It’s now become a norm that one of the fastest ways to break the ice between two people, Kuwait bashing. Everyone does it and I’m no different but every once in awhile you get a light of optimism. Found this story on Reddit by a guy who helped found the Kuwait’s Child Rights Society after 5 years of fighting for it (includes a shocking 4 year old story). It’s a long story but worth a read.
“Is this a new thing? Is everyone bashing Kuwait? I dont get it, i honestly dont.
People talk about racism, maids being abused, wasta, skipping queues, annoying people on the road .. yet everyone starts with “ive been here for 6 years” or “ive been here for 5 years”, and the one thing i ask is “why do you stay this long if its so terrible?”.
You have to understand something, people like me who are 100% Kuwaiti, born and bred, yet do not fall under the “typical kuwaiti” category get unbelievably frustrated with this pessimistic attitude. Yes, i studied abroad, and yes a part of me felt like i belonged to a PART of that society, but a bigger part reminds me that i have a duty to my country, and that there is a bigger calling to “fix” rather than complain 24/7. Yet even here, a part of me feels like I belong to a PART of this society.
When i first arrived and worked here, i noticed something simple that showed how truly bad things were – a child, young girl barely 4 years old came in to the ER with vaginal bleeding. Young girls that age should not bleed, unless it was due to trauma. Turns out, she, like many others, was abused. And when i informed those around me on how to help her, all we could do was “admit” the patient in, and later we would discharge her back into the care of her abuser. Literally, feeding her to the sharks.
We whined and complained, until my colleague and a good friend of mine had started Kuwaits Childs Rights Society (KCRS), and even before this issue they had been fighting for a child protection law that allows us as physicians to report this abuse and protect these children with a full fledged protocol. Sounded like a major obstacle, but 5 years on, and there is a NEW child protection law, initiated with the help of the dreaded wasta (put to good use), that we can activate when we suspect cases of child abuse.
Whining got us nowhere, action subsequently DID.
Society is not perfect, building a community is not easy, and even the best of countries adapted over hundreds of years. I struggled with MANY things when I lived abroad for 8 years, with many decisions and many things people deemed “normal” and “ok” over there, and i could have spent most of my time complaining. But i remembered, no matter how bad things got, i was representing my country and myself as an arab muslim.
I hear people speaking about the law, and the (lack of) enforcement of it here. I hear people claiming maids are like modern day slaves here (how ironic, coming from people that had ACTUAL slaves less than a hundred years ago), its despicable what some families do to them, but failing to PROPERLY crediting (and not by-the-by mentioning, bes as clear as you were as when you were bashing) the families that not only employ these workers, but also care for them, give them a roof over their heads when they could barely afford to eat back home, give them money for no occasion or during eids, donate excess clothing to them and their families, are these people not Kuwaiti? Are they not worth mentioning? Or have we started judging society by its negatives rather than by its positives?
If thats the case, we can have a field day with sooo many countries, and i could start with the country that i studied in, but to what end? I couldnt bring the country down a couple of pegs in my estimation because with the all the bad, came a lot of good: it was the place i grew up and became a man, its also the place where i was subjected to so much racial abuse, being labelled as a terrorist, a “paki” and more derogatory words except however compelled me to be compassionate with expatriates in my own town as a result.
Every country comes with its whole bag of shit, and Kuwait comes with plenty trust me, but to constantly bash the hell out of it leads me to sadly say either do something about it – create a meet up, start a hiking group, start a business, educate kids, learn tolerance – or pick up your bags and head to another location more to your liking.
The prophet (pbuh) once came across a town where its townsfolk stoned him until his “shoe filled with blood”, the angel Gabriel came down and told Mohammed (pbuh) that one order from him and he would annihilate this town. The prophet (pbuh) replied by praying to God that if he was not willing to guide these people to the righteous path, then at least guide their children. He didnt bash them, call them names, say they were backwards and retarded even though they literally stoned him. He contributed, with a prayer – then left them in peace.
Yes, our society has a lot of flaws, too many to count, and unfortunately they seem like they are here to stay, but we’ve got to deal with them one way or another. You on our side will only make us stronger, but we stand no chance if all you are willing to contribute from this day forward is constant bashing of the only land i can call my own.”
Moral of the story: stop complaining, if you want change, fight for it and don’t just sit there expecting things to change.