Monday, August 17, 2009

Shuwaikh Investigations Department

Just wanted to relate what happened to me a few months ago.

As you might know, a group of us used to go to Al Razi hospital just get to know some of the maids in wards 3 and 4. These are the abuse cases. More than a few cannot move at all because they are in casts from head to toe. A few can get around only in wheelchairs.

Well a certain lady eventually opened up and wanted to file a case against her employer. Her employer had tried to brutally strangle her. Later on the mama poured hot water on her. Finally they pushed her out of a window - in any other country that would be attempted murder. This poor lady has a four year old daughter back in her home country. She came to Kuwait to be able to make money to support her child's medical bills.

I am in touch with a Kuwaiti lawyer so I asked him to take up her case. After much trouble the agency that was holding her passport agreed to hand it over to the lawyer so he could start filing the case.

Well after a while, I started getting strange calls from Arabic speaking men. They would call me and as soon as I picked up my phone they would ask who I was. Naturally this used to annoy me so I asked who they were - but they usually didn't answer. Once in a while they would say oh we are with the hospital and just want to know who you are. One day I got a call from a familiar number and it was the Kuwaiti lawyer - who was at the Shuwaikh police station. He asked me to come in.

What followed was a disturbing experience. The head of the Shuwaikh Special Investigations (I guess that's what it's called) asked me where I was from. He was a large burly man with a beard and glasses and the most arrogant look on his face. I said I was Indian and immediately he smirked. He asked for my civil id and had it photocopied. He spoke to me in Arabic and I told him I don't speak the language. He smirked again and said in Arabic (the lawyer translated for me) I know you speak Arabic - in fact I know you speak it fluently so don't try and play games with me. The look on his face was so intimidating and I said - no I swear I don't speak Arabic. He got angry and said Don't you dare lie to me. Right now I can put you in jail. I can have you sent back to India. I got a bit scared and had no idea what to do.

Well anyways he said that if I ever go to Al Razi hospital again, he would give my file to the mubahath and 'they had ways of dealing with me.' I asked him - but who will help the maids? The hospitals lie and the budgets are going into someone's pockets. He said to me - It's none of your business. It's not your country. Now get out.

So I did. And I haven't gone to Al-Razi since. In fact all I do for maids right now is sit at home and write this blog every once in a while. And I feel so useless because although people are made aware... awareness is not my ultimate aim. Change is. And change isn't happening.

For the last six months I don't know the names of any of the maids at al Razi. I don't know what nationalities are coming in and what injuries they have recieved and by whose hands. But I do know that the hospitals still cheap out on their crutches, their medicine and the time they are allowed to recover in the ward. I know only the nurses and the cleaners in the wards treat them with any dignity. I know they are forced out of their beds and into the jails where they are treated like crap and yelled at like animals. Then they spend what seems to be a criminal sentence at the deportation center - waiting to go home to the rest of their humiliating lives.

These things haven't changed and I don't need to go every week to know that.


Anonymous said...

My friend,

All I can say to you and the Kuwaiti abused peoples of the world is to be patient. For the riches that we Kuwaitis enjoy today will not last forever, and one day, our sons and daughters will revert back to our "mud age".

When that time comes, they will travel to India, Srilanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines to work as maids, cooks, and tea boys in order to feed their hungry families at home.

I am sure these people will not act upon our descendants with vengeance, because they are a better and kinder people that us.
We will see nothing from them but pity and sorrow.

Anonymous said...

This is funny, the lawyer was doing the translation and heard the insults and threats and did nothing, he is support to represent you. what a pity. I deal with many lawyers and let me tell you they have no respect to their profession and have very low esteem. They know the law is bias, the judges are bias, and the whole system is corrupt.