This photo has been spreading as fast as bacteria on the internet. I can’t believe we still have a big portion of people who still believe this happened. Someone decided to spend an hour on Photoshop or some app, that’s it, that’s the entire story. It isn’t that hard, in fact I’m thinking of making a series of fake Photoshop things in Kuwait to prove a point, if I have the time that is.
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.
I don’t know what to make of this, only 10 days ago was Kuwait banned from Fifa, this has just reached the point of embarrassment. Since Kuwait did not resolve government interference in the Olympic movement in the country, and the deadline of today passing by with no mutual agreement, Kuwait got banned.
So who’s banning Kuwait next? We already lost the biggest two.
According to a local lawyer, Faisal Abuhlaibah, if you retweet someone, and that tweet is considered a crime by law in Kuwait, then you are treated as committing the exact same crime. Meaning if he gets a 1 year of jailtime, so will you. Last year, I posted about how the amount of people going to jail over a tweet has been increasing, it appears it’s only getting worse.
Funny how any app that gets popular in Kuwait either becomes a store or a show. Like when the fun run game become popular you would see fun run shows in Eid. This ‘Snap’ store is actually a juice store and was spotted by a friend who shared it on snapchat, the irony. I’m not looking forward for the next store that’s based on a popular app, normally they’re too cheesy.
Here’s an interesting read I found on the internet by Nadia Nader, a Kuwaiti book writer. Some of the facts she mentions are commonly known but that’s because her post was targeted to those that don’t know about Kuwait or its culture. Number 10 spoke of the ironic reality of this society and who knew what the colors of the Kuwaiti flag meant.
- The official name is “State of Kuwait” but most people refer to it as Kuwait. Kuwait is derived from Akwat (the plural of word “Kout”) and means “fortress built near water”.
- The national bird of Kuwait is a falcon. You can see images imprinted in many places and on many objects. Falcons are trained.
- They only make up a third of the population, a minority within their own country. The other 2/3 are composed of expats from all around the world. Kuwait has an interesting societal structure and international community.
- Family is important in Kuwait. Single men and women are expected to live with their families until they are married. Once they marry, that is when it is acceptable for them to move out and have their own place. However, due to high real estate prices and not many options for rentals, many families choose to remain living under the same roof.
- Kuwait is one of the hottest countries in the world with temperatures reaching up to 50 Celsius in the summer months. That’s 122 degrees Fahrenheit! No one dies during the summer months from the temperature but it advisable not to stay out too long to avoid sunstroke.
- Gas is cheaper than water. Petroleum and petroleum-products make up nearly 85% of export revenues.
- The flag of Kuwait contains four colors: green, white, red, and black. They symbolize “our lands”, “our deeds”, “our swords”, and “our battles” respectively.
- People in Kuwait are early adopters of any technology and trend out there. If something is new, be sure someone in Kuwait already has five of it. It was not a good time when cheetahs were trendy to own.
- Wives do not take on their husband’s name upon marriage. The name you are born with is your name from birth until death.
- Nepotism is a fact of life and “wasta” gets you anything you need to get done.
The National Assembly of Kuwait has approved the use of closed-circuit TV monitoring (CCTV) in public places across the country. They’re cameras installed everywhere that monitor all activities to reduce crime and speed up identification. You will basically be watched wherever you go all over Kuwait. No date on when they will start installing the cameras but places like hotels, malls and sports clubs will be included.[Source]
This is just outright crazy. I guess Al Ahmedi Snapchat’s moments of fame aren’t over yet. Don’t get too excited though, he wasn’t on Conan as a guest. The actual guest host was shown photos of people submitted by his fans of people that look like him and this photo was one of them. You can watch the clip below.