U.S. Citizen being held in Kuwait prison; Jermaine Rogers

A dear friend contacted me yesterday and asked if I would be willing to post a petition for a friend of hers who was arrested and jailed in Kuwait. Like other cases previously, my friend is certain Jermaine is innocent and being held unjustly. Furthermore, his court dates are set well in advance but no action seems to be taken on these dates and they often reschedule for a month or more away. Leaving Jermaine sitting in a jail cell with zero answers.

AIK

Yes, there are people who have opinions about such things and for the most part I agree; follow the law of the land you’re in. But, until there’s evidence that a real law was broken it’s terribly unfair to endlessly violate one’s human rights. Not to mention, it’s just nasty to point fingers and judge without knowing the entire story.

In the past there have been a number of Americans arrested in Kuwait and given harsh sentences for manufacturing and distributing drugs. I was intimately familiar with a few of those cases and saw the evidence firsthand. I believe their sentences were fair and just. But there is that random case from time to time that just doesn’t quite offer the type of evidence one would like to see before holding a person in a foreign prison without the right to a timely hearing. Especially when their own Attorney is telling them the Police in Kuwait planted the evidence and falsified drug test lab reports.

That being said, my friend asks that you take a moment and sign the petition in hopes of getting justice for her friend. In a time when America is feeling terribly divided, let’s do something nice to bring forth a little unity.

Petition can be found here.

ISIS, Kuwait news, and misbehaving Americans

The past few days our news (morning, afternoon, and evening) have consisted of endless reports of ISIS, war, invasion, and murder. Of course we’re getting the glorified ‘Hollywood’ style reporting. The type which kept my mother worried for years — even while I lived I Abu Dhabi. So I decided the best place to get something resembling reality would be via the Kuwait newspapers I keep up with regularly. (We do travel back and forth a number of times a year, as well as having family, a home, and businesses there — keeping up with Kuwait is still an important part of our lives.) Fortunately, and as expected, I discovered there’s no media frenzy taking place in Kuwait regarding ISIS. If anything it’s only mentioned a couple of times. Desert Girl did an awesome post about it as well and she’s far more interesting than the local newspapers.

arab-times-logo

What I did find quite interesting this morning were the number of articles regarding Americans and their criminal behavior in Kuwait. Some are about a month old, but I haven’t kept up with the crime section lately as it reads more like a trashy tabloid. However, ‘US juvenile rapes teen‘ did catch my attention. Followed by the drunk American story and the American threatening to kill his wife. Not that Americans committing crimes is a new thing, but it seems more prevalent in Kuwait now as compared to a number of years ago.

C’mon, people, if it’s a crime in America you know it’s a crime in Kuwait. Why run the risk of facing a judicial system you know nothing about in a country where the official language is probably one you don’t speak?

Ethiopian maid kills 19 year old Kuwaiti girl [Kuwait]

My deepest condolences to the family who lost their loved one in such a tragic way. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Sadly this isn’t an isolated incident. And though it prompts a lot of talk by officials, no action has been taken to prevent it from happening again. Extensive articles are written, meetings are held, and opinions are offered, yet the only solution seems to be to ban certain nationalities from entering Kuwait as Domestics. Seriously? That’s the best they can come up with? To finger point at an entire nation of people because of the actions of a few?

How about investing in genuine, effective, and professional training for both sides (employee and employer)? Just because you’ve had maids in the home you’re entire life doesn’t make you a qualified employer of one. And just because a woman can make a bed and do dishes doesn’t make her qualified to be a live-in, full time housekeeper. The expectations of both sides are unrealistic and should be reviewed. Laws to protect Domestic employees should be revamped, implemented, and upheld. Psychiatric evals should take place before a person even leaves their country for employment.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of domestic abuse, but we’re all also familiar with those who are treated like family members but still runaway after robbing their sponsor blind. There are no guarantees. But as long as this system is broken these tragic incidents will continue to happen.

*Arab Times re-post

*Arab Times re-post

The Arab Times has posted an article filled with a lot of chatter, many opinions, some fabulous ideas, and great solutions. But until action is taken then it’s all moot.

Murder at Marina Mall? [Kuwait]

Article relating to this crime, the suspects, and the victim can be found in the Kuwait Times.

Information is very limited, but it appears as though there was another stabbing in a mall in Kuwait. This time the incident took place at Marina Mall and it’s reported the male victim has died. I’ll add details once they’re available.

Update: The victim is said to be a 24 year old Kuwaiti male (unofficial source). There are also numerous photos of the victim though they’re very graphic and I won’t be posting them.

Update 2: Further information and photos are available at sh5abe6 blog. They say the victim’s name is Jamal Al-Enezi. (Note: Arabic blog)

Update 3: Additional information regarding the murder can be found at 248am blog. A witness said the young men were fighting over a girl and it escalated into physical violence. Fighting over girls is quite common and almost a way of ‘flirting’ — a manly gesture I suppose? In reality it’s terribly immature and the girl isn’t someone either intend to marry anyway (especially if she’s chatting it up with several guys). Senseless tragedy.

Update 4: Suspects have been apprehended.

Click Image for Source

Click Image for Source

‘Sharp objects’, as described by the media, are often the weapon of choice in Kuwait. Though I can’t imagine people who are planning a shopping trip to a mall grab their sharp objects along with their wallet, credit cards, cash, etc. In other words there’s a good chance this murderer was looking for trouble.

In all the years I lived in Kuwait I felt incredibly safe. Random crime was rare and the only thing to fear were the crazy drivers on the highways. And though I still feel Kuwait is very safe, senseless crimes do seem to be on the rise. Of course people try to compare the crime rate between the US and Kuwait which is really a silly attempt. Numerous crimes go unreported (for a variety of reasons) in Kuwait. And those that are reported are sometimes undocumented (for another variety of reasons). So the crime statistics aren’t even close to accurate. Corruption is still prevalent in Kuwait and until that changes nothing else can.

Wake up, Kuwait. It’s not pretty while standing on the outside looking in.

The Value of Life

As many people are still seeking answers about the Avenues Mall murder, fingers are also being pointed in every direction.

Some are blaming the mall for lack of security, others feel the police are at fault for not maintaining a presence. Then some feel more parking would solve the problem, or perhaps even more malls (seriously?). Some have even resorted to blaming the victim himself, stating he must have done something to prompt this. Glad that person isn’t a Judge in a rape case; “What was she wearing?”

What this really boils down to is the murderer and what was going through his mind at the time. Numerous factors play a role in such an incident. Though it’s easy to blame a country, a culture, or even a religion, it’s just not reality. These types of heinous crimes take place around the world… every day. Because there’s little evidence to support someone is ‘born a killer’, then past incidents in one’s life must play a significant role. Who we are today is a result of what we experienced yesterday.

The answer does not rest in posting gruesome photos all over the internet or pointing fingers at outside sources. The answer lies in the hands of every parent around the world.

What was the home life like for this murderer? Did he grow up playing video games and watching movies where death was a common theme? Was he abused by a family member? Did he take that aggression out on others? Did he participate in the killing of animals every holiday where he witnessed a living being breathe its dying breath? What exactly happened to this child during his life to remove that instinctual feeling of empathy and sympathy towards others? And who, if anyone, tried to intervene?

I’m not saying turning off the television and taking video games away from children will prevent these types of incidents in the future. Nor is there any evidence violence on a television screen breeds violence in our youth. But there is evidence abuse breeds abuse. A pattern is set and often followed for generations to come. Yet every child is different, and every parent has a responsibility to know their children, to see signs, and to act on their instincts.

You want to raise a leader? Be one. You want to raise a kind, loving, compassionate human being? Be one. You want to raise a productive part of society? Be one.

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Murder at Avenues Mall — Kuwait

Kuwait Times article can be found here.

For updates on this case please check Mark’s blog (248AM) as well as the Facebook Memorial page set up in honor of the victim, Dr. Jaber Youssef. Both have posted a video, the photo of the suspect who has been arrested, and further details regarding the case.

Last night the stories began, photos and videos flooded Twitter and other social media sites. An assumed stabbing had taken place in front of hundreds of shoppers at the Avenues Mall here in Kuwait. Details were limited and don’t seem to be much more clear now, 16 hours later.

The initial reports stated there was an altercation between two men over a woman resulting in a fight and one being stabbed. The photos were evidence it was far more serious. The amount of blood being shown in photos was enormous.

Today the report has changed a few times; first stating a Kuwaiti stabbed a Lebanese but that he survived, soon being followed with stories of death, and quickly shifting to the perpetrator being a Saudi and the victim being a Lebanese Dentist who was stabbed over a parking space before entering the mall. Because nothing has been reported in the local newspapers, we’re all still relying on eye witnesses and those who knew either party involved.

I’ve now just been told the victim hit his brakes while looking for a parking space at the mall and the perpetrator was behind him (causing him to abruptly hit his brakes as well), and the victim got out to apologize. This wasn’t acceptable so those in the rear car followed the victim inside the mall where they proceeded to stab him to death. Again, only hearsay.

Here are a few links to other blogs who have posted about this tragic incident and can perhaps shed more light on what really took place. Warning: graphic images and videos may be posted on these sites.

KuwaithereBlog

248AM

965Malls Blog

Sadly I’m unable to provide any additional information, facts, or details. But that’s not the purpose of my post. 

As soon as the news of this broke out last night I was immediately contacted on Twitter by an American. They were considering taking a position here in Kuwait and this prompted serious concerns regarding safety. Understandably so. Please keep in mind, Americans who have never been to this side of the world before know only a few things about Kuwait — it’s next door to Iraq, Kuwait was once invaded by Iraq, Iraq and Iran were often at war, the US only recently left Iraq, Kuwait isn’t too far from Iran, and Afghanistan is ‘over here somewhere’.

Therefore, the purpose of this post is to remind people Kuwait is a safe country for the most part. Certainly as safe, if not more so, than America. Yeah, we deal with people who drive like maniacs, but you even learn to avoid those to the best of your ability. We also encounter silly boys who want to stare at every single female species driving a car, but even that can be resolved by ignoring them. What we really don’t fear are random murders in malls — or anywhere else for that matter. The majority of crime in Kuwait is confined to a few specific areas, are normally crimes among people who know one another, or are within a family (domestic disputes). That being said, if you’re offered a job in Kuwait, don’t allow this one incident to cause you concern. Kuwait is a beautiful country filled with good people. But no place on earth is perfect.

What I was really bothered by were the videos showing the clean-up after this incident. No police anywhere, no one blocking off the trail of blood, and a man without gloves using what appeared to be a wet rag wiping the floors. Evidence being destroyed and bio-hazards all over the place. People taking videos and pictures, and no one trying to contain the situation. Though this was an isolated incident, certain policies regarding this sort of thing should be put into place… for everyone’s protection.

Finally, my deepest condolences to the family of the victim. And I do hope they catch the criminal who felt he had the right to take someone’s life — especially over something so senseless. This case deserves attention and justice should be served.

Newtown, Connecticut — Sandy Hook Elementary Tragedy

I always try to keep my blog personal while avoiding mainstream news, so I struggled in my decision to write this post. Not because it’s not worthy or important, but because my heart aches for all of those affected and my words are nothing compared to their pain.

I won’t post links or photos — those are available from reliable news sources all over the web — you don’t need me to guide you there. But I will say this tragedy has brought me to tears… over and over in the past 12 hours. A parent should never have to bury their child. Especially a child who has lost their life at the hands of a criminal in such a heinous way. I can’t begin to fathom the pain and emptiness the parents of the deceased children must be feeling. To go home knowing their baby will never return. Looking at their gifts wrapped under the Christmas tree, remembering that excitement in their eyes knowing Santa was coming soon, that last kiss goodbye before school in the morning. Surely it’s more pain than anyone should ever have to endure.

Though I don’t know any of those personally affected, my heart breaks for them. My deepest sympathies go out to everyone in Newtown, Connecticut. They are all victims.