By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: Newspapers are full of reports of brutal and violent crimes that take place every week. The latest example is a killing that took place over the weekend in Qusour, where four Kuwaiti men stabbed a bedoon to death, cut off his ear, then ran him over by a vehicle to make it look like a car accident.

On New Year's Eve, a huge fight took place in Khairan, where tens of young men fought. They were later arrested. Also, five men mugged an Egyptian man in Qairawan and sped off. On the same night, a man set a mosque in Salmi on fire for unknown reasons. Also on Dec 31, an Egyptian man killed his Kuwaiti sponsor over a financial dispute.

Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti man attacked a doctor at Sabah Al-Nasser polyclinic for not giving him an injection, which according to the doctor was dangerous for his health. Then a woman filed a case at the police station reporting she was beaten and robbed by a man and woman, who kicked her out of her house in Surra.

Psychologist Dr Mohammed Al-Khaldi said these cases of violence are not normal for the Kuwaiti society. "It is still a small number compared to our population. We have a mix of different cultures in the community, and differences between cultures may sometimes cause conflicts that lead to violence," he told Kuwait Times.

According to him, religious morals became weak as the world opened up. "In the past we used to have only a few TV channels, while now we have over 2,000 channels. Watching all these channels has brought new values. When I teach my children something, they see a different thing applied in reality. Due to these open horizons, we live in a global village," added Khaldi.

Life's stresses
"Unemployment or a bad financial situation causes stress. This may be reflected in violence. If the person doesn't release the stress, they might explode and beat up their family members, for instance. Some people can release stress by practicing sports, others through eating, and so on. Teenagers usually release stress by fighting in public places. I think the law should be applied in a stricter way, and more policemen should be present in malls and public places. Parents should control their children as well," he concluded.

Dr Fahad Al-Tasha, Mental Health Specialist and Vice President of the Kuwait Psychological Association (KPA), noted that violence has developed with time. "Violence today has new tools and has spread widely in the community. Crimes have also progressed, with new types of violence not seen 30 years ago. Violence in the past was in schools, but now it's in the neighborhood and even inside the family. During the lockdown, KPA provided free psychological help or consultation through the phone, and here we noticed the high number of cases of violence inside families," he explained.

Pandemic's repercussions
"Those who lost their jobs or businesses during the pandemic are under great stress. This may lead to violence. Also, social relations changed due to COVID-19, as people were not meeting due to the fear of infection. Moreover, the absence of schools and online education increased the level of violence, as children are sitting at home and don't have real interaction with teachers and other students. Many people postponed their plans due to the pandemic to study, start a business and others, which led to stress," Tasha said.

Drugs are behind some cases of violence. "The easy access and availability of drugs has made it easy to be consumed by young people. The abundance of wealth has also made it easy to buy drugs. When addicts can't get drugs for any reason, they use violence against their family or other people," he added. Security authorities should place combatting violence among their priorities.

"I hope the parliament will set up a special committee on violence, rather than having a committee for negative phenomena. NGOs should also play a role in spreading awareness. Parents should be monitoring their children all the time, especially when playing videogames, which are responsible for many cases of violence. The latest was the arrest of youngsters who were recruited by Daesh through online games. Also, the laws should be amended and punishment should be tougher to be a deterrent from committing crimes," stressed Tasha.