“THERE is a group of human traffickers who have distorted the image of expatriate workers of all nationalities because these human traffickers brought the laborers into the country and failed to give them work, they were exploited by the greedy people and were thrown on the street to find work. As a result these expatriates began looking for any kind of job that would satisfy their thirst and hunger. To add insult to injury, the sponsors have been requesting large sums of money to renew their residence permits,” columnist Ali-Al-Baddah wrote for Al-Jarida daily.
“The fabricated uproar against the Egyptian workers haunts us again, and I do not want to talk again about the cause of this uproar or its motives and the attempt to create wedge between Kuwait and Egypt, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has played its role and buried such incitement.
“However, I would like to shed light on Kuwait – the Kuwait of pre- oil era or the ‘early Kuwait’. The statistics published by Dr Adel Abdul- Mughni says that the number of Kuwaitis in 1957 was approximately 114,000 of the total population of 206,000, and after 11 years of exporting the first oil shipment, Kuwaitis represented 55 percent of the population. “Before then and at that time, Kuwaitis worked in all professions. Before oil, the Kuwaiti was a sailor, carpenter, mason, blacksmith, baker, digger, well cleaner, water transporter, and seller of vegetables, meat and fish, and in all professions and jobs were carried out by the Kuwaitis.
“When Kuwait began earning money from oil, the then ruler of Kuwait began distributing wealth and changing the lifestyle of Kuwaitis, and instead of continuing in their professions they brought Arab and foreign workers to perform the cumbersome tasks, and they continued to rely on these overseas workers until they forgot these professions.
“As a result the working class generation disappeared and they were replaced by the inactive generation which was unfortunate. There was no productive group looking to the future except for a limited number of enterprising merchants who foresaw the future, so they set up industry and mega projects that have remained to this day the bright side in the life of Kuwait after oil, and with the departure of this group of Kuwaiti merchants a generation of builders and innovators keen on the future of Kuwait ended.
“The Kuwaitis were happy with the foreigners who flocked to Kuwait to do the work that the Kuwaitis once did and as a result the country became totally dependent on the foreign workforce and had it not been for the oil industries, programs, salaries and benefits, the oil industry would have been in the hands of expatriates as well, and the Kuwaitis would focus only on white collar jobs, especially in the state ministries, where salary is guaranteed for little work in almost all jobs.
“With the increase in expatriate workers, Kuwaitis began to discover that they had been outnumbered, so more than once we debated the issue of the ratio of some nationalities whom we feared and this uproar included in the beginning the Iranian workers, then the Palestinians, then the bedoun, the Bangladeshis, and finally came the Egyptian labor.
“Nevertheless, with all of the mentioned communities, there appears a clear and understandable reason for the uproar that erupts at this stage, where the fabricated uproar against the Egyptian expatriates, and unfortunately, the availability of non-social means and the ease of their spread and hiding under false names or the exploitation of mercenary bloggers groups led to the exaggeration of the problem without anyone asking himself ‘What if the Egyptian workers left the country now?’
“Unfortunately, many cry foul at the size of the Egyptian workforce although nobody is allowed to enter Kuwait to work without a Kuwaiti sponsor, whether an individual, company or government agency, and according to legal regulations and procedures.
“There are many communities in Kuwait now, some of which receive the attention of their governments, as did the President of the Philippines and the government of Egypt, and some of them do not make a fuss, but Kuwaitis do not pay attention to the silence about injustice, but they raise their eyebrows if an expatriate dares to demand his rights.
“Of course, every country has a balance in its employment, determining their percentage of the indigenous population, and reviewing the demographics, but this is done with careful planning and without any offense to any human being, so it is our duty to honor our guests and bid them farewell in an appropriate manner and pay them their dues. “When we become a builder, blacksmith, carpenter, and master all simple technical professions in our everyday life, then and then only we can say ,‘Thank you, expatriates’.”