Strong will builds nation

sheikh nasser sabah al-ahmad, one of the most learned sons of the ruling family said at the opening ceremony of a conference at the faculty of science that the islands development project is significantly beneficial because it will create 200,000 new jobs in addition to other benefits — financial, political and geographical. all this is beautiful and wonderful but the problem lies in ‘but’. this word puts on hold everything! for half a century, our governments h a v e f o r m e d committees and fed us with plans and programs and r e f o r m committees to reform the country’s economic paths, as opposed to the reports of global banks. all, or a majority of these studies have found their way to the dust bin. but we will assume that the project of the islands will be something different and more serious than any other project. another ‘but’ to show this project, which is estimated to give its results in 2035, will not mean much if kuwaitis don’t use their brain. it is true that the outputs of our universities do not qualify us to compete in today’s world, our administrative systems are flimsy and all the indicators of quality, competitiveness, governance and the level of education show that we are at the bottom of each list, but i am not talking here about the outputs of education, or change and development in the government administration to keep abreast with the time. all of these, despite their utmost importance, need a strong determination and iron will, and application which may take the time of entire generation, but i say what i am more concerned about here is the importance and the ease with which it can be applied to bring immediate change in the kuwaiti human environment. it is unreasonable to see momentum picking in the wrong direction — i mean in the issue of fatwas, religious decrees and programs, visits of preachers from neighboring countries and the quran memorization and recitation competitions, which islam has not known in its history which suddenly gained momentum accompanied by generous rewards while at the same time objecting the establishment of an opera house or a visit of a thinker who is well-known, preventing the publication of ordinary books which call for shunning hardliners, punishing listening to a lecture which was attended by no more than 20 people. if we look at the rest of the world, we will find the most creative people are the ones who love their country and are dedicated to defend it. they are the people who enjoy the greatest freedom and respect. it is not useful for us, sir, to build islands and silk roads and huge concrete structures if we do not succeed in building a human being — a citizen with sound thinking and one who can take the initiative which cannot be found without freedom and dignity. how can we think of the 21st century human being and multibillion dollar projects when our government is still afraid of listening to a lecture from an obscure thinker? why are we afraid, and are even prevented from writing about the need to permit things that are axioms in human life? why do we prevent the publication of serious books but encourage the publication of superstitious and cookery books? we help those who put in our minds the same things which we have been listening to a thousand years ago but prevent those who want to open the horizons of science and enlighten our paths? how can we provide 200,000 new jobs for citizens who were overjoyed to hear the cancellation of a committee that had achieved nothing over the past 26 years? we were successful and creative, by everyone’s testimony, when there was no oil or money, when the government spending was minimal and the margin of freedom was big. this is what we need most. sir, we need nothing more than a strong will, determination and unwavering decision-making process.

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