Dr. Mohammad AlSabah: Twitter and Facebook {Diwaniyas of Modernity}




October 7, 2011


Italy - KUNA - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohammad AlSabah stressed that Kuwait owes much to its "continuous political presence, its ongoing political dialogue, and what we are witnessing of Arab Spring in some Arab countries. It is a constant spring for Kuwaitis who adopted their constitution in 1962 with the parliamentary system in government, as a continuation of what they have been committed to for centuries in consolidating the principles of consultation, good governance, and respect for the rule of law."

Dr. Mohammad's remarks came in a lecture on international relations about Kuwait bridging the gaps... A National Journey on the sidelines of the celebration of Perugia International University awarding Mohammed an honorary doctorate for his distinguished role in managing international relations. He said, "Politically, and despite the relatively short history after independence, Kuwait's commitment to democracy has been clear and recognized. The dynamism and vitality of our democratic system are well known in the region and admired by observers."

Dr. Mohammad discussed Kuwait's role in bridging four gaps that go beyond time and place, namely the gap between East and West, rich and poor, present and future, and modernity and tradition.

The Fifth Estate

Regarding the gap between modernity and tradition, Mohammad mentioned in his academic presentation that humanity's journey in search of freedom witnessed a new turn in the age of the internet, leading them to the world of cyberspace. Social media platforms have helped bridge many gaps between people, providing them with a platform to express their thoughts, frustrations, and demands to their governments, making social media the fifth estate in the state after the fourth estate represented by the press.

In the field of media and press freedom, Mohammad AlSabah highlighted Kuwait's vibrant and free press in the region, with an active societal movement that has led to the creation of channels and platforms for citizens to express their opinions, making Kuwait a unique model of democracy in the region.


He considered that the uprisings in the Arab street are a strong indication that Arabs have turned to a platform through which they can make their voices heard not only by their fellow citizens but by the whole world through the impact of social media.

Dr. Mohammad explained that Kuwait, for example, is one of the leading countries in the Arab world in using Facebook and Twitter.

He concluded by saying, "As Kuwaitis, our understanding of tradition and modernity is intertwined with our DNA, and the bridge between tradition and modernity is not strange to our society. Kuwaitis can be considered 'traditional modernists,' and Kuwait City can be considered a global city when modernity is linked to openness to the world and its diverse cultures, and to new ideas, whether political, economic, or social."

Human Rights

He said: "The most important bridge we need to build is the bridge between peoples, between Kuwaitis and Italians, between Muslims and Christians, between Arabs and Europeans, and between East and West.

He added, "This gap between our languages, cultures, and traditions must be bridged so that we can learn from each other, for the higher purpose of our common interest, because 'behind all our differences, there is something we all share today, and here it is our human rights as humans.'"

We Crossed the Sea

He added: "Our society is one of the societies that sailed the sea in a period before the discovery of oil, and its men sailed the seas in search of livelihood and trade with different communities, to Iraq and India, and far away to Zanzibar, known as the triangle of trade. It was the duty of our ancestors to know several languages, such as Indian and Swahili, as well as English, and then this communication with different peoples, religions, and cities planted in themselves a high sense of tolerance that passed from generation to generation."

Tolerance Feeling

He said: "This feeling of tolerance can be felt in our homes in what is known as the Diwaniya, where any stranger can enter freely, mingle with its visitors, and discuss topics such as politics, economics, and religion without any exception, as they are mini-parliaments spread throughout Kuwait, where people communicate and express their opinions and concerns."

Diwaniya, Our Platform

He considered that the Diwaniyas were the "Twitter" and "Facebook" of Kuwait in ancient times before the emergence of these social media sites, and no successful politician dared to avoid visiting the Diwaniyas, as they have always represented the pulse of society and the primary indicator of public opinion, confirming that our democracy was authentic before societies were described as "modern" or "fashionable" because of their democracy.

He concluded by saying that "Kuwait has a rooted culture of tolerance and understanding of globalization, derived from skills that have been developed for centuries. Our ancestors passed them on to those who followed them, and therefore, our transformation as Kuwaitis from traditionalism to modernity is not a process defined by the modern technology of our fast-paced world, but rather it was created by us, it is actually from us and within us."

Foreign Policy

Dr. Mohammad AlSabah explained that the state's foreign policy, which was characterized by a high degree of caution and vigilance towards bad intentions, carried by Saddam Hussein, started with the fall of that despotic regime from preventive diplomacy to economic diplomacy, with the aim of maximizing benefits and benefiting from the atmosphere created by the security breakthrough in the region by taking several steps to enhance its social and economic goals, benefiting from its distinctive geo-political position.

In this regard, he affirmed that Kuwait is one of the most important and active diplomatic centers in the Middle East, where the number of foreign embassies has jumped in the past few years to 94 missions, with 12 new embassies opened last year alone, at a time when the number of joint committees with countries around the world is increasing steadily, occupying economic issues the largest share of its work.

The number of agreements and memoranda of understanding between Kuwait and friendly countries has increased from 42 to 164 agreements and memoranda of understanding in 2006.

Financial Center

He added that in its quest to further engage in the issues and concerns of the international community and its future challenges, Kuwait has expanded the scope of its diplomacy by opening 12 Kuwaiti embassies abroad over the past five years, bringing the total to 90 missions covering all parts of the world. He said: "The vision of His Highness the Amir of the country to restore Kuwait as a thriving commercial and financial center in the region is reflected and enhanced in the development plan adopted until 2035. Currently, the development plan for the next four years until 2014 is being implemented, with a budget exceeding $120 billion."

Present and Future

Dr. Mohammad AlSabah also addressed the challenges posed by the gap between the present and the future, pointing out that the late Amir of the country, Abdullah AlSalem AlSabah, and because of the state's reliance on a single source, oil, decided in 1953 to diversify the country's sources of income by establishing the Sovereign Wealth Fund, the first of its kind in the world and one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.

Sabah AlSalem Generations Fund

In 1976, the then Amir of the country, Sheikh Sabah AlSalem AlSabah, may God have mercy on him, issued a law to establish the Generations Fund, a revolutionary idea of ​​imposing certain taxes on the current generation for the benefit of future generations of grandchildren who have not yet been born. This idea reflects the far-sightedness of the Kuwaiti leadership in creating a financial resource that could enable future generations after oil to create a sustainable economy.

Regarding the gap between the East and the West, Dr. Mohammad AlSabah stated that Kuwait, since its independence in 1961, has adopted a policy of positive neutrality towards the ideological differences between the East and the West.


Source: Al-Qabas

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