Please note that this article was written with inspiration, using my aging memory, to a certain extent. My use of sectarian and doctrinal terms does not mean my belief in them or in their political and social implications.
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Mr. Hassan Johar’s success in the election from the First Constituency with nearly 6,000 topping the list of candidates despite 22 other candidates from his sect competing to be on the list of 10, drew the attention of many observers as a phenomenon worth studying and showed us we were looking for a deputy to represent the nation and we demanded that he be given a chance to win and represent the nation in an experience that began 57 years ago.
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If we divide the Kuwaiti society into three main categories – the urban Sunnis, tribesmen, and urban Shiites – and if we study the history or background of everyone who succeeded in the parliamentary elections from 1963 to 2020, we will find that the tribe factor was behind the success of most of the representatives in tribal areas, and here we have the right to assume with a reservation, their loyalty may be to the tribe, not to the homeland, and what this means in terms of serious consequences for national unity and peace, the principle of equal rights, and belief in the state’s permanence.
At the same time, the sect was behind the success of most of the Shiite representatives in their regions, implying the similar consequences for national unity and loyalty to the state, due to the possibility of the deputy submitting, in one way or another, to an external religious tradition whose visions or interests may not coincide with the policies and interests of his state, especially if there is a dispute between his country and the country of his religious reference.
The question here is, will this deputy stand with his ‘mother’ country or receive orders from the external reference? For the past 57 years I unfortunately did not find among the hundreds of tribal and Shiite representatives anyone who had the characteristics of citizenship that I loved but only a few, as I found in the category of urban Sunni representatives, and the names of many of them come to my mind as I write this article.
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I hope, and I do not have anything other than hope that Mr. Hassan Johar will be the exception that we have long awaited, and that he will continue to be a patriot in his loyalty, before he is a Shiite, and this is not difficult whether politically or socially based on the reality of my personal experience for more than sixty years.
We know that it is difficult for the deputy Johar to getting rid of the sectarian accusation, especially those who consider Shi’ism a shameful tattoo that is drawn on the skin of a Shi’ite on the day he is born and erased by his death, however he is known for his integrity and clarity of his patriotic stances, especially in the past few years, in contrast to what he was politically at the beginning of his parliamentary life.
That is why we want to reproduce MP Hassan Johar, and the like in tribesmen and Shiites, and even among Sunnis, some of whom still reject the idea of giving their votes to other components of society, either for narrow worldly or family interests, or out of ignorance
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Final note: Some people may practice sectarianism in one way or another, but if we replace the abhorrent term (sectarianism), with the more accurate term sect then sect does not represent a danger if it is not directed in the interest of another country, or is used to exclude the other citizen.
Thus, the minority sect especially if it is not in power represents only a political threat, as it does not have the power to impose itself on the majority, such as refusing to employ it, for example.
However, sectarianism of the majority, despite its low political risk, can impose itself on the minority, especially if it is in power, and severely harm it. Thus, we see that the minority sect’s risk is mainly related to loyalty to the homeland.
The danger of the majority is related to the fear of practicing tyranny, and even annihilation, of others. Here we need two vital things – to stop, as individuals, to be sectarian, and that the government stops exploiting sectarianism for its interests and rejecting the policy of ‘divide and rule’.
Do we learn from the experiences of others and unite all to extricate this beautiful country from its lapses?
By Ahmad alsarraf