SINCE His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah assumed power on Jan 29, 2006; the morning of Kuwait has always been gleaming with his wisdom for the last 12 years.
His inauguration marked the new chapter of continuous work for the country to move towards the period of construction and modernization amid storms that keep on hitting the region from every direction.
At the time, the country just came out of the 15 years of anxiety and provocation as a result of threats by the former Iraqi regime — until 2003 — on Kuwait, which is the first line of defense for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Despite all that, his reign started with improvement of work to complete reconstruction of the country which was ravished by Saddam Hussein’s invasion. He did not hesitate to call for the reconstruction of Iraq. Kuwait is currently hosting the meeting on this reconstruction due to its usual role of promoting peace and not living in the shell of hatred.
Every time this great anniversary comes, we feel sad about how days go by quickly while we continue to receive the wisdom of this great man whose nature is to love Kuwait and its people.
You find him in every occasion, joining his Kuwaiti ‘children’ in their gains and pains. He does not care about the risks, especially during the hot day of Ramadan when he pushed forward alone saying: “These are my children” to be assured on the wellbeing of the victims of terrorists who targeted worshipers in Al-Sadeq Mosque. Tears fell from his eyes, a manifestation to the world on the level of relations between Sabah — the ruler and his people.
This relationship is characterized by love and deep confidence which is crowned by populace support for vital decisions which rescued Kuwait from foreign greed that a small group with weak souls fell for. He developed Kuwait’s democracy which is considered the destiny of the country and the source of its strength. One of such decisions was the one-vote decree that amended populace representation in the Parliament and gave credit where credit is due.
During his 12-year reign, Kuwait witnessed incidents deemed negative but brought about positive motivation. His Highness the Amir dealt with these incidents instinctively and quickly.
Even when some attempted to cripple national establishments through frivolous movements and storming the National Assembly, he did not hesitate in warning about the danger of doing so; whether by describing what happened as ‘Black Wednesday’ or calling for national dialogue in a bid to shut the window where poisonous wind is passing through.
HH the Amir always surprises the nation with audacious decision based on deep insight in relation to the future. In one of his meetings with the elites among leaders of this country, he told them: “Kuwait almost got lost.” With these words, he informed the nation about what was being tailored against it.
He did not take any steps that would have crippled the country’s democracy. Instead, he cemented the concept of separation of authorities and gave each institution the right to play its role without interference.
Even those who transgressed and offended their country, and despite the heinous crime committed; all of them received their full judicial rights. This is due to the fact that his ultimate objective is to ensure that integrity of the judiciary, which Kuwaitis fortify themselves with, is not violated.
Sabah Al-Ahmad has never hastened in judging situations. Instead, he dealt with them in a visionary manner to avoid violating the rights of anyone. If someone comes to him with a pierced eye, he will wait until he listens to the other party who might also have both eyes pierced.
HH the Amir is keen on maintaining the unified destiny of the Gulf region. He has never seen the strength of Kuwait except through the strength of the GCC. He has been and continues to be a neutral mediator who shoulders the burdens of traveling and meetings to come up with a unified opinion and bridge the gap between people of the same house.
He did not wait for anyone to invite him to act as mediator due to his strong belief that “a believer to a believer is like buildings held together.” True believers act in accordance with the Quranic maxim: “We shall strengthen your hand with that of your brother …” in response to the ambition of Gulf nationals for cohesion to overcome all barriers.
All this is due to the fact that the one taking up the mediation role is wise, a globally recognized humanitarian leader. This title has yet to find anyone else as far as humanitarian work is concerned.
He has been a peace seeker since he started his public work, especially in the diplomatic spectrum. He made Kuwait the beam of tolerance in the darkest night of extremism which overwhelms the Arab world.
On this day, Kuwaitis renew their allegiance to Your Highness. You have fulfilled Oh Sabah of wisdom and humanitarianism, and may Almighty Allah grant you good health and wellbeing.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times