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THERE is a phrase engraved on the facade of Al-Seif Palace, which is a piece of wisdom if one carefully ponders over it. It is – “If it had lasted for others, it would not have reached you.”
This phrase goes back to the era of one of the Abbasid Dynasty’s rulers. Due to its great significance, Sheikh Salem Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah chose for it to be engraved on the facade of the palace in 1917.
What made us remember this phrase now is the rumors that Kuwait has been witnessing in recent days regarding the arrangement of the ruling house, and how some are drawing up several scenarios even though this is not within their jurisdiction!
There is a clear law on this matter that cannot be deviated from. There are rational people in Kuwait who know when to act. The rule is, the life of a state is meant to be continuous and does not stop with a single person. This is how the world is, and no one is immortal.
I remember in the year 2005 when the late King Fahad suffered a health setback, he gathered his brothers on that day and asked to step down, but they refused. His powers were entrusted to the heir apparent at the time – Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz – and he remained king until he passed away on the first of August that year.
Also, when Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan suffered a health setback, his powers were assigned to his Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifa. The same happened with him when he suffered a health problem, and his powers were assigned to his Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
Also in the United Kingdom, the same path was taken when Prince Charles assumed the powers of the kingdom.
In all monarchs, there is an agreed-upon formula that organizes the ruling house, on the basis of “the king is dead, the king lives”. Its reason is that there is no vacuum at the top of the pyramid of power.
Sometimes intrigues and rumors overpower the truth, as this is an occasion for the demons of interest to infiltrate into the details of the discourse. This is what countries have witnessed.
In the Umayyad Dynasty, unrest prevailed as a result of the entry of stakeholders into the ruling line through lies. The same thing happened with the Abbasid Dynasty, and also the Ottoman Empire, where conspiracies to gain power are the best evidence of what led to their collapse.
Why do we go back to these historical events? It is because there are those who use every opportunity to try to make Kuwait an arena for settling their personal scores, even if that is at the expense of the state as a whole.
In this regard, I remember when Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem suffered from a health problem in the National Assembly in the 1960s, and Dr. Ahmed Al-Khatib had treated him. When he woke up from his coma in his home, he found Dr. Al-Khatib by his side.
He said to him, “You are a generous man, not as I was told about you that you are trying to overthrow the government.”
At that time, Kuwait was at the beginning of its era of democracy. Many conspiracies were being hatched, but none of them had anything to do with the truth. On that day, Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem assumed some of the powers of the Amir, the rule continued, and the state remained.
The same thing happened when Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad became ill, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah assumed some of his powers. And when the Crown Prince became ill at that time, the powers were delegated to Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, after separating the Crown Prince from the presidency of the Council of Ministers.
In the year 2006 when matters became somewhat complicated, an elite group of Kuwaiti notables met with the head of the Al-Sabah family, Sheikh Salem Al-Ali. Among them were Jassem Al-Saqer, Yousef Ibrahim Alghanim, Abdulaziz AlShaya, Yousef Al-Nisf, and others.
They met in order to solve some formal problems. It was agreed to pledge allegiance to Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, because the late Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah was not in a health condition that allowed him to exercise his role.
Here it is necessary to note something worthy of attention. The emirate’s inheritance law is clear and unambiguous, and Kuwaiti traditions are consistent in such matters. The country’s notables include people who are most keen about the stability of the state.
So, going back to the saying inscribed on the façade of Seif Palace “If it lasted for others, it would not have reached you”, it simply means that people leave but countries remain. When some are aggressive in defending people via social media, these people do not want any good. Rather, they work on the basis of the ruin of the temple, because they have a benefit in that, for they are like crows that only live in ruins.
Therefore, it is necessary not to pay attention to these rumors, especially since many of them are published under pseudonyms or from outside Kuwait.
In every era, there are means to confuse and achieve personal goals at the expense of the state, but sagacious officials realize that this will not affect the course of the state, and that it is stable despite the change of fates.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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