DURING my early childhood, I used to walk everyday with my late father at the Abdul RazzaqDarwaza, which is located downtown, because our house was located in the Abdul Salaam neighborhood branching from Dasman Street, which is “Ahmed Al-Jaber” now.
I used to be naughty when I was a child. Because of that, my mother (May God prolong her life) used to insist that my father take me to his shop in Al-Zal (carpets) and Al-Bashout markets near Souk Al-Mubarakiya and Al-Gharabli Street (Palestine Street now).
After passing by Abdul RazzaqDarwaza, we would enter Bin Daij Market with its amazing shops where sweets and fabrics are sold. When we passed by Bin Daij and drank a little water from the public water cooler, we would look at the sweet shops – “Kakoli” and others – and the shops selling spices.
We then walked to the Bishts Market where I used to spend my whole day. I would wander around the markets that surround it such as SouqWaqif and the new street “Abdullah Al-Salem” with its luxury stores, restaurants and cafes.
I recall these memories of my childhood whenever I pass by Abdul RazzaqDarwaza. It used to be an open ground surrounded by four traffic lights. For two years now, Darwaza has been closed … It is still closed to traffic, and the Ministry of Public Works and the Public Authority for Road and Land Transport did not work on repairing it.
As far as I can remember, they recently asked for KD 4 million to build a pedestrian tunnel and a road above for cars to pass through. However, our rational government, which is claiming bankruptcy these days, did not respond and the situation is still the same.
On a visit to the “Capital of lights” Paris last September, I stayed in a hotel close to the famous Champs Elysees. I was surprised to see that on the first Sunday of the month, the street was closed to cars, and only pedestrians and cyclists could walk on it.
This is the widest street in the world … Wide enough for eight cars at least. It is surrounded by the roundabout of the Arc de Triomphe, which Napoleon had built several hundred years ago.
On the other end is the Place de la Concorde, on which you can see one of the obelisks of the ancient Egyptians, the remains of which were discovered by French archaeologists. So they were rewarded with a number of obelisks whose historical value was not determined by our Egyptian brothers.
Every time I pass by the Abdul RazzaqDarwaza in Kuwait City and Fahd Al-Salem Street, which is full of buildings that are about to fall and parking lots, tears almost fall from my eyes because of our miserable conditions.
Why should we go far to the “Capital of Light” Paris when there is a beloved sister country, the State of Qatar, which is much smaller than Kuwait? The political leadership there decided to host the matches and activities of the FIFA World Cup (the World Cup) for 2022 and the Arab Cup Championship 2021. Six football stadiums were built there in the blink of an eye – Al Bayt Stadium, RasAboud Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Bin Ali Stadium, Education City Stadium, and Al Janoub Stadium.
In addition to the disaster of Abdul RazzaqDarwaza and Fahd Al-Salem Street, we built Jaber Stadium. The construction took several years with flaws that exceed the number of years of its construction.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil