An old abandoned building in the city

Post by Mark

No idea what the building used to be but I found the door open and just walked in. It’s located in the parking lot behind Jashanmal in Kuwait City. Like all old Kuwaiti buildings there’s lot of nice open space inside and someone really should take the building over and renovate it.

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Captain Abdool – The Pirate

Post by Mark

Captain Abdool is a locally produced stop motion web series created by two brothers, Maitham Abdal and Hasan Abdal. So far the episodes are pretty basic but they are planning to introduce more characters and environments soon.

Usually the way they work is by coming up with an episode idea and then seeing if the props needed are available in the size they need (1:6 scale). If the prop is not available they either make it or change the whole idea depending on the amount of effort and cost. The animation is done in their small studio at home and takes around an hour or two to shoot. Once they’ve done shooting they modify and clean up all the shots in post and then add the music and any sound effects in the video editor. Each episode generally takes between 6 to 12 hours to complete.

I really love what they’re doing. I think their character Captain Abdool is cute and their stop motion looks great but their stories definitely need a lot of work on since their endings are all pretty weak. You can check out all their episodes to date in their YouTube channel [Here]

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Letter Home by Karen Alanizi

Post by Mark

Letter Home is a book written by Karen Alanizi on her experiences during the 1990 Kuwait invasion. Below is the description I got from her website:

The Compelling true story of Karen Alanizi and her Kuwaiti husband during the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Based on a letter written to her family in England her story reveals the heart-wrenching emotions, fears and the often amusing and sometimes bizarre side of life during the Iraqi occupation.

She describes the desperation of their separation, and the journeys that eventually re-unite them in England.

As the Gulf War unfolds they fear for their family and friends left behind in Kuwait and wait impatiently for the Liberation of the country that they love so much.

I haven’t read the book but while checking out her website I found some interesting pictures she had taken during and after the invasion. One of my favorites is the one I posted above of the two people in a George Bush and Margaret Thatcher masks. If you’re interested in her book or checking out more photos click [Here]

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New English School after the invasion

Post by Mark

Al Jazeera has photos taken of NES right after the invasion showing the state it was in. One of my favorite photos from the bunch is the one above of Jehan Rajab, the co-founder of the New English School. The photo was taken outside the school grounds following liberation. Check out all the photos [Here]

Thanks Mathew

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20th Century Battlefields – Gulf War 1991

Post by Mark

This is an hour long BBC documentary about the 1991 Gulf War presented by father and son historians Peter and Dan Snow. [YouTube]

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The Kuwait Invasion Anniversary

Post by Mark

Since it’s the anniversary of the 1990 Kuwait Invasion I always like to share the important links below.

Free Kuwait
This is a website that focuses on the campaign that was led by Kuwaitis in exile and is loaded with photos and information.

Kuwait Invasion – The Evidence
This is a website that contains over 1,200 pictures taken right after the 1990 invasion as photographic evidence to all the destruction caused by Iraq.

Short movie: Hearts of Palm
Hearts of Palm is a short movie set in August 2nd 1990 and deals with Kuwaiti students living in Miami Florida during the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait.

The Class of 1990
This is a short documentary about reuniting class mates years after the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

Homemade video from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
Video clips taken by a Kuwaiti family during the Iraqi invasion

Desert Storm Photos
Photos taken by soldiers during Desert Storm.

Photo by Adel Al-Yousifi

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Haitham Al-Ghareeb, a Kuwaiti violin maker

Post by Mark

Last night I passed by and met Haitham Al-Ghareeb, a local violin maker. We met at his small cozy workshop in Rawda located right outside his home. When you walk into his dimly lit workshop you’ll see a small diwaniya on the left with around a dozen violins hanging on the wall, while on the right hand side is his workstation where he crafts all his violins. He filled a kettle with water and put it on a small electric stove next to him and we started talking.

Back in 2000, Haitham was a oud player but was interested in getting into violins. He started looking for a good violin to buy in Kuwait but he couldn’t find any. Most of the violins available in the market back then were of poor quality from low end brands. That’s why Haitham decided to make his own violin using documents and instructions he found online.

Haitham hadn’t crafted any musical instruments before, he had dabbled with some minor oud repair but nothing major. This got me even more curious, how can a 25 year old with no previous woodworking skills be able to craft such a delicate instrument as a violin? Well the answer I believe might be in his genes. Haitham’s father, grand father and great grand father were all dhow builders. Woodworking had existed in his family for generations and it was just natural for him to be good at it.

Haitham’s first violin wasn’t flawless, it had mistakes and was made using locally sourced wood but yet the sound it produced to his ears was beautiful. This encouraged him to build a second better violin with imported tonewood (wood cut specifically for musical instruments). He started frequenting forums and participating in online communities where other violin craftsmen from around the world would share their tips and techniques. His violins kept improving with every build and soon he had his own tips and tricks to share with the community. He loved crafting violins so much that he quickly forgot about wanting to play them. He became obsessed in building and perfecting his own creations.

When Haitham first started making violins he was spending 4 hours a day working on them and each violin would take around 2 months to complete. Nowadays he’s too busy with work and family so it takes him around 9 months to complete a single violin. But he’s fine with that. He never started making violins with the intention to turning it into a profitable business. Even his prices have remained the same over the years even though his violins kept getting better and demand for them kept increasing. He just loves making violins and isn’t interested in expanding. It’s a hobby he’s just really good at. He also does a lot of repair work on violins which to many musicians is a lifesaver. Musicians bond with their instruments and having a local violin maker means that a damaged violin no longer needs to be discarded but instead can be repaired. Only two of the violins hanging on the wall were his, the rest were either in for repair or were being sold by other musicians.

Once we were done with the interview, Haitham served us some tea. Throughout the whole interview which lasted around 40 minutes I had watched him make us the tea using two kettles, a can filled with what I assume is tea leaves and a box filled with I don’t know what. He then skillfully poured the tea from the large kettle into three glasses that were sitting amongst a dozen on the table in front of us. The tea was delicious and to me summarized the kind of person that Haitham is, a perfectionist.

If you’d like to contact Haitham for any reason you can do so by emailing him on

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Kuwait Law: The Labor Law Post

Post by Fajer Ahmed

The majority of the emails I get are regarding employment rights or should I say the lack of. I completely understand why I am getting all these questions. I am personally tired of how every time I walk into a store and ask an employee how long their shift is I get ridiculous answers like 8AM to midnight!

I realize how tough it is to go and speak out to your employer about a violation since I’ve been in that situation before. I also realize how bad Kuwait’s reputation has been over the years because of the way employees are being treated.

Recently I was hired by a company to help with some employee issues. The owner of the company stated that he didn’t know how he was supposed to treat his employees so I made an easy to read table with all the obligations of an employer as well as the rights of the employees. The full version of the law is hard-to-read and long so I rewrote it into a more direct and easy to understand language and placed them in a table for you below.

The law articles are mentioned in brackets for easy reference and the full version of the law is available [Here]. Click on the link below to view the rest of the post that includes the easy-to-read the table.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Kuwait Law: How does a non-Kuwaiti become a Kuwaiti?

Post by Fajer Ahmed

According to the Kuwaiti government, in 2008 Kuwait’s population consisted of 3.3 million people, 2.3 million of which are foreigners. That’s double the number of Kuwaitis so I can understand why the Kuwaiti government would want to protect the Kuwaiti citizenship, and therefore making the procedures/requirements for getting a Kuwaiti citizenship tougher than other countries. But how tough are they?

Before I get into that, I have to explain the unique situation of the citizenship law that states how a non-Kuwaiti may become a Kuwaiti:

1) It was one of the first laws in Kuwait, even before the constitution and before Kuwait was officially recognized as a country. The citizenship law was promulgated (published) in 1959, via an Amiri decree. (Kuwait didn’t have a parliament then)

2) The law has been edited and re-edited, written and rewritten, promulgated and un-promuglated over and over throughout the years; 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1970, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000…

3) Under article 1(e) of the Administrative Court Legislation, the courts do not have jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the issuance of a citizenship. Basically what it means is the court can’t deal, handle or look into any issues that has to do with the citizenship.

How can a non-kuwaiti can be considered for the Kuwaiti citizenship?

First of all you need to have fulfilled the three requirements below:

Then you need one of the below:

So let’s say you have all the requirements, let’s say for example Mark (he is Arab and has a decent job) becomes Muslim for 5 years or his family has been in Kuwait since 1965 or the government really thinks that is making significant contributions to the country. So what does mark have to do to get the Kuwaiti nationality? First thing Mark has to do is apply to citizenship department (All paper requirements found here) then:

I have deliberately missed out some points regarding the issuance of citizenship’s because I did not want to complicate things. If you require any further clarifications please let me know, also if you have any stories you want to share feel free to do so.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
Have a Kuwait law related question? Email me at

The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.

Picture on top by zDistrict

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Kuwait’s booming Instagram business

Post by Mark

Popular blogger Kottke as well as The Atlantic Wire both recently featured articles on Kuwait’s booming Instagram business model. The way Instagram businesses have exploded in Kuwait kinda reminds me of the US e-commerce boom back in the 90s. For example I met a person last week who has 3 physical stores for his brand as well as an Instagram account. He’s now closing down two of his stores because his Instagram account is bringing in more business. Check out the two articles on the following links [Kottke] [The Atlantic Wire]

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