Planning or justification?

Recently, the long awaited recommendations of the Higher Planning Committee for the resolution of ‘statelessness’ in Kuwait were released. The recommendations were extremely disappointing, as they excluded 75,000 bedoons from any sort of resolution, calling many of them ‘criminals’! In fact, even the lucky category of 15,000 stateless people, who can provide proof of residence in Kuwait at least since 1965, are not guaranteed a resolution. The recommendation states ‘the decision to grant them citizenship will be considered’!

The way this whole situation appears to me is similar to the condition of
someone who suffers from headache, pain in the chest, and fatigue. He
approaches the doctor to find a cure. The doctor asks him about the symptoms, and the patient explains. The doctor then asks for some time, in order to think about the subject. After some time, the doctor comes out and announces that after conducting a thorough inspection and deliberation, the diagnosis was headache, pain in the chest and fatigue!

After making much effort, he defined water as ‘water’!” the Arabic proverb

The recommendations of the committee will simply maintain the problem as it is, or even accelerate it. They don’t propose any reasonable resolution to any of the humanitarian or legal complications that were caused by this half-century long misery. It doesn’t appear as if the government is going to accept these recommendations and do exactly as the committee has suggested. But even if it does, the situation will remain the same as it has been for decades.

Think about this, what will the government do with these 75,000 people? Are
they going to imprison them if they don’t present their ‘real’ citizenships?
Can Kuwait’s prisons accommodate so many people? Did the ‘planning’ committee plan for all of this?! If not, then what measures will be taken to force these people to produce their original passports? Did they think about the possible implications that this form of mass punishment will have on Kuwaiti image.

I mean if the desire to find a resolution for this problem is aimed at just
enhancing Kuwaiti image, as it is with all the other human rights issues, these
recommendations will not help. In fact, they will do the exact opposite. If
they are meant to find a resolution for the humanitarian crisis that is
represented in this issue, then the suggested measures do not propose any
solution! This leaves us with no choice but to wonder what these
recommendations are meant to do?

As outrageous as they appear to be, these recommendations have a positive side to them. This is because they reveal a lot about the mentalities with which decisions are made (or not made) in this country. To Kuwaitis, this is a clear indication that the same government mentality that is incapable of finding solutions to their numerous problems, is responsible for the continuing misery of bedoons. The only difference is that many Kuwaitis think that in this particular situation, the government is right and the bedoons are wrong!

To the whole world, these recommendations reveal two things – first, that the
government is not serious about finding a fair and humane resolution to a
problem that has been going on for 45 years, and that it violates the basic
human rights of 90,000 people. Second, it shows that the continuous referral of this issue to new committees is only meant to provide an escape strategy. It is aimed at avoiding the truth, which is that this issue requires taking a
decision that is too big to be taken by anyone in Kuwait.

In short, the government of Kuwait does not wish to solve this problem, and
even if it wants to do so, it simply can’t.
© Kuwait Times 2010

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