A FEW days ago, the members of our rational government clapped for themselves when 270 kg of a deadly narcotic substance known as “methamphetamine” (locally known as shabou) was seized by customs ofﬁcers. The contraband, which was smuggled in a remarkable manner, has a market value of several million dinars, despite the cost of production not exceeding a couple of hundred dinars.
In this regard, it is our obligation to extend our appreciation and gratitude to the customs ofﬁcers for their diligence and alertness in preventing such poisonous substances from entering our country and devastating our youths.
However, this seized quantity of the substance does not represent more than ten percent of such similar narcotics that smugglers succeed in bringing into the country to serve the Kuwaiti youth market, which is hungry for such drugs, especially in light of the government’s quarantine measures imposed several times this year. Despite all this, our Minister of Health continues to brandish these measures from time to time. The smuggling of these materials is carried out in an innovative manner that makes it difﬁcult to uncover, let alone the bribing of some corrupt customs ofﬁcers and thousand likeminded government employees – both seniors and juniors.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates surprised us when its open-minded leadership endorsed new amendments to the laws that, we in our dear Kuwait cannot even dare to mention, let alone demand its approval. The new amendments issued through a decree by the President of the United Arab Emirates were related to the Federal Status Law, the Civil Transactions Law, the Federal Penal Code and the Federal Criminal Procedure Law.
These new amendments allow unmarried couples to live together, decriminalize suicide attempts, toughen punishments and prosecute eve-teasers, and abolish penalties for liquor consumption. These amendments also include “repealing the article that gives a mitigating excuse for the so-called honor crimes”. From this humble platform and from our capacity as lawyers who have been keen about issues related to human rights, we salute our Emirati brothers for their courage in adopting these amendments, which are based on pragmatic approach towards their reality, something that many of the Arab and Muslim countries fall short of.
What I speciﬁcally mean here is the so-called honor crimes and their reduced punishment, as in reality, such crimes may have nothing to do with honor, and the persistence of hotels to demand marriage certiﬁcates whenever couples decide to spend several days away from home. In addition to that, the prohibition of circulation and consumption of alcohol is a crime that only exists in Kuwait and another friendly country; it does not exist in other countries of the world. Because of these kinds of measures, the black market for alcohol and narcotic substances such as “shabou” continue to thrive by illegally generating millions that go into the pockets of some inﬂuential Kuwaitis, expatriates and government employees.
We ﬁrmly believe that this Kuwaiti cowardice that we have been witnessing and suffering from for years “is nothing but the outcome of the incursion of exaggerated ‘takﬁri’ thoughts into our culture and our politics until it consolidated its existence and established its foundations to become like an octopus whose tentacles extend into every ministry, facility and decision-making forums in a manner that control the state. This is what contributed to the spread of corruption and squandering of public funds”, as described by MP Khaled Al-Shatti.
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By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil