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The disappearance of 1980s Kuwait

Whether you’re a Kuwaiti or an expat, if you lived here in the golden era of the 1980s (actually late 1970s until the 1990 Iraqi invasion) you will recognize most if not all of these buildings and many of them may inevitably mean something to you. Salam Building, Bayt Lothan, Kuwait Airways Building, Al-Sawaber and Pearl Marzouq ring through our ears like sweet memories of our youth.

The common evoking factor of these iconic edifices is the close link to people’s memories and hearts. Plus, they’re also a testimony to the era of the cultural and social openness in Kuwait. Most of these buildings and many others besides have either been demolished are or now facing demolition. Luckily, the Pearl Marzouq complex has been renovated two years ago, in order to preserve its symbolic value, which dates back to the late 1970s.

Bayt Lothan, once an popular incubator nurturing talent of all kinds, stands empty and abandoned. Salam Building was replaced by Al-Salam mall in Salmiya and many fear Bayt Lothan will follow Salam’s destiny though no one know when. The sad state of the 38-hectare complex in central Kuwait Al-Sawaber is testimony of the failure of an entire generation of hopes and dreams and aspirations.

The country’s development is a demand for equality with other nations that preceded it in modernization. But this should not be accompanied by blurring the glimpses of the past. I wonder what will remain to the future generation from the past? How will we remember our history if it keeps disappearing?

By Athoob Al-Shuaibi


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