Friday, February 03, 2012

2 Million Ignored in 2012 Kuwait Election

Interesting perspective.

Kuwait Times, 3 February 2012
2 Million Ignored

It’s a shame that the agendas of all candidates that I have been watching for over a month now have ignored expats. Expat issues were totally extinct from the candidates’ agendas. As you all know, Kuwait’s population is a bit over 3 million people. Kuwaitis make up 1,300,000 of it according to the latest census. That means that we have around two million expats living side by side with us. I find it illogical to totally ignore 2 million people living with you on the same land, under the same sky who share every aspect, both good or bad, and day-to-day problems.

All candidates are talking about prosperity of Kuwait and how to enhance and advance life in Kuwait. But how can you talk about advancement on all levels when you ignore 2 million people living with you as if they are thin air and don’t exist.

Of course, I am not asking expats to be given citizenship. I am not asking anybody to scrap their debts or give them housing allowance or free medical services. I am not asking you to pay for their education or enroll them in government schools or Kuwait University. But I am asking you to acknowledge their existence and try to have inclusive agendas that protect the minimum of their interests.

I ask for rules and regulations that protect their pride and dignity. For instance,  I don’t see why an employee in my company needs to have my consent to get his or her driving license. I don’t see why I have anything to do with the mobility of my employees. It is basic human rights if somebody is eligible and capable to drive to do so. As long as someone is given a visa in my country, this means he should be allowed to transport himself. Why should he or she be under my mercy to drive around? Even when he gets the driving license, why does he need my consent and gracious signature to renew his driving license? Is it not enough that we annoy expats with red tape and loads of paperwork and rules and regulations which change almost on a monthly basis?
At least you can subsidize the low-income people with medicines which are available free of charge for us Kuwaitis but not expats. I do not mean any expats I am referring to the low-income ones. These people who are ignored are the people who build the election headquarters. They are the ones arranging the microphones and chairs. They are the ones who in the end of the night clean the garbage we leave behind. They are the ones preparing the sandwiches and shawarma we distribute at these occasions etc, etc.

If Kuwait Times allows me, I need 24 pages to list the things they do. Don’t you think that they deserve at least one sentence from our candidates? Thank you very much and good day. We live in a shariah-abiding country! This is just a reminder.

By Badrya Darwish


Mohammed said...

Ms. Badrya doesn't want expats to be naturalized. I cant see why she says that...

I'm all for expats getting naturalized. We need some of these intellectual minds and thinkers and good credentials to become part of our society.

There are so many Lebanese, Indians, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Palestinians, Armenians, Greeks, English, Americans and Far Easterners of the highest order in our society who lived in Kuwait for more than 20-30 years.

Why shouldn't they get the chance of naturalization? Kuwait should be the Singapore of the Middle East. It should be cosmopolitan. Kuwait should have citizens who come from all corners of the globe. Ideally we should naturalize anyone, regardless of background. Provided they're willing to drop their other nationalities and become just Kuwaitis, or provided they become Kuwaitis and don't hold a secondary passport of neighboring gigantic countries to the north and south (that cannot be trusted), then I see no reason why we cannot naturalize foreigners.

Especially foreigners who SERVED and gave all that they could give in this country.

What a shame that the Indian Jashanmal family isn't Kuwaiti, even though they now have the most popular store chain in the middle east and they originated from Kuwait.

I say English should be made a co-official language of Kuwait. By doing so, it would open opportunities for many legal things that can be arranged in English instead of Arabic. It'll make wonders for foreigners living in our country.

Foreigners should also have the ability to join Kuwait University and compete for lazy Kuwaiti people's places. It'll raise our standards of education at least, and slap lazy Kuwaitis in face and make them realize the situation they're in.

And why is it that expats/foreigners who Kuwaiti men marry can be eligible for Kuwaiti citizenship. But when our women get married to non-Kuwaiti men, the men still get treated as foreigners/expats.

You know why these things aren't addressed though, don't you? If anyone says the things I just said, he'll probably get 0 votes in the elections. :D

Kate said...

Well said. What about house rents? We are being looted by the landlords who increase the rent according to their whim. The government should regulate rent according to the area of the apartment. These days, apartments with matchbox type rooms are being built and rented out for atrocious sums.

What about the medical insurance we pay? Where does it really go? If only I knew that it is benefiting me in some way I wouldn't be so upset.

They encourage us to car pool but if 4 of us are in another's car they can arrest/fine the driver and us for, as they say, "Transport business."

I once roamed in the heat of the sun, holding my 3 month old baby girl, and went from pillar to post in the Sabah Hospital area, and nobody could guide me how to complete the baby's medical process. I particularly remember two male Kuwaiti men, they practically threw the paper in my face without a word. After 4 hours and my little one turning a dangerous shade of red, someone directed me to a Paki guy, who for 20bucks took me around the next day (it was like going North, South, East and West) to complete the procedure.

Human rights did I read? What's that?

Anonymous said...

@ Mohammed - You missed the boat! That is not what Badrya meant in her article, she stated that it was ashame that not one politician mentioned any new initiatives to improve the lives of expatriates in Kuwait, not naturalization? Why should people who live 20-30 years in this country or any GCC nation recieve citizenship based on the duration of their stay, because when they arrived in the GCC they were well aware that they were only to stay in the GCC temporarily for work purposes on the grounds that they would never recieve the citizenship of any GCC country. This is clearly in the law of all GCC countries. The closest to a permanent residence was in Dubai where if you purchased a Freehold Property you would acquire a residency stamp in your passport that was not affiliated with employment, but now the UAE has changed that law. Kuwait does not allow foreigners to own property, so this will not occur for you in Kuwait. Kuwait will never be the Singapore of the Middle-East, Kuwait should look to Singapore in dealing with many of it's issues for guidance ie. 'The Singapore Water Project', but with the poor decision-making skills of this government, I can cancel my hopes of Singapore assisting the Kuwaitis to build the first indoor Botanical Gardens in the GCC, which I think would do wonders for the stress level of this nation. Kuwait does not need citizens coming from all corners of the globe, currently they need national unity and to hire expats with the correct expertise to spearhead the development path of this nation. You said it, the Indian Jashanmal family is Indian, not Kuwaiti, so bottom-line is this, you come to the GCC to work and then when your contract is finished you return back to your homeland. You did not serve the country of Kuwait, you earned a living in Kuwait. In order for Kuwait to attract the proper workforce, as you state, 'intellectual minds and thinkers', they need to refine their business laws to make it easier for foreign investors to do business in the country, overhaul their ministries, and jump start the development process. This will not only benefit the nation of Kuwait, but improve the lives of citizens and expats living in Kuwait.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the first session of Parliament will be on the 14th of February, Valentines Day, a holiday that the 22 newly elected MP's from the Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood revile. So the first session could either be a love fest or the St. Valentine's Day Massacre - I say somewhere in between. I suppose the public could send them each a pink rose.

Desert Girl said...

To the 2 people who commented, named "Shittyarabs" and "99percentofarabsareracist" -

Do either of you (or maybe you are just one person?) seriously think that I would post YOUR racist comments on my blog???? Really???


Anonymous said...

I have stayed in Kuwait since I was one year old.I have seen the life expatriates lead.It is a sad existence for the lower income people.
But the people who are earning and working as engineers,architects etc; their major complaint is that even though the are more capable and talented then the kuwaiti in- charge they are shunned and under-payed for their qualification or capabilities.
In the 1980s i have seen dubai it was nothing ....It was the definition of a desert...Kuwait was more advanced then them!Now 31 years have passed and Kuwait is a mere shadow compared to Dubai.Even with soo much oil.
I wouldn't want to point fingers at any one but everyone who lives in kuwait knows why this happened.They have to open their closed mind and remove the lazy attitude.They do not lack intelligence and they are very gracious people,yes the true kuwaitis are very well behaved and very classy.But I do not see the need to suppress immense expatriate talent and ideas that will help kuwait grow and compete with the likes of U.A.E and other miscellaneous countries.....No offence to anyone i love my Kuwaiti brothers as much as I would love any other muslim in the world
(Yeah!! that's right I'am a Muslim and proud to be)

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah and Desert girl nice job sis!!
On keeping the blog going we must encourage more such blogs to increase communication between Kuwaitis and expats..appreciate your efforts!!!!

Desert Girl said...

Anonymous 4:37 - One word: CORRUPTION

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate Ms. Badrya's sentiments especially towards the lower strata of society.

God Bless her.