As I was watching the televised opening ceremony of the Opera House (Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center), my mind wandered and I remembered the university project in Shadadiya particularly the continuous delay and weird problems that have been haunting this project from the beginning.
Due to fire incidents in this remarkable project, people have already gotten used to the idea of fire erupting from time to time as if there is a secret behind these fires or it is just the work of an arsonist fascinated by what will become one of the important landmarks in Kuwait’s educational welfare plan.
Construction of an elegant cultural and musical center which gives the country a civilized touch is a given, but it should not be done by neglecting something important like the university project.
I am not attempting to downplay the importance of the cultural center, but having a new headquarters for Kuwait University is a more pressing issue so it is disappointing to see something less important preceding the most important.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah gracing the opening ceremony of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center is a clear indication of the interest and support that the State gives to cultural entities. I imagine this happening in the opening ceremony of the new university — the university of ‘fires’.
I realized I was daydreaming when I started imagining a university with comprehensive and high-class facilities, huge lecture rooms, comfortable offices for lecturers, and most important of all, is that every child of this nation has the opportunity to study in a top-level university — the long awaited university of Shadadiya.
Frankly, Kuwait does not only need a new university, as it urgently needs not less than four universities because the number of students who graduate annually and those who study abroad, whether on government scholarships or personal finance, is in thousands. Some of them have to wait so long for the opportunity to enter the university and get what they are aspiring for.
Back to culture, the State should be serious in preserving the original cultural identity of Kuwait. Because we now have the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center — our outstanding opera house, I wish that the traditional poetry council will be developed and given more support. This is in addition to the establishment of the headquarters for musical art of sailing considering the committed people who continue their efforts to revive it and pass it on to generations.
I also wish to see Kuwait Writers Association, which is continuously struggling with government bureaucracy, to present excellent cultural performance — from arts festival, poetry and drama. At least, it should have a huge building as its headquarters to represent its role in society.
Last but not the least, despite the existence of Kuwait History Center which gives excellent services to researches, it needs more care and support. I suggest the establishment of an official center that will document the entire Iraqi aggression on Kuwait in 1990.
The importance of this center will lie in the presentation of historic events to visitors, researchers and even the young generation, particularly the highlights of the entire ordeal and how Kuwaitis and the world confronted and triumphed over such aggression.
It is unfortunate that some people refer to Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait as ‘Saddam’s aggression’, whereas in reality, it was Iraqi aggression to the core. It is unfortunate also that some people are tempted to play with words in dealing with this historic event due to their weak souls.
By Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi