11

A story of teenage violence in #Kuwait (+18)

A few hours ago, I read yet another disturbing piece of news through Kuwait UPTO Date. The page shares local news and events and this particular “event” was not a new one to Kuwait. According to an eyewitness, a couple of young men started a fight over one of them (probably the victim) mocking the other’s highlights (……) which eventually led the latter to stab the young man to death.

Eyewitness

The eyewitness claiming that the reason was a bad fashion statement.

Eyewitness

Another commenter specified details about the victim who turned out to be a local male, age 24.

Image of the victim courtesy of Kuwait UPTO DATE

Image of the victim courtesy of Kuwait UPTO DATE

Victim 2

Image of the victim courtesy of Kuwait UPTO DATE

May God give both their families the strength to carry on through such difficult times knowing that the loss of both sides could have been prevented if someone gave a damn to stop those guys from wasting both their lives for nothing.

UPDATE: Image of the assailants on Jimccy blog: http://jimccy.com/3196.html

Within the past couple of years, we’ve heard a lot of incidents where teenagers/young men seemed to be totally out of control. One of the most famous was the case of Dr. Jaber Youssef who got stabbed in another mall after a dispute over a parking space. (….)

The 4 suspects involved in the crime are awaiting their execution according to the newspapers and memorial page created by those who were deeply shocked by the horrible murder. LINK

I have to admit that after reading that shocking story of Dr. Jaber, I felt that Kuwait will never be the same again. Aside from the fact that someone would go batshit crazy over anything trivial and harm someone, who would just stand there and watch someone get stabbed repeatedly in a busy mall and not do shit to prevent it?! I mean, the killer wouldn’t have been sneaking up on the victim obviously since their argument took place a bit earlier. And people still stood there and watched him do that shit and get away with it. He actually went home and met up with his friends later! Did it not occur to anyone standing anywhere in that mall while watching an adult run with blood all over him to at least throw something at him to hinder his getaway?

Well, at least they caught the man. But in another case, the attackers were lucky enough to get away and the victim was lucky enough to live and tell.

On Friday, the 18th of January, 2013; a lady was attacked by a group of teenagers in the middle of a busy parking lot and no one even bothered to do shit about it.

The whole incident started when the victim was stuck in a parking lot with a bunch of teenagers driving around recklessly while yelling obscenities at other drivers. Her bad luck put them both next to each other for a few minutes as they attempted to drive around looking for a spot. The kids kept on with their behaviour, pressing on the gas pedal, screeching their tires and yelling out insults. She stared at them and one of them asked why she was looking. She told the kid that what they were doing was disrespectful in addition to harmful to others and that they should behave. They answered back calling her names and she told them to bugger off and managed to move ahead to control the situation and get away from those kids. Next thing you know, those kids kept on yelling obscenities but this time they were directed at the lady calling her all sorts of insults a teen shouldn’t be using in addition to laughing and moaning. She moved on until she had to stop at an intersection and next thing you know, those kids hit her car from the back in an attempt to provoke her. It unfortunately worked. She stepped out of the car and started yelling that she will call the police. Her sister was there and she asked her sister to lock herself in the car and call the police. There was an exchange of words and more obscenities yelled from both sides until suddenly, the driver tried to step out of the car in an attempt to attack her after threatening to bust her face. As a quick response, she tried pushing the door back to prevent him from stepping out. The kid slammed the door open hitting her in the thigh. He did that repeatedly as she tried to keep the door shot while shouting for help. None of the bystanders tried to interfere. In a glimpse, 4 other teenagers stepped out of the car and the lady was grabbed by the hair from one side and the punches kept rolling. She was punched repeatedly in the face by 5 kids in the middle of a busy parking lot while everyone just stood there and watched. No one even said a word to discourage the kids other than her poor sister who stood there crying and screaming for help. Suddenly, one of the attackers went after the sister and tried to grab her by the waist in an attempt to sexually harass her. she managed to kick him off and the lady being punched managed to escape the grip and go after that kid who ran off to the other side of the car. In a second, they got in the car and fled the scene. Both victims tried to catch the number of the car which could have probably run over anyone standing there but they couldn’t. The victim stood there shocked, beaten and angry at everyone for not even bothering to step in and break what seemed to be a scene from a typical gangster fight against a woman. The kids were Kuwaiti and the lady was a foreigner. Maybe the fear of dealing with deportation or any other shit they come up with when you’re not a citizen came between the bystanders and the woman, but to her; nothing was excusable.

It took the mall security which is one of the high end malls in Kuwait about 10 minutes to arrive to the scene wondering what’s going on. They asked her to go to the police but the victim insisted on having the police arrive first to ask the witnesses who were rather worthless anyways. A couple of people managed to step up claiming that they caught the car plate number and one only offered to help in case a witness was required. Friends and family of the victim then arrived to the mall and it was apparent that the mall security didn’t have anything much to offer other than empty words and a couple of glasses of water to both traumatized women.

What happened after that was even worse.

The whole family headed to the nearest police station to file a complaint against the unknown, runaway assailants. The treatment at the police station was horrible as the investigator seemed to be short fused and snapped at the victim for “answering him back” when he asked “do you personally know any of the attackers?”. Her answer was simply “If I knew any of them, I wouldn’t be here asking for help.”

The investigator even threatened to close the case and brought her to tears.

With no regard for anything, the treatment was harsh and extremely unjustified. After an attempt to cool her down, the family managed to bring the victim back into the interrogation room to finish all the formalities and do the necessary to find those kids.

The investigator asked them to get a report from a government hospital documenting all the assault obtained injuries. The treatment at the hospital was no different. The doctors were rude and apathetic about the whole situation and failed to document all the injuries although the victim pointed out specific injuries that were crucial to the case. One of which was a huge 14 inch bruise on her thigh which was the result of the attacker’s initial attack. There were scratch marks on her chest, bruises on one eye and a side of her lips, bruises on the chin, arms, and leg. She was punched in the head in addition to her hair being grabbed in a firm grip.

After another hour of hell in that hospital, she went back to the police station and told the investigator what had happened. She also told him that she didn’t believe the report was accurate and demanded a transfer to a more professional hospital. The investigator then instructed her to go to the forensic hospital. It was almost 1AM and she didn’t want anyone to claim that the injuries were not fresh or even staged so she went there hoping that there would be a positive end to this night from hell.

The treatment there was surely not better. The place was dark and full of half-asleep nightwatch employees (not sure what to call them since they seemed to lack any professional attributes). The family waited in a beat down office for the doctor to arrive and inspect the injuries. To their shock, the doctor refused to inspect claiming that the law requires a female doctor to inspect females only! They tried to convince the doctor and he refused although the victim made it very clear that she did not care whether he or any of the other men took a look as long as they never have to go back to that place. No use. They tried calling the female doctor and she refused to come down claiming that “the victim has to be either a rape victim or a dead body” (!)

The family left the place physically, emotionally and mentally drained returning home to rest so that they can revisit that hell hole the next day.

The next day was luckily better as the victim eventually managed to get the correct and full forensic report documenting all her injuries with pictures. She delivered the report to the investigator who seemed to be a bit less aggressive and promised to help catch the attackers.

One other crucial thing was the car plate number. The number the witnesses provided was not one that the victim thought looked familiar. The investigator ran it through the system many times and tried to play with the sequence and all but nothing useful came up. All different descriptions. After announcing that the number was a no match, he asked her to visit another police station. The whole process was repeated with the same results. They even tried showing her some images of a female suspect who was in the car with the attackers but she didn’t confirm nor deny since she wasn’t able to see her clearly during the attack. The victim managed to remember some of the digits of the car plate number and gave it to the investigators to run it through the system one more time. To their surprise, the exact car description showed up but since the number was not similar to the one given by the witness who was contacted for confirmation, the investigator told the victim that if they ask to bring the owner of that car in and it’s not one of the attackers, she’d be in deep trouble! They urged her to go back to the mall and ask for surveillance records. Knowing that it’s not her job and that no one seems willing to do anything but the bare minimum, she headed back to that dreadful place and had to wait for almost 3 hours for the security officers to show up. They had nothing to offer but apologies from the mall administration and promises that they will increase security measures and install some cameras at the outdoor parking lot. She went back to the station to deliver the outcome of her visit to the investigator. Needless to say, nothing happened. The investigator just asked her to wait until they do their research and they would get back to her.

Next day, she receives a call from the mall management after they heard from their staff that I went there to ask for surveillance records. The management who didn’t even bother to call the first couple of days was now trying its best to explain to her how they will do their best to prevent what happened from happening again. It was obviously an attempt to avoid any legal action which would have probably been justified due to their lack of security measures given the Dr. Jaber incident that happened a couple of months ago.

Then there was the embassy. She contacted the embassy knowing that they will definitely not allow such an incident to happen to their citizen without getting those attackers caught and punished. The embassy was not of any help as they clearly stated that they will only pressure the authorities to investigate further but cannot do anything more than add pressure if and when needed. They gave her their contact numbers and asked her to keep them updated with the latest.

She tried approaching bloggers, pages and many others to spread the news hoping that the attackers would be caught but only a few managed to help. A couple of good friends and the Dr. Jaber Youssef Memorial page. All the big, famous, and nice bloggers of Kuwait turned their back to this case and one famous one even asked her friend -another blogger- to “start a page and run a campaign” brushing them both off since he’s too busy gathering money from big establishments for bullshit reviews.

One of her friends advised her to approach newspapers and even managed to set up a meeting with a reporter. She met with the lady and told her everything hoping that some exposure would lead to some pressure and eventually the capture of the attackers. Up till this day, that story was never released. The only time her story was released, it was twisted. It claimed that the incident was over a parking spot and that the lady was almost double her real age. It didn’t take her long to realize that someone from the police station slipped the story to a friend reporter. What pissed her off the most was that whoever slipped the story lied about the whole situation and said it was a fight over a spot instead of the real version. The age was not an issue to the victim but it helped her know the source of the story since the investigator wrote her birth date wrong and she asked him to change it but he said it wouldn’t matter.

On the night of the attack, the victim updated her friends through social media with the story and to her surprise, one of them already knew something happened. She was a bit relieved until she asked him where he got his info. He indicated that someone tweeted about something happening in that mall. She checked twitter and found the tweet. The person mentioned the incident while stating that “kids shouldn’t see this”. Kids shouldn’t see what? A woman cursing. But it’s ok for everyone to watch a someone get beaten up and not interfere. The person even went further with explaining how she thinks that a woman screaming at the top of her lungs, cursing kids is wrong. Yes, it’s wrong when you’re not being physically attacked by those kids. Yes, it’s wrong if you raise those kids not to insult people using words an adult wouldn’t dare in their right mind use against people and for pure fun. Against people probably double their age. People who were trying to save your kid’s life by getting her beaten up in a mall for standing up for everyone’s right of a safe weekend. Including yours and your kids.

It wasn’t long enough though that others started tweeting and spreading the news about the story when all of those who were given the responsibility of being the digital voice of Kuwait “bloggers” failed to answer the call for help.

It was overwhelming to see how a group of strangers jumped to help through tweeting and sharing. Especially right after other strangers watched you get physically attacked, did nothing about it and also contributed to the pain by spreading their ignorant, insensitive remarks about how they think you should act according to ridiculous social standards as opposed to help address the real problem.

The problem revolves around 3 things:

  1. Young people nowadays have a huge problem with respect. And before you jump into conclusions and say that same stupid “swearing at the top of your lungs” shit is the reason, I would like to remind you that the kids were already yelling insults -whether racist, sexist, or sexual- in addition to the fact that when you get physically attacked, you rarely maintain common courtesy. Try getting punched in the face while being in a tight grip. And add people standing there and watching that happen.
  2. The lack of security measures in malls and streets here contributes majorly. I mean, how big is Kuwait?! Are we only good at arresting poor illegal residents or what? Why can’t a family go to a goddamn mall on any given day without the fear of having one of them stabbed over stupid shit? What if someone decides to shoot people randomly for the heck of it? When will it be “too late” for Kuwait to respect the fact that everyone here deserves some amount of safety? Getting killed at a mall because of parking spot? A hairdo? Some reckless ill behaved teens? Why?
  3. Last but not least, the bystanders. Yes, I blame those who stand there and watch. Those cowards who are afraid to barge in and save a life or two. Those who claim that it’s none of their business yet still stand and watch. When have we as a society become that insensitive and irresponsible?! Why is it none of your business to prevent harm? How would you feel if one day you were put in a similar situation and no one helped you out no matter how hard you tried to scream from the top of your lungs to the extent that you start cursing? You wouldn’t want to know that because unfortunately, I have.

It has been 8 months since I was attacked at the lavish 360 mall. The above is not the full details of the amount of humiliation I’ve went through with everyone here starting with those kids and ending with society. The police, the 360 mall management, the Sabah hospital, the forensic hospital, my embassy – the British embassy-, the newspapers, the marvelous blogosphere of Kuwait, self defence groups, people on twitter, and everyone who stood there and watched.

A couple of months ago -and to add insult to injury-, I was called by the police station and when I arrived, I expected them to give me some good news. The investigator just asked me to sign a paper claiming that they did their job with the investigations although the last I heard from them was a couple of weeks after the attack and then nothing. I signed the paper knowing that they wouldn’t give a damn to catch those kids unless I was dead. Just to gain some credit. But I’m not dead and we obviously don’t matter unless we are. Out of those incidents, they only managed to catch those whose attacks led to the death of the victim. Well, I should have known.

This incident managed to ruin my life. It ruined my faith in people. People questioned my behaviour and even insulted me for standing up for what I believe is right. Some of the closest people to me even went ahead and told me that “I’m not going to fix the world”. I’m not trying to be a hero but why shouldn’t we all be trying to fix the world instead of looking the other way or even worse: accuse others of trying to act like the hero? It left me questioning a lot of things around. Whether people really deserve compassion and respect; a helping hand in need. Whether I can trust that one day, someone will have my back when no one else bothers just like I try to do with strangers in need. Whether kids those days don’t deserve to kill each other over stupid shit because they lack the manners and the decent upbringing to begin with? It’s one thing to yell insults, but it’s another to take it to beating someone or stabbing them. I was born in Kuwait and my family has been here forever but I don’t feel that this is home anymore. My relationships got worse with everyone and I am dying to leave Kuwait. Because of what Kuwait has become. No one cares, no one will and there is no respect to any kind of aspects of humanity. I no longer bother to go out because I know that everyone out there is probably going to stand there and do nothing if -God forbid- anything happens to anyone.

On a positive note, the only thing this incident managed to do is make me more determined to stand up to what I believe and yell at the top of my lungs if I had to. Some probably don’t deserve my respect but my compassion is what keeps me alive and I will not allow anyone to tell me that I shouldn’t fix the world because as long as I live in it, it is my problem and I will fix it whether you like it or not, whether I have to or not.

I will leave you with some pictures of the attack as a reminder of what this world suffers from. Those pictures are what we have become and one day, you might have a few of them stored on your hard drive to remind you as well.

The stop signs mark the spot of the attack. Full parking on a Friday night.

The view from the other parking lot showing that there are no cameras, no security available to help although the spot wasn't very far.

The view from the other parking lot showing that there are cameras inside overlooking the spot and yet couldn’t capture the incident according to the mall security and no security available to help although the spot wasn’t too far.

The bruise on my thigh from the car door being slammed repeatedly against it

The bruise on my thigh from the car door being slammed repeatedly against it

collage1

Bruises on my face and scratch on my neck less than an hour after the attack

collage2

Bruises after a couple of hours.

collage3

Day 2, more purple
Day 5, even more purple and I managed to grow half a bruise mustache..

Oh, and by the way: I ran my first 10K in a marathon with that black eye and half mustache and wore it proudly. 🙂

Related links:

http://mybloogle.com/woman-beaten-up-by-5-men-in-360-parking-lot-as-passerbys-tweet-and-watch/

http://mybloogle.com/the-bystander-effect-explains-the-assault-at-360-findthe5/

http://mybloogle.com/journalistic-integrity-missing-in-kuwait-alshahednews-arabtimeskuwait-josaba90/

Advertisements