Saturday, 29 June 2013

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Dear Beloved Readers,

I have enjoyed many things about living in Kuwait, and despite the negative things about the country (every country has something going against it), I have tried not to let myself fall into loathing a place because of the negative aspects (on some days it’s easier said than done). Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely a negative person, but I’m holding onto to positivity for dear life! Although I know the following will likely cause some upset (especially amongst my family and friends), I wouldn’t be honest about what I’m experiencing here without informing people about what the climate is like at the moment.

There is some unrest in Kuwait. Okay, that’s not true. There’s a lot of unrest here due to the obscene amount of deportations that the government has initiated. The government has decided that there are too many expats in Kuwait and are now trying to get rid of many of us. Now, if people are here illegally, then of course they should not be allowed to remain; this I agree with 100%. However, the government is citing poor road conditions (bad drivers, congested roads, too many violations, etc.) as the reason to get rid of many expats. Is this true? Yes and no. Yes, the roads are congested and yes, the roads are horrendous, but is this all due to expat drivers? Well, if you could see me now, you’d see me laughing like crazy. Anyone who has been on the roads would know that that’s not true since it is not usually expats who are breaking the traffic laws. Sooo, the traffic claim is a nice guise. What’s with the mass deportations then? I’m not sure, but I do know that certain nationalities are being targeted more than others (westerners/Caucasians are usually left alone).

There are some Kuwaitis who are against these deportations and who have publicly voiced their opinions (such as newspaper reporters for the Kuwait Times). Has this public outcry helped? I’m not sure. I do feel like these deportations have not been thought through. Unfortunately, the more discriminated against expats are the backbone of this country. Now people are much more cautious (my manager actually advised me not to go out at all because people assume I’m Filipino which is a nationality that is being targeted). Police raids (on apartments/flats) are growing and the most recent notorious case is one where a Filipino woman was raped by two policemen and two Egyptian men (civilians): http://news.kuwaittimes.net/two-officers-held-for-raping-filipina/. Sadly, these stories are numerous and continual and not something that I feel this country wants to be internationally known for.

These kinds of incidents are deeply disturbing and disappointing to me because I know that Kuwait, being a young, rich country, has an unprecedented amount of potential. I have talked about this with numerous expats who are also saddened by what’s happening here. We, as expats, are here because of the salaries or because we are unable to even get decent jobs in our own countries; no one should deny that. I know that many expats care little for the countries that they live in, but I am not one of those people, nor are my friends/co-workers/acquaintances. However, I’m all too aware that I can’t contribute to a society that doesn’t want my input/effort/support/etc. It makes it less desirable to stay here for an extended period of time. Maybe this is what the country wants though. In that case, then power to it. 

These events in Kuwait are occurring  as Canada is about to celebrate its 146th birthday (on July 1st, Canada Day). Now, for as much as the problems in Canada drive me crazy. I am not an anti-nationalist. If I didn't care about the problems that Canada is facing then I would consider myself an anti-nationalist, but I wish that Canadians would stop being so passive aggressive and begin to change their behaviours so that we could become a great nation (I just had an AMAZING chat with a brilliant acquaintance about this issue). I will be going back to Canada in mere days and I have a sneaky suspicion that going home is going to be sweet.

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