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KING Dabeshlim told Bidpai, the philosopher: “Give me an example of someone who does good to those who are unworthy.”
The philosopher said: “Oh King, the characters of people are different. No one assumes a character except after having experienced his methods and fulfilling attributes. A character should not be restricted and based on a person’s closeness to you, especially if such a person is unworthy of upholding such character.
“It was narrated that a number of persons dug a pit; where a goldsmith, a serpent, a monkey and a tiger fell into. A traveler, who was passing by, stood over the pit. He saw the man and his companions, and said to himself: ‘I cannot perform any deed that will plead more strongly in my favor in the life to come, than by rescuing this man from the enemies surrounding him.’
“So he took a rope and let it down into the pit. The monkey, owing to its dexterity and nimbleness, was the first to cling to the rope and climb up. He then let the rope down a second time, and the serpent twisted itself round the rope and came out. Then a third time, the tiger took hold of the rope and he pulled it up.
“The three beasts thanked him for rescuing them, but begged him not to rescue the goldsmith, adding that men in general, and especially the person in question, were incapable of gratitude. The monkey told him: ‘I live on a mountain near a city called Nawadarkht.’ The tiger said: ‘I live in the woods close to this city.’ And the serpent: ‘I dwell in the walls of the city. If you pass in our neighborhood any time and need our services, call us and we will reward you for the kindness you have shown us.’
“But the traveler did not pay attention to what they told him about the ingratitude of the man, as he let down the rope again and brought out the goldsmith who thanked him for what he did and said: ‘If ever you come to Nawadarkht, ask for my house. I am a goldsmith and I shall be happy to be of any use to you in return for the service you rendered me.’ The goldsmith returned to the city and the traveler continued his journey.
“After some time, the traveler went to Nawadarkht. While he was walking, the monkey met him, saluted to him, and apologized for the inability of monkeys to do much for a friend, but begged him to wait till the latter returned. The monkey went away and came back soon after, bringing some choice fruit, which it placed before the traveler who, having eaten as much as he chose, continued his journey.
“As he approached the gate of the city, the tiger advanced towards him and placing itself in a humble posture before him, said: ‘Wait a moment and I will come back to you very soon.’ Then the tiger went away, entered the city through one of the walls, killed the king’s daughter, tore off her trinkets and brought them to the traveler, without informing him by what means he took them.
“The traveler said to himself: ‘These beasts have rewarded me very handsomely. I am now curious to see what the goldsmith will do. If he is poor and has no means of expressing his gratitude, he may at least sell these trinkets for their full value, with which of course he is acquainted and divide with me the money which he obtains for them.’ So he went to the goldsmith who, as soon as he saw the traveler, saluted him and made him enter his house.
Upon seeing the trinkets, he immediately recognized them as the ones he made for the daughter of the king. He then told the traveler that he had nothing in the house good enough for him, but if he would wait a little while, he would give him something to eat.
“He went out and said to himself: ‘This is an opportunity that should not be lost. I will go to the king and inform him about the discovery I have made. Without a doubt, he will acknowledge and reward my zeal.’ He went to the antechamber of the king and announced himself, conveying a message: ‘The person who killed your majesty’s daughter and stole her trinkets is in my house at the moment.’
The king instructed the soldiers to arrest and bring the traveler before him. As soon as he saw the jewels in the traveler’s possession, he immediately ordered to torture him, lead through the city and put to death in the end.
“Whilst the punishment was being executed, the traveler began to weep. He cried out with a loud voice: ‘If I only listened to the hints which the monkey, serpent and tiger gave me about the ingratitude of this man, I would not be in this misfortune.’
“Since he repeated the same words several times, the serpent heard what he said and came out from the hole, recognizing its friend once again. The serpent was so distressed over the situation in which it found him, so it immediately thought of a plot to rescue him. The serpent bit the son of the king. Then, the king called the doctors of his kingdom who endeavored to charm the bite through their incantations and magical arts, but their efforts proved futile.
“Now, the serpent went to the king’s son and told him that he would not get well unless the man who was punished so undeservedly was freed. The serpent also went to the traveler in prison and reproached him for not following its advice concerning the goldsmith. It gave him leaves which served as an antidote to its poison.
“The king’s son told his father that he heard someone speaking, telling him that he would not get well, unless the man who was unjustly imprisoned charmed the sting of the serpent. Therefore, the king summoned the traveler and ordered him to charm his son.
“The traveler replied: ‘Incantations are useless for him, but if he drinks a decoction of these leaves, he will be cured with the assistance of heaven.”
Undoubtedly, this story applies to the Kuwaiti reality, particularly in terms of how the rulers, over the past half century, have been doing good to the undeserving. Rather, the rulers saw in these people loyalty to the homeland and its citizens, but they were surprised to find the reality was the opposite of what they thought.
This is the reason why the State needed a man who was familiar with such a path, who knew who was unworthy and who was ungrateful. Thus, the path toward reform began with the new leadership, and the recent election was the most expressive step. It was articulated in terms of form and content, because the leadership dealt with the historical defect upon which the election outcomes were built over the past four decades, responding to the call of the people who were greatly harmed by the falsification of their will — whether by buying votes or transferring them in devious ways, which led to practices in previous parliaments that do not express the will of Kuwait and its people.
This is true in the arsenal of laws that caused the closure of the country and tied the economy with restrictions that prompted investors to flee; in addition to conflicts with weak governments that stopped development, including the modernization of infrastructure.
Undoubtedly, the past stage witnessed many mistakes, which can even be called crimes against Kuwait, especially with regard to the ‘prisoners of conscience’ who were imprisoned for tweeting or those convicted of civil offenses, personal loans and dud cheques.
Here, it may be useful to point out the contradiction in which the two authorities — legislative and executive — passed the Bankruptcy Law in line with international standards, without amending the prison sentences for the issuer of a bounced cheque. This means emptying the contents of the new law.
At this point, it must be said: Majority of those who won the elections responded to the Amiri speech.
Therefore, there is a huge responsibility on their shoulders — to salute Kuwait that honored them through a legislative workshop on amending laws which are not in line with the aspirations of the country and its people, and to prepare a strong and new start for the country.
Finally, there is no doubt that the ruler is currently aware that all this cannot be achieved without a capable government which responds to public demands.
This means seeking the assistance of selected ministers who have the capabilities that qualify them to fix the devastation the country has been suffering from.
Otherwise, we will return to square one, and the country will once again fall into the trap of doing good to the unworthy. The people and the leadership detest this.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times