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Expats versus Kuwaitis - The local music scene - Events, reviews, interviews and more from Kuwait Music - Kuwait's top blog

Expats versus Kuwaitis – The local music scene

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Published on March 16th, 2013 | by Nabeel


Let’s face it people – in almost every single walk of life in Kuwait there is a tension (to put it mildly) between expats and locals. There are strange relationships of civility between Western expats and Kuwaitis and more of a strong disdain between locals and Asian/Arab expats. It’s a two way street – I’m not pointing any fingers that aren’t pointed straight back at me.

How the hell have we developed into a culture that goes -

‘All Indians/Egyptians/Kuwaitis/Bengalis/Filipinos/Pakistanis/Brits/Americans/Bedoons are … (insert derogatory reference here)?!’

I’ll tell you how. It’s taken years and years of us working against each other, racially-based salary schemes, self-seeking, two-way ingratitude, ego-tripping, cultural stereotypes, anti-social behaviour and refusing to understand each other to come up with this culture. I’m not against generalisations mind you – we definitely have things that are wrong with each of our cultures. But we are what we are.




If there is ANY place in Kuwait where we can salvage our souls, it’s going to be music. Already on certain blogs and Facebook pages there is a call for greater Kuwaiti-Expat understanding. For the sake of the country, our own happiness and for music, we owe it to ourselves to bridge that gap.

Let’s leave money, race, family name, status at the door when it comes to music. As an individual I don’t give a crap about any of those things. I don’t care if you’re from a prominent Kuwait family, Western ambassador, an IT technician or a street cleaner – I am not going to think more highly or lowly of you than the extent of your character.

There is so much that is deeper than all of those things and we as music-lovers and musicians have access to it… and the gift of being able to spread it.

Do you think we can do it? I’d like to leave you with a Rap video from Bahrain. Both in terms of what these musicians consider BAHRAIN to be, and what I hope to see Kuwait become – this was inspiring.






About the Author

Nabeel Mohan is Editor-In-Chief at ENGAGE. As a science fiction buff, he loves robots and space aliens and if ever the world were to be taken over by robot space aliens, he would be the first to betray the human race.

9 Responses to Expats versus Kuwaitis – The local music scene

  1. Ali Sleeq says:

    Music can bring us together, but that’s haram too so…

  2. djelibaby says:

    I think its more what we DO with music that can be haram. There’s a lot of potential out there – as shown by this bahraini dudes!

    • Caesar (Kuwait Music) says:

      It’s true – let’s start the revolution right here on km – it can happen ! And it already is :) so many Kuwaiti – expat collaborations have taken place as a result of people meeting each other here . It’s possible so let’s do it

  3. BigMo says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

    This is definitely a topic that needs to be spoken about to shared.

    As a Kuwaiti, the discrimination and risk people take for a better salary to send home, need to be greatly appreciated.

    Kuwaiti’s have grown accustomed to this lifestyle of fo-luxery. A picture painted by western culture, and the United Kingdom to be specific. They created a system of systematic slavery in the Middle East as a whole.

    Countries like the UAE have shown to be more progressive, allowing expats ways of garnering citizenship, serve as police officers and other government positions.

    Becoming less discriminatory also lessens the likeliness of “wasta”. Once Kuwaiti’s begin to realize that we are all equal; I hope we can also remove the system of “wasta” as a whole. Though, I understand in a small country and tightly-knit culture people will still know people in certain government positions, but I hope that with an increase of equality less illegal “wasta” will be administered. (getting released from custody scot-free, without trial for said crimes is a big one.)

    Again, thanks for raising this important subject. This is a topic that needs to be spoken about.


  4. jelly says:

    I agree – this needs to be stared right in the face and answered. Its gonna need cooperationi from both sides. I completely agree with big Mo – this country was initially built with Kuwaitis and expats working side by side. Somewhere along the way we lost that brotherhood (and sisterhood of course) – and of course money can do that. but it must be fought against. not in a sense of charity (although that’s good too) – but actual cooperation!

  5. joe neffin says:

    completely agree. music is a universal language of connection. A great chance to bridge this gap here!

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