Tragedy and Tutelage in Kuwait

This is rather long but, it portrays an important message.
Sometimes, you hear things from people that are beyond your wildest comprehension, some stories that seem too ghastly to be true, too evil to be conspired by mortal men of flesh and blood and bone.
I heard such a story. At first, I was quick to dismiss it as exaggerated, as I thought, no way in hell can this actually happen. I even googled a few terms I thought to be of relevance, and after finding no hits, I concluded that the story must have been made up.
That was until today, when through random searches of a query I no longer remember, I came across the very exact situation that I had written up to illusion and refused to believe.
Some might be familiar with the story of Dana Khamis, A retelling of the story can be found here:
 
Her mom passed away from a STROKE (not heart attack) due to the stress of her daughter being treated this way.
Dana was on Jawazat round about when this traffic officer in a pick up truck with tinted windows cut her off and made her slam on her brakes. He got out and WAS wearing the police uniform, however he was off duty (and NOT in a police car). He took her license and told her to follow him to the RUMATHIYA police station EVEN though they were right infront of the SALMIYA police station. On the way he was speeding and not even indicating. When she arrived to the police station she waited in her car while he went inside. Soon he came back with a man in a dishdasha and told her to go inside. She said no as she was the only girl alone and there were men inside, and she wanted her parents to arrive first.(Dana was speaking in English as her Arabic is poor). The disgusting officer started screaming at her at the top of his lungs saying that he’d KILL HER, put her face under his shoe and squash it, and punch her face that her glasses will go in her eyes and start bleeding to death! The story gets even worse, however its best told by DANA herself.


Dana and her family are respectful people that obey the laws of KUWAIT as well as the religion. They are good people, and they DO NOT deserve this. Her friends and family will not rest until JUSTICE IS SERVED.
The newspaper articles:
And you know what the kicker is? Her father is Kuwaiti. So to all the naysayers that whine how all Kuwaitis are above the law, think again. Does flipping someone the bird demand a repercussion so severe as this? To be dragged to a police station, verbally abused, ridiculed, made to ride in the back of a police car like some common criminal, and ultimately, lead to the death of the VICTIMs mother as a result of a stroke following the cruel way in which she and her daughter were being treated? And what is worse, there are some lunatics out there who defend the cops actions! (read the comments here, I believe even Dana herself was commenting at one point)
I can find no follow-up article, from April till today, that would explain what the verdict was of such a horrific act. A mother was torn away from her family as a direct result of the stigma brought upon them by the antics of one over-zealous police officer. A verdict should have been made public, an example made to all those who seek to abuse their authority, an international inquiry much like the two Egyptian officers who were also reported in the news after escalating police brutality to a whole other level when they beat Khalid Said to death.

Now, the point of what I am writing is not to dwell on the past, but to instruct for the future.
The main reason I started blogging was after an incident that happened to me. The jist of the story was as I was driving I came across a sick individual, the so-called “stunt-drivers” in Kuwait. He cut me off, I cut him off, he cut me off, I cut him off extremely, enough so that he followed me to a petrol station, parked next to my car, and proceeded to taunt me. I had been in this similar situation twice before (outside of Kuwait, I talked my way out of one, and got into a tussle in the second, this one in Kuwait was my third such incident) so I was able to absorb the guys ego, and moderate it properly. The man had a knuckle on his hand, and proceeded to inform me how had he wanted to crash into me, he would have, saying he feared nothing.
The point is, driving is the dangerous. You are never aware of the mentality of the person who decides to cut you off, and have no way of judging their character or reaction. Road rage can take many, many forms. Be it a man who dogs you for a few blocks(happened to me), a man that steps out of his car to fight you (happened to me), a man who tries to get you to crash into another car (happened to me), a woman that accuses you of verbal assault when she was the one assaulting (happened to a friend), or a bored Kuwaiti who gets into a fight over a parking spot (happened to me).
What scares me the most is what “could have” happened. Dana Khamis’s story being at the extreme end of the spectrum. IT DID HAPPEN. Some people are crazy, they will hurt you.
A personal story, as that is the point of blogging. Picture if you will a father who comes home to find his 16 year old son missing. He has not heard from him for a few hours, so he proceeds to call his mobile. It rings. Someone answers. A police officer, informing the unbeknown father that his son had been in a tragic, fatal accident.
I bore witness to such a tragedy. I went to the funeral, I walked in the procession, I saw the body being lowered into the grave, I witnessed burial, the grieving family, all of it.

(To those who have the good fortune of not knowing, burials in Kuwait are not as those on TV abroad. The  plot has two levels, similar to stairs, the lower level is where the body is placed, and then slabs of stone are placed vertically to cover the body, leaving the remaining depth exposed, the cracks in the slabs are filled with watered sand, and the plot is filled afterward)

The real tragedy is this: the boy was not even driving, he was with his similar aged friends, one of whom happened to own a car at 17 because his father gifted it to him. He was speeding, he crashed, they died.

(Incidently, the Arab Times recently printed the latest statistics on driving fatalities in Kuwait, here)

My driving mishaps are long and many. Luckily, nehmedallah, no serious harm has befallen me or my car. sometimes I control my anger, sometimes I give the person a taste of their own medicine. Unfortunately, sometimes, they are evil, and repeat the same to me again. It can escalate, it can get worse, it can kill people. I know this, but sometimes I can do naught but react.
I do not know which is sadder, the fact that people can be such arrogant, self-aggrandising, selfish, inconsiderate monstrosities, or the fact that sometimes we can be just that as well, both victim and instigator?
Trust me, the next time someone cuts you off, try the method I use when I am in the right frame of mind, do a kind deed to someone else, let some pass, overtake you, cross in from a side-road. The thanks they give instantly works to calm the fire inside at the person that just cut you off.
My heart goes out to Dana Khamis, and the tragedy she witnessed. There is a lesson to be learnt here, I am sorry it comes at such a high price but it must be learnt, beware the reaction of others, it can never be what you expect. Life is so fragile, it takes 9 months to create and a life-time to understand, but can be taken away in the blink of an eye.
Be the change you wish to see in the world. Those words never rang truer meaning back when they were first said by Ghandi than they do now.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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