Kuwait; racists who can’t hide

More often than not, when mentioning to people from the Middle East that my husband is from Kuwait, I’m told that GCC Arabs are seen as arrogant, prejudice, and pretty much viewed as the armpit of the region. I’m aware of this reputation and I can even understand it to a degree. However, regardless of how they’re viewed, it’s a form of racism. And, well, that’s just nasty.

Even worse than ‘local racism’ are the Westerners who move to places such as Kuwait and take on that mentality. For the most part I like to believe Westerners are raised in a world where racism is only practiced by the less intelligent, not formally educated, culture lacking cretins. Anyone with a sense of self respect is above and beyond disrespecting someone based upon the color of their skin or their nationality.

So what changes? Why do some of the white faced expats move to Kuwait and adopt their entitlement attitude? Well, for the most part they become obsessed with a lifestyle some locals pretend to be living; large villas, expensive cars, and meals at the finest restaurants every day. For the Westerners who grew up thinking Toyotas were luxury cars and Dairy Queen was a quality meal, you can see how the less fortunate could get starry eyed.

But does this also include becoming a shallow racist? It doesn’t have to.

Insecure people have a tendency to treat others in a disrespectful manner as a way of making themselves feel better. It doesn’t make them better people and it really highlights their own flaws. So, when the less fortunate Americans move to places such as Kuwait and realize they too can be racist assholes, it makes them feel better about their real existence.

Recently, in a facebook group I was asked a question about my husband. The other member was incorrect in their assumption but their question was incredibly racist and reminded me of why my husband and I have distanced ourselves from that lifestyle for so many years. We focus on offering support to the less fortunate, rescuing animals in need, and respecting people just because they’re people. We don’t judge people on the color of their skin, where they’re from, or how much money they make. We live a life that we find to be emotionally fulfilling. We don’t compare ourselves to others or attempt to compete. We want to see others be the best they can be and if we can play a role in that then we’re all for it. (sidenote: the woman in the facebook group is divorced, has a number of children, stuck in Kuwait, and is bitter towards others — not just us).

So while Kuwait is viewed as a country full of arrogant jerks, it’s really a misconception. While living there I surrounded myself with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met in my life. Many of who are still my best friends. My husband is from Kuwait and he’s generous, kind, compassionate, and hard working. He’s not dishonest or disloyal, nor would he divorce me with a half dozen kids and offer no financial support. So while it’s always easy to point fingers and make assumptions, rarely are they accurate, and often they only reveal who you really are.

Glow in the dark Lamborghini Aventador impounded.

While reading the Daily Mail this morning I came across a story that rings all too familiar during the Summer months in London. Back in January Mark of 248am posted a really great documentary about the young men of the GCC taking their cars on vacation with them to London. And how this clearly upsets residents of Knightsbridge and surrounding areas.

In some ways I can sympathize with their dilemma. Loud racing cars up and own the streets at all hours of the day and night, reckless driving, and excessive speeding. Surely this makes for a miserable Summer for some local residents. But, as bad as all of this might sound, it certainly comes with some benefits as well.

The GCC is comprised of several very wealthy countries; we’ve all heard the saying, ‘Arab Money’. The Summer temperatures can reach well into the triple digits (Fahrenheit) in these desert locations, making places like London a very desirable alternative. And let’s face it, when a person can afford to not only own a Lamborghini Aventador but also takes it on vacation with them (via flight in most cases), then they’re certainly going to be doing some excessive spending while on vacation as well. Harrods, located in Knightsbridge, is a very high end (overpriced) department store which surely does far more business once the GCC crowd arrives. Not to say the locals can’t afford to shop there, but who’s really going to spend $7 for a can of Coke on a regular basis when they can walk across the street and get it for $1.50? Furthermore, many of those visiting London from the GCC own a townhome or flat in the area. Often paid for with cash. So legally, they have just as much right to be there as those who spend the entire year there.

Click photos for source

Now, because of the complaints filed by the year-round locals, Summer residents from the GCC are being targeted. Especially their cars. Many are being pulled over for silly reasons, or no reason at all. They’re being told they’re required to have front license plates even though the car is registered in a foreign country which doesn’t issue front plates. They’re impounding cars for no insurance or the wrong kind of insurance, yet they’re not updating foreign insurance companies on new requirements. And, they’re tossing around hefty fines for those driving without a license. Well, of course these guys have a license, some even have an International DL, just not a UK issued one. Does one really believe for a moment that a guy who can afford to fly his Lamborghini half way around the world for a few weeks can’t afford insurance? Seriously?

So instead of London making this so very difficult and costly for these guys, why not implement new laws? How about no more temporary imports? Or no temporary imports of certain types of cars? Or a requirement to have a UK Drivers License? And then, imagine this, make these laws public. Place articles regarding these laws in newspapers throughout the GCC in the months of March and April. Wouldn’t this solve much of the problem? Or is there really an underlying fear that these new laws would discourage these money tossing tourists? Perhaps they would find a new location to spend their Summer… and their money.

Below is the ‘Millionaire Boy Racers’ documentary for a little more insight into what’s really taking place and the dilemma both sides are facing.

 

Sex and Beyond: Saudi Arabia [Blog]

There are a few blogs I read while having my morning coffee as if they’re the daily newspaper. Most of them are even more interesting than the daily newspaper. And many of them I wish would blog more often.

Recently I stumbled across Sex and Beyond: Saudi Arabia and find myself addicted. I love that such taboo topics are discussed openly and without judgement. It’s refreshing and long overdue.

Hoping you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Carol (American Bedu) has passed away.

Carol’s family has done a wonderful job at keeping her reader’s updated over the last few days. Surely this must have been difficult considering all that was going on in their lives and dealing with their own pain.

Sadly, as of today, Carol lost her battle with cancer and has passed away. For anyone who has ever read her blog you’ll know this is a great loss. Fortunately she was surrounded by loved ones to the very end. Wishing her family peace and condolences during this time of mourning.

Their post can be found here.

A beautiful tribute/obituary was printed in the ‘Arab News’. [full article]

Discovering Oil and Distributing Wealth in the UAE [Documentary]

The documentary below caught my attention because it was titled ‘Oil Discovery in Saudi Arabia’. Though after watching a bit of it I realized it’s actually based on Abu Dhabi and the leadership in the UAE at the time they discovered oil. I was only able to watch the first 35 minutes or so. Maybe they discuss Saudi later on? I’ll finish it tomorrow and know for sure.

In the meantime it’s quite interesting for those of you who want to invest the 53 minutes. It appears to be filmed in the early 1960’s when the old style culture was respected. Maybe the ‘good ol days’ for some Khaleeji.

Beautiful Kuwait Video

My next several blog posts will be the ‘Jahra series’ since it’s a place so near and dear to my heart. I’m hoping to shed new light on the way some people view Jahra and the negative connotation attached to this area.

For now I’ll start with a beautiful video of Kuwait I discovered on a friend’s Facebook page.