Kuwait : Going backwards?

So another year has come and gone.

In the run up to the one year anniversary of the late Sheik Jaber Al Sabah, perhaps it’s an appropriate time to reflect on a year which promised some exciting times for the much vaunted ‘New Kuwait.’

2006 gave us hope. Not only did Kuwait have a new ‘visionary’ leader at the helm, but many of the previous constrictions, such as women’s voting rights, were finally lifted after a 44 year struggle for equality.

Remember the buzz, the hype, the wild rumours?

Was Kuwait finally going to break from its 17th century shackles and (gasp) modernize ?

So let’s take a look at what has been happening in the aftermath of the great ‘power struggle’ which ensued late last January.


Aside from an extraordinary amount of money being spent on an entire entourage of ‘Foreign Policy’ Related Travel expenses……er…..not a lot.

Whilst the rest of the Middle East has moved forward, evaluated their political and economical positions , embraced progression and pushed for a more open and liberalized society – what’s been going on in our Kuwait?

1. We’ve seen our entertainment sector slowly been shut down. We’ve been told that ‘spies’ are now lurking around each and every corner – ready to report our actions and our every whereabouts.

2. We’ve seen women finally get a chance to not only vote – but also run for political power. Despite 28 women running for office – not a single woman was elected…(Pretty bemusing considering there are more Kuwaiti women than men).

3. We’ve seen some ‘Mega Projects’ proposed and subsequently stalled or cancelled due to rowdy, multi-directional Parliamentary ‘Leaders.’

4. We’ve seen hundreds of billions of dollars poured into more ‘needy’ countries, despite us having our own Kuwaiti Resident’s dying from our ‘ever-so-efficient’ 777 system. I wont bother mentioning our archaic roads which haven’t been updated since 1986….well, OK, I will.

5. We’ve seen our once healthy selection of CD’s and DVD’s reduced to the dregs of the ‘Amazon’ bargain bin. Yes, Sex And The City WAS once stocked at Virgin…and Yes, We WERE once able to buy more than ‘The Greatest Hits of 2004.’

6. We’ve seen some bizarre public demonstrations, including fully fledged campaigns to drop the $8 billion ‘personal loans’ for citizens.

So, in brief retrospect, despite 2006 promising so much. Has anything really changed for the positive?

Well, I was expecting a lot more if I’m honest.

Whilst Qatar celebrated being put on the Global Map by hosting the illustrious ‘Asian Games’ – we in Kuwait can look forward to the not-so-illustrious ‘ Fencing Grand Prix.’

Whilst Dubai and (now) Bahrain announced yet more ridiculously elaborate construction projects – we flexed our muscles by announcing a new Shaya inspired Mall.

Come on Kuwait, aside from the meaningless 200 KD gift – we really got nothing from 2006.

And what hurts the most?

We’ve got everything we need to become a major ‘Economic Super Power’ in the Middle East.

Frankly, I’m fed up ‘to the teeth’ of looking over enviously into our neighbor’s garden and seeing what wildly exciting projects they are dreaming up this time.

What worries me is (as is typical with Kuwait) by the time we realize that we need to move quickly to modernize (E-Government anyone?) – we will be stuck between a rock and a very, very hard and lonely place.

So what about you? Were you happy with your 2006 Kuwait?

Is Kuwait Changing? Are we moving forward?


32 Responses to Kuwait : Going backwards?

  1. Fonzy says:

    I think the country wants to move forward but there are people in power who are benefiting from the current state of the country to a point that are trying to stop the progress or at least slow it down. Dubai was ranked one of the top cities to visit for new years 2006-2007 and they got nothing that Kuwait cant have. Kuwait has the money, the brains, and the man power to become one of the top countries in the world but like i said, some people dont want to see the country open up. If it does open up, then that would mean a lot of changes and im sure many would not like that. This country has high potential, its a pity its being invested mostly in foreign countries. Personally, I expected much much more in 2006, speaking as an expat and not as a local. I honestly expected expats to gain more rights, but nothing considerable has happened.

  2. DFineLine says:

    I know one thing they did…. They canceld ShowBiz, an design we worked for 2 years on. A great location for the public to embraze the outdoor, simelar to cresent. But no . do Kuwait what another place where you can enjoy ur time…? Or is it just plain politics? Power struggel and Wasta bullshit.

    Dear Dishdasha…time to but some pants on.

  3. Stinni says:

    Excellent post, Toxy. Some of the annual celebrations that have been taking place for years were prohibited last year. (The Irish group I think.)

    DFineLine – Will they put something else in its place? I had no idea ShowBiz was scrapped.

  4. ahlein says:

    You just made my day…… a little sadder! All what you said is true. And to think, you didnt even mention the power shortages we had last summer and the fact that they want to put together a panel to study the other panels decisions on whether or not to build a new power and water plant. Sp pathetic! the last time the government built a new hospital was back in the 80’s and the educational system is so behind that no one dares to put their kids in public schools anymore.

    Lets not forget the kuwait free trade zone that has its license cancelled a few weeks ago without warning screwing hundreds of companies and thousands of employees. And lets not forget the pathetic ‘ hala february’ events that are the joke of kuwait and the entire region.

    And finally,beware of the boogie men that are going to be walking the streets of kuwait sooner rather than later with sticks in hand on the lookout for anyone being normal.
    (normal to us and the rest of the world that is!).

    yeaaah…..maybe moving to sharm aint such a bad idea after all.Sunshine 365 days a year.Cheap beer.Great diving.Ridiculously cheap entertainment.Casinos.

  5. Kuwaiti abroad says:

    A very good post. I am living and studying abroad and check the kuwaiti basd blogs for updates on life back home. Your post makes me sad, but I always have hope that Kuwait will change in the future. I am here with friends and we all agree that we cant wait to go back there to help make it better for our future. I will be back for good in 2009, i pray we will move forward.

  6. EniGma says:

    Sadly, we are moving backwards while our neighbors are speeding ahead of us in all areas.

    Entertainment: Everything is sensored. EVERY DAMN THING. Madri mino 7a6 hathailaa el nas awleyaa2 3alainna and deciding what we can or can’t see.

    Freedom of speech: yeah my a$$… you can write what ever you want in the newspaper, yeah. As long as you’re not exposing a powerful person. and you don’t talk about controversial subjects. If you do, you might go to jail. Ask alya sh3aib. or fouad al hashem. or many many many writers out there.

    Construction projects: you’re talking about our roads? look at our roach infested hospitals. our crappy doctors who only prescribe (sp?) mo6’ad 7ayawey. KU’s buildings are falling apart. The only thing we hear about is a new mall every now and then.

    and yeah, ely ye7er enna WE HAVE MONEY. You people who are in charge, steal all you want and go to hell. But leave some for the country at least! I bet they steal in Dubai and Qatar, too. But at least they’re sharing some of it, not stealing the entire country while the people are drowning in debts.

  7. Napaj says:

    It’s really heart braking to see the state of Kuwait today, but where our country is going is the really scary bit! Is it just me, or was Kuwait a better place back in the 70s through to the late 80s?? I went to a public school (moqararat!), I learnt quite a bit, it wasn’t that bad? We used to be proud of pronouncing our Kuwaitiness whilst visiting our neighbours! Boggy men where kept at bay and under control! Even the weather was better!! These might be ramblings of an old hag, but apart form the somewhat improved food/dining industry and the introduction of a few overpriced high-street fashion stores; I really can’t see any advancement in recreation? I hear education is also going down hill, healthcare not too ship-shaped, and don’t even get me started on government!!

    So 2006 was no better than 2005 or for that matter 1990! In fact as far as I’m concerned it’s just getting worst! Try and change, or at least improve, the existing system by playing your little part and you are only met with negative ignorance!

  8. DFineLine says:

    Stinni – I dont have a clue, we are hoping it will be built, to bad for the people if it dont. I think we need more places like Cresent and Sharq, open to the outdoor. Showbiz is more directed to teenager and entertainment, so it is a good uppertunity to get them out of Marina Mall and off the Gulf road.

    Ahlein – I will move with you to Sharm, if you find me a nice dive instructor….;-)

    I think that Toxy finally got the right things on page, last week we had a long blog about an Expat versu a Kuwaiti who I think was out of content. Now we are talking about the right topics. My opinion is that the country needs a young inovating leader, not a sick old money hungry fart. Sorry for that..

    Open up the borders, give expats the right to own business, land and for god sake give them beer….

  9. MacaholiQ8 says:

    Kuwait is not going backwards, but definitely not moving forward. It saddens me to admit that we’re wobbling and marking time while seeing others move forward.

    Give expats land? Even Kuwaitis cannot own a square meter of land without being raped by the price of Real Estate nowadays! People are moving back to the desert just to get a piece of land for god knows how much!

  10. Desert Girl says:

    The Showbiz thing is sad. I sat next to one of the Al-Sanousi’s in a meeting once (very nice guy) and he was kind of pessimistic about the future of Showbiz. I bet this whole ordeal really blows chunks for them. It is probably because someone higher up wants the land.

  11. yazeed says:

    one day we’ll be ahead of the rest.. when they all fall, we’ll rise

  12. ahlein says:

    yazeed: you are the perfect example of the reason kuwait is so backwards!

  13. holla says:

    lol yazeed kuwait USED to be slighty ahead of the rest so it’s already past its somewhat pathetic ‘glory days’

    it’s been steadily going down the shitter for a while now so i don’t know why anybody is suprised really. ppl bitch and moan about it but the fact is nothing can really be done.

    it’s taken lots of time (and laziness) for kuwait to get to this low point, it’s not going to change until it has to, I.E run out of money. simple as that.
    either get used to it or GTFO if you haven’t already.

  14. Fonzy says:

    LOOL apparently Toxy touched a very sensitive topic that everyone is posting long comments…. hehe too much to read for Toxy and reply to…. i can imagine 🙂 well what do u expect, it is an interesting topic and u did do write a good post.

  15. Desert Girl says:

    If you want to see Kuwait in action (or lack thereof), go to a Chamber of Commerce foreign trade delegation meeting! Ab-so-lutely pathetic and very poorly organized. Delegate members aren’t even provided listings for Kuwaiti businesses. The KCCI members are only there to get their photos in the papers. The security is so lax that it is a timebomb until something bad happens to a foreign governmental figure. Sad, sad, sad.

  16. Angelo says:

    A very interesting piece indeed. Hopefully your words will reach those who have been sleeping until now or for those who “just don’t get it”.

  17. listenupq8 says:

    DRUM up a rally guys . Each day reform and the lifting of barriers is delayed puts Kuwait a month behind the gulf countries already on the move.

    The biggest killer – smoking needs to be tackled and other things relaxed.

    Build tourism by investng now. the region has billions of people.

  18. cixousianpanic says:

    Me likee the post. excellent points.

  19. Eddy says:

    Why is it that….u haven’t posted for a month????u ok dude???

  20. dfineline says:

    Just got back from my first trip to Bahrain, wow what a great place…. They have a boz store with all the wine’s that I have missed for so long, not only that I found Tuborg Gold who is THE beer.(danish) We bought 6 beers, and drove home ( had one in the car) to stuff them in the freezer. After 30 min they had the perfect temp and it only took me 45 min to finish them … wow what a seens of freedom..!!!!

    When to club Zoe’s later in the evening to celebrate my birthday… what a great club.. I would lofe to run a club like that, but not with out alcohol… NO way I am serving a wonder meal with out good wine… Then came the shock…. the club is owned by a Kuwaiti…!!!!! How stupid is that… any way I had a great time and i would not say no to move there…

  21. esha3wa says:

    we shall never move when all the peop;ein power are out for personal gain, and when our beautiful government does nothing but give our money away.
    its sad really, Bs inshallah one day we will see something, anything happen!

  22. EniGma says:

    toxyyyy where r u??

  23. cajie says:

    paging toxy… will you please pick up the phone at the reception?

    where art thou toxy?

  24. Zack says:

    Is Toxy alive?

  25. Holla says:

    Play that funky music whiteboyeee

  26. Mark says:

    Toxy I miss you 😦

  27. MacaholiQ8 says:

    Toxx, get back in here and start blogging.

  28. The Fake Toxy says:

    Habiby where r u? I went to another blogger meeting the other day and everybody was so happy to see Toxy back in blizzack.

    Chop fucking chop with the updates dude, or you’re gonna make me look bad in front of my blogger mates and it’ll be the end of my spoiled kuwaiti world 😉

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