, i reckon its simply too early in the middle east. theyre not ready to take on the responsibility of democracy. in a sense the critics are right, a strong hand is needed to direct.

    a strong clean hand,... which is currently still absent.

    a nation needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into democracy. and one tough mofo needs to do it, not a wishy washy govt thats trying to please everyone. look at duabi.... one family, one voice, one direction. if ajman doesnt like it then they can stay behind.

    democracy comes later, or evolves out of it.

    and yup kuwaiti women are the future. everytime i had some thing to do at the ministry or bank etc, i go straight to a woman cos i know it'll get done. unlike the men.

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