I am traumatized and disgusted.
This has got to be THE most violent Ramadan I’ve ever witnessed in Kuwait. I’ve personally witnessed shouting fights, fistfights… not to mention all the crime articles in the newspapers. What is going on???
Last night, an old dude and his accomplice tried repeatedly to push The Romanian and I off the road with 2 separate vehicles (a Tahoe and a Maxima). This time, I’m going to have to file a case even though I really really don’t want the hassle. I just don’t think that attempted murder should be let go.
I believe that in my 12+ years in Kuwait, this incident frightened me more than anything else I've been through here; and I include the times when the scuds were falling in 2003. This was just sheer violent rage.
A million times, I have been on the receiving end of the patience (sabr) sign. (It is the sign where you put the fingertips of one hand together in a sort of triangle and you shake. It means for the other person to have patience.) So, I initiate the sabr sign after he honks his horn at ME and he goes apeshit; he lost his frickin mind. He had honked at several other people before me. Literally, honestly, I made no other signal and I didn’t even look at him, smile at him, make any other comment. He went his way; I went mine. No harm no foul.
Again, I understand that it is Ramadan and people are fasting and probably not in a great mood; however, that gives no one the right to do what he did - especially during Ramadan.
Much later on down the road, dude comes flying down the road, came around our car and stopped so that he was blocking my exit from the front. He aggressively jumped out of the car, took out his wallet and started to walk towards our car. He didn’t have police lights or any markings on his vehicle. Fearing for the worst, we moved around him and left. He came after us, repeatedly trying to hit our car with his. His car had no lights lit – not police flashers or even emergency flashers. I’m figuring the guy was some kind of an official – or maybe an off duty high-ranking officer of some kind. He enlisted the help of another driver – maybe a friend or just someone he asked to help and BOTH of them tried to box my vehicle in and run us off the road. The Romanian told me to keep cool. We didn’t speed; we didn’t endanger other lives. We knew that their intention was to cause us harm; so that we would get into an accident and then they could flee. At the same time, they were trying to avoid damage to their own vehicles.
Was it because we are foreigners? Was it because we are women? Was it a combination?
Now, this BS has happened to me before with little boys (as I’ve stated before – usually trying to give us a number), but never with a 50-something year old man. I couldn’t believe it. We frantically dialed 777 while it continued for 15-20 minutes from downtown Kuwait to Salmiya. There were no police on the road (before ftour - go figure).
[Sidenote: God forbid that anyone should want to commit a crime in Kuwait, but the time to do it is the 90 minutes before iftar. Criminals could walk into any official building in Kuwait and quite literally take it over. We went to a police station manned by ONE GUY. Deserted. The streets: Deserted of security. Where are the police? Where is the security of the nation?]
How many times are men going to cause accidents in Kuwait chasing women in one way or another? How many of those accidents you see around town are women on the receiving end of such violence?
Sorry, but to me, what those 2 men did to us last night was nothing short of attempted murder. I was shaking so hard that I couldn’t stop for hours - and I consider myself a pretty tough cookie. The only reason they finally took off was because The Romanian was taking multiple photos of them. We got a few good head shots (and the Tahoe's tag #). One of the suspects is in his 50’s; the other probably in his 20’s.
If anyone knows a good female Kuwaiti lawyer who would like to assist me in this case, please write to me (I have 2 very good male lawyers, but I believe a woman would try harder for me).
I think it is time that Kuwait did something about this type of violence.
September 29 Update
I have checked with quite a few people "higher up" to determine who I am dealing with before filing a case. No information is available for the car registration - which could mean a few things - unfavorable to filing a case. As someone at the Embassy so poignantly stated, I work for a private company and not the Embassy, so I am basically on my own should something happen. It is not the mission of the US Embassy (nor any other) to ensure the security of private citizens; and I completely understand that. The advice I have received from some folks is that I should file a case. That is great advice if you either have a security detail periodically checking your residence; or if you live with someone who can assist you should anyone show up at your door in the middle of the night. This is Kuwait, alas, and I don't know who crazy old dude is. If he is someone "up there" or with good wastah, I could have a world of trouble. Unfortunately, Kuwait is still the Wild Wild West. Maybe I would feel more comfortable in 50 years; but then again - maybe not. I guess I should have just rammed his car (and the other?) and then at least the police would have shown up faster and/or I could have gotten away.
Arab Times, November 6, 2008
I saw this article in the Arab Times today. I would like to know who the special task force is. Obviously, folks at the top level of law enforcement/Ministry of Interior are doing something about crimes being committed by their own/corruption. Isn't there a hotline that members of the public could call?
There is corruption and injustice everywhere in the world. Civilized nations do something about it. Good for the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior if they are actually trying to weed them out. Outstanding!