Kuwaiti MP pledges to shave half his moustache if claims are true

September 27, 2010

Waleed Al Tabtabai

A Kuwaiti lawmaker has pledged to shave off half his moustache, an act of self-inflicted humiliation in the Arab world, if claims made by a columnist against him proved to be true.

In his column “Exclamation Mark” in Al Watan daily, Fuad Al Hashem wrote that Islamist MP Waleed Al Tabtabai who was aboard the Turkish flotilla taking aid to Gaza was so scared when the Israelis raided the ship that that he hid in the cleaners’ bathroom.

The 58-year-old liberal columnist said that there was a recording of Al Tabtabai eagerly pleading with an Israeli soldier who had insulted him with a Palestinian accent.

Al Hashem also wrote that the Kuwaiti MP who was arrested by the Israeli authorities alongside the activists on the ships signed an Israeli document pledging not to get close to Gaza again. A copy of the written commitment was given to the Kuwaiti government through an intermediary, the columnist wrote. The video recording and the signed pledge will be displayed on You Tube and the Internet.

However, Al Tabtabai rejected the claim as a “big joke.”

“It is obvious that Al Hashem is a victim of hyperboles and the next days will prove this,” Al Tabtabai wrote in Al Qabas daily. “I wonder why Al Hashem did not wait until the clip made it to You Tube and the commitment was posted on an Internet website before he made his allegations. If he is hinting that I am a coward avoiding confrontations hiding in toilets, I let those who know me well testify about my character,” he wrote.

The lawmaker said that he had “strongly” rejected to sign the Israeli document.

“They gave me a choice between signing the pledge or go to prison, and I chose to stand trial and go to jail,” he wrote.

“Now if your version about the existence of a video recording and a signed pledge is true, I will shave off half of my moustache and leave the other half. I will not go back on my decision, like some other people did,” Al Tabtabai told Al Hashem.

The MP was referring to a pledge made by Al Hashem in May 2008 when he wrote in his Al Watan column that he would shave off half his moustache if Qatar succeeded in narrowing differences between the Lebanese factions and found a solution for the Lebanese crisis.

Despite the agreement, Al Hashem did not eliminate half of his moustache.







About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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