Bring back the National Day parades!

Post by Mark

I have two sets of photos to share with you in this post. The first set is taken I think in 1979 on the Gulf Road near the Kuwait Towers. I am assuming they’re taken in 1979 because I was born in 1978 and I think I look like a year old in the pictures. I am not enjoying the fact that I am sharing my baby pictures with strangers but these were the only pictures of a vintage national day parade I could find and I feel its important they be shared.

The second group of photos below were taken in 2005 in Salmiya, Salem Mubarek Street near Sultan Center. The whole street starting from Central Plaza down to Eureka was closed and made pedestrian only. It was like a big carnival mixed in with a parade. Lots of fun and as you can see from the pictures it was pretty packed but not chaotic.

So my question is why have these parades stopped? How did National Day celebration turn from a wonderful event into something that’s gotten completely out of control with foaming. This year I heard a lot of reports of actually spray paint being used instead of foam and I actually saw a car that had been spray painted. Kids and teenagers are still opening your car doors and spraying you and whoever else is inside with you. Many people decide to travel during this holiday so they could avoid this chaos while other people like me try to spend time indoors to avoid being attacked on the streets. And yes I am calling it attacked because when you get foamed against your will that’s harassment. No one has the right to foam you, foam your car and they definitely don’t have the right to open your doors and spray you. I am not even talking about spray paint, urine or any other chemical some kids use.

Can this year please be the last year National and Liberation Day turn into a horrifying foam fest and instead can we please go back to fun for the family street parades?

update: A reader sent me this link to news article on Arab Times, it seems there were 200 injuries and 1 death due to foaming this year. [Link]

update2: Tonight (Sunday 28th) Nat was on her way back from the gym, she was driving on the Gulf Road casually when suddenly just before Texas Chicken a kid jumps out into the street and sprays her while another kid throws a can of foam at the car scratching the paint job. WTF?


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72 comments, add your own...


  1. ON says:

    commmmmmmmmon maaaaaan!
    who r u callin “strangers” ???

  2. Louka says:

    Wow, The pics from ’79 look really clear

    they had a parade on ’05? Im surprised it was so organised

  3. Dan says:

    I totally agree. The celebrations are getting way out of hand. Parades would be a much nicer way for people to enjoy this holiday.

  4. JJ says:

    I sprayed a horse in Kharian on the 25th :D

  5. nq8 says:

    OMG, I was just telling my friends about this very parade. I must have been about 10 years old. I have pics of me inside a model Kuwait Airways plane :D

  6. Mark says:

    scan them and email me them!

  7. Akbar says:

    Hala February should be re-named as HELL February for all the nonsense that is allowed now a days…!

  8. Kuwaitii says:

    Come ON !!!

    If you dont want to be ” Attacked ” Stay away from the Gulf Road !! Even if you live in Salmiya there’s probably 10 different ways you could take home…

    The MOI did an Amazing job this year with organizing the road and the kids were all lined up on one side of the road and order was kept !!

    Come on dont Exaggerate

  9. af says:

    maybe its not 2005 but 2006..the same time allah yer7ma Sheikh Jaber passed…

  10. LILabdool says:

    It’s because a lot of these kids want to be like 50cent.

  11. Mr.pedro says:

    KUWAIT ARE YOU LISTENING !!!!

    A police officer Died Yesterday on His Duty on the motorcycle .. by going over a Empty Foam can and losing control seriously Not worth it [R.I.P.]

    and i am not mentioning other people who got hurt and being hospitalized

  12. Nomaddia says:

    Good post Mark, I hope “one day” we can go back to our old lovley days. Thanks a lot for sharing your photos with us.

  13. desertdude says:

    The 2005 parade looks really cool.Something that both adults and kids can enjoy.

  14. funny story says:

    I got caught in a side street and got partially foamed. I got out of the car and punched and spat at the responsible “thug”. It was fantastic.

    I advise similar actions to what I did.

  15. Reality says:

    I’ll tell you why, because the kids here have no respect.. The parents of these little monsters let them get away with anything. It’s not only on national day that they’re like this, they’re like that every day. I’ve seen the kids on my street throw rocks at busses, throwing rocks at maids, and throwing rocks at my dog while I’m walking him.. They can do anything they want because they know there will be no consequences for their wrong doings,why? Because their parents are nowhere to be found and the maid is too scared to discipline the child. Soon enough these children are going to grow up and have children of their own, what do you think these creatures will turn out to be?

  16. I totally agree…Where is the national spirit and the parades? People are getting injured and dying during these days of chaotic frenzy!

  17. I doubt this will ever stop because mako 8anoun! So LAME ! This only happens In Kuwait what does this explain?
    -N~

  18. aziz says:

    well it’s older than 1978,… look at the 1st picture.. it has the previous Amir, Shiekh Sabah Al-Salem, who passed away in DEc 31 1977.. that means, at the most it’s feb 25th 1977 or before that..

    ;)

  19. B_G_T_R says:

    it happens in the UAE too, but definitly less wild.

    Gulf kids are getting out of hand!!

  20. Lolo says:

    I am kind of sad that you think of us as strangers!

  21. Suleiman says:

    Thank you for sharing your baby photos with us Mark,
    I haven’t lived in Kuwait since 1990, but I had a walk down The Gulf Road on Friday. I have to say that it was very depressing. What kind of people celebrate by building a traffic jam? Isn’t the traffic bad enough during the working week?

    Those photos from the 2005 parade give us a glimpse of what could have been.

  22. lolcat says:

    First of all they need to ban import of this foam cans by the millions that come in from China and other countries.Its the commercialization and fad creation to make a fast buck by the people of Kuwait them self that has resulted in this fucking Foam culture.Whats with the kids ? They stand opposite the road and spray cars? Basically this is an obstruction and endangerment of traffic not FUN !. They should pass a law banning import of foam cans. Also they should fine people who stand on the road and spray people.

  23. Roopesh says:

    Don’t be hurt or sad if Mark referred to you as a stranger. It’s a much needed awareness/lesson for ppl who live on the internet to be cautious whom you talk/socialize on the internet. Don’t take things for granted, trust me.

  24. Roopesh says:

    btw: I was a ‘spray’d by foam victim’ on the gulf road yesterday, luckily it was foam. But there are news that apart from foam other ‘stuffs’ are been used. This just clearly shows the attitude of the ppl towards their fellow beings. ..and mind you kids learn from their elders. Good examples been set.’Good Job’ by the authorities.
    Prayers for the fallen Policeman.

  25. jazora says:

    wait, did u just called your blog readers a strangers??!

  26. Sfsa78 says:

    They should ban cars on gulf street and have a parade there instead.

  27. Sunny says:

    Don’t know who gave this kids the idea to celebrate NATIONAL DAY with foams…… don’t know what they think about NATIONAL & LIBERATION DAY…..

    the most irritating behaviour is of the parents…. why can’t they stop there kids from spraying foams to strangers and explain them the actual meaning of what a National or Liberation days is….

  28. desertdude says:

    @ Reality.Spot on.If they ban foam,those kids will just use something else.It’s their mentality to be destructive and their parents are to blame.

  29. RoXaS says:

    Dude if you keep a mean look no one will spray you i was intact in friday when i was walking alone i only allowed kids to spray me what really is funny i was carrying water balloons incase some one does spray me , I threw one at a dude running to spray me then he stopped ROFL

  30. Louka says:

    @desertdude

    the stuff’s made in kuwait, which is even worse, since they cant stop production!

  31. Ahmed says:

    I think they still do the parade thing on salem al mubarak every year (February 1st)
    I went to it last year.

  32. Fahad says:

    I don’t get one thing selling foams is fine but using them is not!
    It’s like saying selling drugs and alcohol is legal but using them is illegal it just don’t make sense !!
    The only way to end this barbaric actions is not just taking them away the solution is to fine the user of the foam a really huge lump sum of cash let’s say 50kd if you are caught using one many will disagree with me but things are really getting out of hand people are getting run over by cars and losing sight all because those foams I see no fun in this.

  33. Mark says:

    I don’t think its the parents or the kids fault. I think this foam thing has become a means for people to celebrate national day because there isn’t anything else. No parades, no fireworks no carnivals, no concerts… nothing.

    No one is trying to stop it. The cops set up the gulf road for this, the children line up on the sides all organized, people get on the gulf road with the majority of them wanting to be part of this foam fest.

    If foam fest is to be stopped other activities need to be put into place.

  34. NdN says:

    I totally agree Mark. We had visitors from the US and they were staying at Marina Hotel. We had to take them out to dinner one night and unfortunately it was the first night of the “festivities”. I as a kuwaiti citizen was so embarrassed. I wondered what was going through our guests mind when they witnessed a child no older than six run over or when a couple of hours later a car plunged right at us across the median and missed us by inches. All I could do was apologize and explain that its just a bunch of hooligans and low class citizens on the street.
    3aib! Until when is this gonna be legal. Government officials are so busy monitoring our morals and keeping us away from any sexual corruption, but bad behavior is allowed on the streets? A woman can get mauled in the street and cops wont even blink.
    Shame on you kuwait. What happened? And before all you patriots tell me to get out if I dont like it, all I have to say is I WISH.

  35. RoXaS says:

    @NdN

    I saw a kid Foaming my Female cousins that i didnt mind cuz i know i foam but he started to pull away their hands when they were hiding their faces etc…
    then my older brother went to talk to him Older friends of the kid Wanted to have a fight with my brother and A fight broke out i was Watching from afar I came Sprinting and punched a dude and knocked him out cold , Wtf happened to people ? my brother is 20 years old and those guys were 15 ? what happened to respect ? and worst of it all my cousin had to watch us fight I never saw them so afraid they never saw us fight

  36. Aziz says:

    cry me a river :(

  37. funny story says:

    I’m telling you guys, a good SMACK to the teeth does wonders.

    Try it next year guys. It feels marvelous to take revenge against these street parasites.

  38. Nobu says:

    I agree with Mark. There are zero “official” celebrations of our national day, not even fireworks!! What do you expect? People are going to make up their own celebrations, hence the foam fest.

  39. laila says:

    I was on my way home to Mangaf last year same time and a car with a family of 4, Kuwaiti guy and his family stopped a bengali..called him and he went to towards them thinking he was getting paid..he wasn’t even asking for the money in the first place! anyway, he stopped, they foamed his face and clothes and left..
    shraykum bil insaniya el 7elwaa??

  40. Teddy B. says:

    laila, that pisses the hell out of me. I saw something like that today. It’s the 28th for God’s sake arent you bored already? 2 guys in a car stopped an indian guy whilst driving pretending to ask for directions, they were in a fancy range. He rolls down his window and they sprayed him. Now here’s the thing, karma can bite you in the ass. This victim will hate this country, and there will be consequences. Crime rates have increased tremendously because of this new sudden aggression and racism.

  41. FAMAJAH says:

    Here’s to hoping the lunacy ends! I really enjoyed the parades they used to do.

  42. wi-fi says:

    I have something to say here ..

    In Spain they have running bulls day

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_of_the_Bulls

    and i am sure u know what is tomato day in Spain

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato_day

    why didn’t you call it and i will quote ” yes I am calling it attacked because when you get foamed against your will that’s harassment. No one has the right to foam you, foam your car and they definitely don’t have the right to open your doors and spray you . ”

    Please .. don`t make it sound like running bulls day .. its just a foam for gods sacks and accidents happened everywhere .

  43. Mark says:

    An accident is when you get foamed accidentally. There is no accident here its pure harassment.

  44. wi-fi says:

    pure harassment ? then what spanish people got to say to them selfs ?

    huh ..

  45. Holla says:

    Next year i am going to buy a shitty 500KD honda or sthg and drive into maseera with a few of my huge friends. If anyone tries to fuck with us i will just run into their cars and if they get angry, we can get out and really rape them. This is going to be fun, free Kuwait indeed :D

  46. Othman says:

    “I’ll tell you why, because the kids here have no respect.. The parents of these little monsters let them get away with anything. It’s not only on national day that they’re like this, they’re like that every day. I’ve seen the kids on my street throw rocks at busses, throwing rocks at maids, and throwing rocks at my dog while I’m walking him.. They can do anything they want because they know there will be no consequences for their wrong doings,why? Because their parents are nowhere to be found and the maid is too scared to discipline the child. Soon enough these children are going to grow up and have children of their own, what do you think these creatures will turn out to be?”

    +1

  47. Mark says:

    Wi-fi: I don’t see the connection unless in Spain they release the bulls into the shopping malls and have them chase people randomly

  48. Othman says:

    wi-fi, they have no right to foam you. I don’t care if its national day or not, there are laws that these scum should follow and apparently they’re not. Just because it’s national day doesn’t mean they can do whatever pleases them. The gulf road is not their playground nor it is a garbage yard for them to throw their cans and litter. I mean for fcuks sake the least they can do if they really care about this country is not litter on the streets.

  49. lolcat says:

    @wi-fi Why are you trying to justify foaming in the first place and then you go comparing Spainish bull run to some kids blocking traffic and foaming,your country celebrates National and Liberation Day by foaming people on the street wow so much to say.

  50. lolcat says:

    @Mark lol

  51. lolcat says:

    SPAIN BULL RUN NOT EQUAL TO KUWAIT NATIONAL AND LIBERATION DAY.

  52. Umme Kulsum says:

    I agree ! Kuwait is the dirtiest (cans all over ) place to be on the day that holds its pride. I don’t know what kind of spirit it demonstrates.

    On a totally different note :P Mark you were a cute baby :D. Kindly confirm the same is true today :P

  53. Mark says:

    No the dirtiest is Amsterdam at the end of queens day. I say the end of the day not the day after because at night they completely clean up the whole city from all the cans, broken glass, trash etc…

  54. X.Loui says:

    My second incident (off course after many of the other little ones) I was at one of the gulf road signal this kid comes running to me from no where and realizes his foam can is empty…throws the can right onto my window causing a crack and a scratch on my car. If I wasn’t pregnant, I would have gotten out of the car and would have flung my shoe at the kid..

  55. wi-fi says:

    @ mark , othman & lolcat :

    since 1910 .. only 15 people killed .

    since 1991 .. how many people killed by foam ?

  56. Mohd says:

    According to alaan 11 deaths due to accidents .
    and thousands of tickets .

    I agree with Mark , kids have energy they need to spend it . And laws are not that strong .
    not much of activities for the young teens

  57. hilaliya says:

    If you know there is going to be pandemonium on the Gulf Road then avoid it altogether. I wouldnt take my family around those areas. We hear reports of spray paint and urine in those containers so these areas are to be avoided.

    Even the Bnaider-Julaiaa-chalehaat areas on the road are even more chaotic and crazy and are to be avoided because they have the added elements of people in dune buggies etc driving and spraying.

    I believe National and Liberation Day should have parades and yes the Gulf Road should be closed like the 70s.

  58. Mark says:

    Its not just the gulf road though, its the roads parallel to the gulf road, around the gulf road and leading to the gulf road. the traffic becomes endless and the people who were cruising the gulf road foaming or heading towards the gulf road to foam don’t stop or start once they are off or on the gulf road, they foam all the way to and from their destination.

  59. Dan says:

    For people living in Salmiya, “not taking your family around those areas” is not an option. For residents (both Kuwait and non-Kuwaiti) of Salmiya, life during National Day/Liberation Day weekend is truly a living hell. We either become prisoners in our homes or find it impossible to get back if we do manage to venture out. You can’t believe how relieved we are that the crazies have gone back to their areas and life is returning to normal!

  60. daggero says:

    If we have national parades the people on the floats will be sprayed by foam too by the hooligans , they will be sitting ducks .

  61. Othman says:

    Anyone remember quite a few years ago when kids used to throw those stupid little firecrackers at people in the streets/malls/etc? They kept on going for over a year until cops started taking them away from kids due to injuries and such. Anyhow, The point is, if cops started doing the same for foam cans then we wouldn’t have such a big problem.

  62. Sunny says:

    Few are supporting foam culture here…. and giving examples of spain and other countries….

    But they should understand… that on those countries this type of celebration takes place in a particular area or location…. in spain they don’t run the bull all over spain i.e., in all corners of spain….

    on 23rd february i saw one family came to Mcdonalds in between 5 – 6 PM…. near the Mcdonalds there is Gulf Bank… one person came to withdraw money from the bank…. the 2 kids from that family just sprayed foam allover this persons body including his face….. he didn’t say a word and wiped of all the foam and this kids sparayed him all over again…. the parents of this kids were sitting and enjoying what there USELESS kids were doing…..(That man was a poor bengali.. he didn’t tell or do anything to those kids, I would have kicked those kids on there face)

    wi-fi….. do u call this celebration…. and that person didn’t even go to Salmiya or Gulf street

  63. wi-fi says:

    @Mohd : ” قال مدير ادارة الاعلام الامني الناطق الرسمي باسم وزارة الداخلية العقيد محمد هاشم الصبر ان 11 شخصا توفوا في حوادث متفرقة على جميع الطرق خلال فترة الاعياد الوطنية.
    وقال العقيد الصبر لوكالة الانباء الكويتية (كونا) اليوم ان هذه الوفيات حدثت في اوقات مختلفة وعلى طرق عدة بجميع المحافظات خلال تلك الفترة. ”

    http://www.alaan.cc/pagedetails.asp?nid=47807&cid=30

    I think he says killed by car accident not by foam .. wtf is wrong with you ?

    @Sunny : I think the area is the street and not the avenues .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQjqwdRuIJ8

    welcome to Kuwait .. and yes I am justifying foaming as you all seems liking people getting killed and injured by wild animals every year .. mater fact u seems all loving it .

    enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgecdQ7dNdE

  64. Wael says:

    It is always the same each year. What caused me more distress is the fact that all the major hyper-marts carried cartons of the foam-type sprays and displayed them proudly along with other celebratory paraphernalia.
    It is not only the stretch of gulf road where these hooligans sought their kicks, but also near signals (an expat pedestrian was foamed in the face from an SUV right in front of my eyes), and other popular streets like the Mata’em street in Salmiya. The cops were parked around the two round-abouts leading to the street but chose to stay in the comfort of their cars (weather perhaps?), and turn a blind eye to all that was unfolding. So much for the law enforcement.
    ..and did someone comment that he/she sprayed a horse in Khairan??!!

    Sorry to hear about Nat, dude, but glad that she wasn’t harmed in any way.

  65. mushroom says:

    well there’s a big difference IMO compared to last year. we cruised the gulfroad (but on the opposite side of the road). all of the kids were “organized/lined-up” on the curb and if you want to get sprayed, just pass by them and they will spray. its fun actually.
    also, we were at the stop light near city center salmiya. there were 4-5 kids standing there and they were asking permission if they could spray your car. that kind of attitude i like.
    Lastly, we ate at the lebanese resto just before shaab park. on the way to our car, these bastards (ranging from 15-20 years old) sprayed us with water..
    i thought i completely avoided getting foamed at.. but no…!@#$%%$#

  66. zaydoun says:

    Do you honestly expect a parade and fireworks when our very own leaders can’t be bothered to stay in Kuwait and commemorate these holidays?

  67. AndyQ8 says:

    The problem is that National and Liberation Days don’t mean anything if you don’t understand the history.
    I asked a Kuwaiti teenager what celebrations there might be next year for National Day as it’s an important milestone (50 years.)
    He didn’t have a clue what happened in 1961!

  68. B_G_T_R says:

    @zaydoun –> they are too busy fishing or killing deer and birds in some poor country……..

    they have no time for less important issues such as our country’s celebrations!

  69. zaydoun says:

    B_G_T_R…. I know, don’t get me started! I’ve railed against this every year on my blog

  70. Reno H. says:

    Imho anyone that sees a “poor bengali” (hindi, what have you) getting foamed, abused, harassed etc. and does NOTHING is just as guilty as the attackers. This is especially aimed at citizens and people with . . . what’s the magic word? Wasta! Why? Let’s face it. Most, if not all non wasta carrying expats here know that it’s in their best interest not to get involved with a kuwaiti in a fight. Turn the other cheek if you will. You can imagine the trouble an expat can get into for fighting for his/her rights on those 2 days. “I would have kicked his teeth in” “I’d a beat them up” blah etc blah. Then friggin get up, move your ass and HELP THE POOR BANGALI OUT FFS!!! Maybe some of you actually do and if so God bless. If people stood up for those unfortunate souls and violence broke out next year I wouldn’t be suprised if the following headline made the front page on feb 23rd 2012: ‘Anyone caught interrupting a citizen during their chosen method(?) of celebration will be fined KD(insert random 3 digit amount) and jailed’. Why the need for bloodshed though? Raise your voice, create a ruckus, inspire a crowd gathering. They scatter like roaches when the lights are turned on! Try it! Try something. Anything! Also it annoys me how the majority of arabs refer to BANGLADESHIS and INDIANS. It NEVER sounds respectful. Like their new found love for calling an indian/bangladeshi “bhaisaab”. *sigh* end rant lol. Excuse now. *faint*

  71. Othman says:

    …and that my friends is what generalization means…


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