‘If I knew that love was very dangerous, I would not have loved,” said Nizar Qabbani in his masterpiece The Message from Underwater. If I knew the sea was too deep, I would have never sailed.
I would say that if I had known that the charity had done this pollution, I would not have interfered, started or paid for the establishment of the Friendship Society, and I have not have accepted anyone to pay also, but it has been written to us (as they say).
When I issued a call a few months ago to establish a non-profit and non-government charity to lend a helping hand to needy people in Kuwait irrespective of nationality, sect or creed, I received a flood of messages welcoming me for my willingness to donate immediately.
After waiting a long time in the corridors of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, the wait did not end until the intervention of the Minister, who gave his approval on April 9 last, and from that day, until only two or three weeks ago, and I sought with all my strength and relations with officials to open an account of the society in a bank, but all refused to deal with our organization.
I felt here that the rejection was an insult directed at me personally and with me and the board of directors, who have nothing to do with any of the long-standing charities, misuse and illegal activity. Something had to be done. After frequent reluctance and contacts with people at the highest levels the National Bank of Kuwait, thankfully opened an account for us.
I admit I reached a point where I regretted the idea of founding the Society and almost withdrew from the idea altogether. My hesitation began the first day I wrote about the idea and did not hear from many of them. I felt that the responsibility was great.
I felt I would be personally responsible for those who had contacted and placed their full confidence in me in future. Since I had committed myself in the same article to donate to the Society the amount I had promised and not to take hold any official post, then what would be my position if they faced problems in future and said they donated to the society because I was the one who was behind founding it and why did I leave halfway or refused to manage its affairs.
Here there were two ways out for me — either withdrawing from the idea or continuing with it, with no position in the society and not collecting any money in my name.
I felt that my work would be voluntary, unpaid, and temporary. The efficiency, well-being and reputation of those who supported me on the first board of directors were a source of psychological comfort for me.
I re-emerged after discovering the extent to which some charities, most of which are religious parties, have misled philanthropy, how many thefts have occurred, the mismanagement of wealth of most of the good people, and those who have looted their money, and those who had allowed themselves a big slice of the cake because internal and external audit had failed to trace what had been collected and hot it was spent and where.
The Europeans and the Americans came to the conclusion that a large part of the funds were used to support terrorist operations or were lost in the ‘desert’ or was used to buy weapons and ammunition or ended in the accounts of senior members of these organizations while young people continued to lose their lives for nothing.
But all this is now is behind us as the society will begin its work, with all strength, after the summer break. The first board of directors will include two sisters — Haifa Al Saqr, Farida Al-Habib, in addition to Hamza Bahrouh, Emad Al-Seif, Anwar Al-Sultan, and Saud Al-Arfaj. Are they among those who pose a danger to charity activities?
In my name and in the name of my fellow members of the society, we promise everyone that the society will be distinguished and will work with complete transparency.
Each member of the society will have the right to access its records at any time. It will abide by all laws and will serve as an example for charity for good. Political and material gains and our work will eventually end the suffering of the landless immigrants, and raise the name of Kuwait as a good country for everyone.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf