My mom messaged me today about the 1000's of bedoon Arabs in Jahra starting to protest and call for reform in Kuwait. My mom was sent a Warden's message from the U.S. Embassy regarding this issue and warning Americans to stay out of the areas they are protesting in. Now she's all nervous and thinking about storing food. I'm due to come back March 7, what am I coming back to?
The protesters were hit with water cannons and smoke bombs. It figures something like this would happen with the bedoons as they take any chances to gain equality. The ones with proper paperwork eventually gain Kuwait nationality, but those who have come to Kuwait more recently do not have the same chances. I do agree they are mistreated as far as documentation goes. They don't have real passports, birth certificates or even marriage certificates. It's as if they don't really exist. I've worked in Jahra with bedoons and have heard their stories. Their children can't go to public school and private schools are simply too expensive for them considering their salaries are limited to 250 KD or less (the women who worked with us in the school were making 60 KD a month).
I've been told they can't own land, cars, houses or even travel outside of Kuwait unless they are granted permission. This treatment is also given to children of bedoon fathers and Kuwaiti mothers. They are not considered Kuwaiti even though their their mothers are Kuwaiti. The only way a child of a Kuwaiti mother and foreign father can apply for citizenship is if their parents divorce or their father dies which doesn't guarantee them nationality unless they find some Wasta to help. My friend has a Kuwaiti mother and Egyptian father, her parents have since divorced but they aren't considered Kuwaiti even though they have applied years before for nationality.
How bad it must be to be in the country of your mother but not be recognized as an equal. Her family is a well off Kuwaiti family yet she feels as if she is a visitor in her family home. Her sister actually lives and studies in Egypt where her Kuwaiti mother works in the Kuwaiti embassy. Equality is something that really isn't there even amongst Kuwaiti citizens themselves. The wealthy Kuwaitis live a different lifestyle than that of the average hard working Kuwaitis. Foreigners think all Kuwaitis are rich with oil wells behind their houses. Not! There are Super rich and super poor who live day to day not knowing how they will feed their kids. I personally know of a Kuwaiti friend who had 6 kids and couldn't make it with her husband so they divorced so she could receive the payment for divorced women although she was still with her husband. She later found a job and was reunited with her husband.
Click on the link below to read about Kuwait's uprising.
Protesters call for reform in Kuwait - CNN.com