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THERE is no doubt that Kuwait is not isolated from its surroundings. It must thus be influenced by it, just as how infection is transmitted from one organism to another. Hence we inquire out of concern for this nation – Didn’t Kuwait infect its neighbors with achievements? Has Kuwait’s regional role ended, and has another country taken its place to play such a role with distinction?
This matter applies to the cultural, social, economic and political aspects, foreign policy, and everything related to all aspects of life. We wonder if those who are responsible and the decision makers, starting with the MPs, the executive authority, and all politicians, up to those with personal initiatives, asked – How did the country reach this situation?! Or do they know the reasons but continue to paralyze the country?
There are a few demands of Kuwaitis that are on everyone’s lips and tongue. Social media and newspapers have been dissecting them, and talking at length about their reasons.
On the other hand, no eye sees, no ear hears, and no tongue speaks, as if the birds were over the heads of those concerned such that they did not see what the neighboring countries did to their people, and their populist decisions that increase its welfare and increase the extent of love for its rulers, irrespective of whether it is in housing care, or for cushioning the impact when a livelihood crisis arises due to international conditions, and they did not announce the reasons for preventing them from working.
After the grain and wheat crisis, the Executive Council of the Emirate of Sharjah saw that investing in wheat cultivation, despite the environmental and technical difficulties, would ensure its food security. It therefore benefited from the agricultural technology available in the world, and was inspired by the Chinese experience in desert cultivation. There are several countries whose environment is similar to Kuwait but have managed to overcome its food security problem.
These decisions do not need ministerial plans, or governments and laws. They only need a decision from the ruler, similar to many of the problems that Kuwait suffers from, given that while the country was closed, neighboring countries worked to open their doors to everyone.
The most recent of this is the Saudi government allowing all residents of the Gulf countries to obtain a tourist visa to Saudi Arabia irrespective of their profession. On the other hand, in Kuwait, it is still forbidden for anyone to enter, even for a visit. The only exception is if they hold a university degree, or if it is a woman over the age fifty years accompanied by a mahram (relative). A resident who has reached sixty years of age is prevented from renewing his residency except under difficult, unjust conditions.
When Kuwait was ranked 77 in the Global Corruption Perceptions Index, newspapers and social media were awash with its manifestations. When the report mentions the government’s inability to reduce corruption of officials, public servants, and politicians, or establish effective mechanisms to promote integrity in the public sector, and prevent the misuse of power, secret dealings and bribery, this is definitely a warning alarm.
Unfortunately, none of the officials moved a finger. This means that these problems continue to ruin society, which is a serious matter that cannot be overlooked, irrespective of the justifications.
It is really pathetic when a ministerial appointment becomes a trade and a benefit, when someone is appointed for two or three months for a large retirement salary, and when MPs sing about their interests. When the popular crises worsen and we see what the neighbors did to make their people happy, then the neighboring countries deserve the title of countries of achievements, while Kuwait becomes a country of disappointments.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times