What’s Your Answer?

Photography By: Djinane AlSuwayeh

Lately, many proposals seem to be targeting expats – whether it is prohibiting them from accessing parts of the departure airport due to congestion or building a government hospital only for citizens. Or more tauntingly, making them pay a fine when they walk our streets. Amazingly, there are also proposals in place to tax only expats or find “constructive” ways to minimize the influx of foreigners, perhaps a euphemism for deportation. Who knows? What saddens me, what continues to sadden me, is that I keep hearing that this mindset is reflective of many locals here. Many foreigners continue to confide in me that they would not live here were it not for the financial gain. And they are not greedy in saying that. Life is very expensive where some live, and in order to avoid taxes and provide for their families, and send their children to college, they have no choice. To me this signifies sacrifice, not greed. Because they come here to secure their futures – only to be treated as second-class citizens. And they continue to live here for decades, knowing they will never get a nationality or benefits for all their years of service, knowing that any law can send them home or take away their rights.

Kuwait is a wealthy nation. This is one of the reasons we are still welcomed all over the world and protected. And technically, we are still a nouveau riche nation. It has not yet been a century since oil was discovered here. But there is no excuse for our nouveau riche behavior. What is going to happen to us when oil runs out or the planet turns toward other sources of energy? The people we have hurt will have no choice but to hurt us back, and gloat while doing so, since human beings have not evolved enough to forgive as yet, and the karmic cyclical retributions are a reminder of this, lest we forget.

Of course, fear of karma is not a reason to be kind to others. Kindness is a divine, sacred gift. It is a blessing to be kind, to utilize this love that comes to us from Source. However, since we are still operating at a low frequency of attraction to reward and fear of punishment, perhaps this is the language we can use to awaken those of us who choose to shun foreigners and treat them with contempt. I don’t know about you, but I love being a minority in my own country. It makes me feel as though the whole world is one place. How lucky are we to experience people from all walks of life? How cool is that we can be a refuge for people? Can we not become a haven? Are we going to throw away this opportunity to be remembered as a nation that basks in co-existence? No resource on this planet is discovered for one race alone. Source is generous. We can become more divine, surely. As a citizen, if laws apply to foreigners, then they should apply to me as well. That includes taxes, departure areas in the airport and medical treatment. We are all living in this space. When I travel to Italy, I do not have to pay the taxes they do. And when I was admitted to a hospital in Rome two years ago, they treated me as royalty, only asking me for identification to register me. They never refused me entry because of my nationality. And when we buy products there, we are exempt from VAT tax as foreigners. The same applies in the UK and USA and most countries in the world. If anything, we should be the ones paying taxes here. And if financial experts beg to differ because of the ratio of locals to foreigners, then let us all pay taxes if they are imposed on expats. Let us awaken to gratitude. Let us awaken.

Have we wondered what it will be like when the going gets tough and we are left to our own devices? Not selfishly, where we are worried we will have to work at what we perceive to be “menial” jobs so we treat foreigners better, but from a place deep within us that loves all? As Third Eye Blind would beg us to ask: “How’s it going to be when it goes down? How’s it going to be when you’re not around?” 

My answer: It’s going to be bleak. And I will miss you madly. And I will want you back. Not to do the jobs I don’t do. But just to be here. Near me. 

What’s your answer?