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Monday , December 16 2019

When will we stop being last?!

Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

DUE to our conservative lawmakers and spineless ministers, we have been occupying the last position in many aspects of economy, finance, commerce, culture …

The last time we had a cultural scandal in the current era of cultural boom happened under the leadership of the youthful Minister of Information who opposed invitation for seminar on the liberal philosopher Jalal El-Deen Al-Roumi who died decades ago!!!

This was followed days later by the suspension of the commercial license of a company for three months for organizing an event where Iraqi bands performed, because a woman who attended the event shook her shoulders. A youthful Korean band was banned from performing due to information gathered by Kuwait’s Ministry of Culture and the lawmakers with a twist that some members of the band were bisexuals?!

Peace be unto the Holy Prophet as this is happening in Kuwait in the 21st century. But the people I mentioned are the ones holding us back to traditions of the Arabian Peninsula several decades ago.

What really baffled me about the level of deterioration in my country concerning corruption that is widespread like wildfire is when I perused a recent announcement issued by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listing six new Arab cities on its website as creative cities. Before reading the list, I hoped to see Kuwait City, but I was quickly disappointed.

The global list contained cities that chose creativity as basis of growth in areas such as music, arts, popular vocation, design, cinema, information art, literature and art of cooking. The statement released by UNESCO to mark the World Creative Cities Day indicated that the organization would include Beirut in Lebanon and Sulaimaniyah in Iraq for being literary cities, while Ramallah in Palestine and Suweirah in Morocco made the list as musical cities at a time the Bahraini city of Mehraq was recognized in the design category and Sharjah in the UAE was described as the city of pop art and pottery. The total number of cities on the list is now 66 according to the information on the website. It includes new innovative cities in Europe, India, China, Brazil, Australia and other countries.

After perusing the winning Arab nations, I lamented over our deteriorating situation and my heart was in pain. We are not deficient in terms of finances and creative minds so as not to make the list of those cities. The list includes countries battling with various political and economic crises. In contrast, we live in affluence of petrol resources with the fragrance of free education, healthcare and ration; in addition to salaries for the handicapped, housewives, poor and needy … This sad question keeps ringing in my ears: ‘When are we going to stop occupying the last position?!’

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil

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