Letters to Sattam Al Jarallah from Italians who reside in Kuwait
The Arab Times and Al-Seyassah Online Media
I’D like to thank you first of all for this initiative of giving voice to all the Italians who have been left out of the country and are currently stuck in a “limbo” of uncertainty in a third country like us, with our apartment, all our belongings and the friends of several years there in Kuwait.
As many other families in the world we are going through a very difficult time, we appreciate very much every single act of mutual solidarity, closeness or friendship, like this one.
We are a family of three with a 7-year-old boy going to BSK. We moved to Kuwait in 2017 and we all have Kuwait residency.
On the 20th of Feb we left Kuwait for a 6-day holiday in the mountains in Italy. The same day we arrived the storm started: The disease spread suddenly and after 4 days, on the 24th, Kuwait had already closed the border without notice to whoever had been in Italy, requesting us to “quarantine” for 14 days in a non-infected country before being allowed to enter Kuwait again.
The company I work for is in the UK: They transferred us urgently from Italy to a temporary accommodation in London for the required “quarantine”.
We reached London on the 26th of Feb and on the 11th of March, after having received reassurance from Kuwait’s Embassy and BA, with a medical report with us, we left from Heathrow with a night flight heading towards Kuwait.
Once we arrived in Kuwait we were told that, during the same night, a new directive was enforced with immediate effect and only Kuwaiti citizens could enter Kuwait.
We were then placed on the same BA flight back to London where we are now in temporary accommodation again, with nothing but our one-week luggage, waiting but with plenty of hope.
There are many other details I could describe, like the 13-year-old girl who was travelling in our airplane, with her parents waiting in Kuwait and the authorities denying her entry to the country, but I fully understand the need for conciseness.
Federico, Ivy and Samuele
from London, UK
Giovanni De Gennaro is an Italian expat manager, a 4-year consultant at KOC, a world player in the oil & gas industry.
Since early March, he has ‘smart worked’ in Kuwait, including Fridays and Saturdays. His wife “smart works” and his kids “smart school” in Rome. All follow their ordinary daily schedule and safety rules, thanks to a fantastic Italian school and Kuwait’s network infrastructure. No symptoms in my family, and parents and relatives as well.
Two weeks ago he heard Italians were “plague spreaders”. Then, a few days later: “Everybody is Italian”, experiencing, as a member of KIB Council all Kuwaiti generous donations to Italian Civil Defense and the Kuwait government’s “Italian” measures with a clear target of protecting residents and their work. Perhaps the world fights as one for the first time.
Healthy, patient and ready to restart any day any time.
I lived most of life abroad, far from Italy, mainly in Sudan, then Qatar (we owned the Italian Restaurant LADOLCEVITA). Now I am in Beirut, and not working, but I still run all day long. I like to keep myself busy. I love cooking, reading, gardening, plus I have five lovely doggies.
I always thought that being negative and pessimistic does not help. At the end it attracts more of the same, and it harms us. So let’s stay positive and make the best of it. Let’s take the example of Mother Nature. We are in spring, and amid anxiety and pandemonium panic, all the trees are starting to turn green again. Some are bearing flowers, such as orange and lemon trees, inebriating the air. And there are many other more examples I can give.
This forced lockup has given many of us a possibility to think, analyze, evaluate and, I hope, change our bad habits and help us become more human and to love each other more, to be more forgivable and less judgemental towards others, indifferently of color or religious creed. Perhaps this is a bell ringing to wake up all of us. There is a saying that goes like this: “We appreciate and regret what we have, after we have lost it.”
By Giuliana Bisoglo
I’m Italian with Armenian origins I’ve been living in Kuwait since August 1997, though my first visit was in 1995 for vacation to visit my brother who was working here, and I loved what I saw, and wanted to be a part of it, so luckily I managed to find a job, went back home handed in my resignation and started the procedure toward the new adventure that awaited me.
At first it was hard but slowly slowly I started loving my life here, Kuwait gave me many employment opportunity, one more interesting than the other, and with each experience I became a better person.
I love Kuwait for its tranquillity and the security it offers, never have I felt scared to walk or drive at night. I love my life here, I discovered that I could paint, I discovered my love for teaching, and how I can dedicate my free time to take care of stray cats and dogs and I love to see that in this trying time there are so many people willing to help the less fortunate the elderly by delivering food etc. to them and not to forget the people who still go around helping the animals in need.
My heart breaks to see Italy in this condition but I know soon this ordeal will pass and Italy will immerge stronger than ever.
My message is to the people not to forget these days and to appreciate what we have, because in an instant it could be lost, we have to go back to when we trusted each other and we help each other without expecting anything in return, we can’t always run after the mighty buck.
We might feel trapped during curfew not able to go out, I look at it differently the curfew all around the world is bringing families together, fathers and mothers and involved with their children playing reading watching TV together, I think it is beautiful.
I’m impressed with Kuwait and all the steps it is taking to prevent the spread of Covid-19. I’m impressed with big companies who despite the situation are still paying the salaries to their worker even if they are not working, now is the time to stand by one another time to help and time to put our hands tougher for the wellbeing of humanity and this earth we live on.
God help us all
By Linda Bablanian