Kuwait MPs spar over Thatcher street naming proposal

April 19, 2013

A proposal by Kuwaiti lawmakers to pay tribute to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher sparked heated debate in parliament on Tuesday.

MP Abdullah Al Maayoof said that the parliament session on Tuesday should devote 30 minutes to pay tribute to the British leader who helped liberate Kuwait from the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

Kuwaitis often say they are grateful for Thatcher’s stance to oust the occupying forces from their country and her famous blunt advice to US former president George Bush Sr that “this is no time to go wobbly, George”.

However, MP Khalid Al Shulaimi rejected the proposal, claiming that the tribute would be excessive and would amount to “glorifying a non-believer”.

“Thatcher was given her moral and material awards for her role and that is it,” he said. “It is not fair to name an avenue after her and we the people of Kuwait do not belong to anybody else.”

Safa Al Hashem, one of the three women lawmakers elected to the parliament in December, criticised Al Shulaimi for his remarks, saying that they were inappropriate.

MP Maasooma Al Mubarak said that the lawmaker should appreciate the role that Thatcher played in helping free Kuwait from the occupation.

Hussain Al Qallaf supported the view of his fellow MP and insisted on the special status that Thatcher had in Kuwaiti hearts.

“The woman stood by us and it is our duty to be grateful for what she did. Islam orders us to be loyal and grateful,” he said.

With the debate over the issue gaining in intensity, Safa said that the tribute to Thatcher should be extended to include naming a street after her.

“She was a pillar in the movement to liberate Kuwait and I demand that the Hassan Al Banna Avenue in Kuwait City be renamed after Margaret Thatcher,” she said, referring to the Egyptian born founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Last month, MP Nabeel Al Fadhel called for dropping the name of Al Banna from an avenue in the Rumaitha area in Kuwait City.

“The latest developments have indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood is a threat to the security of Kuwait and its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states,” he said. “The residents of Rumaitha where Al Banna’s avenue is located have had enough of having a major avenue named after him. The avenue should be re-named after a person from the area,” he said.

Last week, MP Salah Al Ateeqi called for naming a street in Kuwait after Thatcher, saying that the special honour would be in appreciation of her role in the liberation of Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion.




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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