Al-Watan Daily: "Use Bedouns in schools instead of foreign teachers"


I do not know anything about this MP, but the most important point of the article is the following paragraph:

"He stated that he believes that the Bedoun issue is a humanitarian issue, not a political one. It is worth noting that the Bedoun issue tarnishes Kuwait''s image in front of the international community, since Kuwait is the only country in the world that suffers from stateless Arabs long within its borders."

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This statement enforces the idea that granted Bedoun's nationality is not a matter for voters or legislators to decide, rather this is a human rights issue, in which case, even in a democracy, the majority has no right to deny this right to the minority.

I myself feel a bit of a fool to stick my neck out on an issue that I was not brought up knowing about and that I have very little knowledge of (albeit to my credit the fact that I do try to research the issue but have a hard time finding information) on either side of the fence.

From casually speaking to some people on an anecdotal level, the argument against granting citizenship is that when it was convenient for them, they were not interested in having Kuwaiti citizenship and failed to present themselves or apply for it. However, when it suited their interests, particularly once Kuwait was oil-rich, they through away their passports and now wish to be Kuwaiti to claim benefits. Of course there are also all the slanderous and discrimanatory stereotypes that legitimize this belief system: they are lazy, uneducated and breed in too large of numbers to grant all of them access to Kuwait's cradle-to-grave social security system.

HOWEVER, many of these people are born into a situation they had no part of as their classification is a consequence of actions by generations before them. You cannot hold eternal revenge for people not claiming citizenship in the past.

Secondly, many KUWAITIS themselves would not even be in this country, or would have changed their citizenship were it not for oil. Many foreigners would not reside here were it not for oil. Many people who reside here today and contribute to the economy would not be here if everyone "was still living in tents" as someone frankly put it to me the other day. So this is a mute point.

Thirdly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that everyone has a right to a nationality and that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. This is in Article 15. You can't keep people down without any option to let them work for something better and then complain that they don't deserve better because they are so low. The bedoun question is a blatant Catch 22. Actually I would be interested in anyone who can tell me more or who has something to say. I do not even pretend to hide that on a whole I am ignorant on this issue. But I am a product of a Geneva Masters degree in International Studies and this does reflect my point of view on upholding the Declaration of Human Rights.

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