The Kuwaiti society has been preoccupied over the past two days with the issue of forged educational certificates that were sold and given to some people by corrupt employees. This is not unusual in any society with corrupt employees and people with money. The suspects are now being transferred to the public prosecution for investigations.
But, as usual in Kuwait, this has turned into a media frenzy and fodder for rumors, until people forget about the subject either because it becomes old or repetitive or a new topic arises for another media storm! Last week people were busy talking about the situation in Iraq that ended up with complete silence, and no one knows what is happening now. Did things calm down, or ended, or what?!
I read an interesting tweet by someone who said Kuwait has become like an imaginary play city – nothing is real, but everyone is happy! It is an unfortunate description of an existing reality and a beautiful country like Kuwait. There are many people like me who are upset by the state of the country and the spread of corruption. It is not just the question of forging a diploma, but the normalization of corruption and forgery. I think frequent talk about the spread of fraud may turn it into a normal practice, and this is dangerous.
At a time when there is great uproar about the falsification of a number of diplomas and their adoption by the government, I hope to see a fuss about the fraud in Kuwaiti nationality and demands to expose all the people who were granted citizenship without a right, and who is really stands behind this – officials or influential people. Cleaning up the community should begin to neutralize things in an equal and fair way, especially since this issue is affecting the entire society, its composition and future, as well as security.
This subject is linked to another serious topic of dual loyalties – there are those who have been given nationality without a right and this is an injustice. I believe this is an extremely important issue far beyond a few forged certificates of some people. Another worrying issue is the misuse of social media, especially WhatsApp, for spreading false articles and malicious stories.
For example, a report was spread on WhatsApp by a Kuwaiti woman accusing a Kuwaiti professor and a former government official of obtaining his PhD degree by forgery. This woman used a mobile app to accuse a man without evidence and it is natural that this man will defend himself through a long article on WhatsApp too, until it turns into a personal war. People become busy following this verbal war and forget that there is a bigger issue than these two. I know that this matter may end in court, but there is no winner here.
Fraud affects the entire society, but there are other key issues that need local attention as well, especially from the financial and economic aspect, such as the merger of two local Islamic banks, but such issues are difficult to understand by the public. So social media becomes an arena for talks and rumors with little truth, until people become confused. They do not know what is true and what is fake.
Is there a solution? I am not against freedom of speech, but when society becomes a battlefield with verbal fighting and abuse through social media and mobile apps, it makes me concerned. When I see the words ‘fraud’ and ‘corruption’ on a daily basis, I worry not about the day I live, but about the future.
By Muna Al-Fuzai