Egyptian cashier slapped by Kuwaiti recalls shocking incident
Tarek Ashour, a young Egyptian resident of Kuwait who was seen being slapped at least three times at his place of work last month, issued an emotional post explaining his thoughts on the incident, responding to "insults" by other Egyptians who shamed him for not reacting.
"You've all blamed and insulted me for allowing the slaps of this Kuwaiti man to harm my dignity. For your information, I didn't accept this beating and I didn't even feel it," he said in a post on Facebook.
"You do not know anything and you don't even know what I was thinking of at the time. My lost dreams, the prison that awaits me on my return to Egypt, my mother's devastation and my father's shock and the disappointment of my sisters.
"So do not speak to me about dignity. When I graduated from my studies I could not find a job. I am a poor man and poverty grabs at us like a hungry dog. I could not even buy a shirt or shoes. When I finally found a job that covers my expenses, coronavirus hit and I was made redundant.
"Suddenly someone offers the opportunity to work in Kuwait but I needed 50,000 Egyptian pounds. I had nothing but this was a dream that would take my family out of poverty. I could bring ease to my parents and provide for my sisters, I could buy whatever I want. Do you know how I raised that money? I took ten loans. So do not speak to me about dignity.
"Do you know what it would mean to return to my family not with gifts but with debt? So no, I did not feel any of the slaps. I was numbed by poverty and impact this would have on my home.
"The man hit me as a coward, because he felt he could hit an employee who was weak, because he was a native in his homeland and I was a stranger. He was at home and I was a guest.
"It wasn't even him who was beating me. I was slapped by poverty; by the man who formerly made me redundant; the loans and debt; oppression and defeat; the corruption in my own country. I did not receive a beating, I had already arrived beaten," he concluded.
Kuwaiti activists said the cashier wanted to submit a complaint, but was discouraged from doing so by security officials in the commercial complex, who were allegedly trying to "calm down" the situation.
Egypt's ministry of immigration and Egyptian affairs responded to the asssault after the video went viral, saying that Kuwaiti authorities had arrested the suspect.
The ministry issued a statement claiming the incident was a "personal" and "one-off" case.
"Nabila Makram Abdel-Shahid, minister of state for immigration and Egyptian affairs abroad, contacted Ambassador Hisham Asran, consul general of Egypt in Kuwait, to follow up the position of the Egyptian who was assaulted by a citizen at work," the ministry said.
"During the call, Ambassador Hisham Assran stressed that the incident is an individual case and does not represent the strong bilateral relations between the two nations and the stability of hundreds of thousands of Egyptian workers in Kuwait."
The ministry added: "Ambassador Nabila Makram confirmed her appreciation of the speed of movement by the Consulate General, as well as by the Kuwaiti authorities, which do not differentiate between workers on its soil, and treat Egyptians the same way they treat Kuwaitis."
Activists say that Egyptian workers have been the subject of frequent racist episodes in Kuwait.
In the shocking clip that emerged online, Reem Al-Shammari said that Kuwait is "only for Kuwaitis" and that Egyptians are "hired to serve" the local population.
Al-Shammari went on to claim that Egyptians are "not equal partners" to Kuwaitis like herself and "the worst and dirtiest community in Kuwait".
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"You are mere hired people that are brought over with contracts to serve us, then leave. Why don't you understand this?" Al-Shammari said in the clip.
"I do not blame them, I blame my government and authorities who make them [Egyptians] believe they are equal partners in my homeland," she added.
Kuwait, like other Gulf Arab states, relies on a vast population of foreign workers to fill roles ranging from domestic help, construction work, to white-collar jobs.
Some 35 million foreign workers are employed in the six GCC states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Jordan and Lebanon, according to UN figures.
Foreigners far outnumber locals in most of the Gulf states, accounting for over 80 percent of the population in some countries.