Friday, August 28, 2009

A growing debt

I attend a Filipino church here in Vancouver (cus my wife is Fil-Canadian) and there's a really sweet middle-aged Filipino lady that goes there. I met her about 5 years ago and she's a very unassuming lady, and nice to everyone.

However, on getting to know her I learned that before she became a Canadian citizen, she used to be a 'maid' in ... where else? - Kuwait. And as nice as this lady is, when you ask about her time there, she shuts up. She explains that she does not want to talk about her experiences in Kuwait and would rather focus on the here and now. Imagine that - A Canadian citizen.

Now I know it can't be too often that domestic helpers go on to become North American citizens ... but the Middle East doesn't just abuse its maids. Regular employees of every profession in Kuwait are having their passports illegally held, are being abused by the police, by their bosses, by the system and by the average guy walking on the streets.

And the more I get to know people who have worked in the Middle East and ended up becoming citizens in the west, the more I realise that Kuwait and other countries in the region are not just alienating 'poor, third world countries' and their people anymore. We are intentionally hurting and torturing future citizens of so-called 'first world' nations.

Not that it should matter where they are from and where they go. But Kuwait is slowly and surely accumulating a large and bloody debt. And one day it might not be the poor Filipinos, Sri Lankans, Bengalis and Indians that ask nicely, that that debt be paid.


nabeel said...

just wanted to say that even though i use the terms i dont necessarily agree with the terms first world and third world. and the only reason I'm emphasising race and citizenship is because that seems to be what people care about.

Anonymous said...

every single day i think about these issues, i have fought with police men at the airport because of how they treat non kuwaiti's. its horrible. i believe kuwait gov should emphasize on such issues and really try to raise awareness. People shouldnt be able to get away with this!