50% fewer expats in five years? Come on!

Nejoud Al Yagout – — Photo by Djinane Alsuwayeh

I read another disturbing article about expats. This time, MPs are calling on the government to cut the number of expatriates by 50 percent within the next five years. And one of the MPs stated that a reason expats come to Kuwait is for a better life. Well, of course, that’s what they are here for. Who else would choose to uproot their lives in their home countries if they had it good? That’s why we all emigrate, to find better lives for ourselves and families.

We Kuwaitis know what it is like to live outside our country, but we were quite fortunate that the invasion only lasted seven months. And fortunately, we were treated well by citizens and governments of other nations, because that’s what we should do as human beings – let others know that our country is their home away from home.

I cannot bear to read these articles about expats anymore. In fact, while I am writing this, I have tears in my eyes. Tears for all the families who read the article, wondering whether they are next. Tears for the nativism that seems to have taken effect. Tears on behalf of my ancestors who were ambassadors of coexistence. Tears that in five years there may be fewer expats in my country.

50 percent in five years? Do you know what we could do in five years instead of blaming foreigners for issues that are ours alone? We can focus on sustainable resources, build resorts, enhance tourism, promote women’s rights, eradicate discrimination, clean up our sea, reduce the use of plastic and plant more trees. Do you know what we can do in five years? We can improve education, expand the cultural and arts scene and make history as a nation built on love and harmony. So much can be done, but it seems that berating expats is our wag the dog tactic to avoid cleaning up the mess we have made, a mess that can take five years to clean up if we start now.

By Nejoud Al-Yagout

local@kuwaittimes.com