Suicides in Kuwait on the rise |
Kuwait Times - 27 July, 2012
The statistics, from the General Department of Criminal Investigations, reveal a shocking rise in suicides. Suicides in Kuwait have risen by 40 percent between 2010 to 2011. A reported 52 cases of suicide were recorded in 2010, but this figure jumped to 73 in 2011.
There are no clear indicators to suggest what has led to the increase. Suicides tend to be most common among Kuwait’s lower skilled expatriate worker class. But they do occur in every community – locals and expats – and can have devastating implications for the families left behind.
There are a variety of factors that may be causing the rising rates. The global financial crisis, begun in 2008, is still impacting people in Kuwait and the region. Among expatriates, especially financial concerns, job loss, domestic disputes or other troubles back home could be contributing factors.
“Psychological, physiological, financial hardships, broken relationships, despair, disappointments.
Many names have been given to the reason behind this selfish act,” explained Reverend Gil Bantugan, an Evangelical pastor in Kuwait. “When someone loses the will to live and finds that life has become meaningless, then he kills himself,” he said. Stress from family and school can also be contributors. Just recently, a 14 year-old Kuwaiti girl hanged herself in Umm Al-Haiman, reportedly after receiving poor exam marks.
Such a sight has become all too common. “I was broken hearted and my life was a total wreck. One night, my husband told me he was leaving. I begged him not to. When he left our flat and I saw him get in his car, I shouted from the window that I would jump from our third floor if he left.
He told me “Just try.” So I jumped. The rest was history,” a married woman in Kuwait, who asked not to be identified, told Friday Times. She and her husband are now separated and both have found new partners. Just recently, on July 24, 2012, a 42-year-old Indian expat reportedly hanged himself in a public park in Abu-Halifa.
According to the victim’s family friend he was suffering from family problems back in India and the situation worsened when he failed to get a decent job. Explaining the rationale about why some people reaches a ‘dead end’, Pastor Bantugan said: “The most basic question everyone faces in life is Why am I here? What is my purpose?
The starting place must be with God and his eternal purposes for each life. Real meaning and significance comes from understanding and fulfilling God’s purposes for putting us on earth. And unless a man finds the reason for his being, he will always find something lacking in his heart.”
The World Health Organization estimates that around 3000 people around the globe, on average, commit suicide every day, with about 1 million suicides each year.
Jamile, 39, tried to end her life when she was 16 because she was deeply embarrassed when her father caught her chatting with the boy next door.
“It was the first time I spoke to the boy next door; I was really in love with him, perhaps because I was used to seeing him every day when they moved to our neighborhood. When I was talking with him, my father saw me.
He was a strict father and I saw his reaction, he was upset. I was afraid, so I just thought of hiding for the rest of my life. But when I saw the bottle of paracetamol with tablets, I swallowed them all. Thanks God I was not able to take it, I vomited and was rushed to the hospital. It was a crazy thing that happened,” Jamile explained. “I thought I would disappear. I didn’t,” she said.
Jamile survived and was later summoned by the police and a case was filed. Suicide is illegal in Kuwait and those who attempt it and survive can be, and often are charged with a crime. “At that time, there was one girl in my class who had done the same thing. In a way, it was a trend. So I tried it also,” she said.
Most world religions abhor suicide. “In the Quran, Chapter 4:29 (An-Nisa), it says ‘Do not kill, yourself surely Allah is most merciful.” According to an imam here in Kuwait, “In the Hadith Sahih Al Bukhari it says: He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the fire forever and he who commit suicide by stubbing himself shall keep on stubbing himself in the hell fire.”
The World Suicide Prevention Day marked on September 10 was born in a bid to a bid to draw attention to the worrying phenomenon of suicides globally. It is the worldwide day for the prevention of suicide around the world. Various events and activities are held on this occasion to raise awareness that suicide is a major, preventable cause of premature death.