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Thursday , January 28 2021

‘The old man and the sea’

The unexpected heavy rainfall in Kuwait almost three months ago damaged the public and private properties. A senior official had to pay the price for nature’s anger, so both the director of the Public Roads Authority, Ahmad Al-Hassan and the Minister of Public Works were sacrificed while the government did not admit that the real reason lies in the neglect of roads for decades. Santiago was an old fisherman, who loved the sea and depended on fishing for his livelihood, but fish became scarce and his condition was affected.


One day he took his skiff into the Gulf Stream, as usual, the birds told him where the fish was, and he had to go back with some fish because he was in need of some money. He waited a long time before his bait taken by a big fish that he was sure he had caught a big fish and might not be able to pull it to the shore given his age. He tried to pull the line again, but the fish was so strong that it pulled his skiff away from the coast, but he held on to the line, thinking about the money he would earn if he took control of the big fish that would help him pay all his debt.

He felt tired and hungry and his fingers pained, but he insisted to hold on. Suddenly, the fish jumped out of the water, and it was the biggest marlin fish he had ever seen even bigger than his old skiff. The fish began to circle the skiff. Santiago, worn out and almost delirious, used all his remaining strength to pull the fish onto its side and stab the marlin with a harpoon. Santiago straps the marlin to the side of his skiff and heads home, thinking about the high price the fish will bring him at the market and how many people he will feed.

While he was on his way back, the wild sharks, attracted by the smell of bleeding fish, met him and began to challenge him again. Santiago began to struggle with all the strength he had, but he was eventually defeated. His dream turned into a huge skeleton; he left it on the beach, as a sign of his victory, but incomplete triumph. The story of the old sailor Santiago of Ernest Hemingway reminded me of the story of Ahmad Al-Hassan, former director general of the Public Roads Authority. The government handed him the administration of the authority by a law issued by the National Assembly with broad powers, which seemed like a big fish, perhaps bigger than his skiff, and this attracted the attention of sharks, which began from the day one to ‘gnaw’ at his powers.

The Ministry of Interior refused to hand over to the authority the right to issue driving licenses and rejected technical testing of vehicles. It also refused his request to manage and control traffic signals and road scales. The Minister of Public Works disassociated himself from his powers, and when the last minister did decided to take it all and cancelled its founding law and returned it to the Ministry of Public Works, his quest failed, and once the rain disaster took place he exploited it to dismiss Al-Hassan from office after the body became a skeleton.

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

e-mail: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

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