SINCE Kuwait was the Pearl of the Gulf in arts, literature and culture; we are not at the tail end. This is manifested in the orders of the extremist fundamentalist force and how the government obeys such orders blindly without any justification. This force acquired influence, wealth and strength to be at peace with the authority in a bid to counter the nationalists and leftists in the 1970s and 1980s.
However, its influence keeps on growing as it was given the needle and thread in quasi-sovereign governmental institutions which have oversight on the information media, Awqaf, mosques, Minors Affairs and fundamentalist associations that receive millions of donations for charity; only to spend on those who adhere to their extremism.
We have seen how the force and its miserably rigid oversight barred scores of publications of our youths which were published outside the country. We ended up buying these publications from outside. We read and enjoyed them despite our ludicrous cultural oversight.
The most recent of their oversight calls was prohibiting dancing with the opposite gender, and even with the same gender. They consider themselves messengers of divine care for harassing mankind. All that remains in this matter is carrying out the orders of some extremist fundamentalists.
We were shocked when we heard this oversight banned some dancing and singing events in Mubarakiya Market during the National and Liberation Days.
In fact, this oversight, assisted by what resembles the ‘moral police’ in some countries, raided non-profitable organizations which support youths and their hobbies with the aim of enhancing beauty, culture and art. One such organization is LoYAC. It is under surveillance of media oversight, detectives and what I call ‘moral police.’
Several activities organized by LoYAC for the benefit of the youths were cancelled. Instead of seeing youths engaging in jovial activities on the streets similar to what happens in civilized countries, LoYAC gathered them in its headquarters; but even there, the ‘moral police’ did not spare them. They raided such premises in a manner that we see detectives raiding brothels or narcotic dens in movies.
This phenomenon is new and rejected by people in Kuwait with various cultures. Since when did an ordinary dance become ‘haram’ in every civilization, religion and our present life? We see our neighboring and friendly countries taking off and leaving such mentality behind, yet our country or our government has adopted a new slogan for fundamentalists: “You order, we obey!?”
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil