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.

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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?

US Airways tweet gone very wrong

By now I’m sure everyone has heard about, or worse, seen the tweet sent out by US Airways in response to a customer complaint.

USAir

 

USAir2

(Note: You’ll have to Google the image yourself. It’s out there but I won’t link it to the blog)

The one with the rather graphic pornography and possibly the most hilarious thing to hit Twitter since, well, the day before when a 15 year old girl made a terrorist threat to American Airlines via Twitter. OK, that wasn’t necessarily ‘funny’ but it definitely had some entertainment value. US Airways tweet, on the other hand, is outright hilarious. And even more valuable are the 38 Priceless Reactions (tweets). I literally laughed myself into tears. Below are just a few of my faves.

USAirTweetReplies

 

Medical tests to detect homosexuality? [GCC]

‘Homosexuals to be barred from entering Kuwait’

“The routine clinical screening of expatriates coming into the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) might be also used to “detect” homosexuals, a senior Kuwaiti official has said.

A central committee tasked with the status of expatriates will look into the proposal when it convenes on November 11, Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, has said.

“Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries,” he said. “However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states,” he said, quoted by local daily Al Rai on Monday.

Homosexual acts are banned in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the GCC member countries.”

Full article here.

Copyrighted image. All Rights Reserved.

Copyrighted image. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing, republishing or redistributing without permission is a violation of rights under the Copyright Act.

The suggestion that a medical test can detect homosexuality is comical but evidence of the desperately needed education in Kuwait. Sadly a ‘senior Kuwaiti official’ has been credited as the person to come up with this idea. Even more pitiful is the abundant issues Kuwait is facing in far more critical areas which don’t seem to be getting much attention at all.

Homosexuality is very misunderstood in Kuwait and only the transvestites, cross dressers, and ‘bottoms’ are seen as being gay. As long as the man is the ‘giver’ then he’s not considered homosexual at all.

A former colleague of mine (Kuwaiti male, 27 years old) had a ‘girlfriend’ for months. Initially they only talked on the phone but eventually met in person. She was a niqabi and refused to uncover anything in his presence. This went on for a few more months. Eventually the ‘girlfriend’ confessed that she was really a he. Both were willing to continue the relationship as long as their intimate ‘roles’ were clearly defined. I explained to my colleague that his desire to continue an emotional and physical relationship with another man was an indication he was homosexual, or at the very least bisexual. He was shocked by my statement and reminded me of their ‘roles’. I reminded him of gender while accepting the strong possibility he was still insecure about his sexuality. Several months later he was married (to a woman) and continued his relationship with his male lover (being an American woman also means being the confidant for those who have secrets but don’t know who to share them with). This was 6 years ago. I know he and his beautiful wife eventually went on to have 2 children, but I suspect he continued to keep his man on the side.

Though I don’t believe homosexuality is any more prevalent in Kuwait than in America, I do believe homosexual acts are far more common in Kuwait. I attribute this to segregation. Keeping young men and women apart from a young age doesn’t remove the desire, it only fuels their fire of curiosity. Raging teenage hormones can’t be controlled with religion and shame. I’m not suggesting teens be thrown together for an orgy, but eliminating some of the segregation would help curb some of their curiosity. Until this happens young boys will continue to experiment sexually with other young boys. Are they going to talk about it? Of course not. But it’s happening.

I certainly hope this idea of ‘medically testing’ for homosexuality is only an idea. I hope no men (or women) are subjected to whatever humiliating tests they would be required to undergo.

Have the malls implemented new security measures? Has the dangerous traffic issue been resolved? Has the use of wasta been eradicated? Have new labor laws for domestic workers been drafted, implemented, and upheld?

C’mon, Kuwait. Homosexuals? Really?

Dogs Are People, Too [NY Times]

My love for animals certainly isn’t a secret to anyone who has ever read my blog or spent 5 minutes with me in person. Our pets genuinely are family members. We plan much of our day around their care and wouldn’t think of doing otherwise.

Of course when we got each of our pets my husband and I agreed it was important they get acclimated and fit neatly into lifestyle, not the other way around, But we also agreed once their schedule meshed with ours, we would do everything in our power to avoid major changes. We choose many events based on their ‘dog friendly’ policy, or just skip something that doesn’t allow pets and opt for a doggy day at the park or a trip to the pet store.

Some people may ask why we put so much consideration into our pets when making many decisions, but the answer to us is simple… they’re family members with feelings. Some may argue that animals don’t have feelings… I couldn’t disagree more. Their eyes, their facial expressions, their behaviors; speak volumes.

*Click image for source

*Click image for source

Until now, me and all the other animal lovers of the world were just spewing a ‘bunch of nonsense’ to those who didn’t get it. And, well, other than our personal experiences there wasn’t a lot of evidence to support our ‘animals have feelings too’ speeches.

Fortunately Neuroscientist Gregory Berns has made extensive progress in his study of the dog brain. He’s found scientific evidence supporting the ‘animals have feelings’ theory us animal lovers have known all along. He’s quite possibly my favorite person on earth today.

Check out the brilliant article here.

“The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.” [excerpt from NY Times article]

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.

Al Qaeda plot tied to embassy closings on Sunday

While waiting for my husband at the Dentist today I received an email from the US Embassy regarding a closing this Sunday and possibly even longer [excerpt below]. A copy of the entire email can be found on the US Embassy Kuwait’s website here.

“The Department of State has instructed certain U.S. Embassies and Consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4.  The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps. It is possible we may have additional days of closings as well, depending on our analysis. Accordingly, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait will be closed on Sunday, August 4.”

Several of us were discussing the email on Instagram while attempting to research a possible reason. All the years I lived in Kuwait I’ve never known the Embassy to have an unscheduled closing and all schedule changes came with an explanation. So you can imagine this email came as a surprise. Though my husband and I are currently living in America we still have family, a home, and business in Kuwait, so our ties are very strong. News there is sometimes more important than news here.

This evening, after fu6oor, we saw an update on the closings and it seems they’re directly related to an Al Qaeda threat. Though the details are still quite limited, numerous Embassies in the Middle East region have announced they will be closed on Sunday and perhaps longer.

“CBS News correspondent David Martin reports that U.S. intelligence has picked up signs of an al Qaeda plot against American diplomatic posts in the Middle East and other Muslim countries. The intelligence does not mention a specific location, which is why all embassies that would normally be open on Sunday have been ordered to close. That includes embassies and consulates in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, where Sunday is the start of the work week.”

Full CBS News article can be found here.

People ‘without’ — In Pictures

This morning I found this post on Mark’s blog over at 248am and had to share it.

The pictures were taken by renowned Photographer Greg Constantine who started working on his project ‘Nowhere People’ in 2005. The series currently featured at Aljazeera.com focuses on the Stateless (bidoon) of Kuwait. I’m hoping the brilliant work by Greg will help to bring more international attention to their cause and the gross violation of human rights.

Domestic worker in trunk makes the news

Last week, Mark at 248am posted a photo originally tweeted by Waleed Al-Subaie (@WaleedAlsubaie) of what appears to be a maid sitting in the trunk of a car. The license plate is clearly visible in the photo Mark posted.

Today this incident and photo made the Arab Times newspaper (license plate not visible).

Hopefully action will be taken against the person responsible for this horrible abuse.

A Kuwaiti Doubting Wife’s Virginity – Seeking Divorce

KUWAIT CITY, May 24: The Personal Status Court presided over by Judge Sultan Mohammad rejected a divorce lawsuit filed by a citizen against his wife because he was unable to accept her behavior and character, and doubted she was a virgin before their marriage.

According to the case files, the citizen requested the court to order his wife to undergo forensic test to determine if she is a virgin as she claims, as a preliminary move towards cancelling their marriage contract, dropping all her legal rights and obligating her to return the dowry she took from him.

He requested to reserve the right to return to her through payment of compensation that will cover the material and emotional damages he sustained during the marriage. He also requested obligating her to pay the legal charges.

The plaintiff (husband) informed the court that he was told before the marriage that she was divorced but still a virgin, as her earlier marriage was not consummated.

However, after he married her, he discovered that she does not perform the five daily prayers and possessed traits that indicated lack of decorum with others.

He also added that when he consummated his marriage with her, he realized that he was duped because she was not a virgin as she had earlier claimed.

Defense Lawyer Abdulmohsen Al- Qattan informed the court that his client was officially divorced from her earlier marriage that lasted for ten years. (Did the current husband really believe she had been married previously for 10 years and never once consummated the marriage? His case should be dismissed on grounds of stupidity)

He added that the plaintiff admitted consummating the marriage several times, which will make the bid to determine her virginity by the forensics futile.

[source]