One Kuwait for all

By Nejoud Al-Yagout

In the face of natural disasters, wars, tragedy and death, human beings continue to create laws to persecute minorities and alienate those we consider foreigners. One wonders: What will it take for humans to wake up from our stupor of separation? And why do we think nationalism is the panacea to our suffering?

If we don’t come together to address global issues, we are bringing about our own destruction. But first, as they say, charity begins at home; so, as Kuwaitis, it is important to try and transform ourselves for our community. Instead of blaming the world for our issues or saying that it is the fault of this country or that country, we must do the terrifying work of self-reflection and see what kind of a society we are creating. After all, if we dare to self-reflect, we are doing exactly what we criticize others for! It takes individuals to transform a society, so one by one we must own the darkness within ourselves to allow the light to penetrate our core and shine within us and on so-called others.

The first step is addressing our prejudices and immediately seeking to transcend them. Who do we condemn? Who do we blame for our problems? And, consequently, how can we reach out to those we fear? Social media has become the pulse of nations, and when we read some of the comments written against expatriates, women and minorities, how can we not shudder at who we have become? It is time to come together as one society and reclaim the hospitality of our forefathers and foremothers. And this is the gift each of us can bring to Kuwait (as locals, however, since expats may be deported for voicing discontent).

Xenophobia and misogyny are creating an imbalanced society in which men and locals are in positions of privilege, clinging tightly to an era that is way beyond its expiry date. Unfortunately, privilege increases greed and creates an unhealthy fear of sharing which results in the formation of repressive laws and even murder. This is where education comes into place. Schools should not merely focus on education, but also on creating humanitarian individuals in an inclusive manner, free of dogma and divisiveness and superiority.

The second step to creating a harmonious society is via the implementation of laws which benefit all individuals who contribute to Kuwait, regardless of nationality (or the lack of it, for that matter, as in the case of the stateless), religion, gender, orientation social or financial status. Time and again, we read yet another attack against expatriates or women, or another proposal in place to restrict the freedom of individuals. The parliament seems focused solely on punishing expatriates for their devotion and service, depriving the stateless of their rights (even while promising to take care of them), creating laws which keep in place the patriarchy, and stifling artistic expression and creativity rather than manifesting a nation open to tourists and artists, or a haven for those who live here.

The third step is remembering our fragility. We are here on this planet for a short time. It is our duty to ensure that we spread light wherever we go. If we dislike a person, let us ensure we dislike them because they do not share our values and not because of the color of their passport or their skin color or because of their belief system. And in time, let us even give up our dislike of them, even when we choose to maintain a distance from them for our wellbeing (and theirs). We can raise the frequency of Earth and save the planet from our greed and disregard when we realize that every person on earth has the right to be here.

So far, we have proved to be a virus on this blue planet. If human beings left the earth, the sky, the seas, the oceans, the rivers and all creatures would breathe a collective sigh of relief. We create destruction wherever we go. What have we done? And why do we continue to go down this hellbent path even while there are solutions all around us? We have brought ourselves and other species to the brink of extinction (and even to extinction, in many cases) because of our sense of entitlement and our egoism and filth.

The time is now to live in love. Here’s to equality in Kuwait. Not just for citizens, but for foreigners and the stateless. Here’s to ensuring that women are no longer considered second-class citizens and can lead lives in which their dignity is assured. Here’s to freedom of religion and the freedom to practice it in public. Here’s to eradicating the humiliation of those who live in poverty. Here’s to encouraging our fellow human beings to visit and live in Kuwait rather than ending up on the top of the list for worst places for expatriates. Here’s to protecting animals, the environment, the seas, the skies. Here’s to the dignity of each of us. And here’s to dissolving any system in place which keeps separation in place. Viva l’amore!

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