Children of America in the 1980s recall President Ronald Reagan’s anti-communist speech, in which Reagan attempted to create fear in the hearts of Americans that the country was facing a RED DAWN. That is, a communist takeover of America was in the wings.
In that oft-quoted and sometimes ridiculed speech, Reagan warned that the wars of Central America was just one day’s drive from Harlingen, Texas.
As I live in Kuwait only about an hour or two from Iraq’s Civil wars, I might ask myself with the same urgency: Do I feel safe?
I might, in turn, ask the hundreds of thousands of Americans, other expatriates, and Kuwaitis who live in Kuwait the same question, eh?
Last month, I spoke on the topic of “Sense of Safety and Awareness in Kuwait” at the AWARE Center in Surra.
Whenever I travel outside Kuwait, many people are amazed to hear me share with them that Kuwait is very much safer than perceived.
These listeners and distant observers wonder at how 3 million people living on the border with the infamous War-Zone Iraq (and so close to Iran and Saudi Arabia) can feel so relatively safe to many other peoples scattered around planet Earth.
In order to investigate whether my personal feelings about this subject of “safety in Kuwait” (1) have been correct and in order to (2) create a clearer picture for those living in and outside of Kuwait about what the “levels of relative and perceived safety” are in Kuwait, I have conducted an initial survey on the subject in January 2008.
I presented these findings at that meeting at the AWARE Center in Surra, Kuwait.
Prior to conducting the survey and interviewing a few other peoples from various lands, I also posited a hypothesis about sense of safety by individuals based upon their own cultural identity related to cultural “proxemics”.MY BIAS AS A RESEARCHER ON SAFETY As a western born male, my personal bias when carrying out any research in Kuwait is based on personal experience and is naturally a bit skewed and subjective, i.e. I am a large male with red hair & beard and, therefore, stand out like a sore thumb. My own opinions about safety also shift or depend on whether I have just finished driving on Kuwait’s high-speed roadways or not.
As I first came to live in Kuwait in February 2004 and earlier as I lived in the UAE in 1999-2000, I perceived that both countries appeared to not have much overt crime and observed little overt levels of violence or threats. For this reason, I agree with the findings revealed in the survey from adult western male reports that in the Gulf states, I am safer than living one’s homeland—in my case: the U.S.A.
Moreover, aside from my 2 years living in rural Japan in the 1990s, both Gulf States were indeed are probably safer than in any of a dozen other countries I have ever lived in or worked in, including France, Germany, Mexico, & Nicaragua.
Only living in rural Japan in the 1990s had I perceived a similar standard of personal safety & freedom to walk, live and travel about, i.e. not becoming too worried that:
(1) someone would break into my flat, that
(2) I would be abused by some bully or that