Bedoon is a social class that exists in such countries as Kuwait, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. It refers to people without a state, and some countries consider these people to be illegal immigrants. Kuwait is one of those countries with a relatively large population present in the area. The majority of Bedoon are foreign nationals, but a portion of this population does not belong to any existing state. Their rights are often undermined, but in recent years the government of Kuwait attempted to expand their opportunities. This paper will provide an outline of the life of Bedoon citizens through the description of their experiences in Kuwait.
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One of the largest issues for the Bedoon people is the lack of opportunities and corresponding structural instability of their community. Bedoon people have existed in Kuwait for multiple generations. With thousands of young people seeking to find a place in society, the limited opportunities that the country provides to them are discouraging and may be the cause of a high number of suicides among younger people. When a person cannot see a possible future and their community cannot support them a deep sense of depression may set in. Therefore, people are left with no option but to take their own life. While this phenomenon can be seen in other places such as Japan or the United States, the rate of occurrence in Kuwait is staggering (Alsaleh 272).
The disenfranchisement of the Bedoon people may have led to a deeper issue in the Gulf countries – while the Bedoon people are considered to be illegal immigrants in Kuwait, the attitude towards legal migrant workers in the country is not much different. The historical lack of respect toward the Bedoon created an attitude of distrust and disrespect to migrants throughout the country. During the recent increase in migrant workers coming to the country, Kuwait refused to give citizenship to them and their descendants, despite utilizing their labor for decades. The attitude towards the Bedoon people became synonymous for all migrants. However, this may change in the near future (Eldemerdash 83).
In recent years, the sense of belonging for stateless people in Kuwait improved significantly. The longer period of stay of the stateless people, their ability to communicate in local languages and Arab nationality are cited as the primary factors for the sense of belonging that people experience. Numbers are not especially high, but almost half of all surveyed populations share this outlook. This sense of belonging may indica Statelessnesste that the country is becoming more welcoming to the Bedoon people and its citizens may begin to live harmoniously with them soon. Their opportunities also expanded recently as Kuwait began to allow stateless people to serve in its army, which indicates a higher level of trust present among government leaders (Shah 140).
The issues that the Bedoon people encounter in Kuwait are complex. The long history of disenfranchisement may have caused a higher level of adolescent suicides and distrust toward migrants in the country. However, recent statistics indicate that a better era for the Bedoon people in Kuwait may be close. With the large portion of the country’s population being stateless people who see Kuwait as their home, it would be unwise to treat them as lesser people since they contribute greatly to society. Hopefully, the future will be bright for them.
Alsaleh, Amer. “The Impact of Community Structural Instability on Bedoon and Suicidal Behavior in Kuwait.” African and Asian Studies, vol. 13, no. 3, 2014, pp. 272–90.
Eldemerdash, Nadia. “Being and Belonging in Kuwait: Expatriates, Stateless Peoples and the Politics of Citizenship.” Anthropology of the Middle East, vol. 10, no. 2, 2015, pp. 83–100.
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Shah, Nasra M. “Kuwait Is Home: Perceptions of Happiness and Belonging Among Second Plus Generation Non-Citizens in Kuwait.” Asian Population Studies, vol. 13, no. 2, 2017, pp. 140–60.