Monday, October 26, 2009

I Blame the Liberals!

When one reads into the history of Kuwaiti Politics, one can clearly see the powerful influence of the Islamic-themed political movements and their achievements and attempts to further their political agendas. Digging further, one may also be taken aback at their efficiency and organization before, during and after each and every parliamentary elections. Using technological advancements such as PDA's (that access a centralized database of potential voters, complete & updated with names, addresses, phone numbers, relatives, acquaintances, affiliations, voting centers, voting status, all updated in real-time) one can only stand as an admirer to their level of dedication that these people represent with regards to the democratic voting process in Kuwait,

On the other hand, (AND IN MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION) their direct opponents, the Democratic Forum/National Democratic Alliance,or the "Liberals" as they are sometimes referred to, barely made it through with their endorsed MP's (officially or otherwise), notwithstanding the in-fighting and lack of a clear line of leadership and succession within the Movement, even though they are supported by a large number of Kuwaitis, who either oppose the Islamists or the tribalists, or both. 

Moreover, they are not as organized, or as united as, say HADAS or the Salafists, and in some cases, rely mostly on self-funded endorsements, and enjoy some media representation from influential Businessmen and families, as opposed to tribal and/or organizational endorsements and support. By itself, it sounds like this Movement is struggling for survival, and as clearly illustrated during the latest defeat in the Student elections recently, it's more likely than not that they will soon be wholly overrun by the tribalists and Islamists in the foreseeable future. Unless they pay the effort to organize themselves into more of a Political Pressure group rather than a concoction of like-minded individuals, it's questionable whether they will survive another election.

I assume, in my limited understanding of how politics and the media go together, that  the main reason why they're so behind their counterparts is because the majority of Kuwaitis dislike them, or because the majority of Kuwaitis favor "religious" over "legislative" social justice, it's simply exposure, no matter how differently each is practices, since they both conform to the ultimate goal of institutionalizing and effecting justice among the society

HADAS and the Salafists both seem to have  well-oiled PR machines, with very effective spin doctors, not to mention the advantage of religious piousness among the masses to support them, especially among the politically uninterested. Not altogether a bad thing, but considering the fact that the "Liberals" are accused publicly and loudly of being Atheists and pursuers of social vice due to their belief in certain equalities, it comes as no surprise that rumors such as those circulated against their MP's citing them as drunkards, profiteers, etc. had developed a great deal of resonance within the broader Kuwaiti community. 

Strangely enough, people tend to have short memories, especially in light of the Al Islah Society's terrible comments against Women last year, or HADAS' members dancing the Debke with supporters of HAMAS's resistance, etc...

It's not about exchanging criticisms and curses between the Movements among the dailies and blogs, nor is it a matter of public seminars and maintaining the momentum of attendees, (who are usually the same crowd anyway!), it's about winning the hearts and minds of the people. It's about telling everybody about what you believe in but in a constructive and compliant manner, commensurate with the background and affiliation of the listener. It's about using excerpts and examples of successful Liberalism and Secularism, and how these values conform to any religion, not just Islam, when speaking to the religious crowd; It's about using Academic proof and Historical evidence when discussing these values to the educated crowd. 

In short, it's about saying the right thing at the right time and to the right people.

Sadly, Movements like the National Democratic Alliance and the Democratic Forum lack these elements in my view, aside from a few successful attempts overall, but not nearly enough to keep the momentum. By that, I mean keeping the ideals and directions and agenda of the Movement fresh and updated in the minds of the people all the time, and not seasonally, as in the run-up before the elections. Given, their supporters in parliament have made strides in the very short time they've been in office so far, but as I said, their supporters, individuals, and not part of a political pressure group like the Islamics and the Tribalists.

Personally, I blame the Democratic Forum. In the absence of clearly defined roles of leadership and succession, coupled with blurred boundaries of jurisdiction among their executive managers. It's as if they were an amateur club playing politics, not refreshing their gene pool every few years, as should be the case.

Maybe their opponents do have a point in their many criticisms of the Liberals. Maybe they are selective in their membership; maybe they are profiteers; maybe they are in fact representative of the small social elite, or the 'untouchables' that the underdogs label them. How are we to make the distinction in the presence of very little (if at all) rebuttal of these accusations?  Logic is one thing, awareness is another, both are equally important. More coverage is needed for any entity in order to push forth it's agenda for collective acceptance.

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