Grandmom of Smile

picamedWe recently shifted to Kuwait since my husband took a new job and thus began a whole new journey of, (I wouldn’t say adventures as it sounds very “fairytale like”), little incidents that make our life a whole.

As I arrived here and entered my new home i obviously had little idea of my whereabouts, but knowing that I had a husband who cared about little details, I never had apprehensions or fears related to what kind of a place I’m living in, what kind of people lived in this building or how will I get along with them. I just got comfortable as soon as I stepped in.

In a couple of days I understood the location of my building and as I had anticipated, its location was perfect. It was away from the hustle bustle of the main road and yet, near everything. Everything that I needed was at a walking distance from our place. The school in which we planned to put our son in, a good hospital, a mosque, a community hall that held community gatherings every Friday, a vegetable store, a pharmacy, a gym, a baqalah , an Indian restaurant, Arabic restaurant, even a spa and a rent a car store! Talk about convenience!!

Anyway, our son got an admission in the school that we wanted after clearing his test but since everything was so new I had a little bit of an insecurity availing the services of the school bus. So, we decided to pick and drop him ourselves for the time being since it was so close to our home. The morning duty of dropping was my husband’s and the afternoon duty of picking him up came to me.

And so began my daily little experiences of incidents that I never thought would affect me in anyway, but they did.

I strapped on the baby carrier on my waist and put my 5 month old baby in it and started towards school daily. On my way one day, I came across an old Iranian lady just outside my building. Of course at first it was just a glance, then another day when we saw each other again we exchanged smiles. Then again, we bumped into each other on our own floor hallway and came to know that we were immediate neighbors. We laughed looking at each other as if to say that all this while we were just adjacent to each other and yet were unaware. We met several times after that, sometimes in the afternoon when I was on my way to school, sometimes in the evening when we were going somewhere…. and our conversations were special…not in a lovely kind of way, but in a funny kind of way, that is to say it was half Arabic, half English, hand gestures, facial expressions and I think a little of Persian too!!

She used to say in arabic “why do you take the baby to school? Leave him with me. There is so much traffic on the road, very dangerous”, or “why don’t you buy a pram, this baby carrier looks dangerous”…and mind you…I managed to gather all this by the following words only..” lesh walad…… iscool.. saiyyaaraa…hand gestures of speeding cars, ana khauf!! Kida maafi koiyees hand gestures of baby in the carrier…lesh anta maafi…something something.. hand gestures of pushing a pram. And I replied, “ana buy (hand gestures of pushing a pram), baa’dain inshallahhh”. I just loved the way she showed her concern and the way she tried to make herself be understood! She used to say something and as I gave her a confused look she again said something which I understood by her gestures of shrugging her shoulders and waving both hands in the air looking up as if to say I know I’m saying something but you are unable to understand and are thinking “what is she saying”???

The day we bought the pram, coincidentally, she was the first one to see it as we brought it into the elevators. She was coming out and we were getting in. She gave a huge smile and said “mabroook mashalllahh”.

As days passed, we chatted often on our ways and as winter came she stopped coming out so much. One very cold afternoon as I came out of my apartment, she at once opened her door. It seemed as though she was waiting for me to come out. As soon as she saw me, she held herself with both hands and took a shivery deep breath in and said “very coooldh, jeeb babyyy”…then gesturing with her forefinger rubbing under her nose making a frowning face she held out her hands to take the baby….obviously, I understood she wanted me to leave the baby with her as it was very cold and it might cause a runny nose and he might catch a cold or get sick. At first I was a little hesitant as had never left my son with anyone before, but as I saw her looking lovingly towards him and getting anxious to take him in her arms, I gave in. I handed him over to her, ran back to my apartment, brought a bottle of milk just in case, gave it to her and hurried over to the school.

On my way, there was an automatic bounce in my step. Trying to walk, wanting to run, doing something in between- not walking normally, not running either…just to get over with my errand as soon as possible and get back to my baby as fast as I could.

When I got back, I was out of breath and had almost made my elder son run all the way so that he could keep up with me. I rang her bell and she came to it instantly. There was a huge smile on her face which was kind of gratifying for me. It showed she was having a good time and the baby hadn’t been crying or bothering her. In fact, she told me that he was actually smiling at her when she jiggled her rosary in front of him. It was quite obvious she was having a good time.

As I made a quick scan around her apartment I saw framed pictures of children kept on top of her T.V. stand. Everything around seemed dusty, but those frames were shiny! The whole apartment seemed as though it wasn’t much cared for. There was one cozy corner cleared from bags of stuff that were pushed into corners of the room, where I guessed she sat and watched tv,  a very small kitchen, and a cozy bedroom with a window overlooking the street below. She took me to her bedroom where he was lying quietly and took her seat right next to him and continued playing with him. She then asked his name. I told her “Ahmed”. All of a sudden her face lit up even more, she seemed ecstatic and started gushing, raising her hands and bringing them back to her chest she said loudly “oooo walllaaahhh…ana walad Ahmad!!, ana walad Ahmad!!oooooo…mashalllahhhh” and kissed the baby. She then held my hand and took me to the tv room and pointed over to the little children in one of the frames and told me that they were her children. A boy named Ahmad, and a girl. I came to know that they both were now married and were now settled in “Miyaameee” (Miami). She pointed to another picture of a very sweet little girl and I understood her to be her granddaughter, her son’s daughter.

I asked her why hadn’t she gone along with her kids, and she answered that she didn’t like it there much. At least that is what I could read from her expressions, and that she was comfortable here. Even though her expression was of disgust, I could see a hint of sadness in her eyes.

 She told me her husband died a few years ago and she now lived here alone and then said a lot of things that I wasn’t able to understand, but what I could understand was that she was miserable and sad and lonely. She stood at her bedroom window and pointed out at the cars that drove off from the street and counted them. She was trying to tell me how she passed her time, looking out her window, seeing other people, strangers walking, cars running, some pigeons flying. As I felt her loneliness inside me I couldn’t repel a lump in my throat.

I gathered myself quickly and gave a huge smile as I could find no other way to cheer her up. She also snapped back and lifted the baby and gave him to me. We said our goodbyes and she handed over a packet full of chocolates to my elder one. He gave her his big “happy face” expression and thanked her profoundly. At that moment, she seemed happy. I felt a sense of relief that even though for a brief period of time, I was able to make her smile and that we were able to give her some moments of companionship to her otherwise solitary life.

As I came back to my place, I experienced an immense amount of discomfort. I started having random thoughts of what I would do if I had to let go of my sons in order for them to lead better lives elsewhere. How would I ever be able to bear to live without my children? Or how would I manage a life without my husband around? And then my thoughts went over to my parents. How my parents had sacrificed their entire lives for us. Having lived separately for years so as to support us financially and let us have a better education and better lives. My sense of gratitude towards them deepened immensely. Not a day goes by when I don’t thank my lord for having blessed me with a complete family. Loving parents, an awesome brother, a caring husband and the apple of my eyes, my two sons are all that made me who I am today, a complete woman- a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother. They are my strength and I know that they will always be there for me, even if not physically around, their emotional support is all that I need to face the world.

I closed my eyes and prayed….I prayed that my neighbor and I always have that strength in us till the end.

Written by Fariah Fatima


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It is not about 500 fils

porter0013Few weeks ago,
I had read an article trending on social media regarding the trolley mafia in Kuwait Airport.  It’s not about 500/-fils, it’s about cheating, but the truth is something else, there is no Trolley Mafia there.

To know the truth, I had personally spoken to the Passenger luggage Trolley Service department and they revealed the truth. The truth was:
If a passenger need to use a trolley it’s absolutely free but in case if the passenger require a porter service from the departure bridge until the scanning machine he/she have to pay the service charge of 500/-fils.

The porter working inside the checking premise are authorized porter by the airport. Incase you need the porters help from the scanning machine to the checking counter it’s absolutely free you don’t have to pay them anything, it’s your wish if you want to pay them a tip but the trolley is for FREE.

IF you don’t want to pay, don’t take the porter assistance

written by Shaheen Sayyed
shahin_sayyed@yahoo.com


Would you like to write contents
?

iWrite is the new section of our
website which allow you to pick any topic of your interest and write to
Light Your Words. We will publish your contents in our various Social
Media’s Platforms to expose your words. Just write and send your
contents to Kuwait.up2date@gmail.com
or Contact on 94418559

Our iWriters

Amira Behbehani

Shaheen Sayyed


shahin_sayyed@yahoo.com

Fariah Fatima

 

Nejoud al Yagout

 

Swati Srivastava

 

Reeya Fernendes

 

Islamic State threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza

Islamic State insurgents threatened on Tuesday to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organization that rules the Palestinian territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement. The video statement, issued from an Islamic State stronghold in Syria, was a rare public challenge to Hamas, which has been cracking down on jihadis in Gaza who oppose its truces with Israel and reconciliation with the U.S.-backed rival Palestinian faction Fatah. “We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes,” said a masked Islamic State member in the message addressed to the “tyrants of Hamas”.

Pope to meet with homeless, prisoners and immigrants in US

Pope Francis blesses the faithful as he celebrates the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, June 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will meet with homeless people, immigrants and prisoners during his upcoming trip to Cuba and the United States and become the first pope to address the U.S. Congress. He’ll also preside over a meeting about religious liberty — a major issue for U.S. bishops in the wake of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision.

Egypt's president vows 'swift justice' after assassination

An Egyptian woman chants pro-government slogans, during the funeral of Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat, killed in a bomb attack a day earlier, outside the Hussein Tantawi Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Heavy security forces deployed across the Egyptian capital for the burial of Barakat, the top judicial official in charge of overseeing prosecution of thousands of Islamists. The poster at bottom left shows a photo of Barakat. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)CAIRO (AP) — President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed Tuesday to accelerate a crackdown on extremists and bring “swift justice” after the assassination of Egypt’s chief prosecutor, raising the prospect of carrying out executions of senior Muslim Brotherhood figures, including the former president.

Kuwait ‘in state of war’ as 60 terror suspects nabbed – Authorities bust terror cell – Local charity closed

(From right to left) Kuwaiti Housing Affairs Minister Yasser Abul and members of parliament Mohammad Al-Hadya, Khaleel Al-Saleh and Kamel Al-Awadhi wear their national flag around their shoulders in a show of solidarity and condemnation of the suicide attack at the Shiite Al-Imam Al-Sadeq mosque, during a parliament session at Kuwait’s National Assembly in Kuwait City yesterday. — Photo Yasser Al-Zayyat

(From right to left) Kuwaiti Housing Affairs Minister Yasser Abul and members of parliament Mohammad Al-Hadya, Khaleel Al-Saleh and Kamel Al-Awadhi wear their national flag around their shoulders in a show of solidarity and condemnation of the suicide attack at the Shiite Al-Imam Al-Sadeq mosque, during a parliament session at Kuwait’s National Assembly in Kuwait City yesterday. — Photo Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said yesterday that the security agencies have busted the terror cell responsible for the deadly attack against the Shiite mosque but they are still looking for other cells. “We are in a state of war. In this case, we have busted this terrorist cell but there are other cells that we are going to strike. My target is to get the mastermind who are controlling these people” the minister told the National Assembly during a special debate.

Sheikh Mohammad said that the ministry has revised the security plan that it has made a month ago and there will be added security measures especially around mosques and places of worship.

Recalling the events immediately after the suicide bombing that devastated Imam Al-Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City, the minister said that the Amir refused repeated pleas by him to leave the scene because it was not secure.

He said the Amir was at the scene even before explosive testing devices had arrived to check of there were other bombs. “I pleaded with him that it was unsafe but he insisted to go inside the mosque when fire and smoke were still coming out saying ‘these are my children’” the minister said.

Sheikh Mohammad said that security measures were raised over a month ago and as a result of those measures, the “suicide bomber was forced to walk 200 meters to reach the mosque”. He also said that the suspects told interrogators that they had planned to carry out the bombing at two other targets but could not because of security measures.

The Interior Ministry has made a large number of arrests and sent at least five of them to the Public Prosecution for further legal action. Minister of Justice and Awqaf an Islamic affairs minister Yacoub Al-Sane told the Assembly that the Supreme Judicial Council has decided to form a special court to try the suspects in the mosque attack. He said the aim is to accelerate the trial but without ignoring the procedural law governing trials.

During the debate, requested unanimously by the Assembly, MPs hailed the Amir’s visit to the site of the bombing and the efforts of the Interior Ministry in arresting the suspects in the bombing. Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said the unity of Kuwaitis has foiled the plot. “They wanted it to be a conflict between two sects and what we saw was one religion” he said. All MPs and ministers wore the Kuwaiti flag in a show of national unity. But a number of MPs called on the government and the Interior Ministry to step up their preparations for any possible attacks. “We are in a state of war with terrorism” MP Jamal Al-Omar said. “But has the problem ended – and what are the guarantees that the bombing will not happen again next Friday” asked Omar. “We need precautionary measures for the future, we need a crisis management agency … and the government must set up a war council” he said.

MP Khalil Al-Saleh said he was at the mosque when the bombing took place and he saw everything. He said he felt the explosion, people bleeding, others calling for help while other worshippers dying. He warned that if no strict measures are taken, the wave will reach other places, including Sunni mosques. Islamist lawmaker Ahmad Al-Azemi said that the ideology of terrorism is not linked or related to Islam. He also warned the Education Minister against exploiting the situation to change school textbooks. MP Hamdan Al-Azemi claimed security measures around the mosques were not sufficient. Liberal MP Rakan Al-Nasef said we cannot say that this was the last terror attack in the country.

Meanwhile, Kuwait has detained 60 people and closed a local charity for alleged violations in raising funds for Syrians, local media said yesterday, as part of a crackdown on suspected militant links after the Gulf Arab state’s worst ever suicide bombing. A local newspaper quoted security sources as saying that 60 people, including Kuwaiti citizens and nationals of other Gulf states, were being held for investigation by security services.

Some had been found to have been in contact with Sunni Islamist militants with others suspected of belonging to “extremist” groups, Al-Qabas reported, without elaborating. It also said that five people suspected of involvement in Friday’s mosque bombing by Saudi national Fahd Suliman Abdul-Muhsen Al-Qabaa had been referred to the Public Prosecutor. The five, it said, had confessed to receiving financial transfers from abroad to carry out attacks targeting houses of worship. Al-Qabas did not name them but Kuwait’s Interior Ministry has said it had detained the driver of the vehicle that took Qabaa to the Shiite mosque, the owner of the car and the owner of the house where the driver went to hide after the attack. Kuwaiti authorities were not immediately available for comment on the Al-Qabas report. Al-Rai daily, another Arabic-language newspaper, said the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs permanently closed down the Fahd Al-Ahmed charity on Sunday due to “repeated violations despite the warnings”.

Quoting a source at the ministry, Al-Rai said that the ministry had repeatedly asked the charity to comply with regulations stipulating that funds for Syrians be collected through official channels. Officials from the charity were not immediately available to comment on the report.

US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen has described Kuwait as “the epicenter of fund-raising for terrorist groups in Syria.” The Islamic State militant group issued an audio clip purporting to be a posthumous statement by the bomber, in which he criticizes Shiites, “especially in Kuwait”, for what he termed insults to Islam. The bombing has sharply heightened regional security concerns because Islamic State appears to be making good on its threat to step up attacks in the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

By B Izzak and Agencies

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Kuwait’s attack shows Gulf vulnerability to IS – Islamic State’s attack exploits social divisions

KUWAIT: By sending a Saudi Arabian suicide bomber to Kuwait and recruiting local members of a stateless underclass to help him attack a Shiite Muslim mosque, an Islamic State cell struck at the Gulf Arab monarchy’s most potent internal divisions. Relations have traditionally been good between the 70 percent of Kuwait’s 1.4 million citizens who are Sunni and the Shiites who make up 30 percent, but regional rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran has opened some fissures.

The country, home to the region’s most open Arab society, is also divided between descendents of its original townsfolk and those of Bedouin tribes, between Islamists and liberals and between rich and poor. Islamic State is adept at exploiting vulnerabilities with its violently puritanical message and call to an Islamist utopia, a tactic it could use in other Gulf Arab states where despite great wealth, bitter inequalities persist.

But while many Kuwaitis say they hope the government will respond to this challenge by addressing internal problems and maintaining its open tradition, they fret it will instead follow the authoritarian lead of the biggest Gulf state, Saudi Arabia.

“Now there is a lot of fear after this action that the government will take more measures regarding more security, more limits of rights,” said Mohammed Al- Dallal, a former member of parliament with the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Constitutional Movement. Friday’s attack, which killed 27 and injured more than 200, put Kuwait on the front line of a jihadist problem that has been aggravated in its neighbor Iraq by the tussle for regional dominance between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Kuwait is a rare island of open debate in the Gulf, with elected MPs who can challenge the ruling family’s appointed government and a tradition of free debate that allows critics to publicly question both the state and regional heavyweights.

Tribesmen and Salafists
What some fear is that the government will now become the last member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which also includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, to approve a security agreement that could limit rights.

Drive up the highway west out of Kuwait City, through dowdy suburbs and large open areas of scrub trees intersected by electricity pylons, and you pass first the bedoon (stateless) area of Sulaibiya and eventually the tribal district of Al-Jahra. The houses are smaller and shabbier than in Kuwait’s inner city where the scions of wealthy merchants, both Sunni and Shiite, and the professional classes, make their lives.

Many bedoon are descendents of Bedouin nomads from inside Kuwait who failed to register with the authorities when its borders were set 50 years ago, while others are more recent undocumented migrants from Iraq seeking access to its riches. At least two of the suspects Kuwait has detained after Friday’s attack are from this disenfranchised community, as was the Iraq-born father of Mohammed Al- Emwazi, known in the West as Islamic State’s beheader of hostages, Jihadi John. “Islamic State will find some angry people because of some social issues. I think number one is the bedoon,” said Dallal, describing the issue as a “time bomb”.

Kuwait’s Bedouin tribes, while much better off than the bedoon, have historically been looked down on by cityfolk, who often regarded them as unsophisticated, while they in turn often decried the cosmopolitan urbanites as irreligious. It was among these groups that Salafism, the ultra-strict strain of Sunni Islam native to Saudi Arabia, has thrived in Kuwait, with its sympathy for tribal traditions, its egalitarian approach to those within its fold and intolerance of Shiism. Fuhaid Al-Humailan, spokesman for a Bedouin Salafi party, condemned Friday’s bombing, but then quickly turned to what he described as the terrorism perpetrated by the West and Shiite Iran against Arab Sunnis as representing Kuwait’s main threat.

National unity
In the 1980s, the government encouraged Salafists as a counterweight to the Muslim Brotherhood and the movement has grown ever since, becoming a force that held many seats in the last parliament and has mobilized young people on the street.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood has held fundraising events for rebels in Syria, providing cash that the West believes may have gone to militants, it is Salafists whose ties to jihadist groups most worry Kuwaiti liberals and Shiites. “Salafist extremism existed in Kuwait a long time ago. But the government gave us deaf ears. They didn’t listen until this tragedy happens,” said Ali Al-Baghli, a liberal former oil minister at a diwaniya, as Kuwaitis call their nightly salons. As Shiite victims were buried on Saturday, Kuwait’s flag hung at half mast by the emir’s seafront palace and condolences were heard in the Sunni Grand Mosque.

Shiites at the funeral, the men and women sipping thimbles of tea at the salon held at a liberal political society and Islamists in a Bedouin district outside Kuwait City all commended their ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, for visiting the bomb site within an hour of the attack. — Reuters

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Kuwait bans live bird imports from Ghana

KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) has banned the import of all live birds, poultry, chicks, and eggs from Ghana due to outbreak of bird flu (H5N1) in this African country. PAAAFR Chairperson and Director-General Nabila Al- Khalil issued the decision after receiving reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the spread of the virus, the PAAAFR said in a statement yesterday.

All incoming consignments to Kuwait must be subjected to the PAAAFR’s requirements and restrictions, as well as matching the GCC’s and Kuwait’s veterinary quarantine systems, the statement added. Last May, Kuwait had also banned imports of live birds from Niger due to the outbreak of bird flu there. Moreover, the PAAAFR had previously banned live birds from Bulgaria, Italy (recently lifted), East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. —KUNA

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