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Monday , January 30 2023

Ex-MP a new man

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Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi

“You have to be fast on your feet and adaptive, or else a strategy is useless” – French general and statesman Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970)

Former MP Musallam Al-Barrak was recently released from prison after serving a two-year jail sentence for one of his political speeches, which was considered to have transgressed the law of this land.

Al-Barrak is a Kuwaiti politician who was considered to be influential, if not most influential, throughout his 17 years of parliamentary work. He was one of the opposition members in the parliament. Throughout his political career, he was not known to be linked to any kind of corruption. Perhaps, that was the factor that led him to have such a wide unprecedented populace base.

After he was released, Al-Barrak gave a speech at his headquarters. Even though that speech was spontaneous, it had features of Al-Barrak’s sternness. It was noticeable that his close colleagues were not present as well as the members of the majority bloc of the 2012 nullified parliament.

A day later, the National Labor Movement held a reception for its Secretary General – Al-Barrak –where he gave another speech. Some may disagree with the concepts highlighted in that speech but all would agree on the principle which Al-Barrak always stood for despite the turned-down well-focused tone he used.

Frankly, the second speech was a clear indication of the change in Al-Barrak’s stances. He has removed his parliamentarian robe and has worn the robe of a sagacious politician with a long-sighted view who deals with the local situation through the concept of “There should be neither harm nor malice”.

After his second speech, Al-Barrak created a platform of mixed reactions. True to the fact that his speech was expected to attract reactions that would support him or condemn him, a famous religious cleric lashed out at Al-Barrak in a move over which many are still puzzled. It is unfortunate that the cleric became a victim to the concept known as “bad timing”.

The matter reached a point where people believed the cleric was goaded by the government to say what he said. However, I believe the political reading of the cleric did not help him in staying afloat on political dam.

Nonetheless, someone else lashed out at Al-Barrak as well. This time it was the former MP Saleh Al-Mulla, who, according to this reading of the political forecast, believes that Al-Barrak will vie for a parliamentary seat in the next elections.

It is clear that Al-Mulla’s general perspective was out of line compared to that of Al-Barrak, who highlighted the plight of the prisoners of conscience in the prisons, some even in exile, as well as the existence of many security restrictions and pressure imposed on the movement’s youth members.

It is clear that former MP Al-Mulla’s base is not suffering from what the base of Al-Barrak is suffering. Regarding the accusation of Al-Barrak attempting to get close to the authority, it makes me and others wonder – when did Al-Barrak distance himself away from the authority?

The disagreements that he had with the government in the past were due to some of the governmental practices which led to confrontation with the parliament. Nothing of that is strange at all.

I am not attempting to put ideas in his head, but the next thing to do for him is to visit His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, the kind father of all. Finally I am not here to defend him; in fact, I disagree with him on many things including the way he presents issues. However, I do agree with him on the principles he is standing for and I wish him all the best.


By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi