Traders, Songs, Traditions

".عنقريزي بوتيله عساه يموت الليلة"

Kuwaitis did not discover or extract oil. At the time of its discovery, a torrent of experts was imported from the West to deal with this new black gold. However, the Kuwaiti society was rather a closed one. Although the sight of traders and such from neighboring countries was familiar, Kuwaitis were not used to Westerners. When Kuwaitis began seeing those blond, blue-eyed strangers, a rhyme was created. Children would follow a Westerner, and chant: “Englishman with a hat, may he perish tonight!”

The Englishman has not perished; the rhyme has. I think this signifies the emergence of a more accepting attitude toward the foreigner. In a globalized age, one cannot discard the other. In fact, a major workforce in Kuwait is the expatriate community, which outnumbers Kuwaitis now. Perhaps, one day, the rhyme will be sung to Kuwaitis.