Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Fireworks

Yeah yeah yeah - I know this subject  has been done to death, but I shoulda got on the bandwagon and written about it when it happened from my perspective.   Unfortunately, other events that took place that night AFTER the fireworks kind of dampened my mood (thanks, Happy, bless your heart).

There are a million photos out there, so I won't bore you with more.  You can do a Google or YouTube search.

It was simply the most awe-inspiring display of man-made events that I have ever witnessed.  I've seen some pretty cool stuff, but this made me feel like I was a 5-year-old again, face-up on a blanket under the Washington Monument with fireworks above my head; giggling.  Only this time, the show lasted an hour and a half and was much more elaborate.

We watched the show from Tameer Complex, which is about as close as you can get to the Kuwait Towers.  It was Happy's place, so we had refreshments AND a bathroom (who could stand out there for all those hours without a bathroom?)  As Happy said before they even began, "I've been to the bathroom 3 times already.  What about those poor people down there?"

Those poor people were throngs of thousands sitting on the beach like blades of  grass with no room between them.  Many had been out since 3pm with their children watching the side-shows before the fireworks started at 8.  If they were smart, they would have brought their own lawn chairs (which I've noticed that many people are doing at crowd gatherings/demonstrations lately).

Before the fireworks started, I was surprised to see how many people were not on the balconies of the complex.  There were only a few occupied by revelers; and the parking lot was empty.  Why would you want to miss a million-dinar view? 

The Romanian and I were determined to get there to see these fireworks.  We missed the big show the last time and weren't about to miss this one.  I left my house in Rumaithiya at 5:00.  I arrived at Tameer (by the grace of God) at 6:45.  Only because I drove like a commando.  We took the Airport Road (50) downtown, got stuck in traffic on Sour Street and then again on Estiqlal (I think) before discovering that 2nd Ring Road was cut off.  We decided to take a chance and cut through Dasma.  I don't know the area, so we winged it and OMG there was an exit open onto Fahaheel Expressway (which was backed up all the way down to Egaila).  I took it into B'naid Al Gar, went down a 1-way street behind Al Salam Hospital; went over several construction lots, and then sped around a police barricade at the Safir.  The only stopping point was a mentally-challenged person in the middle of the street right in front of Tameer who didn't know how to put his car into reverse and get out of the way.  I offered to do it for him.  Bada BING.

The only time The Romanian puts her seatbelt on (which makes me CRRRRRAZY by the way because I think it's stooopid not to) is when I start driving commando.  She is also the only one of my friends/family who isn't frightened by commando-style driving.  God love her.

Having spent the night before with Happy, I thought my reception would have been warmer, but nooooo.  (That's a whole nother story and not worth getting into).  Whatever.  We were introduced to a new friend of Lawyer Dudes as Happy's "Very good friends."  Huh?  Again, whatever. 

Back to the story....

There was a line of maybe hundreds if not thousands of private boats in the far distance that was kept back by police boats (you could tell because the police boats were set in a line/distance between).  I imagined the view from the water must have been spectacular.  They were a good distance back - probably to avoid falling debris from the fireworks. 

Before the fireworks started, the crowds were cheering and clapping. Music was playing from the Officer's Club across the street.  People walking by were happy.  As soon as the lights went out (as the performance was about to begin), you could feel the anticipation in the air.  It was erily quiet.  Then, the music and light show began just before the fireworks.  Light podiums were set at distances apart in the water.  Lasers, lights, and fireworks were set off from the podiums. 

Talk about the age of technology!  All you could see from every corner were people holding up their smart phones and filming. 

Sidebar:  The Politics of the Fireworks
People have asked me why Kuwait would hold such an eleaborate and expensive display during a time of seemingly political turmoil.  It was a message that Kuwait is unified.  It was also a message to those opposed to freedoms (like entertainment, enjoyment, MUSIC, happiness) that the Government (and most of the time when people refer to the "government" it means the ruling family)  is no longer tolerant of (and I love that I can use the expression in this context) the foreign influence of extremism. Kuwait has always been liberal.  Extremists have been creeping into this society since the end of the Gulf War (90/91) and influencing everything from school segregation to the "decency law" and death penalty for blasphemy (to the underground parties that just about every liberal in Kuwait has to attend because you can't dance or drink in public).  Take note:  No one has breached the subject of the Moslem Brotherhood (Khwan al Muslemeen) in Kuwait until very recently, but they have been a pervasive force here for years in many aspects of business and government. (Have a long beard; win a contract.)   Had there been a conservative parliament before the fireworks, they would have shot it down or it would have been tied up in committees talking about forming more committees.  I think the Government has had enough. This country is NOT Saudi Arabia. They didn't annex Kuwait.  It isn't for sale.  It is Kuwait with its own unique culture and traditions.  It is time to bring back the real Kuwait.   I am neutral to all parties and factions of this country (except I don't agree with extremists or ultra-conservatives), but enough is enough. Bedu, Hather, Shiite, Sunni:  UNIFY.  Stop talking trash about each other and start talking about how all can help change for the better. Personally, I'm tired of hearing, "(those people) are to blame." Everybody is to blame.  This show of force/unity should be a step in the right direction.  On a side note:  I am opposed to the cost of the display, but I do understand the political message it sent.

I loved the fireworks.  I feel blessed that I was there at the right time, in the right place to see them and to feel a part of something that I hope will give the people of Kuwait hope for progress.

1 comment:

Traveler said...

Nice notes -- so you went Commando huh? Interesting :)

I didn't go just because I knew it would be so crowded. I did watch the video and enjoyed seeing how spectacular it was.

Having read the Kuwaiti Constitution (what? and expat read THAT?) I think it was deserving of the 50th celebration. Amazing document. TOo bad there are those who want to restrict the freedoms and rights granted there.