OUR rational governments have made us get used to its absolute confidence in everything that is not Kuwaiti, such that being a Kuwaiti is about “eating, breeding and non-industrious”. Indeed, forgotten are the old days of the Kuwaiti government figures who were carpenters, ship builders, blacksmiths, masons, and everything else that crosses the mind.
Our brothers in humanity came to us after we were blessed with the discovery of oil; in fact, this discovery happened in the hands of foreigners with blonde hair and blue eyes.
At this point, it is worth mentioning that “foreigner complex” refers to the attitude and behavior of some people who nurture an inferiority complex toward certain outsiders for one reason or another.
At that time in Kuwait, we were absolutely fascinated by the foreigners due to the wealth they discovered on our beloved land; they treated us in their hospitals and even planned our cities. We had a “foreigner complex”, but it was on point.
After some time, we started dealing with our Arab foreign brothers for our education, especially with competent teachers from Palestine and Egypt. Then the late Khaled Al-Masoud, former minister of Education, stepped up to issue incentives in order to attract Kuwaitis into the education field.
This happened when the late Khaled Al-Masoud opened the College of Education in Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Street in the center of the country. Enrollment to this college began after the completion of primary school, which led hundreds of Kuwaiti youth to flood the education field.
During that time and several years later, the ministries were run by Kuwaitis, and it was rare to see a foreign employee.
Then came the inauguration of Kuwait University in 1966.
When Kuwait University opened in 1966, it mostly had teachers from other Arab countries. However, the Kuwaiti education youth force gradually started to join the education ranks in that institution.
As days and years passed, we started seeing foreign Arabs flooding all of our government domains to the extent that their numbers began exceeding the number of Kuwaitis in some of our government domains.
Today, the coronavirus calamity has revealed to us many things that existed but were ignored in the past. It has become incumbent upon us – with all respect and appreciation to our foreign Arab brothers – to implement Kuwaitization, especially in government facilities, as quickly as possible because we have become exposed both inside and outside our society.
If the matter or task is related to experience, this country is filled with expertise, because when an employee retires at the age of 60 or lesser for women, we see our retired brothers and sisters feeling bored and in destitute sometimes, because the retirement salary is not sufficient for him or her if there isn’t an alternative source of livelihood.
I believe opening the door for those who wish to fill positions of foreigners who have been conferred upon us by the title of experts will be in the interest of our society in the coming days. If we do not have such expertise, we have no choice but to bring in an Arab or non-Arab foreigner.
Thus, we wish our next rational government will get rid of the “foreigner complex” forever.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil