Saudi women to teach schoolboys for first time. (Courtesy)

Grassroots Campaigns Across the Gulf’s Borders

Al-Rai, Kuwait, September 14

 

Two interesting campaigns have been launched in recent weeks. In Saudi Arabia, local youth recently introduced the “We speak Arabic” campaign, and in Kuwait young men and women announced the “We are Treated in Kuwait” initiative. The former aims at encouraging Saudi citizens to speak Arabic and enrich their knowledge of the language, while the latter calls on Kuwaiti nationals to put their faith in their health system and avoid receiving medical treatments abroad. These youth efforts reflect our faith in ourselves and our nations. It is not reasonable — especially in an age of growing national sentiment — to lose our connection to our heritage, our culture, and our identity. Arab youth across the Gulf, and the Arab world more broadly, are beginning to realize the importance of their shared roots. They have started collaborating on cross-national campaigns of this sort. Soon, you will find the banners “we speak Arabic” placed in shops, restaurants, and schools, with the hope of reviving the Arabic language; the language that has been fought for since ancient times and always won. As for the doctors in Kuwait, they are proudly carrying the banner “we are treated in Kuwait,” calling on all of their fellow citizens to receive treatment in a country that provides most of the advanced health capabilities in the world. Dozens of Kuwaiti patients who have sought treatment abroad have either died or ended up incurring unfathomable debt. The time has come for them to seek treatment at home. “We speak Arabic” is an ethical campaign and I can only hope that Arab youth across the world will cooperate with it. Similarly, “We are Treated in Kuwait” is a life-saving effort with the ability to influence both the Arab public, as well as its decision-makers. Such awareness campaigns are immensely important and their value must not be undermined. We must thank our active youth for leading our nations forward and setting us on the right path.  –Khaled Ahmed al-Saleh

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