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FAREWELL to Dr. Ahmad Al-Khatib, the saint of Kuwaiti politics and the man of solid national stances, who chose the difficult path in political work.
The late political beacon was neither evasive nor compromising. He did not exploit his position as a people’s representative to achieve personal gains. He neither accommodated nepotism or favoritism for the sake of anyone, nor planted his electoral keys in the ministries to maintain influence. And yet he remained big and became one of the pillars of defense of Kuwaiti democracy.
This man, whom Kuwait bid farewell to this Monday, was the last among those who drafted the Constitution and had spent his life defending it. He was respected by those who disagreed with him in opinion before those who supported him.
Everyone acknowledged his clean sheet and integrity. This is due to the fact that he practiced political action with conviction of the need to serve the country. Therefore, from the beginning, he chose to stand with Kuwait, its people, its land, its institutions, and its governments whom he criticized for some of its flaws but in a sophisticated manner.
The late Dr. Ahmad Al-Khatib, was not only a politician but also a medical doctor. He used medicine to earn a decent living from what his clinic generated for him, part of which he allocated to the poor and needy. He did not distinguish anyone on the basis of gender, race or religion due to his strong conviction of the concept of human justice.
There are many lessons from history that indicate the characteristics of great men, including the will of Alexander the Great. This great leader controlled massive areas in the ancient world, but when he felt his demise was approaching, despite his young age of 36 years, he summoned one of his ministers and said to him, “I will leave this world soon. I have three wishes that I beg you to fulfill for me without any hesitation.”
His three dying wishes were – only his doctors should carry his coffin so that people know that, when death comes, not even doctors can do anything to ward it off. His second wish was for his wealth that he accumulated to be scattered along the procession to the cemetery so that the people would know that all the wealth gathered in life will remain behind. His last wish was for his hands to be let loose, and hanging outside the coffin for all to know that they all will leave this world empty-handed just like the way they entered it.
The late great Dr. Ahmad Al-Khatib learned this lesson from the beginning of his life. He carried with him his humanitarian actions and stances. Hence, many rulers and politicians bade him farewell and prayed for his soul. A huge funeral procession was witnessed at his burial in tears and somberness.
He did not leave behind enmities, but a school in the honorable national opposition and humanitarian work. Therefore, his absence is a great loss. Nevertheless, this is the norm of life, and there is no objection to God’s decree and destiny.
Dr. Ahmad Al-Khatib was one among those who realized that what remains for a person after his death is his fragrant biography and his good deeds.
Among the stances that I remember of this man is that, on October 23, 1965 during the opening of the National Assembly term, the late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem suffered health complications. He was rushed to his home accompanied by MP Dr. Ahmad Al-Khatib. When the sheikh woke up from the coma and found the MP doctor next to him, he said to him, “I have now seen another man with a humanitarian attitude and a patriotic sense, other than that which some of them conveyed to me.”
He was referring to those who over the years have sought to tarnish the image of everyone who does not agree or rather follow the path they want.
Today, Kuwait mourns the loss of an experienced politician and skilled doctor. There is no doubt that he will remain in the memory of Kuwait as a school of political work that was free of personal gains at the expense of the nation and its people. He will also be known as one of the humanitarian and national icons.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times