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‘Govt, citizens must take steps to curb mistreatment of expats’ ‘Residents’ role in progress crucial’

Some of my expatriate friends frequently complain about the lack of respect they receive at the hands of some citizens. Such disrespect takes the form of negative attitudes, verbal abuse, insolence, and sometimes outright contempt! No one can deny the somewhat pervasive nature of such anti-social, anti-expats behaviors; nevertheless, such attitudes do not represent Kuwait or the majority of its people. Ill manners exist in almost all human societies.

However, in order to combat anti-expat behavior, we as Kuwaiti individuals and civil societies in Kuwait need to introduce new codes of positive social behavior towards expats in our society.

Encouraging humane and respectful behavior toward expats will reflect positive images about Kuwait to the outside world. As Kuwaitis, we pride our self of belonging to a civil and a progressive society and as having large sections of our native population well-educated individuals. We as Kuwaitis do in fact tend to project ourselves as more urban, sophisticated and polite individuals.

However, once in a while one reads or hears about how some rude individual who happens to be dressed in our national costume (Dishdasah), speaks or perhaps imitates our national dialect, and treats some expatriates as if they are subhuman or less deserving as human beings. Such rude individuals who mistreat some expats are not necessarily Kuwaiti citizens.

Personally, I do abhor intolerance in all its forms, whether it is directed against expats or others. Ill manners, rudeness, and any anti-social behaviors whether committed by citizens or expats is unacceptable.

However, I do understand that we in Kuwait are in urgent need to introduce new positive values in our local culture and to encourage fair, respectable and good treatments toward all expatriates. It is enough to reflect on the numerous positive contributions expatriates achieved for our society and economy, and such considerations should begin a spontaneous public outcry against those who continue to disrespect some expats.

Our fellow human beings and our expatriate friends and partners introduce diversity, tolerant values and amazing human experiences in our society. Indeed, hardworking individuals from all nationalities have already positively influenced the way we look at the world. We pride ourselves as Kuwaitis that our country welcomes hundreds of nationals who constitute the bulk of our workforce.

These people have already enriched our Kuwaiti human experience. They brought with them new cultural norms, civil achievements and numerous other contributions, which shaped how our local culture reacts to the outside world.

We as citizens and our government should do our best to discourage any form of negative attitudes or behaviors toward expats.

One way to encourage more positive behavior toward expats is to celebrate multiculturalism in Kuwait. Instead of ignoring some negative actions few individuals currently use against expats, we should refuse them, totally.

It is no longer acceptable that some citizens, especially few rowdy youths ill-treat some expats. It is no longer acceptable to see some youngsters pelting public buses just because their passengers happen to be expats!

Follow me on Twitter@khaledaljenfawi

By: Khaled Aljenfawi

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