A Kuwaiti media comment about the skin color and complexion of the accused of involvement in the Istanbul bombing sparked widespread controversy, reviving the discussion of “racism” on social media platforms.
The Kuwaiti journalist, Fajr Al-Saeed, was surprised, in a tweet on Twitter, that the suspect was of Syrian origin, pointing out that she looks “Ethiopian, “Somali” or “Ceylonese”, because of her dark skin.
And she used words that tweeters described as racist, mocking the accused’s skin color and the color of her teeth.
The media also interacted with the response of one of the tweeters, who wrote: “I swear by God, there is no Syrian woman who looks like this in the world,” and she replied to him: “I swear by your oath the same as my opinion,” to attract more abusive comments that described the accused as a “servant” of the Syrians. questioning her nationality.
The Kuwaiti media’s comments sparked controversy and denunciation, as a group of tweeters accused her of “racism” and “incitement to hatred” towards black people, and citizens of Somalia, Ethiopia and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
A tweeter said, “Abominable comments that indicate racism rooted in this character. Unfortunately, she is a media figure who heads Kuwaiti newspapers and state television. I hope that the Kuwaiti authorities will hold her accountable legally.”
Other tweets went on to consider that the Kuwaiti media’s statements reflect “racism and hatred”, present in several groups, with the recurrence of a group of racist incidents towards foreign workers during the recent period.
However, other commentators rejected this link, condemning the media’s statements, and one of them said that the results achieved by Fajr Al-Saeed in the elections “confirm that she represents only herself.”
Al-Saeed clarifies and responds
The Kuwaiti media, Fajr Al-Saeed, was surprised, in statements over the phone to Al-Hurra, how some saw that her statements were racist.
Al-Saeed said, “I asked and said that her features do not indicate that she is Syrian. Every spot in the world has features that distinguish them from others, and we know them through that.”
She added, “It is known that all residents of the Levant have features through which they can be distinguished, as do the Gulf people and the rest of the countries in the world,” asking, “Where is the racism in that when I am talking about the nature of human distinction?”
Al-Saeed also indicated that some of the words that appeared in her tweet “were just replacing a description of the color of the woman’s skin, in the Kuwaiti dialect, and there is no racism in it.”
The Kuwaiti media also pointed out that “the calls issued from inside Kuwait to demand my accountability are not new, and they are funded campaigns,” as she put it.
And she continued, “My enemies are many, from the Muslim Brotherhood to Hezbollah and all the religious radical forces and parties, and there may even be parties from outside Kuwait that stand behind these campaigns.”
She also said, “I am against racism and do not differentiate between people on the basis of race or color, but in the end this does not mean that a person’s affiliation, identity or country is not often determined by his appearance.”
Kuwaiti human rights activist Muhammad Al-Hamidi told Al-Hurra that the Kuwaiti constitution “expressly stipulates equality between people without any discrimination on the basis of race, language, religion and gender.”
Article 29 of the Kuwaiti constitution stipulates that “People are equal in human dignity and are equal before the law in public rights and duties, without discrimination on the grounds of gender, origin, language or religion.”
Article 7 also indicates that “no person may be arrested, imprisoned, searched, or his residence or freedom of residence or movement restricted, except in accordance with the provisions of the law, and no one shall be subjected to torture or degrading treatment.”
In addition to these constitutional requirements, the Kuwaiti jurist points out that the National Unity Law, which was issued years ago, “punishes the abuses that spread on social media platforms,” adding that “black-skinned people have all the respect and appreciation in Kuwait, and whoever is exposed to them is exposed to national unity.” “.
The spokesman states that the tweet published by Fajr Al-Saeed was widely condemned on social media, and some of them even described what she did as worse than what the aggressor who carried out the Istanbul bombing did.
The same speaker highlights that those affected by this tweet have the right to file a lawsuit, as several national laws criminalize racism, and such crimes are punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years.
threat to society
For her part, human rights activist Hadeel Abu Qurais points out that “the ill of any society is ramified by racism and sectarianism against other individuals,” and she regrets that despite the existence of laws criminalizing verbal and racial assaults, there are still many people who practice this systematically.
Abu Qurais explained, in a statement to Al-Hurra, that despite the existence of laws, some do not abide by them, adding that “failure to respect laws means that the tools for their application are ineffective and invalid.”
She adds that the evidence of problems in applying the law in cases of racism is that “sayings cannot be confirmed unless they are written,” adding: “Unfortunately, in our society there are many sectarian and racist pens.”
The spokeswoman added that when demanding the tightening of some laws, such as cybercrime laws, their application is exploited to restrict freedoms and freedom of expression. Therefore, if organizations or human rights activists demand “tightening of these laws, this may conflict with human rights.”
The human rights activist warned of the dangers of racist statements and speeches being issued by politicians or media professionals, as the possibility of them being adopted by individuals who share the same ideas increases, to turn into verbal and physical attacks.
Abu Qurais added that the increase in racist rhetoric against certain groups may result in “systematic sectarian or ethnic crimes that generate internal conflicts.”