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Expat wanderer

Barbaric. Animals Left to Starve to Death

It’s hard to believe that this could be happening. This article is from Kuwait’s Al Watan and I learned about it from Mark, at 248am.com. Unbelievable. Unthinkable.

KUWAIT: It only happens in Kuwait. No other country would demand money from people already paying rent.

Initially, those renting stalls at the animal market in AlـRai thought it was a mistake, but when their shops were shut down “because of rent arrears,” business owners went berserk. In addition, the animals displayed in the stalls were left inside the locked stalls, with the proprietors unable to tend to or remove then, thereby what was a municipal disagreement has ballooned into an animal rights fiasco.

It remains unfathomable to many where the decision to charge a second “Municipality rent” arose from, when the proprietors were already paying rent to the owners of the commercial space, the Ministry of Finance. With the Municipality shutting down the stalls, and the Ministry of Finance staying silent ـ only to say: “this is not our issue” ـ the business owners are helpless as the animals howl and cry for food, with every passing day the stench of death growing ever stronger.

Al Watan Daily went to the animal market in Al Rai area and witnessed the disaster first hand.
Shopkeepers told Al Watan Daily that the Municipality had closed all the stalls over two weeks ago, “and they haven”t opened the doors even once till now. All the animals are inside the stalls, and most of them have died due to lack of water, food and air. These animals have been in cages within the stalls for 15 days and they have not seen any light, nor eaten anything.”

Ridha Ashkanani told Al Watan Daily: “We signed contracts with the State Properties Department; we pay them 300 Kuwaiti dinars per year, and we also have been paying KD 60 per year to the Municipality as for the cleaning of the area. We were forced to pay this sum although the Municipality is not taking care of the area and the place is not clean at all. The problem now is that the Municipality is asking us to pay another rent for the stalls themselves. They want KD 3 per every square meter within the shop per month. They also want the money to be paid in arrears from 1995. We can”t afford to pay all this, and there isn”t any law that requires us to pay a second rent to the Municipality.”

The situation is this: according to the traders, they have been paying a normal rental fee since 1997, which continued when the Ministry of Finance relocated their businesses to the current location, but in 2004, a Municipal inspector came and asked them to pay a “Municipality rent.”

The proprietors explained to the inspector that they were not aware of any second “Municipality rent,” and that according to the contract with the Ministry of Finance, the rent was to be paid to the ministry, and the ministry only.

After receipts were shown to the inspector that payments were being made to the ministry, he quietly withdrew and disappeared.

However, in 2006, another inspector came demanding “Municipality rent.” The traders explained, once again, to the new inspector the same story, to which he accepted their argument but demanded a KD five monthly surcharge for cleaning.

The traders saw no qualms with the demand and agreed to the nominal fee, but then some months later, the inspector returned, requiring that the cleaning fees be paid in lump sum six months in advance. After some grumbling, they acquiesced.

Oddly, some weeks later, traders were informed that instead of 6 months, it would have to be 12 months in advance. Again, they reluctantly agreed.

Now you have the current situation, where the Municipality has shut all the stalls with the animals locked inside, and is demanding the “Municipality rent,” in arrears as far back as 1995.

“Our major issue is that the animals are trapped inside the stalls, and most of them died. We are losing our business and losing the animals we have in the shops, and we are not allowed to open the shops at least to feed the animals, which have not eaten any food for 15 days,” explained Ashkanani
Ahmed, another proprietor, said: “I lost all the gold fish I had in the shop, worth KD 5,000. We want the animal rights societies to help us in our problem. We went to the State Properties Department and they didn”t help us, and stated that it”s not their responsibility. We then went to the Cabinet and they told us to go to the minister, and he also refused to help us. We finally went to the Municipality, (which refused to open the doors until they are paid), and now we are filing a case at the court and we are waiting to see what will happen.”
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Last updated on Monday 2/11/2009

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November 2, 2009 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Civility, Community, Entrepreneur, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, News, NonFiction, Pets, Shopping, Social Issues | 20 Comments

Garden Saga

This has provided us with an ongoing burble of amusement, every time we drive into our compound.

Someone wants the name of the compound in the garden. It seemed a simple enough request, doesn’t it?

The first try I saw, was a perfect ‘A’ followed by a second ‘A’. I started laughing. It was being put in by laborers who are probably illiterate in their own language, much less have any idea about western letters. To them, these are just meaningless shapes, not symbols for sounds. The second ‘A’ was gone the next day, torn out, and replaced with the appropriate letter.

But concrete blocks are big and unwieldy. When the name was finished, it was big, with no spaces between words, and no ‘s’ on the end.

They tore it out, too.

Now, working with smaller bricks, working with templates, working with a diagram, the name is finally being completed accurately. It is actually lovely, so we can’t laugh anymore.

00GardenSaga

I wonder how we would do, trying to lay out the same in Arabic . . .

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Building, Cultural, Doha, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Language, Living Conditions, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

Kuwait Headscarf in Qatar souks

I can only imagine this was sent to the wrong country. Qatar’s colors are a blood-brownish marron red and pure white; these are Kuwait colors on a traditional headscarf:

00KuwaitHeadscarf

I found it in the Suq al Waqif.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Doha, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Shopping | 4 Comments