I can’t believe how things have changed – for the worse – during the National and Liberation Day holidays. I don’t understand how it could have gone from families celebrating national freedom and patriotism (especially THIS year as it is the FIRST year with Saddam gone) to a carnival of teenaged boys terrorizing the streets. It is no longer a national holiday, but a national disgrace.
This was my last holiday on the Gulf Road. We went out on 2 separate occasions and only for an hour each time. That was enough. There were just too many acts of aggression and downright meanness. Senseless acts of meanness. There was no fun. Gangs of roaming young men (lets just call them “hoodlums” because that’s what they were) ran up to cars, pulling on door handles trying to get in (not just ours - but families in other cars). Most of the people seemed shocked and "on alert", and didn’t appear to be having fun. Our own car was rocked by a group of about 10 hoodlums trying to get in. We didn’t have foam. We didn’t even make eye contact. They kicked the doors, they scratched the paint, they shouted obscenities. The police had no way of controlling the crowds; most looked on with disgusted expressions; many of the older guys shaking their heads in disappointment.
These young guys obviously have not been taught right from wrong by their parents (or anyone else). Perhaps they don’t know their own history; how happy their parents, grandparents, and relatives were when Kuwait was finally free in 1991. Perhaps these boys were traumatized by the atrocities that occurred during the months of the occupation and are now dealing with the after-affects. Whatever it was, they were out these past few nights for the wrong reasons.
I have heard that hair removal foam was used in place of the “fun” foam. I further heard that both urine and bleach were used (separately) in the super soaker water guns (as such were confiscated by police). It has gone from fun to malicious criminal intent.
The Kuwait Times reported an incident where a teenage boy opened the rear door of a 4x4 and molested a young girl while her father was at the wheel. The outraged father jumped out of his car and beat the boy in the street. What would you do if in the same situation? I wouldn’t give it a second thought; the kid would be hamburger.
I noticed that as soon as the sun went down, all the women on the streets went home. The cars were all full of families of mostly boys. I couldn’t blame them one bit. It wasn’t safe.
What defense do the police have against these gangs? Rubber bullets, tear gas, water hoses? There has got to be better crowd control than what went on the past few days. If the police can disburse a crowd of demonstrators with truck-mounted water cannons (lets say 3rd-world, hungry workers who haven’t been paid their salaries in six months) then they certainly can stop a bunch of hyped up malicious teenagers committing crimes during patriotic events. Regardless of the nationality, these boys are terrorizing people and it is getting worse.
The authorities should just ban the sale of (and use of) foam all together. It just isn’t worth it. How many people were actually hospitalized? There are no statistics – as usual. This year, it was urine, bleach, and hair removal foam; what will it be next year? Knives?
Really, what a shame.