Kuwaiti doctor speaks out on blaming expats

Published:  21 Jun at 6 PM
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Expats tired of being blamed for the emirate’s demographic imbalances will appreciate a recent statement protesting their innocence by a prominent Kuwaiti doctor.

Honesty seems to have been the best policy for Dr Adel al Ibrahim, whose hard-hitting statement in today’s Kuwait Times tells it like it is regarding attacks on the expat community by a number of Kuwaiti politicians. The worst offender has been MP Safa al Hashem, a recently elected female member of the government who has repeatedly called for the removal of expats and, in her latest rant, referred to the expat community as ‘eating up everything’. Al Ibrahim’’s comments followed the latest restriction banning residency renewals for parents and siblings of expats working in the emirate as they were 'clogging up public hospitals'.

Al Ibrahim’s main point is that Kuwaitis themselves have, over many decades, created and encouraged the expat community’s increase in order to take advantage of their various talents in building a modern, wealthy state. It’s Kuwati business owners and their government who invite foreign experts to come in, sponsor their visas, issue commercial licenses, allow residency and create a community within but often not accepted by the Kuwaiti community itself. Expats, he points out, are from all sectors including teachers, engineers, doctors, university professors, civil and military advisors to sales people, domestic servants and cleaners, all of whom are paid to do their jobs and support the country’s economy.

Kuwaitis, he continued, don’t just use the expertise of expat labour at all levels, but also engage in expatriate-related practices which make fast, easy money for Kuwaiti businesses and those in government. The present trend of blaming foreigners for everything from heavy traffic to preventing locals from getting medical treatment is being used as a cover-up for governmental inefficiency in every field. Officials, added al Ibrahim, don’t seem to realise the effects of these unwarranted attacks on foreigners who’ve done their best for the emirate.

Al Ibrahim’s alternative to even more denigrating blame attacks on the foreign community is to adjust the emirate’s demographic imbalance by means of quieter, less humiliating methods, and by recognising the privilege and positive benefits of recruiting expat professionals. Treating the expat community’s feelings with respect, he says, is the best and only way forward.
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