Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Brief History of Democracy in Kuwait

Many may argue against this post, though I hope it ‘at least’ makes sense to most readers.

We’ve come to realize that democracy in Kuwait is something of a unique experience, especially to those of us that never saw Kuwait in it’s infancy, when man and machine consisted of wooden karts pulled by donkeys and mules. A time when issues of political concern were dealt with in an open forum, handled by the merchant families and their affiliates, debated on by the ruling family who-unlike every other family that lived in Kuwait at the time-received nothing but the respect and honor of their neighbors, just as they themselves acted and lived likewise.

Little of those early Kuwaitis ever cared about who was to rule them, be it Ottoman, Persian, German or the British, since all they cared about is to live and let live, nothing more and nothing less. The times were harsh, and the men that lived in those days adopted to those harsh times, and everyone considered their duties and responsibilities towards their families and those of their neighbors.

It comes as no surprise, then, that today’s blogging generation some of us take Kuwait’s experience in democracy as granted, or as one former educator once referred to it as ‘handed to us on a plate of Gold’, belittling the sacrifices and efforts of our forefathers, who suffered, fought and died in order to create what is today known as the “independent” State of Kuwait. People who fought and died during the Battle Of Jahra while fighting the "Ikhwan" threat, led by Al-Duwish, as well as others, like Abdullatif Alshaheen-Alghanim, Mish’an Al Khudhayr-Al Khalid, Yousef Al Marzouk, Ibrahim Al Mudhaf and Hilal Al Mutairi, who fought to establish an equal opportunity political establishment in Kuwait, just to name just a few.

The efforts of people such as these has compelled the system of rule in Kuwait to be one of a complementary nature, where the appointed branch of the ruling family shares it’s powers with the people of Kuwait under the umbrella of a constitution. It is this cohesion of power that has protected Kuwait from the many threats it faced over the years since it's independence, nothing and no one else! The very nature of this system of rule is as unique as it's circumstances, since where other democracies were obtained by wars, we the Kuwaitis obtained our own by mutual understanding and respect for each other's needs and opinions.

In all cases, never was the issue of racial or ethnic segregation ever prominent, nor was the issue of religious differences between Shia and Sunni in Kuwait a cause for discussion. In fact, those that highlighted these issues in public were quickly shunned and distanced from the community. All our forefathers lived together, fought together and died together, while worshiping one God, and pledging their allegiance to one country.

Fast-forward to the present, and you have Hadas, The KDA, the Wahhabists, the Tribalists, the Shiites (further divided into Arab and Persian, for God's sake!!), all congregating into individual groups, and all of them fighting for control of the country! And if that wasn't enough, they're all accusing each other of blasphemy, treason, treachery, vote-buying, favoritism, basically the ugly parts of ANY religious scripture, and we the people are left in the middle, exposed by the power- that-be to the injustices committed by these groups against the country and us.

The government, on the other hand, is trying to combat these groups by supposedly striking with an iron fist, issuing search warrants and threatening questionable candidates with disqualification, trying to look like it's doing it's job of combating corruption when-in effect-it's encouraging it. Since, logically, when you weaken a side confronting another side, you've effectively sided with someone, and have presented yourself as another face to the opposition. However, from a general perspective, they've effectively shown that they (the Government) have a serious face to their farcical track record, and that they're still in charge, and that they're still invoking the constitution onto the people who have themselves chosen it for themselves, and that they're still the Government, a Legal entity which demands respect.

Take a step back, read through Kuwait's History, consider the facts, follow up on the root causes of these negative phenomena, then ask yourself this question: What would YOU do to honor your country and it's history? Would you consider voting for those that speak in the name of Islam, or a sect of Islam, or even a tribe? Or would you consider those that speak of actual, planned and academically-studied reforms which will (as they had in the past) reap overwhelming benefits to Kuwait and it's people for many years after Oil becomes a thing of our past, like the pearl-diving trade?

3 comments:

eshda3wa said...

ok WHO are those people?

members of the parliment have left us the voters in a very awkward spot!

we have the islamists then we have the liberals. who by definition in kuwait are ANTI islamists, not really liberal.

we dont have a middle ground. we lack the most important part .. which is the moderates.

so WHO is the right candidate?
Who will actually work for KUWAIT, and not try to turn us into saudi arabia, or turkey!

Shafiq said...

From what I've seen, Kuwait is doing very good and you shouldn't despair. Yes, you're having your problems but in terms of the Muslim world, Kuwait looks most promising.

Try setting up your own party if you're not satisfied with the others. Who knows? There may be others who feel the same thing.

Stacy said...

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