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Wednesday , June 19 2019

‘Where to?’

Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

‘WHERE to?’ I am borrowing this question from HH the late Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah who repeated it in every political crisis and escalation. The case has not changed for decades.

It is as if Kuwait lives in a closed circle without the ability to exit, as it keeps on regurgitating crises without any hope of putting an end to this ostentation which has never become something palatable.

Even when our major crisis was at its peak, some opted to exploit the situation to serve their interests. They completely disregarded the concept of nation as they put themselves ahead of everyone else as if they are the only Kuwaitis on this land with the right to everything, while others cannot oppose even just for the sake of opposing.

Unfortunately, Kuwaitis did not learn from their past experiences, even the most difficult and most painful experience – the Iraqi occupation.

At the time, political clamor was at its peak; as well as the ‘Monday diwaniyas’, political trolls and others. The late Saddam Hussein saw an opportunity to invade and occupy Kuwait through the social crack.

Despite his failure and conviction that Kuwaitis cannot turn from themselves and their history, and that they resisted the aggression formidably and in unity; all this came after their misery.

The entire nation, even the youngest citizen, stood by the words of HH the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad who said: “It is important for us to return and live in tents on the land of Kuwait.” We returned after the world stood beside us in our fight for our right.

The questions are: What did we do after our return? Did we strive to build our country or is there a team drenched in greed wanting to possess everything at the expense of others? What has changed 29 years after the invasion and 28 years after liberation? Nothing. In fact, the State has become weaker, development projects are stagnant, governments change constantly up to a point where Kuwait is competing with itself in the number of governments and dissolution of Parliaments.

The prevailing mentality is that the MP targets the Cabinet member who failed to grant his illegal demands, or a dispute between a minister and a lawmaker makes the government succumb to blackmail in order to avoid confrontation.

A politician or influential person in a feud with a minister mobilizes a group of unscrupulous MPs to taunt the minister. They act against the entire State using social media and their affiliated mouthpieces. They portray those opposing them as the devils.

Didn’t this happen when the ‘Brotherhood’ MPs mocked the late Minister Sheikh Saud Al-Nasser in relation to the northern oil fields – an act of revenge due to his stance during the invasion as he refused to grant them $50 million under his tenure as Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington?

Was it not the case with the Dow Chemical scheme through which Kuwait lost tens of billions and missed the opportunity to employ around 20,000 Kuwaitis? What did those who stood against these two schemes achieve? Did they provide alternative schemes or they continued to milk the State and employ the public wealth to serve their personal interests? Is this patriotism?

For years, we have had the slogan, “Kuwait 2035,” which aims to transform the country into a global commercial and financial hub. What has the legislative authority been doing in this regard? Did they endorse legislation for the realization of this vision, or they endorsed bills which lock the country and isolate it from others – starting with banning coeducation, tourism and introducing laws which restrain personal liberty and the economy?

Unfortunately, these people know well how to agitate public zeal which is between a rock of their interests and a hard place of backwardness. Despite this, they continue to raise a slogan here and coin a phrase there accusing people of bribery, embezzlement and looting. They say: “Kuwait is not for sale, this project is a country within a country, so and so is corrupt, or our values are redlines and the history of our grandfathers is a no go zone,” and many other rhetoric void of truth.

The legislative authority benefits from this degradation that the country has reached. It enacts laws which curtail personal liberties, leading to the spread of narcotics in a scary manner. In spite of this, some are engaged in political bullying and are not concerned with the country and its people; because for them, they come first and the rest are not their business.

Gentlemen, this is not how a country is built. This is not how democracy is. This odd condition exists only in Kuwait. In India – the largest democracy in the world, the United Kingdom, the Scandinavian countries and many other countries; democracy does not impede development projects of the State for the sake of a person or for mere maliciousness.

Perhaps, a question should be raised: Who is responsible for all this destruction? The answer is a no-brainer; the one responsible is the kitchen of decision – the government which shivers when questioned and shrinks when grilled.

In case of confrontation, the government of decision should be up for it and engage head on by presenting facts as it continues implementing its projects without paying attention to the quota system – an act that brings down a nation.

This means there should be an impervious government in which an undersecretary does not undermine a minister in a manner that both of them resort to their strongholds in the Parliament or through unscrupulous personalities.

Three decades after liberation, there is parliamentary dictatorship which is above the law in the entire country; while it is unfortunate that the executive authority rendered itself the postal messenger or ‘mandoub’ of parliamentarians, so the projects end up dying in the drawers and shelves.

Whenever a project or scheme is announced, the MP stubbornly fights against it because he is not in good terms with the concerned minister or because he did not get a piece of the cake.

Therefore, we go back to the question: ‘Where to?’ Shouldn’t Kuwaitis fear Allah for their country is in the midst of volcanic eruptions or selfishness has blinded them?

Worst is the democracy that we are singing about after the misery. If we managed in the past to find those who stood with us in our fight for our right, I don’t believe that in today’s world, anyone will look at us considering the condition in the region we are living in.

Everyone has enough on their plates in terms of the pressing crises which divert their attention from other issues or prompt them to ‘export’ issues. In Kuwait, we live a life of political puberty which opens the door of uncertainty.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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