Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Letter to Muna Al-Fuzai - Kuwait Times

Hello. Below is an email I sent in response to this article and the one previous which Mark has provided (Kuwait Times removed the original article.) If I have said anything wrong, then I would welcome your comments. Let the Games begin! :)

Dear Ms. Al-Fuzai,

First of all, I am not generally a reader of your esteemed newspaper, but sometimes a few articles attract my attention. Such as yours that have been spread all over the blogosphere recently, which was titled, "What Not To Do In Kuwait".

Furthermore, no one could disprove the truth of what I had written, even though it was an exaggerated satire.

What part of it was the truth exactly, to be disproved? All you have written was baseless with no facts to back it up. Satire? This is not called satire, this is called tasteless. What you have written in that article alone should be posted in the National Enquirer alongside with "The King is Alive!" headline. If you want state the truth, then state it with facts to back you up.

Today, Local Spotlight will shed some light on those who had thrown stones even though homes are made of glass.

Here's a proper quote for you from a true writer, "Satire lies about literary men while they live and eulogy lies about them when they die." - Voltaire.

Yes, I'm a Kuwaiti. Yes, I love my country. I'm honored to be writing for Kuwait Times and to be given the chance to make this country better by being honest about both its good and bad points. Because I love my country, I want the best for it. I hate to see injustice; unfairness, laziness and willful ignorance by anyone who wants to destroy this great nation.

I am Kuwaiti too, I love my country too. I'm honored to defend the right of free speech and I would shed blood for my country. Yet, 'free speech' is a gray area in which everyone defines it in many different ways. You definitely are not being honest about the bad points, please back up your article with f-a-c-t-s and not half-truths. If all bosses and taxi drivers were rapists, then this country would descend into anarchy. Many people, in fact the majority want the best for Kuwait. You are not the only one, but in order to do the best for your country, do it the RIGHT way. Not by smearing it's image with baseless and tacky information.

I also hate to see guests of my country live in improper ways and think badly about Kuwait, or for people in other countries to disparage Kuwait because of its human rights problems. I believe it is a Kuwaiti citizen's duty towards their country to call for reform for any current conditions that is not in the best interest of Kuwait.

A little too late for that, don't you think? You among others, already did a good job of making others 'think badly' about our beloved country. We're not monsters, we are known world-wide and throughout history that Kuwait is a peaceful nation. We are not a nation of rapists, warmongers nor thieves. If you think it is your duty to call for reform, then once again I tell you, do it the RIGHT way.

What is the rule of journalism? Is it to print colored pictures of pretty girls, singers and celebrity news? Is this what many people want to read and learn about nowadays? Sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword and honest writers don't need a weapon because their pen can talk truly and freely. This is why no matter how we disagree over many issues in Kuwait, we love Kuwait and this is our way of making it a better place for all and not only Kuwaitis.

This is my favorite part, I hope you're still reading this because this is where it gets really good. Tell me ma'am, define journalism. There are different forms of journalism of course. There have been great journalists that I have read about (also read their works). Yet there are a few, who paint a ghastly picture with their pens. They are so good, that the gullible believe every single word. Are you aiming for the gullible, or are you aiming for the intelligent masses? If it's the latter, why bother? If it's the former, then congratulations they are probably nodding their heads in agreement over every single word you have printed.

If you consider your pen a weapon, then use it to fight against realistic issues. Invention is for fiction writers, what sort of writer are you exactly?

You keep mentioning that you want to make this country a better place to live in. Then why not work harder on it? Write about the prodigies that we have in this country. Write about realistic problems which are happening on a daily basis and are actually affecting everyone's (including 'guests') view on Kuwait. Do you have actual statistics about the number of taxi-related rapes? Have you been out and about lately? Have you seen what kind of sexy clothes Kuwaiti women are wearing? Do you see the secret police in every nook and cranny where they can hear us grump about the laws and the way the gov'mint is running things?

Finally, here are the basic rules of journalism for you: Don't make things up; don't take credit for someone else's work; don't become bigger than the story; attribute your information; seek multiple sources. Also, I advise you to look up the word 'satire'.

"Journalism reflects the values of our culture. Unfortunately, it has been infiltrated by some who prefer hype to honesty. We live in a time when it is better to look good than to be good." - Janet Kolodzy

I believe that real press is the one that focuses on the misfortunes of people in order to draw the attention of officials to the needs of all residents and not only the citizens. A real press is one who encourages many Kuwaitis to work for the betterment of the country and believe in their abilities to make Kuwait better by their own pens with their real names open for every one to see and not hide behind fake names and fake email addresses.

You see my name in the header field? It's [CENSORED] and I am a proud Kuwaiti citizen, who does in fact try the best I can to make things better, to the best of my own abilities. I'm sorry to say, the Kuwait Times would not be considered 'real press' in my dictionary. Their articles are badly written (if not quoted from other news sources) and the editorial staff could use another English language course. To better your country (this is to the Kuwait Times staff in general), better your attitudes and have an open-minded view in regard to your sources and to your reader. Also, get a proper proof-reader.

How many local daily Arabic newspapers do we have in Kuwait? They used to be five and now they are eight, so there are eight newspapers for the Kuwaiti people to express their wishes and demands.

I don't see the point of this paragraph. What are you aiming at? Yes, I see people expressing their wishes and demands.

Why is it weird to find a group of honest Kuwaiti writers talk about the problems of their own country? Should we sit back and ask someone from the moon to talk on our behalf??? How are we supposed to develop and advance if we ignore our nation's problems and do nothing for our country except hang out in the malls and say, "Wow, how dare he/she talk about Kuwait like that???"

Trying to transliterate quotes and words from Arabic to English is really not a good idea, such as "ask someone from the moon". If you consider yourself honest, why do you call it a satirical article then? You're contradicting yourself. Either the article was satirical with no truth to it, or completely true...where are the facts though? Do I have to come sit with you and walk you through the steps of writing and journalism? I would be glad to give you some pointers for free, honestly. Believe it or not, a lot of people are working extremely hard to develop and advance this lovely little country. You just need to go out more, come visit my company. Go visit the hospitals, police stations and fire stations. Look at how HARD our boys and girls are working on making Kuwait glow bright on the map.

Here's another rule for you, do not generalize. It is one of the mistakes any journalist can do and can result quite a few ugly run-ins. Such as this one.

Giving advice to others in order to help them avoid possible risk or commit mistakes is the Islamic way. You can read more in the Islamic Sunna from the life of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) to learn how important it is to give advice and what blessings you can get out of it. This is the mission of the honest press and this is what my column Local Spotlight is all about.

You may give the right advice and you may not generalize. What blessings are you getting by saying all taxi drivers are maniacal rapists? What blessings are you getting by smearing another's image? That definitely wasn't part of the Prophet's (PBUH) Sunnas.

My advice to you, review what you have written carefully. Read HOW you have written it and you may notice where your mistakes are. I'd like to remind you, that this email is referring to the articles in question, as for the others; I have read them and I consider some of them quite good, so it's a shame to see your quality of writing drop down a few notches.

We need good writers, we need good people. Not hypocrites.

Thank you for your time and patience, and please keep an open-mind when reading it.

Sincerely,

[CENSORED]
System Analyst

21 comments:

DA said...

I wonder if Kuwait Times would publish our responses in the 'Letter to the Editor' section hehee
Good article cheers..
BTW I wonder whats the Kuwait Times editors / management's take on this issue??!!

offmyhead said...

why is your name censored. anyway, good reply. people like you make blogging interesting.

Jewaira said...

BRAVO!!!!
Now that is the kind of writing we need Mini.
Really, barradt chebdi!!!
I hope your points are taken seriously.

sws said...

The original article (avoid this and that) sounds like my mother's advice to me as I was growing up.

Don't talk to strangers

Don't expose your body

Don't accept gifts from random people.


Some expats, especially those who are less priviledged and are here to work in an underpaid job, come from small villages in the philipines and Indian and have had a very sheltered life. This could be an eye opening article (little exaggerated) so to prevent problems in the future.

Hopefully we in Kuwait can prove otherwise by our sensibility and sensitivity to those who are less fortunate, and AVOID our constant mistreatment and belittling of Domestic labourers.

Mini Я. said...

da: In my opinion, they're spineless.

offmyhead: maybe she'll publish my email, u can read my name then. & thanks :)

jewaira: thanks! :) I hope they take me seriously too. :)

sws: She could've written her article in a more logical & convincing way. With the decency to explain that this does not apply to the whole population in general.

Kthekuwaiti said...

I think Mona Al-Fuzai should stick to writing the ingredient contents on imported food.

Я said...

K: I couldn't agree more. Long time no see man.

Anonymous said...

while i agree her article is greatly exagerrated and inappropriately written, i have one comment to make..

how about mentioning the issue in which kuwait has created a law which doesnt allow certain nationalities from allowing family members to visit them? so this is is a step towards becoming a peaceful country?

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