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Tuesday , September 29 2020

Disasters are not occasions for mockery and settling of scores

IT IS very shameful to transform the unexpected heavy rainstorm into an avenue for new blackmail, which some weak minds have embarked on as they are used to exploiting every opportunity to politically blackmail an official or another in a bid to settle scores. They use social media for this purpose under real or fictitious names, instead of pushing for solidarity and utilizing the media in a way that it serves its real purpose.

Disasters of this nature happen in every country across the world. Jordan experienced massive flood, beyond imagination, last year. Everybody is aware that the geographical and climatic nature of Jordan is different from ours, because it rains heavily there every year. Similar cases even happen in many European countries where they experience rainfall and snow throughout the winter season. Yet, we have not seen any of the bloggers on social media calling for the dismissal of this minister or another or even mass dismissal of the Cabinet. Instead, they joined hands in dealing with the aftermath, with a sense of responsibility to stabilize psychological condition of victims.

It is unfortunate that in Kuwait specifically, and some GCC countries in general, natural disasters have become occasions for mockery and the frivolous blame game. This contradicts the well-known principles of freedom of opinion and expression. It contravenes the Reward Law which prohibits accusing people without proof. The situation is so bad, up to the extent of creating sectional, sectarian and tribal frictions. Did those who perpetrate such deliberate distortion strive to solve problems emanating from the natural disaster?

A wildfire has been raging for almost a week in the State of California in the United States of America, leading to evacuation of about a quarter million people. Nobody has demanded for impeachment of President Donald Trump in his capacity as head of the executive authority. Nobody requested for removal of the German chancellor for the floods that affected some parts of Germany. There was no call for removal of the British prime minister, French president and others. In Jordan, nobody demanded for resignation of the minister of works or prime minister.

This is because everybody is aware that a disaster is a force which cannot be conquered, according to its description constitutionally and legally. It is impossible to hold anybody responsible until investigation reveals the fact. It is not about looking for a scapegoat immediately as a form of mockery such that everybody begins to choose his foe as a scapegoat.

The resignation of any official in this situation means escape from reality. The priority now is to assess the extent of damage and compensate victims; then review the infrastructure to suit the climate change being experienced by the entire world, not only Kuwait. If the government always responds to such blackmail, it is tantamount to abdicating the natural role. This will bring about damages worse than the rainstorm.

Some officials have spoken well by saying the necessity now is to solve problems emanating from this disaster, which should be followed by specifying responsibilities after investigating the facts. This is the best approach towards reforming the entire executive authority. This should include the unusual situation of using social media to prevent it from becoming a source of destruction under the freedom of opinion and expression slogan.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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