Saturday, September 6, 2014

My Biggest Fear - Justice for Aaron

Since the day I acknowledged my brother's condition. My biggest fear was and still getting bigger everyday... How to protect him? I admit .. I am very protective of my brother. Although we - as a family with a special needs child- are fighting to for his independency. It is not easy in this society at all. 

When I was around 8 or 9. My sister and I became tomboys to protect him from verbal bullying. Kids around the block would call him names.. such as crazy. I still have issues with that word. We used to laugh after beating up a kid for calling my brother crazy or stupid. We thought we taught him a lesson. But, we didn't. As our parents told us to stop doing that. 

We reached our twenties and we still had issues with people. "What is wrong with your brother?" It bothered us a lot. Not the question.. but the way people asked the question. There is nothing wrong with my brother. He is my brother and he is not a problem to call him 'wrong'

I volunteered for special needs organizations in Kuwait. It changed my life completely and the way I looked at people's curiosity. I realized I didn't have a problem with the people themselves. In fact, I had a problem with their ignorance and their ways of thinking. 

Since then, my goal is to change that mentality. I am 31 and struggling with a different kind of bullying. Ignorance. 

Aaron Hill waked up my fear again. I read Aaron's story by accident through Instagram and watched  15 seconds of the video. I was watching my fear. I was watching my brother. I was watching every  special needs boy and a girl I know in this video. I wasn't just watching Aaron. Aaron became my brother after watching him. That wasn't an accident. That was a wake up call. 

I was shocked with the whole case. I posted the pictures I saw in my Instagram. People I know texted me "that really happened in America!!!"No one believed it. I know America is not Utopia.... but I am still in shock. But, I am very happy that I'm living in social media age. The age you can't fool people anymore. The age of not taking BS from anybody anymore. NOT ANYMORE. 

Kuwait. My society is different. I know somewhere out there in this country where special needs bullying is happening everyday. The only problem. We don't talk. People here would rather to shut up instead of talking about it. I would take an action immediately. But, people are different. We are dealing with different cultures.. education levels.. stupid traditions that will get us nowhere.

I remember my mother. A courageous woman as I always know her... saw a housemaid beat a child with down syndrome at a playground. She followed the maid till she reached the house and knocked the door. She saw the father and told him everything. I remember her telling him " I fear God.. This boy can't tell you what happened but I can.. take an action"

Can we talk about deaf schools? That's a long story and basically well-known to everyone in the disability community here. The people who work in deaf education know exactly what I'm talking about. Some teachers are verbally and physically abuse their students. Some good teachers are trying so hard to fix things .. but no one cares to help them. Officials are a part of these crimes. 

Three years ago .. I read in the newspaper a short article of a special needs boy was sexually molested by his non-kuwaiti teacher. No punishment recorded.. the only punishment was the parents .. they wanted be out of the case and the teacher to be out of Kuwait. Thats it. 

In Kuwait's Law.. The only punishment of anyone who sexually molest a special needs person is execution. Period. But... who is paying attention? Who should take an action? NO ONE. 

I am so sorry Aaron.. I know you faced a lot. You are a lucky to have a family that support you. In my country there are some unlucky kids who have no one to support them. They need our help. I promise you, after reading what happened to you. I will do my best to support them. That's my promise to you.

Aaron, that's my picture above holding a sign supporting you. My brother took that picture. With all its imperfection... we love you perfectly. :) 

Note: This post does not imply that every special needs child is abused. I'm just pointing some facts and problems that need to be fixed as soon as possible. We are living in a civilized country, But just like America. We are not perfect. :) 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

I wanted to make a simple video with a simple message. It's just my opinion on the Ice Bucket Challenge. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Photography Workshop

Dear All, 

I had so many emails and comments from people asking me about photography workshops for non-Arabic speakers in Kuwait. I am so excited to share this with you.  I'm arranging an outdoor photography workshop. Also, I had an agreement with a professional Kuwaiti photographer to guide you through the workshop. 

Please read the following: 

  • This workshop will be an outdoor activity around November or December.
  • I will be selecting the participants personally. 
  • E-mail me 3 photos you took, mention your basic information... Name, age and mobile number. 
  • I will send all the basic information later to the selected participants via email.

That's all for now.. 

I will inform you of any changes.

Note: Thank you all for your sweet e-mails.. You have no idea how I feel while reading them. Your words and encouragement keeps me going. :)

- Rawan