Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Sad Story, Jleeb Shyoukh.

Jleeb Shyoukh, for those of you who didn't know, is a residential area that has been turned into housing for labour expats by Kuwaiti residents in Jleeb. Now, it sounds glamourous but unfortunately it's far from it. The owners of the houses try to get as much cash from their homes by renting spaces to 70 people per house. You have homes that don't have enough space for people so the owners decided to build in the rooftops of their houses to get the extra cash and without the municipality's permission, so all the electricity and water has to be passed through from the house which puts the whole area at risk and especially to those living on the rooftops with wires exposed.

What has been done to stop this? Nothing. If anything it became a popular business amongst those who lived in the area so most of the people there moved out and started renting their homes, now maybe only 4 or 5 homes are lived in by locals.


Human Rights Violations:
1. 1. Small rooms shared by more than 20 people.
2. Because most homes have built illegal extensions to the house, the government does not provide services, including electricity, trash collecting, water supply and so on.
3. Crime sky rocketed in the past couple of years because Jleeb has become a haven for small mafias, so many labour expats (the non mafias) are vulnerable to theft or other abuses.

Last week I met a young man with a big plan, his name is Nasser Al-Barghash.
His plan? reconstructing Jleeb Shyoukh, Nasser,along with his friend and partner Modhi Al-Othman decided to work on a massive urban planning research project that offers the best solutions on how to turn this town around into a modern urban destination with a convention center, exhibition hall, mall, hospital and other services but most importantly a huge labour housing project that fits the international labour standards.


Why Jleeb Shyoukh? Jleeb Shyoukh, is located between Kuwait Airport and Jaber Stadium, both those places are prime locations as Jleeb Shyoukh does not serve them aesthetically nor does it provide any service to those locations including shopping, parking, parks, hospitals, hotels, convention centers etc.

Nasser and Modhi took Arwa Al-Wogayan (Kuwaiti journalist) and I to see first had what Jleeb Shyoukh looks like. It was absolutely pitiful, it's in such poor shape that even the poorest little villages in India look like paradise in comparison. The only thing I noticed was the spirit of these labour expats, they definately would much rather live in a horrendous atmosphere than be degraded in a palace. Let's think about that.

Note: Nasser and Modhi's idea for this project is purely altruistic, they want to present it to the government of Kuwait as a gratuitous gesture. This is what we need in Kuwait, young Philanthropists.

The following are 2 articles by Arwa Al-Wogayan

جليب الشيوخ.. مدينة المستقبل 13/07/2007 كلنا يعرف منطقة جليب الشيوخ كمنطقة تعيسة مليئة بأوكار الدعارة والمخالفات والتجاوزات سواء في المباني او غيرها، وهي كذلك بالفعل، ولكن هل تعلمون انه من الممكن ان تكون جليب الشيوخ هي مدينة المستقبل ونحن عنها غافلون؟اجتهد شاب وشابة لا يرغبان في أي فائدة مادية او حتى معنوية، ولكن لحرصهما على الكويت وحبهما لها قاما بدراسة مفصلة عن اهمية المنطقة مع تقديم السبل لتطويرها وجعلها مدينة المستقبل، موقع منطقة جليب الشيوخ موقع استراتيجي ممتاز فهو ما بين مطار الكويت الدولي واستاد جابر، الحلول التقليدية معروفة وهي ازالة المخالفات وضبط المخالفين ولكنها لا تبدو حلولا جذرية لمنطقة تستطيع ان تكون محطة جذب، الحل الامثل هو ان يتم تقسيم المنطقة الى اربع مناطق وتقسم كالآتي (مدينة الاعمال والحي المالي، المنطقة التجارية، المنطقة الصحية، منطقة المؤتمرات والمعارض). كبر حجم المنطقة يؤهلها لتكون منطقة جاذبة للاستثمار الاجنبي وذلك بسبب قربها من المطار، اما عن تزويدها بمراكز صحية ضخمة فهو مطلب كمركز للتأهيل الطبيعي وذلك لحاجتنا له في الكويت بالاضافة الى مركز للاطفال لعدم وجود مركز فعلي لهم عدا بيت عبدالله الذي لم ينته بعد، السؤال بعد ذلك كيف يتم ذلك؟ الافكار المقدمة كثيرة اهمها ان يتم طرح مزايدة للمناطق الاربع على القطاع الخاص وتكون نظام 'بي. او. تي' لكن بقوانين خاصة تضمن الربحية للقطاع الخاص والفائدة للدولة وان تتم اعادة فرز وتنظيم المنطقة، مع مخطط الشوارع بالكامل بالاضافة الى اعطاء فرصة للشركات الاجنبية للمشاركة، قد يتساءل البعض ما الفائدة من هذا المشروع؟الفائدة كبيرة اهمها ان تكون مدينة المستقبل الجديدة في الكويت وستتيح فرص عمل كثيرة في الكثير من المجالات وهذا ما نحتاجه نظرا للبطالة المنتشرة اخيرا وثانيا عوائد فرق السعر في الارض المعروضة للقطاع الخاص وارتفاع اسعار الاراضي القريبة من المنطقة مما سينعش العقار في مناطق غير المتعارف عليها، يذكر انه تم عرض المشروع على شخصيات كثيرة وكبيرة في الدولة لاقت الترحيب من دون التشجيع الفعلي، بالكلام دون الفعل وهنا اطالب الشركات والمؤسسات بالالتفات لهذه المنطقة والنظر للربح الكبير الذي قد تحققه لهم وتحققه لنا كشعب نحلم بمدينة المستقبل.* * *قفلة:من حبنا لها قاعدين نوفر لكن يحز في الخاطر ان نقوم كأفراد بالترشيد لنجد مؤسسات الدولة تستهلك الكهرباء من أنوار وتكييف بشكل فاحش في المساء وهي الفترة التي لا يعمل بها موظف الحكومة، فلم هذا التبذير ان كنا في حالة حرجة من مسألة الكهرباء؟التي هي مشكلة مخجلة في بلد غني مثل الكويت!

--------

من أروى الوقيان الكويت - 21 - 7 (كونا) -- تكفي رحلة الى منطقة جليب الشيوخ لتبعث الحسرة والألم منطقة سمعنا عنها كثيرا واذا رأتها العين اختلف الأمر اختلافا كليا فالانتهاكات لم تعد مقتصرة على المباني بل امتدت الى الانسانية.ترى أكوام القمامة أمامك وخلفك مهملة دون أن يتتخلص منها والمناطق السكنية تعج بكل التجاوزات ناهيك عن وجود أسواق للأطعمة والسمك وسط البيوت محفوفة بجميع أنواع التلوث من قمامة ومياه مجار اضافة الى ممارسات غير أخلاقية لها أماكن يعرفها سكان المنطقة .الرحلة الى هناك كفيلة بأن تجعل نظرتك للمستقبل قاتمة ان كانت هناك منطقة بهذه التجاوزات البيئية والأخلاقية والانسانية .وأشارت الناشطة في القضايا الانسانية موضي العثمان في تصريح لوكالة الأنباء الكويتية (كونا) الى أنها اعدت هي وزميلها ناصر البرقش دراسة حول كيفية معالجة هذا الوضع المأساوي .وقالت العثمان ان هناك أنواعا من المخالفات البيئية المنتشرة في المنطقة بسبب انتشار القمامة ومياه المجاري في أماكن للسكن حيث تاع فيها الأطعمة وتوجد مخالفات سكنية وانسانية امتدت الى درجة أن بعض الأشخاص يعيشون في حافلة أو في غرفة مليئة بثلة من البشر ناهيك عن التجاوزات في كثير من المباني والمواقف الموجودة في عمارات سكنية.وقالت العثمان ان المنطقة تمثل الكويت خاصة للقادمين من المطار فمن المؤسف أن تكون واجهة البلاد مليئة بكل هذه التجاوزات والاهمال والمناظر المزعجة للعين قبل كل شيء.من جهته قال اقترح البرقش ل (كونا) فكرة اجراء دراسة لمنطقة جليب الشيوخ بدأت من الاهتمام بالعمالة التي تعيش في مكبات النفاية والذين يعيشون بدون اقامات .وأضاف البرقش انه اكتشف أن "أغلبهم يقطنون منطقة جليب الشويخ ويعيشون في بيوت مبنية بدون أنظمة للسلامة ما حفزنا لاجراء دراسة ووضع حلول لمشاكلها "لاسيما أن المنطقة تقع بموقع ممتاز متمثل بين مطار الكويت واستاد جابر والجامعة الجديدة وكلها تمثل البلاد بشكل أو بآخر.وأوضح أن وجود المنطقة بهذه التجاوزات الصارخة هو شيء باعث على الخجل مشيرا الى أن الحل يكمن في أن تقسم الى أربعة أقسام الأولى مدينة الأعمال والحي المالي والثانية منطقة تجارية والثالثة منطقة المعارض والمؤتمرات والرابعة منطقة المراكز الصحية.وأشار الى امكانية استغلال المنطقة كمساندة لجاراتها فتصبح مؤهلة لمسافري الترانزيت ليستطعوا التسوق والتبضع فيها ويجعل قسم منها مواقف للسيارات لاستاد جابر وربطها بقطار يوصل أصحاب الناس الى سياراتهم .وأضافت العثمان أن هذا المشروع ان طبق فله مميزات أهمها توفير فرص عمل لعدد كبير من الشباب والشابات وستكون منطقة جاذبة للاستثمار الأجنبي وسترتفع أسعار الأراضي في المنطقة وسينتعش العقار في المناطق المجاورة أيضا.أما البرقش قال ان العمالة في الكويت يجب أن تقطن في مدن عمالية وهي فكرة مطبقة وموجودة في معظم الدول المجاورة ولم تطبق حتى اليوم في الكويت مع الأسف ما جعل الكثير منهم يتكدسون بشكل كبير في جليب الشيوخ.وشكر البرقش والعثمان باهتمام عضو المجلس البلدي عبدالعزيز الشايجي لتزويدهم بجميع المعلومات التي احتاجوها لاعداد هذه الدراسة وبدور وزير الاشغال ووزير الدولة لشؤون البلدية موسى الصراف في التشجيع وبخبرته العريقة في هذا المجال .(النهاية) أ خ و / ا ع كونا211235 جمت يول 07











9 comments:

Nasser AlBarghash said...

Dear Bibi,

On behalf of my self I would like to salute you for your kind work towards human rights.
It was pleasure for us to meet you and take you to Jleeb AlSheyokh so you can see the true fact of that district.

Thank you for the sweet words you wrote about us. And may god help us for the good of Kuwait Inshallah.

Thank you again

Nasser B. AlBarghash

Moodhi Al3ithman said...

Hello Bibi,

Dear thank you very much for shedding some light on the topic. Jeleeb AlShyoukh is indeed a pitiful place as we all have seen. InshaAllah our efforts do not go to waste.

It is always a pleasure to meet you and cooperate with you.
Thank you again for your hard work on this topic and other humanitarian issues.

Mashkoora ;)

Moodhi Al-Othman

Arwa Alwaqian said...

it was my great pleasure to work with such great ppl like u bibi nasser and moodi..
and i would like to thank u bibi for sharing the story in ur beautiful blog and it is an honor to have my name here.
and last thanks 4 ur sweetness and kindness.
best regards,
Arwa Alwaqian

sws said...

Modhi - Thank you for allowing me the priviledge of your company and especially sharing your dreams with me.

Arwa - Thank you for your interest in my cause, thank you for supporting it and thank you for taking your time to see me and thank you and thank you and thank you many more times.

Nasser - My Guru, my thank you's start with you.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Harmonie22 said...

Yet another brilliant article by you covering some of the grim realities of living conditions for expatriate laborers. I used to work in Jleeb Al-Sheyoukh many years ago and know what the back alleys are like.
You raised an important point I would like to elaborate on from a perspective purely based on human nature.
You said:
"The only thing I noticed was the spirit of these labour expats, they definately would much rather live in a horrendous atmosphere than be degraded in a palace. Let's think about that."
My thoughts on this are that anyone at the end of a long hard day's work wants to be their own master, be in their own little corner where they can dictate how their time will be spent, to be among people who they are on equal footing with, where they don't wear the badge of housekeeper, just their names. There is also the matter of having a psychological break from 'being at work.'
The desire for personal autonomy over one's life is a natural human impulse, if only for a few hours at the end of the day.
Many full-time live-in housekeepers don't really have that ability to switch off from their job because they live at their job. I know that I like to go home after a long day at work and spend time with friends and family or just alone time with me. Some sponsor families do not understand this and as a result their workers are on call 24/7. This is where the preference to live in squalid conditions rather than the comfortable homes of their sponsors comes from. Everyone needs the sense of personal space for their psychological health, irrespective of what they do for a living.

On another note, thank you for letting me comment and adding my two-fils worth insights, I know that my views are somewhat progressive for this point in our social history. I do thoroughly enjoy your blog and an avid supporter of your work.

sws said...

harmonie22,

My Queen, with you I touched and sensed a wind of humanity, through you I learnt passion and compassion. Your comments elevate my words into your world of brilliance. Shukran :*

BOJARAH said...

Dear Moodhi & Nasser,

Its wonderful to see young Kuwaiti guys coming up with such a project for the benefit of their country. Thank you for your efforts and I hope you become a role model for many people in the future.

Dear Arwa & Bibi;

Arwa I always enjoy reading your articles in the newspaper oo menhaa lela3laa inshalah.

Bibi dayman you've been a fighter for human rights for years oo mashalah daymen fee taqadom...wish you all the best.

I would like to comment on the "Eljleeb" issue. I researched the subject and conducted a study on it last year. I came up with the conclusion that the only solution is to bring in the Special Forces, Police, criminal invistigastion dept., General Drug Control Dept., Immigration Officials and the Fire Brigades.Close the whole area down for 72 hours and conduct a thorough inspection of all houses, shops... etc. This way we could clean the entire area completely of any illegal aliens, prostitution rings, gambling activities, drugs, narcotics and basically anything illegal. Once and for all we could rid Kuwait from all this menace inshallah.

However, we must keep in mind that there will be consequences for such harsh action.
Based on my predictions, this is what I expect:

1) there will be thousands of people arrested between criminals and illegal aliens. I suggest
we put them in public transportation buses and take them all to a stadium to sort them out.
After that, the ones accused of criminal activities can be taken to jail and the rest can be sent directly to the airport and deported back to their countries on Kuwait airways flights.
Since the prison of Kuwait was built in the 60s in Sulaibiya, and only has a limited capacity then, its about time that the authorities build another jail out of city parameters.
I think Kuwait has a lot of land in the desert where such a facility can be located!

2) Because 70-80% of drug and narcotics activities goes on in Eljleeb then the price of drugs in Kuwait will sky rocket to 30 times the original price. This will probably result in an increase in criminal activities (stolen cars, burglary) to try and secure the funds they need to purchase drugs. In such a situation, the police force should be ready to face this.

3) Most of the suspicious people who have question marks on them are foreign laborers. Thus, a lot of the gov run companies will have to deal with delays in their projects and problems with their laborers. A lot of those laborers are either illegal aliens with no legal papers or ones that may have criminal activities associated with them.

4) As a consequence of the mass deportation, their might occur some diplomatic problems between Kuwait and for example India, Pakistan, Bangladesh....etc. The Foreign ministry should have a prior plan to deal with this or notify their governments in advance.

At the end such a huge decision is to be taken only by the Council of Ministers. Its not an easy decision to take but, if the gov are serious enough to secure a good future for our children to live in a safe environment then this is the right thing to do. The security of our country should be their priority and the decision makers need to believe in such a plan to do this. Hopefully, someday they will have a vision to clean up our country and do it once and for all.

Bojarah

a zubeidi called mia bil mia said...

Dear Bibs :

What I find palpably lacking in the Kuwaiti public conscience is a sense of ownership toward all Kuwaiti suburbs, equally. So, you have people, generally, not giving a flippin' rat's arse to what's happening in somebody else's backyard, even if that backyard belongs to them and is situated in their own country.
It would be mighty interesting to do a survey of residents of Dahiyat Abdalla Salem, South Surra, Jabriya, Bayan and Mishref to try and assess the feeling of proprietorship which these people feel for Jleeb, Hassawi, Jahra, Farwaniya, Hawally & Nugra. I bet you, over one-half of people living there haven't even been to any of these other places.
Thank God for such people as, N & M! But they are very few and far between : may their tribe increase.
The only other way to tackling this issue of slums proliferating in Kuwait is to rope in bold & dynamic Emiraati realtors ( Emaar and Damac are a case in point) to develop free hold luxury condominiums and muti-rises for both locals and expats, in these areas. Slowly, but surely, the infrastructure there will see a step-change and then, we'll all be glad for it. With the Emiraatis this is entirely a do-able proposition - after all, they are the ones to have transformed deserts into golf courses and ski slopes.