When meeting Kuwaitis in their natural setting, which of course is Kuwait, the most immediately remarkable thing about them is that the males of the species all seem to dress alike. Every Kuwaiti man, with very few exceptions, wears a long plain robe called a dishdasha, a head cloth called a ghutra, a headband called an ogal, and a pair of sandals or naal on his feet. So why do all Kuwaiti men seem to dress the same? The answer is simple. The dress of the Kuwaiti male is a fine example of personal adaptation to the rigours of the local climate. And, a most elegant one at that! …..
….. a pentrait by Omar the Outsider Continue reading “The World’s Most Elegant Dressers”
The secret of survival in the harsh desert landscape of Arabia is to find some means of protection from the heat. Hundreds of years ago the people of Kuwait, long the avant garde of the region, invented air-conditioning …..
….. a pentrait by Omar the Outsider Continue reading “Kuwaitis Invent Air-conditioning”
It is said, by those who do not really know much about the matter, that life for the Ordinary Kuwaiti is just one long idyllic existence. An Ordinary Kuwaiti enjoys his share of the oil dividend with a cradle to grave welfare system and an easy job in the civil service. Some say this makes for a life of indolence and self-indulgence. But a closer examination reveals that such an assertion is utterly preposterous and in fact the typical day experienced by the ordinary male citizen of Kuwait is little more than a series of onerous duties to be discharged without complaint …..
….. a pentrait by Omar the Outsider Continue reading “A Day in the Life of an Ordinary Kuwaiti”
A weirdly strange notion about human procreation – that a child’s identity is derived exclusively from its father – is given wide-spread credence throughout the Middle East. The consequences are tragic, infinitely cruel and extremely bloody …..
….. editorial by Paul D Kennedy Continue reading “The Seed & the Soil”
Most people believe that Islamic political theory is anti-democratic, ie it does not allow for rule by the people. This is not true at all. In fact, in Islamic jurisprudence rulers are only considered legitimate provided they have the consent of those they govern. However the notions that underpin Islamic democracy are very different from the ideas that form the conceptual basis of Western political democracy.
An understanding of what democracy actually means in the context of Islam shows firstly that the countries in the Middle East that claim to be Islamic fall well short of the Islamic ideal. An understanding may also provide pointers as to how ‘spreading democracy’ in the Arabic world can be achieved …..
….. editorial by Paul D Kennedy
Continue reading “Islam & Democracy”
Wearing the niqab or face-veil in public is highly controversial. There are good reasons why the practice should not be allowed. And there are few reasons why women of religion should wish to do so …..
….. editorial by Paul D Kennedy Continue reading “The Niqab & All That”
Female suicide-bombers epitomize the horrors spawned by the ideology of Islamic jihadis. But they were not a jihadi innovation. The politics of the first female suicide-bombers were decidedly secular and jihadis only began using them after their effectiveness had been demonstrated by non-Islamic terrorists …..
….. editorial from Paul D Kennedy Continue reading “From Black Tigers to Black Widows”
Being able to externalize our memory and decision-making capacity is what the information age is all about …..
….. editorial by Paul D Kennedy Continue reading “The Magic of the Information Age”
I read with barely restrained giggles the article Bankers hit out at ‘account order’ on page 2 of the Arab Times on October 2nd …..
…. Letter to the Editor from Paul D Kennedy Continue reading “Poor Bankers – Let’s all shed a tear”
A free, vigorous and sceptical press has long been considered the underpinning of a truly democratic form of government because, without a continuous stream of accurate factual information on current events, citizens cannot know whether the government they voted for is working well and in the best interests of their country and the world at large. Is the American press still doing its job? …..
….. by Paul D Kennedy Continue reading “Infoganda & the Withering of Scepticism”