Kuwait Affairs

Awesome and very creative group, I’d suggest you visit and like their Facebook at BioFlims for more info and other short movies. This was my favorite.



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I’m not going to retell the story of the 2 Kuwaiti journalist who were kidnapped and detained because it has been mentioned by Kuwaiti bloggers numerous times, here are some of these sites:
State Security Arrest, Assault Blogger And Journalist
Tortured and Detained
HARASSED AND ATTACKED BY SECRET POLICE IN KUWAIT.

My thoughts:

Of course I condemn such actions that are against human rights and freedom of expression but what amazes me is the reaction of “some” Kuwaiti commentators who were shocked at this news! Come on people did you actually believe that Kuwait was really a democratic state? I swear when ever I hear that phrase “we live in a democratic country” I just want to scream. No, the truth is Kuwait has always been a police state but we never hear of how many people that were tortured UNLESS their families are well-known and rich. I have known this for years and personally knew people who went through such horrendous experiences.

The news is not shocking to me at all especially with the way Kuwait is heading towards to. However I do applaud the number of Kuwaitis who expressed their opinions against such actions. The campaign that they started makes me proud to be a Kuwaiti. Indeed the future of Kuwait is in the hands of it’s youth only then we might see a democratic Kuwait.


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This is the latest letter Ms Katherine Phillips wrote:

Dear Barbara,

I am out of the GCC. Still worried about my safety. I met with a Human Rights Group in Kuwait last Wednesday. They wanted to help me and told me that they planned to write to the Prime Minister of Kuwait. That’s pretty high up in the political sphere. The first Minister contacted to my knowledge was the Minister of the Interior, then the Minister of Foreign Affairs, then the PM. I just work for a school and it reached these heights? That’s scary. I think to be released all it would have taken was a phone call from one of these men, but on Saturday I was told there wasn’t any hope. I think that would scare just about anyone. I know that these men were personally approached about my situation – not just in writing.

I did nothing wrong; I just made the wrong person angry. So, what do you think the political situation is for any teacher in Kuwait ?

I’m not sure how I got out of the country. I was notified by text message that the travel ban was lifted but I don’t know how long the ban was lifted. I left immediately. This entire situation is surreal. I’m just an ordinary person and I don’t know how this situation reached this level.

You and your organization mean the world to me. My friend Paula contacted you initially which was the best help, ray of hope, I have received. Don’t let others forget about me. With the timing of this ban (summer and everyone out of Kuwait ) and the parents’ connections, without you I would have been doomed.

I hope that this message is coherent enough – I’m a wreck.

God bless you. I feel the love and it’s sent back to you!

Katherine Phillips

Source: The International Schools Review

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Being a Kuwaiti

by Reema on July 3, 2007

in Kuwait Affairs

First I’d like to make it clear that personal attacks, insults or flaming doesn’t bother me at all, in fact it’s amusing because I know I hit a nerve. That being said any information I’ve posted about Kuwait was public information taken from Kuwaiti newspapers or other forms of media so getting angry at me doesn’t make sense at all.

I, like many other Kuwaiti bloggers when addressing flaws in our country is by in no means being “hateful” or “non patriotic” on the contrary, how could we as citizens better our country if we don’t discuss these problems? Personally I want to see a new Kuwait in the future. A Kuwait free of corruption, human trafficking, and injustice. I know things don’t happen over night and Kuwait is not the only country with problems but one can only hope right?

Not only do I talk about corruption in Kuwait but also the achievements. I think it’s beyond great that women finally gained their political rights by voting and entering elections. I applaud our government for trying to solve the Bedoon (undocumented persons, or residents of the country who don’t hold citizenship because the government doesn’t recognize them) problem, and most of all establishing protection laws for foreign workers who are abused by their employers.

The only thing that annoys me is how some Kuwaitis immediately assume you’re a lier and not a true citizen because of your views. Now in my personal opinion these people are delusional. Why? because they live in their delusional world fooling themselves that Kuwait is a full democratic country (yeah right). They don’t want to acknowledge any problems related to politics and society to avoid tarnishing the country’s image. I find this funny because like I said before all news is public and international, for example because Kuwait Is black listed for human trafficking the National Family Security Association forum was created to protect both workers and Kuwaiti families from domestic crimes and abuse. If people were not aware of these issues how could it be solved then? Ignoring the problems doesn’t mean they don’t exist nor would it fade away. HOWEVER addressing them and taking a stand for change puts Kuwait in a better situation internationally.

I say to those delusional people instead of going around insulting others for their views to grow up and make a change. I’m not saying I’m perfect I have my mistakes and would apologize if proven wrong. Want to debate? fine I’m cool with that but writing a comment that contains 90% insults and doesn’t contribute to the debate is just a waste of my time.
I’ve had only 1 person threatening me (I admit I was literally in tears from laughing) and I say to him/her come and get me 😛

so that’s what I have nothing to say about this topic, wanna insult me more? go ahead I love the drama 🙂

Recommended Blogs

1. Social Work Society of Kuwait (English).
2. Ben Rivard: Kuwait – fighting corruption, terrorism and human rights violations (English).
3. Sa7at Al Safat (Arabic).
4. Mohammed Al-Jasem (Arabic).
5. Corruption Monitor (Arabic and English).

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Good news! I just read a statement from the Bayan Bilingual School that the case against Ms Katherine Phillips has been resolved 😀
Statement below:

Due to the efforts of BBS management and the broader BBS community in conjunction with expert Kuwaiti legal counsel, the situation regarding our Deputy Middle School Principal has been resolved.

We would like to thank every member of the Kuwait community and the parents of BBS students who have supported BBS throughout this process, and special thanks to the Kuwait Human Rights Society for their extraordinary support and empathy during this situation.

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Death in the Family

by Reema on July 1, 2007

in General, Kuwait Affairs, Memoriam

I was so happy and looking forward to see my dad but he called just before going to the airport and told me about Uncle Essa’s death. I knew he was in the hospital for the past few days and at 75 years old i had a feeling he wouldn’t last for long. I wanted to call my aunt but decided to wait at least a day because i know how things are over there now, rest in peace Uncle Essa.

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This letter was emailed to me by a friend of mine which in my personal opinion is very disturbing, the letter originally was posted in the International Schools Review web page. I can’t help but feel more disgusted towards my country and people wonder why i’m always angry when it comes to Kuwaiti politics and society!

FROM: Katherine Phillips, Al-Bayan Bilingual School Middle School Deputy Principal, Kuwait
US PASSPORT NUMBER: xxxxx9279 – (contact ISR if needed)
TO: Whom It May Concern
DATE: June 21, 2007
RE: Detained in Kuwait/In Fear for My Safety

I am a Middle School Vice-Principal at Al-Bayan Bilingual School in Kuwait. I have been employed in Kuwait for 6 years at the same school. One of my primary responsibilities is student discipline. On March 8, 2006, three boys in grade 5 were suspended for fighting. I interviewed the boys, met with my principal and followed normal procedure. There is no stigma here regarding suspension. Students spend the day in the office where they study, are visited by teachers, and are taken to the canteen, etc. It’s a normal consequence for fighting; all students are aware of this and the procedure is clearly defined in our Parent Handbook.

In the afternoon of March 8th, I received a phone call from one of the boys’ fathers, Mr. Fawaz Khalid Al Marzouq, who is a powerful man in Kuwait. He called to inform me that this situation was “personal,” that he is “friends with the emir” and that he planned to “destroy” me. This conversation, which last about 9 minutes, was littered with profanities and threats.

On March 11, 2006, the parents met with me, my principal and our director, Dr. Brian McCauley, to discuss the suspension. The father requested that if there was an issue involving his child that I would call him immediately.

On April 27, 2006, I was requested to write a synopsis of events and to visit the Ministry of Education to answer questions regarding the suspension, describe the room in which the boys spent the school day and provide a copy of our handbook.

In June 2006, the father transferred his children to a different private school in Kuwait. Also, we received notification from the Ministry of Education that in-school suspensions were no longer to be applied; instead, parents must be contacted to take their children home.

In February 2007, I learned that a case had been filed against me at the Jabriya Police Department in Kuwait; the charge was “illegal detainment” of his son on March 8, 2006. I answered questions in my director’s presence and the Consul from the US Embassy, Mr. Sonny Busa. My lawyer was also present. The police did not suggest that there was any reason for me to be concerned as all of the questions were answered to the apparent satisfaction.

On June 13, 2007, I was at the Kuwait International Airport intending to fly to Bahrain. I was stopped at immigration where I was informed that there was a case against me, pending further investigation and that a travel ban had been placed on me. I had not been informed. My lawyer had not been informed. This travel ban was placed upon me
15 months after the boy was suspended. The parent said that he would make this personal and this seems to be what he is intent upon doing.

On Saturday, June 16, 2007, I visited the American Embassy where I met with the Vice Consul, Mr. Jared Caplan, who informed me that he sympathized but could do nothing to lift the travel ban. He suggested that I get an older Kuwaiti man to appeal to Mr. Marzouq. I was told on Wednesday that my file would be transferred to another agency for review so the ban could be lifted. Five working days later, the whereabouts of my file are uncertain. I have been told that my file is in 2 different places; this seems to be a delay tactic. Why? Because I angered an influential Kuwaiti national who is at the top of the social register both locally and at the US Embassy?

On I visited the office of a police inspector named Falah Al Otaibi, whose office is in Salmiya. He is a police official who was to evaluate my file and determine if I could leave or not. He stated that he didn’t have my file. I visited him on June 17th and 18th. On June 18th, not five minutes after I left his office with my director, the Business Officer of my school and another school representative, I called Mr. Jared Caplan, Vice-Consul at the US Embassy to gain his insight into the situation and to see if any progress had been made to help me leave. He was completely aware of my visit to Mr. Al Otaibi’s office and instructed that I not return as it “interfered.”

Several Kuwaiti families are aware of my situation but they are not in a position to help or they don’t want to get involved. They have ALL said that I should go to my embassy because my embassy can help me. The fact that the embassy can’t seems shocking to everyone. Many people also question why this accusation from Mr. Marzouk is placed solely on me – not the school, not the principal, not the director of school. I feel that I am being used as an example because I am a single, American woman and he wants to show others that he can do what he said which is to “destroy” me.

Yesterday, June 20, 2007, I received a paper from Mr. Al Otaibi’s office in Salmiya which lifted the travel ban. This waiver had been granted by the Kuwait Minister of the Interior. Not long after the Minister released me, he reverted his decision at the request of the Marzouq family or his representatives. I went to the airport last night, only to learn that I couldn’t leave.

I am in fear for my safety. If the Embassy can’t help me, then who can? I contacted the FBI in Riyad, Saudi Arabia yesterday and talked to “Mike” who couldn’t give me his last name. He was non-committal but did suggest that he thought the embassy should be able to get me out.

Mr. Sonny Busa has informed me that they are “working on it.” That seems a little vague and I am not sure if the US Embassy completely realizes the level of danger that I feel that I am in. Why does Mr. Marzouq want me in Kuwait during the summer when no one from my school will be in country to offer their support? To make me feel vulnerable? He is well-connect and his friends are supporting his mission to damage me in any way that he can. What’s next?

I do not feel safe. I am not safe. I need someone from the US to acknowledge the urgency of my situation and coordinate my release. I committed no crime. I am simply the victim of “wasta” which roughly translates into “influence/pressure” at a high level.

My mobile phone number is: 965-6298331

Fawaz Khalid Al Marzouq: Another Kuwaiti fucktard who thinks he’s all high and mighty.

UPDATE: I just emailed this story to Oprah Winfrey maybe she could do something to help this poor woman.

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