This advertisement has been airing all summer on several Kuwaiti TV channels. The aim of it seems to be an attempt to open up our eyes and tell us that racism amongst our people is ridiculous. The advertisement portrays two legendary martyrs of the Gulf War, Ahmed Qabazard and Asrar Al Qabandi. Both have heartbreakingly heroic stories, tales of sacrifice and enduring torture for the sake of preserving their country’s soil.
Ahmed Qabazard’s story, in particular, applies to the recent unreasonably thick tension between Shia and Sunna across Gulf countries. Qabazard had been on a trip to Bahrain when the Iraqi army invaded his home. Without any hesitation, he returned to Kuwait. Upon arrival, he joined a Kuwaiti resistance group. Ahmed Qabazard, along with his friend Abdulla Al-Ayoub, were in charge. The Iraqi army learned of Qabazard’s involvement in resistance activities and captured him, but before taking him in a prisoner, they asked Qabazard if Abdulla Al-Ayoub was also in alliance with his group. Ahmed made the greatest sacrifice, committed an act of true bravery, and showed the purest act of loyalty and patriotism when he said: I don’t know who that is. He knew that they would both be killed had he admitted they were working together; he realized that at this point he had to die for his country, but he accepted this fate because he knew Abdulla would resume the role of taking care of their people.
Abdulla was Sunni. Ahmed was Shiie. But that never crossed his mind when he put Abdulla’s life before his.
Before he was shot in front of his own home on September 16th 1990, he spit in the face of an Iraqi soldier, to show his disgust at him. A bold, brave Kuwaiti man until his last breath.
Today, everything revolves around ethnicity and religious practices (excessive or lack thereof). These differences, because we have based our lives on them, have bred hate, intolerance, mistrust, and skepticism towards anyone whose beliefs are different. Moreover, this is affecting our society. Healthy, loving relationships can not blossom into life-long, committed marriages due to differences in LABELS. One may notice that the couple themselves have fallen head over heels in love – not caring about silly labels, refusing to pay them any attention. The only ones taking labels into consideration end up being the parents and families, who ironically are not part of the relationship. They refuse to allow their son or daughter a chance at happiness, brushing their emotions off as “childish” (even if the couple in question are both fully grown adults). This obsession with maintaining a ‘pure blood-line’ encourages discrimination, and implies that any ‘outsider’ would *taint* our families, and wouldn’t that technically be saying that the outsider is filthy? In this case, we must be living in Hogwarts, where wizards and muggles simply do not intermingle – oh the shame of it, oh the disgrace! Mudbloods! God forbid we should ever learn how to love and form friendships as *human beings* rather than fictional characters created by J.K. Rowling.
We *must* learn from Ahmed Qabazard, and show gratitude for the sacrifice he made for the sake of our country’s UNITY. He gave his life for this country that is being torn apart with prejudice and discrimination. If he could see the point of intolerance we have reached today, how disapinted would he be? He left a daughter, a wife, and two sons alone in this world, hoping that by doing so, they would grow up in the country he knew and loved, even if he would never get the chance to watch them grow.
Ahmed Qabazard’s daughter, Shurooq, has the same electric-blue eyes as her heroic father. During the 2006 parliament elections, she had given a speech, urging the citizens to vote for the *right* people, not the ones with similar backgrounds, because the country’s fate was in their hands. She had broken down in tears, because she felt like her father’s death was going to waste – then she took a deep breath, and said No, Kuwait deserves every good deed done for the benefit of its future.
And it does. But it is our job to show gratitude.