Saturday, January 26, 2008

I don't have a magic wand

A friend of mine from highschool wrote me this email that i decided to share on my blog, I will answer him here because I have a feeling a lot of people share his views.

Here's what he had to say:-

Hey Bibi,

I just wanted to say I like your blog because it tackles humanitarian
issues in Kuwait. You've always been a good person ever since school
so when I found out that you became a humanitarian I was like wow
thats like a perfect fit.

My issue or question is this. There are a lot of things I don't like
in Kuwait and I complain about them every now and then on my blog. The
thing is thats all I can do. As a non-kuwaiti there is very very
little I can do about the working conditions of the Bengalis or
generally ANYTHING thats wrong here.

BUT, I always wish I was in a better position so I could actually do
things. For example every time I read something sad on your blog I
think to myself that if I was in your shoes I would do this or I would
try to do that. I find it hard to believe that you can't solve all
these problems. If you can't solve humanitarian problems issues in
Kuwait then who can?

I don't know if I am making much sense, I hope I didn't sound
aggressive or anything but I really love Kuwait and I find it very
frustrating to see things that are so obviously wrong and not being
able to do anything about it and then find out that the only person I
would expect to be able to do things about it can't do anything
either. It sounds like a helpless cause which is depressing.

Here's what I have to say:-

S.W.S, the organization that I work at does a lot of work with helping people, I don't usually write about what we've accomplished as an organization because in the end we were able to challenge and defeat all obstacles within our limits and without breaking the law or interfering in the work of the officials.

Kuwait is suppose to be "dawlat Mo'asasat" and I don't even know how to translate that, but the idea is, I up on my "high horse" as some may see me, cannot interfere, change or impose on any ministry official's work and I have to go through the process like everyone else in this country. Some might say, but your grandpa is the amir and your uncle is the deputy prime minister and all the rest are close relatives as well, why can't you pass the message to them to do something? Trust me, everytime I get a chance to speak with any of them on the issues I face, I don't hesistate to jump on the opportunity, but we all have to understand that they are very busy people dealing with many other, as important, isssues.

Also, they usually refer me to the officials at the ministries that I would have dealt with without even going to them, because that's how the system works (just a very few cases with babies in prison that the amir had to be directly involved and take action, god bless him), I can't just say i'm facing a problem here and there and then I get a scroll with the emir's signature and all is fine and dandy, No. There is a process, there are different documents and paper works and all the stuff we hate to do, but it must be done. So I end up going through the bureaucratic system just like everyone else, no magic wand here people.

In many occasions I was kicked out of offices especially in Al-Shu'oon..Yet because I want to make a difference I still hold my head up high and accept the system, hoping through complaints and shedding light on the issues, the system could improve. It could get depressing when you feel like you've hit a dead end but it's all too satisfying when you do actually make a difference.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blah, because when you're numb, nothing makes sense

What I am feeling is Blah
What I was thinking was Blah
What I am saying is Blah
What I long for is Blah
What has been done to me is Blah
What I have to do is to Forgive

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Abused by a junkie

I'm sure a lot of people have family members or know of people who have family members that are drug addicts. The burden of a drug addict is extremely hard, its emotionally draining to deal with a junkie, i've heard horror stories, the latest is of an abusive junkie, who pulled a gun out on family member, he put the gun to her head then laughed hysterically when she trembled with fear, she said she couldn't hear anything but his husky voice and the sound of her heart beating real fast, he then proceeded to fire two shots in the air to scare her even more, she says the sound was so loud she felt like it shattered her bones, she was paralyzed from fear and tried to walk away but he had a tight grip on her arm telling her that he's taken a little too much drugs and threatened if she would tell anyone he would hunt her down. She was let go when the attacker's friend showed up and calmed him down.

It's not easy dealing with the pain of losing a family member to drugs but it gets worse when the drug addict becomes an abuser. If she calls the authorities on him, she will be shaming her family and her name will be plastered all over the news, her family might even view her as a traitor or even worse her brothers might take revenge on him and in the end everyone gets hurt... but if the drug addict family member hurts or kills anyone... she won't be able to live with herself knowing she could have stopped it.

My friend chose to stay silent, may god give her peace of mind with her decision.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

اي خير ان شاء الله

العثمان.. الكويت رائدة في مكافحة الاتجار بالشر ومكافحة الجريمة

القوانين والتشريعات 16/01/2008 07:12:00 م
النائب العام الكويتي المستشار حامد العثمان
النائب العام الكويتي المستشار حامد العثمان
القاهرة - 16 - 1 (كونا) - قال النائب العام الكويتي المستشار حامد العثمان ان للكويت دورا رائدا وكبيرا جدا على المستوى المحلي والاقليمي والدولي في مكافحة الاتجار بالبشر.
وذكر العثمان الذي ترأس الاجتماع الخاص بتنسيق مواقف الدول العربية بمؤتمر الاطراف الذي سيعقد في اندونسيا اواخر الشهر الجاري في تصريح لوكالة الانباء الكويتية (كونا) ان القانون الكويتي في نظرته الوطنية يساهم مساهمة فعالة جدا في مكافحة الفساد والجريمة بكافة انواعها.
وقال العثمان بعد اختتام الاجتماع ان دولة الكويت وقعت على كثير من الاتفاقيات الدولية ايمانا منها بأهمية القوانين والتشريعات الدولية وضرورة المصادقة عليها.
واكد أهمية أن تقف جميع الدول في مكافحة آفة الاتجار بالبشر ومكافحة الفساد مشيرا الى ان الكويت لديها قواعد قانونية وتشريعات وطنية تكافح هاتين الافتين.
وأشار الى أن الكويت صادقت على المستوى الدولي على الاتفاقية الدولية لمكافحة الجريمة المنظمة وعلى الاتفاقية الدولية لمكافحة الفساد مشيرا الى أن تصديق الكويت على هاتين الاتفاقيتين دليل على ايمانها بتطبيق القوانين الدولية برمتها دون تمييز.
وعن القوانين الجزائية قال العثمان ان لدى الكويت قانونا لغسيل الاموال مبينا ان هذا القانون يجرم اخفاء مصدرالاموال غير المشروعة ويظهرها بشكل مشروع لدى الكويت.
وأضاف ان هذا القانون مضى عليه الان نحو خمس سنوات وهو يقدم دون شك فائدة كبيرة وحتى ايضا على مستوى التعاون الثنائي بين الدول العربية وجميع الدول الاخرى.
وذكر العثمان ان لدى الكويت قانونا لحماية الاموال العامة مشيرا الى انه مضى عليه الان نحو 15 عاما ويسجل خطوة كبيرة ومتقدمة جدا في موضوع مكافحة الفساد في الاموال العامة ويقدم ايضا سبل الحماية وكفالة الاموال العامة حتى لا يكون هناك اي نوع من العبث في هذه الاموال.
وقال لدينا في مدونة القانون الجنائي قانون كويتي يجرم الرشوة بين الموظفين العموميين مضيفا ان القانون الكويتي يجرم أيضا التزوير بين الموظفين العمومين وفي القطاع الخاص.
وعن الاجتماع الذي اختتم هنا اليوم قال العثمان انه يأتي في سياق الاجتماعات التنسيقية قبل اجتماع مؤتمر الاطراف والاتفاقية الدولية لمكافحة الفساد والمبادرة العالمية لمكافحة الاتجار بالبشر التي ستعقد في فيينا في منتصف الشهر المقبل.
واضاف ان الاجتماع ركز على ابراز العلاقات الدولية فيما يتصل في موضوع هذه المكافحة كما ركز أيضا على ابراز التعاون الدولي في هذه المكافحة ودور التنسيق العربي.(النهاية) خ ز / ط أ ب كونا161912 جمت ينا 08

Monday, January 14, 2008


The Angelican Church wanted to help hundreds of bengalis to return home by giving them tickets and the money they paid to come to kuwait and the money that was never given to them from their employers. So a formal letter was written to Zakat House to ask for donations, I signed the letter because they wanted to use a muslim name and in my case a very familiar muslim name. So Zakat House created a committee (Shoot me, i hate committees) to discuss the issue along with the ministry of social and labour affairs. So they agreed to donate 50,000 KD to help muslim expatriates in situations like those of the bengalis, they decided the money would be put in a fund in the ministry of social affairs and the money would be spent through them. Now the ministry is claiming they don't know where the money is and we're back in square one, there are more than 150 bengalis in shelters throughout town waiting to go home and many others in similar situations stuck in limbo without a dime to buy a ticket to go home. My family have been generous enough to help out many times, including Mesharee' Al-Khair a foundation owned by my uncle yet I can't keep going back to them, laws have to change, things have to be fixed to prevent situations like this, for one, the company who brought them has to deal with it, why is the ministry sooo easy on them!

What is really sad, other than the obvious, is that Kuwait was a country people dreamt of coming to, it was and surprisingly still is a country some asians wish to find a job in thinking they will provide a better living for their families back home when they do come. UNFORTUNATELY, the sad truth is, a lot of them were better off staying home. It breaks my heart to see any kind of sufferage but my heart bleeds when it's unjustified sufferage.

Another story...

A friend of mine introduced me to a gorgeous palestinian young lady a few months back, said she was in need of help. Her story is that she teaches at a middle school and was tutoring one of the girls in school at her home. The girl lives with her father who is divorced, the teacher became the desire of this man, she claims he was very decent and friendly with her and her family, even hired her disabled brother in his company. Long story short, he proposed, she accepted, she then began to see changes in him which concerned her, so she ended the engagement. At that point, the man made her brother sign documents and accused him of stealing money from him and filed a complaint at the police station. The brother was nowhere to be found, he was scared and ran away thinking he will be put in prison. So the police took the whole family, the pretty teacher and her parents in for questioning.. they spent 48 hours in jail.. meanwhile, the man (former fiance) tells the teacher that if she agrees to marriage then he will stop the charges against her brother. She doesn't agree. The family leave jail and head home because there is no case against them just inquiry about the son. A few days later the police pick the teacher up from school accusing her of stealing her fiance's money and jewellery, in which he claims he gave her when he proposed to her. She denies it all. Anyway there was a court case against her and her mother, as an accomplice. The verdict of the case came out a couple days ago, the judge ruled against them and sentenced them to 2 years in prison including the brother too. Oh I forgot to mention, her father died soon after he was put in prison, he died of a heart attack, his body was taken to Jordon, that trip was used in court as evidence against her, claiming she took the money and jewellery to Jordon which is why there was no traces of them in her house.

I don't really know why i'm so sad.. maybe cuz i met these people and they sound really sincere and I heard first hand the horror stories they went through in jail in Salmiyah and the one in Mubarak al Kabeer, yet if I want to be fair, there could also be a slight chance that this man was cheated. Either way, a two year sentence is very harsh.

The recent sentencing of the rapists who gang-raped a saudi girl was 10 months, untill they recently changed it to 5 years because of all the pressure they got for it So raping a girl is almost the same as being falsely accused of stealing or should I say the same as being accused of stealing without evidence of the stolen goods in your possession.

I feel helpless... I don't know what to do. This family is begging for help, I am in no position to do anything, it's beyond my capability.

After all that's been said. I will not give up. I love my country and I love the people here, a few corrupt souls will not break my spirit. I will be forever an optimist.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My heart goes out to the Tajeros

A few months back Andy Tajero who worked for my family for 25 years was diagnosed with cancer and decided to get treated in the philippines. Late last night his sister Elizabeth Tajero (family nanny of 30 years) was informed that Andy had passed away. The staff in our house consists of neices and nephews and brothers and sisters all from the Tajero family... It's a sad sad sad day for my family, he was a wonderful man, may he rest in peace inshalla. My heart goes out to the Tajero family and to his wife Marlene and their kids.

I dedicate this song to the Tajeros and Chab girls and Bashar and Surra girls:

Lean on me

Monday, January 7, 2008

Let your voices and presence be heard and seen

التاريخ: الثلاثاء، 8 يناير 2008

الوقت: الثامنة صباحا

المكان: مجلس الأمة الكويتي

لماذا؟ : لحضور جلسة مجلس الأمة المنعقدة ذلك الصباح لتسجيل موقفنا أمام أعضاء مجلس الأمة من القضايا التالية

  1. 1. رفض استغلال التعليم لتصفية الحسابات السياسية.
  2. 2.دعمنا ومساندتنا لوزيرة التعليم، المربية الفاضلة/ نورية الصبيح وتضامننا معها

يرجى ارتداء ملابس سوداء واحضار البطاقة المدنية للتمكن من دخول مجلس الأمة. الرجاء عدم التسبب بأي شكل من اشكال الفوضى أو الإزعاج داخل مبنى المجلس، فنحن متواجدون فقط لإظهار التضامن وتسجيل موقف.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Time for some changes

Happy New Year everyone!

Changes I would love to see in 2008:

1. The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Social Affairs take into consideration the rights of the people who reside in our country, and respect and care for their affairs. In other words, stricts actions should be taken against sponsors who bring labourers from asian countries under false pretenses just to take money from them and leave them lurking in the streets unemployed. Police officers should be much more civil when dealing with labour expats and stop treating them as though they are criminals, even if they are the ones filing complaints against their employers.

2. All Bedouns that serve in the military should be given the Kuwaiti Nationality, what and who do they serve for, if they are considered "without nationality"?

3. Free education. Every citizen should have the choice to pick the type of educational environment they would like to be part of, whether co-ed or segregated. I hope that the law that was past against co-education in private university changes and I wish our "progessive" parliament members fail to pass segregation in private highschools.

4. Raise of salaries in all governmental sectors especially in the oil sector, our bread and butter.

5. Shelters for abused women and children. Shelters for labour expats.

6. Housing compounds for labour expats that fit international regulations instead of cramping up 50 people in a room in jleeb shyoukh and khaitan.

7. babies born out of wedlock handed over to the embassies that their mothers belong to or taken in officially by the state instead of left in Al-Sabah Maternity hospital without identity.

more .... later.

Care to share the changes you want to see in 08?

Spread love... Stop hate.