12 April 2008

Ilshoor shoorik ya yuba: Elections '08

Voting is a big responsibility. (Yes another political post.) Thus my dilemma...

I'm a reformed Islamist, I think that's the only way to label me. I grew up in a big Islamist home but have turned more "progressive"* (or as my mom would say I'm a left-leaning liberal) with every passing year.

I don't want Islamists to rule the Parliament. They're not transparent enough, the have fishy deals with the government, and are bed buddies with too many "breast-fed" bedouins** (say that five times fast). Also I don't see economic development as a major issue for them which I think needs to be a top priority.

I also don't want liberals to rule the Parliament. Although they are much more transparent than Islamists, their ranks include too many Kuwaiti bourgeoisie and they are somewhat out of touch with the people. The more power they have, the bolder the schism between 'within-the-wall Kuwaitis' and 'outside-of-the-wall Kuwaitis'. Another thing is that quite a few of them are too secular for me to be comfortable with.

My initial thoughts were that I'd give half of my four votes to liberals whom I believe share my priorities and the other two votes to either Islamists or independents. A talk with a friend who shares some of my religious/political ideas made me unsure.

"Our parent's generation has fought too hard for you to be supporting hardline liberals," she said. Good point.

In the 60's Kuwaiti women (within-the-walls) were mocked if they chose to cover their hair.
It's a different situation now, over half of Kuwaiti women wear hijab (I heard that somewhere...but I'm not sure how true that it is).

But isn't the pendulum swinging to the other side now? Liberalism is making a comeback. Islamists had their big-break in the 80's and 90's which also saw the death of liberalism in Kuwait. (Liberals were Arab nationalists, post-occupation Kuwait saw the tides turning on them. More like a Tsunami.)

Should I be helping the pendulum swing to a place I'm more comfortable with?

What would that mean on a ballot?

As a Muslim what would be the right thing to do? Vote Islamists although I feel like they've lost the essence of Islam and are power-hungry politicians (not all). Or vote liberal to teach the Islamists a lesson and give them time to restructure their priorities and platform issues; despite lacking morals (again, some not all!).

Decisions, decisions!

* I hate that word. "Progressive". It's so presumptuous.

** "Breast-fed" bedouins are those who are still suckling at the country's teat. And don't ever want to be weaned. Demands include violating diwaniyas, KD 50 allowance...etc... Not all are bedouins actually. (Btw..dissing bedou is my prerogative.)


Big Pearls said...

too much politics for me..I think I should start getting interested..everyone else is.

Salah said...


Clearly you’re in either the second or the third constituency because these the only two constituencies in which you have the choice to vote for liberal. I know this is not my business to say where you can vote, but I’m trying to make a point here. Unfortunately liberals in Kuwait are completely different from the rest of the world. Everywhere liberals come from the middleclass or from the working class except in Kuwait where liberals are usually super rich and bourgeoisies. The will be always out of touch with normal people.
But I agree they are far more transparent that Islamists.
If I have the chance to return to Kuwait for the election, I would vote for anyone who can prove for me that he or she cares about the institution and cares about equality and liberties whether he or she Liberal, Islamist, or Independent. BUT I would never ever vote for 7ADS because they proved it for me already that the only thing they care for is power and nothing else.

I hope my comment won’t offend anybody.

eshda3wa said...

i dont like the islamists

and i dont support secularism

moo bs i dont like the islamists
i HATE them. they do not represent islam in anyway
plus they faught hard to keep us out of the political arena

i think a vote for them is a vote for oppression of women.

Anonymous said...

I cant take that much politics!!

Anonymous said...

The things you are saying, GE&B, are things I am hearing all over Kuwait - where is the religious moderate, the moderate liberal, the moderate, the one who takes the middle way? How do you get to meet the candidates and find out where they stand on the issues?

Which issues are important to you? What do you want Kuwait to look like in 5 years? in 10 years?

G.E&B said...

big pearls: it's a superduper exciting time for Kuwait. I really hope intelligent, well-intentioned Kuwaitis would get more involved :)

salah: you bring up interesting points. i am in the second district although half our house is voting in the third.

eshda3wa: i hear you. i'm deeply disturbed by a lot of what they did/do...but some people are really well-intentioned.

amu: bear with us...one month to go!

intlxpatr: i can only of MP Adel Al-Saraawi a.k.a. the rockstar, who won in an Islamist-stronghold, Kaifan, who is a ideologically Islamist but has a pretty liberal platform otherwise.
Despite my love for him, he's not running in my district this year :'(
But I'm hopeful that the public will push candidates to the middle.

Candidates will hold meetings with voters throughout these few weeks. Many of these meetings are gender-segregated. They're advertised in papers, online, and by txtmsgs.

Regarding issues of importance, I find it problematic to shut out the media-"chatter" and determine my own priorities.

But I would say economy and corruption would be the main issues.