Sunday, November 27, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I was never a fan of musical theatres, I don't even remember if I ever been to one. I didn't think I'd like looking at people singing and me just sitting there watching, but I heard so much about Wicked, it made me want to see it. I was also a fan of The Wizard of Oz when I was a little so I guess that did motivate me to want to watch it.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
By far this is the worse blog post I have ever read, my country isn't perfect I admit! But it doesn't give anyone the right to talk shit about it. He keeps writing about how Kuwait is a racist country, this post doesn't make him less of a racist!!
Note: this is an old post copied from here, posted in 2005.
"A Kuwaiti tried to run me off the road tonight. I was driving home on the 30 when a black Caprice ran up behind me and flashed his brights. The lane next to me was full, so I couldn't get over. With no way to get out of his way, I sped up a bit and stayed in my lane.
He started flashing his brights on and off continuously and rode up so close that I couldn't see the lights themselves. I flipped down my rearview mirror and tapped my brake lights. He bumped the back of my car twice and then swerved into the breakdown lane. Halfway through passing me, while his rear door was in line with my front door, he swerved back into my lane. I slammed on my brakes, and so did he. We went from 140 to 100 in about a second.
I screamed and shook my fist out the window. I tailed him for about twenty minutes after that. As soon as he pulled over, I was going to show him what happened when you pulled that shit in America. I'm happy he never stopped or came up on a red light. Somewhere in the middle of this chase, I realized that I didn't want to get arrested for assault in my last two weeks in Kuwait. I pulled off the highway, made a U-turn to go the opposite direction, and went home.
And that starts my look back at a year in Kuwait. The kid in the Caprice wasn't an overly aggressive driver. No, he was a typical Kuwaiti. And that incident on the road is typical of the interactions I've had with Kuwaitis in the last twelve months. When people ask me if I enjoy living here, I tell them that I love living in the Middle East, but I hate living in Kuwait. And when people ask me if I'll miss this place, I say the same thing: I promise I'll come back to Arabia, but I'll never come back to Kuwait.
Kuwait is the most hypocritical, racist, godless, backward country I have ever seen. It's country that enforces Ramadan by law but ignores its poor and homeless. A country whose government gives millions of dollars in charity every year has a population that wouldn't give the time of day to a foreigner. It's a country whose women wear silk veils and skin tight capris, and whose men dress in dishdashas and listen to Eminem. When I first came here, I thought Kuwait was a nation of contrasts. Now I think it's a nation of hypocrites.
My American co-workers are amazed when I tell them that I have Arab friends. They haven't traveled around the Middle East, and the only Arabs they've seen are you Kuwaitis. Every Kuwaiti they've met is a rude and concieted xenophobe, and they think all Arabs are the same as you. It takes a long time for me to explain that Arabs in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon are kind and humble and helpful and that they hate Kuwaitis, too. When I first traveled to Jordan, I told people I was an American living in Kuwait. I thought I would get some nasty lectures about America, but I only got nasty lectures about Kuwait. Everybody I talked with told me about relatives of theirs in America and how much they loved it. Most people also had stories about relatives in Kuwait, or meeting Kuwaiti people, and how much they hated them. I couldn't mention Kuwait without hearing a long rant about what a bad reputation Kuwaitis have. Kuwait, you're a disgrace. Everybody outside your country despises you, even your fellow Muslims and Arabs. After living among you for twelve months, I think your reputation is well deserved.
And here come the comments: “But Michael, haven't you met any real Kuwaitis?” Yes, yes, I have. I've made every effort to meet Kuwaitis at the beaches, in the dive shops and outside the sheesha bars. I've chatted with probably a hundred Kuwaitis since coming here, but I haven't met a single one that had any interest in striking up a friendship with a foreigner. Yet I count Egyptians, Filipinos and Indians among my friends. It seems that foreigners are happy to meet other foreigners, while the locals here view everybody else as their servants.
My opinion of Kuwait isn't based on a few incidents of road rage. It's based on an earnest effort to examine and understand Kuwaiti culture. I've spoken with people all over Kuwait, from rich housewives to idle businessmen, from native-born Arabs to immigrant Sri Lankans. And I can confidently say that I have a clear understanding of Kuwait. I would even go so far as to say that I have a clearer understanding of Kuwait than most Kuwaitis. How many Kuwaitis have lived in the ghetto next to the poor immigrants who make up nearly seventy percent of this country? How many Kuwaitis reading this have limited their social interaction to just a third of the population?
I'll throw the question back at you: Have you, Kuwaiti, made any foreign friends? Maybe you've chatted with a few Americans or met the Canadian who teaches your kids. But have you made any effort to become friends with any of them? And what about the others? Do you know Indians or Bangladeshis? Have you ever said anything to a Filipino other than, “Excuse me, excuse me. Bring me my water. Hurry up, bring it now.”? You racist hypocrites. Most of the Indians and Bangladeshis coming to this country are Muslims, but you treat them like scum. In a religion where the whole ulemma is supposed to be equal, Kuwait emphasizes the distinction between first- and third-world more strongly than anywhere else. The Muslim community in Kuwait is equal only for as long as the prayers last. When they finish, you split into two groups: Kuwaitis and everybody else.
Maybe I'm so offended by this racism because I'm American. The US has a nasty history of racism toward immigrants, and we've worked so hard to remove that legacy that we're more likely to notice discrimination, whether at home or abroad. There are lot of things that I hate about Kuwait that I can forgive-the horrible traffic, the religious conservatism, the political repression. But I can't forgive your racism. Even by your own laws, it's forbidden. The first person the Prophet sent to pray at Mecca was an African, a former slave. 1400 years later, you import Bangladeshis, take their passports, put them to work, and refuse to pay them. Is that not slavery? Do you think the Prophet would approve of your country? Nobody else in the world approves, and I don't think he would approve either. Do you think Kuwait is a great country? Take a walk through Mangaf and see if the people living there feel the same way.
Unfortunately, any discussion of Kuwait among Kuwaitis ultimately deadlocks at one word: Guantanamo. Kuwaitis spend so much time (justifiably) criticizing America that they refuse to look at their own problems. I won't say that the US is perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than this country. Even Arab Muslims live better in America than they do in Kuwait. Three days after the anniversary of the Iraqi invasion, I can hardly believe that Americans died to save a country like this. I think we chose the wrong ally. I think we should have left you under Saddam. Maybe a touch of repression would have given you a hint of sympathy for the people you repress. At the very least, Saddam would have made you work for your money.
Goodbye, Kuwait. Keep your little desert wasteland. You're a shame to Arabs everywhere."
I'm glad that he's out of the country!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011