Monday, January 18, 2016

Nabeel and Ahmed Al-Fadhel

Nabeel Al-Fadhel was an outspoken member of Kuwait’s parliament.  Last year, at about this time, he got in trouble for having the courage to express his personal liberal views on the legalization of alcohol in Kuwait.

January 5, 2015 - KUWAIT CITY (AP) — A member of Kuwait's parliament says he is facing charges of insulting the nation after saying he supports legalizing the sale of alcohol in the predominantly Muslim country.

Nabil al-Fadhl told The Associated Press late Sunday that controversy was sparked after he first proposed repealing a law that bans dancing at public music concerts and festivals. Kuwaiti law bans people from dancing at concerts, though they are allowed to clap their hands and sway.

After his proposal, al-Fadhl said he was asked in parliament by an Islamist lawmaker if that means he would also support legalizing the sale of alcohol during concerts.

"Why not? Historically, many people in Kuwait drank alcohol on many occasions," he said he replied to the query.

The Kuwait Times later reported that several lawmakers swiftly condemned al-Fadhl "for saying that liquor was part of Kuwait's history and ancestors were tolerant toward allowing its consumption in the past."

Kuwait's first parliament banned the sale of alcohol in 1964. It is a sin in Islam to consume alcohol, though it is sold legally with some restrictions in the Gulf countries of United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

One lawmaker, Saud al-Huraiji, was quoted in the Kuwait Times as saying that al-Fadhl had "clearly undermined the image of Kuwaitis and the country's history." Lawmaker Humoud al-Hamdan said "the ancestors of Kuwaitis were well known for their fight against moral corruption, including the use of liquor."

Al-Fadhl said an Islamist lawyer filed charges against him for his remarks, accusing him of insulting the honor of Kuwaiti society.

Fadhl said he was only mentioning "facts about alcohol in Kuwait's history." On the black market, he said, people can buy a bottle of whiskey for 120 dinars ($408).

"It's available in ample amounts, but only affordable to the rich," he told the AP. "A good start would be to allow people to bring in their own alcohol from abroad instead of confiscating it."

Al-Fadhl, who is an independent lawmaker, said that despite his personal views, he is not planning to propose a bill to legalize the sale of alcohol.

Unfortunately, Mr. Al-Fadhel passed away while in session in parliament last month.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015
A member of Kuwait’s national assembly has passed away on Tuesday after suddenly fainting while parliament was in session, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
Nabeel al-Fadhel, a politician and former journalist, was tended to immediately by Kuwait’s undersecretary of Health Khaled al-Sehlawi and an emergency crew who failed to resuscitate him, al-Qubs newspaper reported.

I’ve just learned through Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait’s blog that his son is planning to take over where his father (God rest his soul) left off:

LWDLIK Blog – January 18, 2016:  Ahmed Nabeel Al Fadhel is running for parliament for his father's seat.
Keep your father's torch burning, be his legacy and voice for change and progress in his beloved country.  You are your father's son in every way. You have his strength, intelligence, honesty, compassion and infinite love for this country. I know you will make him very, very proud.

Ah, if only I could vote, I would be out there waving flags for Ahmed.  This country needs new blood and new perspectives.  Good for you, Ahmed.  Although I don’t know you personally, I commend you for  your courage in the face of what will undoubtedly be difficult times ahead.  You have the support and care of strangers near and far.

Note while I did not believe in the same issues that Nabeel Al-Fadhel was fighting for (I was particularly against some of his ideas on the Bidoon issue); I found him to be someone who had the voice of many liberal Kuwaitis who aren’t or unable to for various reasons of standing their ground to demand change.  I further respect him as he was ill for many years, but literally died doing what he believed in:  speaking in parliament on behalf of Kuwait.  Whether you believed in his politics or not, that is admirable.  Very few would have done the same.


sala6a said...

May his soul Rest In Peace...

LWDLIK said...

It was such an honour to have known Nabeel Al Fadhel and for my husband and I to be called his friends. My 12 yr old daughter adored him and he adored her right back. Nabeel dedicated and gave his life to change Kuwait for the better. His love and patriotism for his country was endless. I know his son, Ahmed, and was talking to him today about his campaign. He is so very like his father in every way and we all really need to see the rest of Nabeel's proposals revived and voiced by Ahmed. Nabeel lit a torch of hope for change and progress and I hope and pray that torch will be not be extinguished but carried by his son, Ahmed Nabeel Al Fadhel.
May you rest in peace Nabeel we shall never forget you. May God give your loved ones strength to overcome this tragic loss.

TisMe said...

there is more in liberalism than Alcohol lol

Anonymous said...

You have misunderstood. Last year around this time, Nabeel did not demand legalizing alcohol. He got into trouble for saying alcohol is part of the heritage and traditions of Kuwaitis in the past (before oil). Many people were upset by his distortion of history.

He didn't get into any actual trouble, some people filed charges against him for 'insulting Kuwait' but the charges were dropped and didn't go beyond that.

Desert Girl said...

Anonymous said (I had to delete the F word, sorry)

Wow lool kuwaiti honor and whaaaaat ? We lost that honor etc etc like before the gulf war started haha, and excuse my french but f the parliment, useless old men bickering around for nothing, laws that are on hold for more then 15 years and projects which either fail or are on HOLD for many years. Seriously tired of this...

LWDLIK said...

If you think Nabeel Al Fadhel was just about 'allowing the alcohol speech' then you obviously don't follow politics. He died after delivering an unprecedented speech on corruption in parliament. He always said he would die in parliament. If Nabeel could have written his own ending it would have been this. May you rest in peace Nabeel Al Fadhel. You are remembered every single day.

Desert Girl said...

LWDLIK - I'm not sure if you're responding to a comment on a post or to me.

I didn't mean Mr. Fadhel Sr. was only about legalizing alcohol - at all. I've always heard that he was a man of substance. I don't follow politics because it is too painful (in either Kuwait or the US). I only dabble in political knowledge.

Anonymous said...

On 22nd December Kuwait lost a son and I lost my soul mate. He had his faults, and he knew it. All he ever wanted tk do was make Kuwait the place he knew it could be and he stepped on many toes doing it. Kim knows who I am if you feel you want to contact me. I enjoyed what you wrote about him