When Kuwait’s constitutional court ruled in favor of the emir’s amendment of the voting law, supporting minorities were used as a reason. The debate over the validity and practicality of the one-vote law (instead of the older law that allows four votes for each citizen) is ongoing as politicians boycott elections or announce their candidacy.
Prior to the Arab uprisings, street art in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was seen as a funky, yet westernized, form of expression. Over the past two years, street art has become the new wave of expression, after photography and graphic design became too popular. There is a certain power to this emerging phenomenon as it gives visibility to certain issues and shows discontent among the youth.
In the past few weeks, 200,000 undocumented immigrants were deported from Saudi. Arrested in raids, left to sleep in the open air, piled in front of migration offices, and shown every kind of discrimination and abuse, those immigrants continue to be deported by the country that is home to King Abdullah’s Interfaith Dialogue Center.
Since the first days of the Egyptian revolution, sexual harassment was a focus for Western media. Although the issue is important, it was dismissed and denied for a long time in Egypt. Yet a lot has happened since last year, with more activism and work being done in that regard. Egypt finally acknowledges the existence of this phenomenon and the denial of the state is no longer effective as women go on TV and narrate their stories as victims of harassment or rape.
I am never happy when government loyalists are pleased with my writings. Although I am not interested in criminalizing government supporters for their political position, I am also not interested in having my critique used for their interests.
Over a year ago, I wrote a post about an upcoming Kuwaiti project to enforce separate medical facilities for citizens and non-citizens. The project aimed to take the load off public hospitals by putting migrant workers and the stateless in other facilities.
Having lived in upstate New York for the past two years, racial discrimination has become the center of my life. Back in Kuwait, the discrimination I faced as a stateless individual was harsh, but different. In the US, I’m either discriminated against for looking like a Latina, meaning “an immigrant who is taking THEIR jobs,” or as an Arab and Muslim, meaning a potential terrorist or a victimized brown woman who escaped hell.
Writing this post on the International Women’s Day, I thought of speaking about stateless women. I feel obligated to make the disclaimer that those ‘international days’ are indeed problematic to practice as they further ‘other’ all those ‘celebrated’ groups. In other words: Why would we discuss women issues and celebrate their struggle, if we do so every day?