Sunday, May 21, 2006

Have my vice filled Turkish coffee in hand and am thinking of our dissolved, dissembling, and gaping wide empty Assembly that was always minus the Nation and is now minus the Assembly...

pics2 002
The big guys with the big names and the bigger pockets, buy and sell each other around conference tables and roll their eyes like humble victims of the fanged Orange masses..saying things like.."tsk tsk..akhh..this is not the Kuwait we knew" if the people in orange with five fingers held in the air are bringing down property prices in their exclusive Utopia...their fairytale house of pretty cards..the one most of us are not invited into.
Well, I'm surprised if this is news to them but it's not the Kuwait we knew either...More importantly, it's not the Kuwait we want to know...Which is why a man stood on high for hours and hours, holding three flags on a warm Friday evening in front of the that building that reaches for the sky..and why every time we looked at him we felt like crying, because he was hoping so hard that building would bother to look down at all of us, just this once.
Not the Kuwait they knew? Peaceful protesters demanding reform, progress, rights and there any other Kuwait you want to know?
These young people shot up our lazy arms with the rush of a better world waiting just round the corner...are they the ones that people who bought their gilded seats are clucking their tongues at like the overstuffed hens they are?
Has Kuwait been free of protests all these years? Or have they just forgotten, or never bothered to listen?
It hasn't been free of disappearing assemblies, that's for sure..1976, 1986, 1999...2006
This isn't an appeal for one side or the other as much an exasperated sigh of longing for something honourable in this mess of a system we pretend is democracy...
For my foreign readers..the story in short is this:
Kuwait is rife with corruption and gerrymandering..not to mention hobbled by extremes of fanaticism on the one hand and apathy and intoxicating consumerism on the other..yes this is what you helped 'liberate' us for, we're sorry..
There have recently been increasing calls for reducing the 25 voting districts to 5
This is what all the 'Orange' business is...the colour was adopted by the 'We Want 5' (Nabeeha Khamsa) movement calling for 5 districts to end corruption...this movement was as grassroots as you can get in Kuwait..students, youth and bloggers heading the call..
Originally 10 districts, they were changed to 25 in 1980 Thanks Idip :), in order to quash Shi'a numbers in the parliament and also empower pro-government/anti-liberal candidates.
That took care of minorities and government critics...I am sure you know how that feels, most of you having lived through democratic growing pains yourselves..and especially our Texan friends, you certainly know what I'm talking about.
With smaller districts the scene was set for the biggest pork-fest see politicians need tight leashes, because they get hungry for all sorts of things...and they have been, favours, all sorts of things your mother warns you about..this was all fascilitated by small constituencies which could be bought and which then could later buy their MP's actions in parliament..
So..these past few weeks have seen protests by Orange, 5 district supporters..smear campaigns by the national papers, particularly those owned by the big guns..29 MP's vowing to stand by the 5 districts and a threat to grill the Prime Minister...and just today the National Assembly/ Parliament was dissolved and we await and evening address by the that's about as short as it comes..
As of 4pm not a single news source googled has reported the dissolution of our parliament..
here are some links.
Photos, Photos and more Photos..
Tension rises over districts standoff
Kuwaiti lawmakers to grill premier on election reform


Shurouq said...

Well put, Kwtia

A Lebanese friend was asking me about the '5 for Kuwait' campaign last night.. I'm forwarding your post to her.

kwtia said...

Am listening to the 6pm speech now..hope you are enjoying music instead..

iDip said...

nice :)
just a small correction:
the electoral constituencies law was amended in 1980, to change the 10 into 25.

It was applied for the 1st time in 1981 elections.
In 1996 the parliament approved an amendment to add new residetial areas, since the 1980 law names the areas, and any new area must be mentioned in the law.

kwtia said...

Yes indeed, sorry for that was because it was in my head as happening while the Assembly was still dissolved and that in my head is the late seventies..I forgot that sneaky 1980 was in there..but of course you are right, the change was excused with references to what was happening with Iran..which was post 1979..and the war in 1980..
will patch that up for you right now..
:) Thanks, you keep me honest..