360 Mall Currently on Fire

A friend just sent me the video above he took of 360 Mall on fire. Looks like it’s in the new extension near IKEA but hard to tell from the video if its the mall parking that’s on fire or the actual mall. Will post an update once I get more details.

Thanks @nibaq

Update: Looks like fire was put out and doesn’t seem to have been any serious damage.

Kuwait Movies

Lessons of Darkness Now on YouTube

Lessons of Darkness is a film about the Kuwaiti oil fields in flames directed by Werner Herzog and released in 1992. I posted about the movie 8 years ago but it wasn’t available to stream online back then, and now it is.

The style is similar to movies Baraka and Samsara where footage is combined with beautiful music except, in this case, the beautiful footage is mostly of horror and destruction. The first few minutes look like a scene out of a sci-fi film and it’s really an epic-looking film overall.

The film is available on YouTube and in HD. I have no idea how long it will be up there until it gets pulled for copyright reasons so if you haven’t watched the film this is your chance to do so. Here is the link.


The Kuwait Invasion Anniversary

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the 1990 Kuwait Invasion. Every year on the anniversary I like to share some links related to the war, here they are:

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 on 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 classmates 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.

Short Animation: Sandarah
A captivating story based on true events that took place during the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

First Account of Iraq’s Invasion of Kuwait
Interviews with various Kuwaitis that were in Kuwait during the 1990 invasion.

Iraqi Invasion Pictures
Photos of the Gulf War aftermath.

BBC Documentary: The Last Flight to Kuwait
A series of documentaries on Iraq begins with a look at the fate of British Airways flight BA149 to the Far East in 1990. As the plane landed in Kuwait, Saddam Hussein invaded, capturing its crew and passengers.

Lessons Of Darkness
This film surveys the disaster of the Kuwaiti oil fields in flames, with little narration and scarcely any interviews. Hell on Earth is presented in such transcendent visions and music that one can only be fascinated by it.

Top photo by Steve McCurry, the rest by Bruno Barbey

Information Kuwait

Update on Sahel App in English

A couple of days back I posted about the lack of an English option in the Sahel App and clearly a lot of people are frustrated by this. But I bring you good news!

According to a source involved in the project, the app has had the English option available for a while now but are unable to launch it just yet because some of the entities that are in Sahel have not finished adapting to English and English data. That’s why it’s taken longer than expected to roll out the English version, but it will eventually roll out.

That actually makes a lot of sense. For some reason, I thought it was just about translating the text inside the app to English but I didn’t consider the fact that the English data we input would then have to work with the various different ministries that all deal with Arabic paperwork. The fact that the ministries are now working to have English be an option is actually impressive.


Google Maps Now in Shades of Beige

Ummmm has anyone noticed Google Maps recently? They’ve updated the satellite imagery of Kuwait and the satellite must have passed over during one of our duststorms because all the satellite imagery is now just yucky brown. Link

Information Kuwait

3D Animation of the new Messilah Beach

Yesterday I listed a bunch of landmarks that were demolished over the past few years but I didn’t mention Messilah Beach since I’m not really sure whats going on there. It’s meant to be closed for renovations but I don’t know if they’ve completely demolished it or not. Based on Google Maps, it looks like it’s still there but in any case, the video above is a 3D animation of what Messilah Beach will eventually look like once it’s completed.

Just going off the video it looks like it will be a less approachable more premium beach. What was great about the old Messilah Beach was how affordable and accessible it was to everyone. I used to go there when I was in school since it was the only nice beach we could afford.

The new renovated Messilah will contain:
6 Restaurant blocks
Swimming Pool and Wet Recreation areas
Jogging Track
Hard and Soft Landscaping
450 Car Parking spaces

Kuwait News

Kuwait Protests US Embassy Gay Pride Post

Over the weekend the US Embassy in Kuwait posted a message by President Joe Biden in support of Pride Month and as you can imagine, that didn’t go well.

As of this post, there are over 21,000 comments under that Instagram post with the majority of people being really upset about it. The story was picked up by the international press and is now making its way around the Internet.

I was curious about whether the US Embassy in other Arab countries also posted a similar message supporting Pride Month, and if they did, what kind of reaction people had to it. Below are two lists, one relating to Instagram posts and another relating to Twitter:

US Embassies Pride Post on Instagram
US Embassy in Bahrain – Yes (633 Likes – 4.8K Comments)
US Embassy in Egypt – No
US Embassy in Jordan – No
US Embassy in Kuwait – Yes (2,930 Likes – 21.8K Comments)
US Embassy in KSA – No
US Embassy in Lebanon – No
US Embassy in Qatar – No
US Embassy in the UAE – Yes (609 Likes – 1K Comments)

US Embassies Pride Post on Twitter
US Embassy in Bahrain – Yes and Banner (18 Likes – 73 Comments)
US Embassy in Egypt – No
US Embassy in Jordan – No
US Embassy in Kuwait – Yes (1,009 Likes – 2.3K Comments)
US Embassy in KSA – Yes (560 Likes – 1K Comments)
US Embassy in Lebanon – Yes Retweet (39 Likes – 99 Comments)
US Embassy in Qatar – No
US Embassy in the UAE – Yes (41 Likes – 156 Comments)

A few interesting things. Firstly this wasn’t a universal message posted on all the embassies’ social media accounts. The US Embassy in Bahrain went a step further and replaced its Twitter banner with a Pride Month one. Finally, one thing is pretty apparent from the lists above, Kuwait’s social media response completely shattered the other Arab countries when it came to comments and likes. I’m now curious to see what’s going to happen next if the US Embassy doesn’t remove the post, are we going to boycott US products? Doubt it.

Kuwait News


I’m guessing everyone felt this morning’s earthquake since, unlike the previous ones that have hit Kuwait before, this one was fairly strong.

An earthquake of magnitude 5 struck Kuwait, the ministry of information tweeted on Saturday.

The ministry said “the Kuwait National Seismic Network recorded an earthquake measuring 5 … southwest of al-Ahmadi, and it occurred at exactly 04:28:02 a.m. Kuwait time (0128 GMT), at a depth of 5 km (3 miles)”.

The Kuwait’s Fire Force also said that there was no damage as a result of the earthquake. Source

According to some sources online, the earthquake measured a magnitude of 4.4 but according to the Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) it was actually a 5.


The Most Dangerous Job in Kuwait

On Saturday I was at the Toyota dealer service center picking up my car. I get there early and head towards the glass office of the customer service person whom I’m supposed to pick up the car from. I knock on his door and see he’s on the phone, he tells me he’s finishing up with another customer on the phone and to give him just a few minutes. I’m like sure and I go back out and wait outside his office.

As I’m waiting, a fireman comes and stands outside the guy’s office. In my head, I’m thinking that maybe I should be nice and let him go in ahead of me since he’s a fireman and is busy saving lives, putting out fires, and helping cats down from trees. As I’m finishing that train of thought, the fireman starts banging on the glass window of the office and yelling at the service guy to hurry up and get off the phone. I realized that I probably don’t have to be nice and give the fireman my spot since it looks like he’s going to push ahead of me in line anyway. So to make it clear to him that I’m ahead of him, I tell the firefighter that I’m also waiting for the guy to finish.

A few seconds later, the fireman angrily barges into the office and yells at the customer service guy to get off the phone because there are customers waiting outside and tells him he’s going to give him five minutes to do so. The fireman leaves the office yelling loudly at how the service guy is on the phone while there are customers waiting. Another Toyota employee came out from another office to see what all the commotion was about and saw the fireman yelling so took his papers and told him he’d help him.

At that point, I had a realization, any job in Kuwait that involves having to deal with customers, is probably the most dangerous job in Kuwait. From Shop&Ship customer service people to delivery drivers, I can’t imagine how much abuse they have to deal with on a daily basis from entitled people who think the quickest way to get things done is with threats and yelling. That’s one job I don’t think I’d last a day in.

Kuwait News

Fire at Tent City

If you’re on the highway right now you might be noticing a large plume of black smoke in the distance. Turns out tent city which is located next to Friday Market in Al Rai caught fire.

@kuwaitnews has some more footage here and @alqabas are also posting updates.


Fill Up Your Own Fuel

Over the weekend Oula and Alfa fuel stations started closing some of their fuel pumps and operating just one for each lane due to a lack of staff. This started causing long queues at the pump with some people waiting 45 minutes just to have their car filled with fuel. It’s odd that this started happening at both stations at the same time, but they both seem to want the same thing, either to start charging for the service of filling your car up, or turn the stations to self-service ones.

Oula posted a story yesterday stating that their Al-Omariah station now operates on a self-service system. Their plan it seems is to want to charge 200 fils for people who want fuel filled up by one of their employees which makes sense but, based on the comments on their Instagram, people don’t want to pay and would rather drive to an Alfa station instead. Alfa on the other hand hasn’t posted anything on their account while KNPC posted last night saying that basically nothing will change and nobody is gonna start charging for service.

Personally, I find this whole thing just odd. We all used to fill up fuel ourselves like 20 years ago and it’s a normal thing around the world so I don’t understand why there is so much hoopla around this.

Kuwait Movies News

Netflix Ban Hearing Starts Today

Back in February, a Kuwaiti lawyer filed a lawsuit against the MOC demanding the blocking of Netflix due to the Arabic movie Perfect Strangers. The lawyer believes the movie goes against local religious and moral values and so wants Netflix banned in Kuwait. Well, the first day of the hearing is today.

I highly doubt Netflix will get banned but you never know here. Good luck Kuwait!


Timelapse of Dust Storm Hitting Kuwait City

One of the guys at my office just shot this pretty cool timelapse of the dust storm hitting the city. We had a great view since our office looks out at the sea so we saw the storm coming from the North. Check it out below.

Shot by @Oa4_

50s to 90s Kuwait Photography

Kuwait National Day Parade Photos 1975-77

I’ve had these photos in my archive for a couple of years now, I forgot where I got them from but I guess it’s about time to share them. Some of the photos are really great but I’m not 100% positive about the date of the photos.

They’re a mixture of photos ranging from 1975 to 1977. I think 1977 because in one of the photos you can see the Kuwait Towers in the background and it looks like construction on it was completed, but that only happened in 1977. But in other photos, you can see the dates 1975 and 1976 so it’s a mix.

No matter the dates the photos are really great and with all the silly drama with yoga taking place now, vintage photos like these are now more important than ever to share. You can view and download them all in hi-res by clicking here.

In addition to the photos, there is also a video taken from the AP archive showing the 1975 parade. Usually, I’d say bring back the parades but even if we did, I don’t think it would ever be the same. Kuwait was so different back then.

Kuwait News

Kuwait overturns law criminalising ‘imitation of opposite sex’

Kuwait is in the news again but for the first time in a long time, it’s actually for good news. Yesterday the constitutional court overturned a law that criminalized “imitation of the opposite sex” which was used to prosecute transgender people.

Back in 2007, the National Assembly voted to amend Article 198 of the law to criminalize “indecent” gestures in public and imitation of the opposite sex. Other than the fact the law was deeply discriminatory, it was also overly vague and should never have been accepted into law in the first place according to Amnesty International.

With the way things have been going recently, I’m personally surprised the law was overturned so I guess there is hope.

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