They Choose To Make Their Own Lives Miserable |
Al Hayat - 01 July, 2012
Author: Jihad Al Khazen
Can any of the readers explain to me what the Kuwaitis’ problem is?
Four parliaments and seven cabinets since 2006, yet no one is happy with anyone.
Everyone complains, with no short supply of mutual threats and accusations; but as a result, no one sees the truth.
The truth as I see it is that the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, is one of the finest Arab and international leaders. Over 40 years, I have seen nothing from him other than wisdom, patience and foresight.
A few weeks after the Arab summit in Baghdad in May 1990, before any Iraqi threats were made, the Emir told me that Saddam Hussein was a vain and arrogant man, and a reckless risk-taker without a sound mind to keep him in check. May God protect everyone from him, he also said. This was at a time when many Kuwaitis were writing articles praising Saddam, eulogizing him, even seeking to meet with him.
For his part, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has a problem: He is a polite and inoffensive man - a ‘good guy’ in colloquial language. If he was someone to hold a grudge and stab people in the back, no MP would have dared cross him.
For one thing, such an MP would have known that he would pay a steep price for his impoliteness. And Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah is like Sheikh Nasser, and the result is that the MPs abuse him, too.
Kuwait is a wealthy country that enjoys a wide margin of political and personal freedoms. Kuwait also ranks among the top quarter in the corruption perceptions index. Furthermore, Saddam Hussein is gone and will not return. No one poses a threat to the regional security of the country, and high oil revenues are guaranteed for generations to come.
I therefore see no reason whatsoever for the endemic political petulance in the country. On the contrary, there are many reasons for the Kuwaitis to be grateful and content.
I started with Kuwait because I do not see any justification for the political crisis that has been ongoing there for years. By contrast, I see that every other Arab country suffers from many problems, including some that are almost intractable.
Egypt’s population is approaching 90 million, in a country where the inhabited areas represent less than 10 percent of its total surface area. Moreover, the Second Republic is dominated by Islamists who possess no economic program for getting the country up and going, and no cadres who can implement such a program, even if it existed.
Where the Islamists are not in control in Egypt, they are substituted by the unelected military. The country seems to be vertically divided as the results of the presidential election have shown. Yet at least half of the country is not represented by anyone in those positions where real power lies.
The situation in Syria, meanwhile, is much worse. There, the daily killing is not only ongoing, but is also growing worse. Talk of a civil war is no longer a scare tactic, but is becoming ever more convincing, amid the regime’s brutality; the opposition’s divisions; the helplessness of the Arab states; and the hesitation of other countries - or even their collusion with the regime.
In the meantime, Syria’s previous alliance with Turkey (and Egypt) has turned into an armed confrontation, and threats of war.
Sudan has been partitioned into North and South. The situation there is such that there is neither war nor peace, but ongoing hostility between them. Meanwhile, the two regimes in North and South Sudan are like the bad and the worse.
In Tunisia, the extremists are attacking liquor shops – which are meant for the foreigners in a country whose revenues largely depend on tourism. They are also trying to impose the headscarf on female university students, while threatening all those who oppose them.
These extremists are the enemies of democracy, which allows them to promote their obscurantist ideas that contravene the tolerance of religion and humanity.
Yet the situation in Tunisia remains better than in Libya. There, every capable citizen is armed. Militias control large swaths of the country, and the transitional government there is helpless. Brutal crimes are perpetrated every day against anyone accused of being part of the former regime.
This is without forgetting that Muammar Gaddafi was brutally murdered after he was captured – a war crime whose perpetrators were not – and will not be – arrested, even though their crime was caught on tape. Yesterday, Libya marked the anniversary of the massacre in Abu Salim, while new crimes are being committed there every day.
Yemen has become a base for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In addition, there are separatist movements in the south and the north, and battles every other day and drone strikes.
While the drones may kill a terrorist, they often kill innocent civilians with them. And if the American drones did not kill those civilians first, then the terrorists will.
In Iraq, there is a sectarian regime and disputes within the same sects. There is a Kurdish separatist movement in the north, and demands for self-rule in the south. The richest Arab country in water and oil is thus being almost destroyed at the hands of its own people.
Do I even need to talk about Jordan, the country that holds the record number of former prime ministers and ministers? Do I need to talk about Lebanon, where the loyalties of the majority of politicians lie with foreign countries, brazenly and in extreme audacity?
Every Arab country has real problems whose solutions range between the difficult and the outright impossible. Kuwait is the exception to this, and yet, the Kuwaitis choose to make their own lives miserable.
People, it is summertime. Go travel, enjoy yourselves and fast the month of Ramadan. Thank your God for the blessings He has bestowed on you.