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Tuesday , October 19 2021

‘We don’t need foreigners?’

I get up in the morning and find breakfast is ready. I thank Gemma and leave the house in my car that Carl cleaned. I drive it to the nearby gas station and fill the tank with petrol. I hand my Sri Lankan friend Ranta my bank card and half a dinar to see a smile on his face.

I head towards my office, find a cup of coffee waiting for me with the morning greeting from Olfat. My phone rings and the housekeeper tells me the fridge isn’t working, and the air-conditioner in the hall is making a strange noise. I call Al-Hasawi Company to repair the refrigerator, and another call to Mr. “Sabouni” to maintain the air conditioner.

I go back to reading my messages, but it seems that this day will not pass peacefully, as the Indian supervisor “Manaf” entered to tell me that the water supply has been cut off.

I called a relative who works in the office of the undersecretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Water and he called the network maintenance company in Sabhan, and within half an hour Pakistani workers came and the problem was resolved.

I left the office in the afternoon to go shopping. The Iranian baker in cooperative society was ready to hand me extra sesame bread. I entered the Co-op and asked the Bangladeshi worker to help me push the trolley and find my things off the shelves.

On the way home, I remembered the dental cleaning appointment at Dr. Husam. I found a message from him waiting for me apologizing, and that his Nepalese assistant “Hanta” will take care of the cleaning.

I walked out of the clinic to a bakery, where, two days before, I had ordered a birthday cake for my granddaughter, Laura, and a cake for the other granddaughter, Jazzy. Filipino saleswoman Joy was generous in her insistence on contributing to the feast with a small bag of chocolate bars.

On my way home, I felt the steering wheel was tilting to the left strongly, and within moments a sign appeared in front of me informing me that there was a malfunction in one of the tires. I changed my direction to the workshop of my Syrian friend “Hamo”, and he took care of the matter, and within minutes I was on my way home with a smile on the face of Hamo.

In the afternoon I went to the fairgrounds to take the third dose. I found that the majority of those who cared for me and tens of thousands of others were of multiple nationalities.

I left happily, heading to the lawyer’s office to follow up on an opinion case that was brought against me. Counsellor Hamdi Sabri received me, and confirmed the strength of my position, and that “Jalal” would take care of the matter, and asked the Bangladeshi tea boy Abdul Salam to make coffee for me.

I ended my tiring day by going to Al-Yousifi’s electronics store, where I bought from the Lebanese salesman a TV set with a huge screen, and Maroon promised that he would personally come home to supervise its installation.

When I got home, the cook told me that the outside kitchen sink was overflowing. It was seven in the evening. I called the Co-op sanitary workshop, and they immediately sent Saad, an Iraqi plumber who did the job well.

When I put my head on the pillow, I wondered what would it be like if all of these were not around me, this is nothing but thousands of craftsmen, doctors, drivers, nurses, X-ray, MRI and SONAR technicians, farmers, clerks, salespersons, butchers, electricians, welders, painters, construction workers, and crane drivers, and operators of paving machines, and tens of thousands of unknown people working at power stations, water distillation plants, and oil fields, working all hours of the day and night in the open, and in extreme conditions, in addition to tens of thousands of security guards in the most dangerous and sensitive places, so that we may be blessed with all these services, then an ignorant person comes and says, ‘We do not want Egyptians, we do not want the Indians and we do not want foreigners’.

These ignorant people are the first to shout, blame the government because services have deteriorated, employment has been lost, and wages have risen.

Hatred of foreigners, expatriates or residents – whatever you call them – is a phenomenon that exists in almost all countries of the world without exception. Most of the simple people view these immigrants with suspicion and a security and social burden, and they constitute a competition for them in the labor market. Some also believe that their presence puts pressure on services and infrastructure, other than their security problems.

The solution is not to expel the foreigners but rather to apply the law, toughen the punishment for residence traders, facilitate the entry of those the state needs and deport the unemployed, and this is not impossible, if you exclude the interests of the influential.

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

By Ahmad alsarraf

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