Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Khaled Aljenfawi: Tolerance Begins at Home

An extraordinary article from today’s Arab Times:

Tolerance usually begins at home
By Khaled Aljenfawi

Verbally or physically abusing some domestic servants, stone pelting some expatriate passengers and drivers, lack of patience toward some expatriate doctors and teachers, by some individuals, certainly indicate that tolerance usually begins at home.

Already known for its tolerance toward strangers, foreigners and non-citizens, our Kuwaiti traditional society stands upon certain pillars of morality. These moral ideals usually advocate mercy, compassion and understanding toward others. As such, as Kuwaiti citizens, many of us already understand the importance of such moral ideals and many of us live by them. Therefore, we realize that we are integral parts of a larger human family; many of us in fact continue to refuse anti-social behavior directed toward some expatriates.

This being said yet certain individuals in our society continue to verbally or physically torment some helpless domestic servants. Some youngsters pelt expatriate passengers while they ride in public buses; perhaps just because they believe they can do so!

One can add to this the other negative phenomenon common these days of not being patient with some expatriate doctors and teachers and simply opting for the more reckless behavior: verbally and sometimes physically assaulting these expatriate professionals. Such behavior go against our national law and against the teachings of our national heritage. Such negative behavior in fact go against our Islamic tenets!

As a case in point, borrowing from already accepted international laws about human rights, and relying basically on our genuine Kuwaiti heritage of tolerance, officials in the Ministry of Education continue to update our national curriculum to adapt to a changing world. For example, primary, middle and secondary schooling emphasizes tolerance as a way of life in a modern society. Yet what the younger generations are learning at school about tolerance continues to be threatened by the behavior of some.

Intolerance actually goes against the basic teachings of our Islamic faith. As a Muslim society, Kuwait has been welcoming strangers, foreigners and expatriates for tens of years without apparent conflict. This tolerance toward those who are different springs from our Islamic faith, in addition, it originates from our national heritage. For example, one of the most enduring tenets of Islam is the equality among humans: in the Holy Quran, the Almighty say: “We have created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” (Al-Hujraat-13).

One cannot instill by force tolerance in the mind of a child unless the whole family believes in the legitimacy of tolerance and its importance to its general wellbeing. If a young child learns about tolerance at school and then encounters daily situations of intolerance at home, he/she will find it hard to believe in tolerance. In other words, tolerance in addition to being a moral concept, which reflects the morality of a whole society, will take its roots if the ordinary family considers it as an accepted code of conduct. A Tolerant young person for example, will subsequently be a tolerant father or mother for these parents are already used to tolerance and will ultimately help shape the mentalities of their children.

A child who is already used to voicing his points freely in a safe family environment will find it much easier to accommodate tolerance and accept it as a way of life. Indeed, a child raised in a Tolerant family will eventually become a good neighbor, a good friend and certainly a Tolerant person toward those who are different from him.

Wooo Hooo on you, Khaled Aljenfawi!

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Character, Cultural, Family Issues, Interconnected, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Social Issues, Spiritual | 6 Comments

Sunrise: As Good As it Gets

I’ve been waiting and waiting. It’s been days since there has been a good sunrise, or even a visible sunrise. This morning, this is as good as it gets. Please forgive my rain streaked (woo hooo!) windows:


Weather Underground: Kuwait says it is going to get up to 78°F/27°C today. Sigh. I have the air conditioning still off. I don’t want to turn it on again, but with 77% humidity . . . it just makes me sad, turning on the a/c in February. 😦


Today, there really is a light haze; I can see maybe 500 meters off the coast. Maybe the sun will burn the haze off.

The Sultan Center is packing away all the Valentine’s Day supplies, and has brought out all the Kuwait Independence / Liberation Day supplies – have you stocked up?

February 17, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | 3 Comments