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When I was young, my mother — may God prolong her life — insisted that my father should take me with him to Al-Bashout Store, which he owned and managed. The store was located at Bashout and Zal Market in the western part of Al-Mubarakiya. My mother did this, because if I stayed at home, I would cause problems with my brothers and the children of our neighbors. Among the tasks assigned to me by my late father was to get his mails from Safat Post Office, which was located on the land currently occupied by the main buildings of some large Kuwaiti banks.
I used to get my father’s mails, because it was the only means of communication with those who lived outside Kuwait. The purpose of communication could be social, commercial, etc. After taking the mails — if there were mails, I would stand at the main door of the first and only post office in Kuwait. I begged those who took their mails to give me the stamps from the external mails delivered to the Safat Post Office.
Most of those receiving mails at the time were the so-called ‘owners’ or ‘boys’, meaning servants (domestic workers). We used to call them the ‘owners’ of mails. Most of them smiled at me while taking the stamps from the envelopes and then handed them to me. I thanked them warmly for doing so.
I now write about the provocative picture of our rational governments for decades, without any intention of changing them. Whoever rose against something was a young man, especially since our rational governments tremble in their shadows whenever someone with a long beard raises his voice — whether he is shouting the truth or falsehood!!
The story takes me some decades back when I worked after graduating from the Faculty of Law at Kuwait University with a very good grade. I worked in the Public Prosecution Office as an agent for the Public Prosecutor. The Public Prosecution was in a commercial building at the commercial markets area. One day, the late Public Prosecutor Fares Al-Waqyan instructed me to supervise the task of destroying confiscated liquor.
Therefore, I prepared for the mission even though it was the first mission of its kind for me. When the prosecution car took me to Shuwaikh Port to board a small boat; I was surprised, because I did not understand the process that we were going to carry out to destroy the bottles of liquor!!
Soon, the questioning feeling was replaced by astonishment! The customs official instructed his employees to open the liquor bottles and pour the contents into the sea! I was surprised, because the wise government at the time polluted our sea with its own will. I was instructed to supervise and witness that!!
When the quantity of confiscated liquor increased, the rational government changed the location for the destruction of the contents of liquor bottles from the sea to the Kuwaiti desert. Dozens of bottles were thrown into the desert to be run over by a huge tractor… so the desert sands were soaked with liquor and the bottles crumbled!
A few days ago, we watched the customs officials with a smile on their bright and happy faces seizing 1,400 bottles of well-known liquor and whiskey (Red Label – Johnnie Walker). These days, they have been gaining financially by re-exporting or selling this quantity of liquor to a foreign country that is allowed to trade in alcohol!!
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil