Kuwait - fighting corruption, terrorism and human rights violations
Kuwait, a culture of face, is more concerned about its reputation than anything else. As a result, issues such as corruption, terrorism and human rights violations are often denied or simply ignored. In most cases, the victims are punished. Despite the fact most people are too afraid to denounce them, some Kuwaiti and expat writers are exposing the violations committed against helpless victims... some times at the risk of being accused of destroying Kuwait’s reputation or even being arrested.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Kuwait Times, Thursday, June 1, 2006
Kuwait Times, Thursday, June 1, 2006
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Kuwait Times, Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Women in Kuwait have long been a source of strength in the community, even before this was officially recognised by the government. Although Kuwaiti women have been gaining momentum in society only slowly, their evolution has been an impressive validation of their intelligence and strength. Although Kuwait is considered a developed country, Kuwaiti women have yet to claim their place in political society.
"The late ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah, issued a royal decree in June 1999, stating that women should be allowed to vote and run for office in the next election', and yet Kuwaiti women have only recently been given the right to vote after years of struggle.
"The granting of political rights to women marked a turning point in the country, and it has been greeted with mixed reactions here. Many activists and women's rights supporters were elected [to municipal posts]. Muna Al-Fuzai, a local Kuwaiti columnist, says she "finally feels like a full human being."
It is through education that Kuwaiti women are being recognised. There is a very high percentage of Kuwaiti women at university and many more are being educated abroad. The percentage of women in universities is higher than men: hence many Kuwaiti women are being offered scholarships without any discrimination.
With a higher level of education, women have the essential tools to compete with men in the work environment. Kuwaiti women are involved in every field. For example, we have skilled doctors, businesswomen, lawyers, engineers, and women who own land, as well as large, well-known companies. They have proved they are able to participate and challenge men in every field.
Furthermore, educated women have demonstrated that they are more than capable in the political sphere. "At conferences, the Western educated women tend to take a prominent role in discussion of issues, and in some of the leadership positions at the event". The only thing we are missing is our political rights, voting, and representing in our country.
With the power of knowledge women today are stepping up to the challenge in every aspect of Kuwaiti society. The new law helped Kuwaiti women activists to participate. Jenan Boushehri and Khaledah Al-Khader are two of the female candidates who are setting up their campaigns and starting to face the challenges.
Khader spoke at her campaign in a victorious tone, telling reporters and supporters that the elections showed the country and the world the capabilities of local women. "This is the first time Kuwaiti women can show the men that we are capable. It is important that we do our best and leave the outcome of the poll to God"
In addition Rola Dashti, the president of the Kuwaiti Economist Association and a political activist, stated that the day Kuwaiti women got their rights was the day "that we as women felt freedom and defeated ignorance. I believe that today is a historic day for Kuwaiti women. Today we have achieved a victory, a victory for freedom. We have won the battle between freedom and ignorance, terrorism against development, and now Kuwaiti women will have a say in parliament," she says.
Even if some of these women are not elected, they have taken the first step. Their efforts to represent Kuwaiti women put them on the right track for the future. - Al-Qabas
Kuwait Times, Wednesday, May 31, 2006
This nonsense will be our subject today. At a time when all the country is calling for reform and an end to corruption, the Ministry of Education is working on a new plan to limit students' reactions to what they confront day and night.
The youth are the largest group in our society. They have been trying to express and practice their civil rights lately, on different crucial subjects such as changing constituencies. Now they have been punished for that.
In the Middle East, calls for reform are usually treated with suspicion by the authorities, and as calls for aggressive public participation and rebellion against the ruling powers. Most governments fear such calls and rush to squeeze any protest until it dies from the public's fear of punishment.
But as we enjoy a limited amount of freedom in Kuwait and every rock and stone in this country is talking about democracy, why not let those youngsters practice their civil rights in schools with their teachers' supervision -- instead of encouraging them to practice it in basements or unknown areas where terrorists may lurk.
I believe that citizens should be able to present their own ideas freely through public channels in their own country.
The suppression of citizens' civil rights is the main reason for violence, which knows no border, and it can actually spread all over the world to other countries. The Middle East must stop this contradiction: If they want democratic participation, they should implement it. But in reality, they don't.
If people are to present their ideas publicly about what they think of this country, then there is no better place than schools. Here the youth can talk with their teachers or schools guests about their fears and worries.
If they are prevented from doing so, this will create anger and lead to terror and violence. This is what most Western countries are confronting now, because of these contradictory policies and the hypocrisy in the Middle East.
Any small spark will lead to destructive public action because those in their ivory towers don't care about others -- they just care about how long they will stay in power. These students are no less than any other human living in this country, and just because they can't vote, this doesn't make them less than others. They should not be ignored under any circumstances. This decision is wrong and must be cancelled immediately.
Kuwait Times, Tuesday, May 30, 2006
"We are a group of young people, from school, university and young graduates," one of their leaders, 29-year-old Khaled Al-Fadalah, told AFP as dozens of activists gathered outside the election registration centre. Kuwait is holding early elections on June 29 after HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dissolved parliament on May 21 after a bitter standoff between pro-government and opposition MPs over electoral reform. Opposition MPs have accused the government of deliberately blocking efforts to stamp out vote-buying by reducing the number of constituencies from 25, an issue that plunged the state into political crisis.
"Our beginning was spontaneous," the US-educated Fadalah said. "We were discussing the political crisis in Kuwait at a restaurant. We said we should act. We decided to hold a protest at the council of ministers." The orange protest began with the sending of SMS text messages. Then, through Internet bloggers and mobile phone calls, they set a date and a time. "Between 400 and 500 people gathered. It was very successful," said Fadalah of the peaceful rally that lasted about three hours.
The protesters and pro-reform MPs blame the election system created some 25 years ago for most of Kuwait's alleged rampant corruption, saying it promotes vote-buying and thus produces some corrupt MPs. They have pressed for the number of constituencies to be slashed to five, saying this would expand electoral districts and make vote-buying very difficult. The colour orange was chosen "for no political reason", according to Nada Al-Mutawa, one of the female activists. "It has nothing to do with Ukraine or Lebanese Christian leader Michel Aoun's movement," she told AFP.
Buoyed by their initial success, the orange activists then staged an overnight vigil outside parliament ahead of the crucial May 15 debate. A number of pro-reform MPs visited them at what later came to be known as the "Square of Will". About 1,000 members of the orange movement and others disrupted the parliament session when the government backed a motion to send the constitutional court its own bill that would trim the number of constituencies to 10. They applauded as 29 opposition MPs walked out of the session, and chanted slogans like "we want it five" and "down with the government" - forcing ministers and pro-government MPs to leave the chamber before completing the vote.
Two days later, the protesters held a large public rally at the same spot, followed on May 19 by another at which opposition MPs pledged to back a request to question Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. "They branded us as children. Yes, we are. But children who love their country and who are determined to force positive change," activist Abdullah Buftain told thousands at the rally. "We acted out of frustration at widespread corruption in every government institution and at every level," said Fadalah.
On the day parliament was dissolved, veteran opposition former MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun hailed the orange youth "as leaders of the Kuwaiti people who brought all political groups under one umbrella". "In seven days, this group of young activists succeeded in bringing down the government. This week is historic for Kuwait, when the people exercised their right of change," Saadun said. The orange activists and opposition MPs consider that the government has "failed" at a popular level. The activists plan to play a key role in the June 29 parliamentary elections, though no Orange Movement member is standing because they are all under 30, the legal age for candidates.
Outside the election registration centre, the activists have managed to speak to most of the candidates, urging them to support a bill to reduce the number of constituencies to five and to fight corruption. "We will monitor the candidates and we will expose the corrupt ones. We will keep a close watch and we will continue to chase them," said Fadalah. The group is now using the Internet to name candidates it alleges are corrupt or who oppose reform. The orange activists have created two lists for candidates. Their "white list" contains the names of reformists, including the 29 opposition former MPs who have formed a new group called Alliance for Change, while the "black list" names hopefuls they allege are pro-government. - AFP
Kuwait Times, Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Dr Sami Alrabaa
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Arab Times, Monday, May 29, 2006
Mansour Al-Sultan - Special to the Arab Times
She added a woman contesting the National Assembly seat neither brings shame to the family not is it a scandal. Moreover it is a question of pride for the family and the state. The woman has apologized to the residents in her constituency for withdrawing from the elections saying she had no other alternative. She also appealed to HH the Amir to protect Kuwaiti women against such oppression and person who want to deprive them of their political rights.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Kuwait Times, Monday, May 29, 2006
Muna Al Fuzai
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Kuwait Times, Monday, May 22, 2006
Most families enjoy the beach these days. They love to take their kids out for a few hours. But what I can't understand is why families do not take into consideration who will take care of the children, while they are swimming, playing or buying ice cream.
I can understand if families took their maids with them to have some fun and spend some time with the family outside. Let's see what a normal housemaid does.
First of all, she is the one who takes the lion share of carrying the family's bags, balls, rugs, food etc. Secondly, she is the one who arranges all of these items according to the madam's orders. Thirdly, she is a full time guard for the children while they are swimming or playing on the beach. Fourthly, participation is compulsory and she should play with them all the time until they are exhausted or need to eat.
Fifthly, she must prepare the food for the children and if the family is kind, they may give her some food to eat, or she have to wait until they finish and give her the leftovers. Finally, when the picnic is over, she is asked to pick up all the family's items again and take them to the car. She makes sure the kids take a bath and washes all their dirty laundry for next trip. What a job!
What the maids wear for these trips is not a concern for these families. Most maids go to the pool and beach with in their kitchen clothes or what ever else she is wearing! I can understand that there are no regulations regarding what clothes to wear to swim in the sea.
But, swimming in public pools is not acceptable without proper swimming clothes.
I can imagine that her clothes might have a lot of germs. Besides, wearing a swimsuit is necessary in case she has her period. I certainly would vomit if I saw some menstrual blood in a public swimming pools, simply because a maid was forced to join a little monster when she is not suitably dressed.
Another daily humiliation practiced by some cruel sponsors involves where a family chooses to sit. The seats are usually limited to two or three people. The lady and her husband sit while the maid is kept standing all the time like the slave, except she is not carrying a fan for her masters. Come on people! This is a scene from the Arabian Nights! What you are doing is shameful and abusive to a poor person, just because she is maid and works for you. What harm can be done if she is given a space to sit or asked to go for a walk on the beach on her own, or what ever she would like to do?
I think this is abuse and those abusers need to wake up. We need awareness campaigns media to shake them from their fantasies of slavery. This is 21st century, and the days of empire are long gone.