Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I Apologize Mr. Msallam Al-Barrak

Msallam Al-Barrak

Dear Mr. Al-Barrak,

I write this public letter as I'm disturbed by feelings of shame and regret. I don't know if I'm taking advantage of your name to gain more readership, or if I really do care about your situation and how much Kuwait misses your presence at this moment. I feel incapacitated as I write this; I can't help you out or sentence you to freedom, whilst you, behind bars, are paying my price and the price of many Kuwaitis who long for a free society, for democracy and popular involvement.

I cannot understand how you get on with your life in prison. The sheer disappointment you're feeling on a daily basis. I'm sure you hoped that the people won't leave you by yourself and will fight for you as you fought for them for years and years. You spoke their words and said things they never imagined themselves having the courage to say. And yet, when you got sentenced to a couple of years in prison, they abandoned you. I abandoned you.

Imagine, Mr. Al-Barrak, that my practical efforts to "free" you consist of a hashtag on Twitter every now and then, or maybe I mention you to a friend to revive the mere fact that you exist and that you should be freed. I look at Kuwait today, and the shit that it's facing every day, and miss your appearance, that appearance which would send shivers down the spines of the elements of corruption and autocracy in Kuwait. They couldn't stand your mere presence which scared them, and they sent you to prison.

And for what? You didn't kill anyone, you didn't rob a bank, you didn't embezzle money. YOU SAID THE TRUTH, and the truth hurt them.

Look Sir, I think you made many mistakes. I do not agree with many things you did. I think some petty debacles you had with your opposition allies caused many a limitation in its effectiveness. Also, I am a firm believer of collective pressure. A cause shouldn't be represented by an individual, but by effective groups presenting a singular message and representing diversity, especially in Kuwait. We are all in it together. But how can it be collective if no one wants to take responsibility and move forward like you did? How can we move forward when no one is ready for sacrifices, and you're the only one who is spending months upon months behind bars, with a smile?

And those smiles, Mr. Al-Barrak, kill me a thousand times. Yes, I know that they're a message to those who think they can break you by imprisoning you; but they're also a reminder to us, to me, that we're not doing enough. You, alone, behind bars, are more effective than the thousands of us on the outside.

Mr. Al-Barrak, you're one of a kind. You deserve to be your own entity. You deserve the limelight, and you deserve the honor of leading Kuwait into its limelight, as well. The steps are slow and hard, but I'm sure that everyday you spend in prison is a day of more determination and resolve to award the people of Kuwait with what they deserve. And you'll prevail; we will prevail with you.

I write this with the hope that we rekindle the process as soon as possible and maybe before you're out. But we're a thousand times stronger with you. We see the strength in your eyes and are able to walk the walk instead of just talking it. We see what you accomplished with very little, and are more willing to pay the price of those accomplishments with you.

To the prospect of your freedom, Mr. Al-Barrak, I write. To a prosperous Kuwait in meaningful democracy, I write. To the price you and many others are paying, I write. I write for the lost citizenships of the Al-Barghash family, the banishment of Sa'ad Al-Ajmi, the imprisonment of Ayyad Al-Harbi, Abdullah Fairuz, and to the many others being politically targeted in Kuwait.

I also write to appease myself with the petty satisfaction of doing something more than a lost, quickly forgotten hashtag on Twitter. I write because I feel helpless and sad. I write you because I genuinely miss your presence on the forefront of Kuwait's reformation. Kuwait misses you. And as I reread this to check for mistakes and typos, I realize that it really sounds like a letter from a naive teenager but I don't care. You deserve more than a letter. You deserve to be free and one day, you will be free, because your freedom is a step in Kuwait's own path to freedom.

Yours sincerely,
A self-labelled Average Kuwaiti