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Failing to Take Advantage of Our National Potential

Failing to Take Advantage of Our National Potential

Al-Qabas, Kuwait, January 26

Kuwait is a small country covering less than 7,000 square miles. Its citizenry barely exceeds 1.5 million people. It is home to a wide range of ethnic and cultural groups that live together in peace and harmony. Its resources are vast and its financial reserves are huge. But it still suffers from deep-seated problems: It insists on relying on a single source of income, it refuses to hold senior officials accountable for their actions, it has an outdated political system, and it consistently turns its back away on clean, renewable resources. Because of all these matters, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs – the government entity responsible for religious endowments – has become more powerful and more important than the Education and Information ministries combined. Taking care of simple public works has become nearly impossible. For example, it took the government 10 years to clear up a makeshift dumpsite in Kuwait City that boasted a mountain of used car tires. Because of our ailing government apparatus and its bureaucratic bloat, Kuwait has been unable to appoint directors for several of its most important government entities for years. It should come as no surprise that the Kuwaiti government recently announced it discovered large stocks of expired passports in a government warehouse, or that it “suddenly” ran out of license plates for registered cars. The truth is that, despite our countless blessings as a county, our situation is quite miserable. The good news is that not much is required to address this issue. Indeed, most of it would depend on effective decision-making and some goodwill. Our economic situation should be improved. Our commercial activity should be restored. And the morals of our community must be upheld and protected. Unfortunately, the Kuwaiti mindset seems to be guided by procrastination and delay. –Ahmad Al-Sarraf (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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Felice Friedson
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