Abu Jaafar Al-Mansour: ‘If you decide, be determined, or else delay will ruin it’

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IN one of his famous verses from his poems, the second ruler of the Abbasid dynasty Abu Jaafar Al-Mansour (754 CE – 775 CE) wrote, “If you decide, be determined, or else hesitation will ruin it”.

It contained a summary of what the state can be like when the ruler hesitates in his decision, or resorts to procrastination, as it leads to the weakening of the state’s prestige, thus undermining its institutions, and spreading vulnerability.

Therefore, during the past six decades, institutions of governance in democratic countries have adopted the principle of complete transparency, drawing information from all sources starting with the press and ending with social media, and not ending with informing the leader about the general public and the problems they suffer.

In the past 20 years, social media has turned into an important source of knowledge for the ruler. It played a major role in correcting many of the decisions for which he relied on the deep state or on advisors who seek to prioritize their personal interests over everything else.

On the other hand, social media also became a means to add pressure on the government when it misjudged the information published through it. This sparked chaos in a number of countries around the world.

Nonetheless, it goes without saying that the government, which is aware of the extent of its power, benefits from these means in gauging the popular mood, and addressing the problems that are announced through these means. This is what all the world’s democracies have done … Even some totalitarian countries have given way to this type of information source.

Therefore, we today see heads of state and government using their social media pages to communicate with their people.

In all these countries, bloggers or content publishers are not punished. Regarding those who publish inflammatory contents or defame, incite and insult others, their actions remain a crime punishable by law with a fine, and not imprisonment. This is a common aspect in all penal laws in the world, except in Kuwait where MPs, during a moment of anger, came up with a law that extinguished the light of the legislative mind in 2015.

The law, which is known as the Cybercrime Law, is contrary to the constitution, and repeals the effects of 34 other laws in Kuwait. If there is any published content that is not palatable to a particular official, the publisher ends up being punished by imprisonment. The judiciary found itself shackled by this law.

No country in the world has ever criminalized a 160-character Twitter post with a harsh penalty of five-year imprisonment, except in Kuwait. There is no doubt that this infamous law has caused a lot of injustice to hundreds of citizens, who are suffering today either in prisons or in exile after they realized that any word would land them in prison.

Here it must be emphasized that those who are still being pursued by this notorious law, especially those who live abroad, have used foreign phone numbers to publish what they want through them.

In fact, they have become more ferocious in what they publish because they are now safe from prosecution in the countries where they reside and where people are not criminalized for these types of posts.

In this regard, it is necessary to realize the fact that a legislator is a model for the people. Therefore if he is allowed to say what he wants and attack others in the halls of the National Assembly, the public will follow his approach because “the people follow the norms of their leaders.”

Therefore, the MPs permitted something bad for themselves, and people followed in their footsteps. As a result, they bear the responsibility for the injustice inflicted on the content creators, and they are the ones who should be held accountable, because they enacted a law which is one-eyed to say the least.

Hence, if there is a definite intention to reform, and if the authority is keen about this matter, it must take advantage of what is published on social media, and address the problem from its roots by pardoning these Twitter users and bring them back to the country in order to get rid of the stigma that haunts it in all the international forums.

Based on this fact, and in order for Kuwait not to become a police state contrary to its democratic history, customs and traditions that made it a state of transparency and source of enlightenment in the region in the past, the authority must have the determination to abolish this law that offended and continues to harm Kuwait.

True are the words of Abu Jafaar Al-Mansour when he said, “If you decide, be determined…”.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

This news has been read 15565 times!

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