The Khaled AlFadala Story

The Citizen does not often delve into international affairs, save when it concerns American and/or Catholic interests. The recent arrest of a Kuwaiti political reformer is a story that most media outlets will not bother to cover –  but it is in many ways, a story important to all Americans.

The Citizen has enclosed a PDF document detailing this young man’s story. In short, he is a Kuwaiti national who studied political science and international affairs at the University of Hartford. He then took his expertise and education home, to become a rising leader in a reform organization known as the National Democratic Alliance. Last November, he spoke critically of the Prime Minister over questionable expenses, lack of accountability, and possible misuse of public funds. The government charged and convicted him with the crime of offending the Prime Minister. His sentence is three months.

Three months. For demanding accountability in government. Some 234 years ago last week, a group of reformers risked everything –  their wealth, their station, their freedom, their very lives. The result was the United States . Khaled is one of many people fighting for some of the same basic rights we take for granted in this nation. Accountability. Woman suffrage – a fight that was won in 2005 in Kuwait. Election reform. Transparent government. Elimination of systems that foster corruption. This is a crime? It is in Kuwait .

From an article in the Kuwaiti Times, Khaled is not standing alone. It seems that his actions has drawn widespread support from a number of parties representing a spectrum of ideologies. This bodes well for democratic principles in Kuwait .

What can we do?  Write a letter to the Editor. More importantly, call your congressional delegation. Demand that they contact the State Department. It wasn’t that long ago that the United States led a coalition in a war to free Kuwait from Iraq . While the Citizen understands that not every nation is going to operate the same way the United States works –  this is why we are unique among all the nations of the world –  Kuwait claims to be a constitutional monarchy. A nation that operates under the rule of law and not the fiat of a prince, king, or emir. I guess the Prime Minister is another story.

As citizens of a constitutional republic that espouses democratic principles of justice, liberty, and the rule of law, we must support those who seek to bring these virtues to their own nations. This gentleman is fighting for principles that we have long taken for granted. Let us remember the sacrifices that our forefathers made to win us liberty and honor them by supporting those who have taken up the torch of liberty in their own nations.

May God watch over this young man and his nation.

  5 comments for “The Khaled AlFadala Story

  1. Kuwaiti
    July 8, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I am glad that this has received coverage here, since it is very little. Not even the likes of Al Jazeera, which is big on covering Iraq and many things anti-western, have covered this at all, and I believe it should be regarded as international news to make the global conscious more aware of this patriot's plight.

    Thank you for your work.

  2. observer
    July 9, 2010 at 6:19 am

    "Three months. For demanding accountability in government."

    No, three months for slander, defamation, and false accusations.

    In most European countries (like Denmark, Finland, Norway) you can get up to six months in prison for these crimes.

    Italy and Greece are even more severe: up to 5 years in prison.

    • The Citizen
      July 9, 2010 at 6:49 am

      I'm sorry, Observer, perhaps I am in ignorance of the facts of the case. Was the HH the Prime Minister able to account for the funds identified as missing by the Audit Board? Monies he was accountable for? There is a difference between issuing slanderous statements and calling out against corruption. I would think that the definition of slander in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Italy, and Greece are a little more – rigorous – then as demonstrated in this case.

      In many countries, government officials are responsible to the people they govern. From the timeline of this incident, it appears that the Audit Board did it's job in identifying irregularities. Irregularities that were ignored, it seems. Mr. AlFadala did his job as a citizen by demanding accountability from his elected government officials. Of course, as a member of the royal family, the Prime Minister cannot afford to be seen as anything less then a paragon. In all of these nations you mentioned in your argument, government officials responsible for the disappearance of millions of dollars would be the ones facing jail time. You see, in most of these nations, the Prime Minister – whether he knew of the wrongdoings or no – is responsible for the government he heads.

      I am also curious about the claim that money is paid to the press. That's illegal in most of those countries you mentioned as well.

      Sir, if you choose to use examples such as you employ, you really need to compare like things. You employ broad generalities and say it is of the same cloth when it is not.

      Forgive me if I speak in ignorance – I grew up in a real democracy. Mr. AlFadala is seeking to provide the people of Kuwait a nation that embraces similar values and freedoms.

      Thank you for your contribution to this discussion.

  3. observer
    July 9, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Dear Citizen,

    You write that "Mr. AlFadala did his job as a citizen by demanding accountability from his elected government officials." When in fact, he made a very public statement in which he outright accused the PM of stealing.

    You see, I live in a real democracy, too, where the Prime Minister did not send out his secret police under the cover of night to unlawfully detain Mr. AlFadala at a Guantanamo-esque location without formal charges. He left it to the courts to decide. And they did.

    Now, we can disagree with the severity of the court's sentence, but that's a different discussion altogether.

  4. The Citizen
    July 10, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Really? A true democracy? Well, I criticize our president quite often and openly, as well as a slew of other political officials. If Mohammad al-Jasim was a citizen of the United States – or Norway, Sweden, and the other nations you mentioned – he wouldn't have been jailed for his blogging activities.

    Again, it may just be my ignorance but were there other reasons for banning Madawi al-Rasheed and Muhammad al-‘Uraifi from entering Kuwait other than that their beliefs and political views are contrary to the government's?

    Reporters without Borders rate Kuwait 85th in the world for freedom of the press. A free press is vital to a true democracy. de Tocqueville was prescient when he wrote "The power of the periodical press is second only to that of the people." I seem to recall one of the defenses offered by the government about the millions of unaccounted dinars were secret payments to the press. A true democracy doesn't allow government to buy the press. Our own media was briefly overwhelmed by an aggressive and manipulative administration, but the system is correcting itself.

    I didn't attend the trial – I probably won't be allowed in Kuwait in any event now that I've been critical of the government – and I didn't read the transcripts. Let's not be dramatic now, Observer. At no time did I insinuate that the Kuwaiti government sent it's secret police out in the night to abduct Mr. AlFadala. Even if Kuwait has such an agency – why would they bother? Mr. AlFadala is prepared to suffer for what is right. If that means being tried and convicted by a system that most nations would call unfair – well, he is serving his sentence. Fair or unfair.

    If your political officials are so sensitive to criticism, they are either too narcissistic to be effective leaders or they are hiding something that makes a few million dinars look like pocket change. People in a true democracy should be free to criticize – even harshly criticize – their political leaders. Let the onus of proof rest on the shoulders of those who have been entrusted with power, authority, and responsibility.

    Again – thank you for you contribution.

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