By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: College students launched an anti-bias awareness campaign on social media to end discrimination in the community. Kuwait Times spoke with the four friends who decided to spread awareness by posting stories of people who have experienced discrimination. The four students from the American University of Kuwait — Zahraa Al-Qattan, 17, majoring in systems engineering, Negin Kardani, 19, information systems, Judy Alnaimy, 18, accounting and finance, and Layla Al-Khuraibat, 19, majoring in computer science — have a goal to deliver the message in order to stop this phenomenon.
Kuwait Times: Why did you decide to choose this topic?
Zahraa: We have witnessed discrimination since we were young, but never acted on it. Now that we are old enough, we want to take action and stop it. We have seen the amount of mental and physical health issues affecting other people and us personally, because we have also experienced it. It’s sad to see it spreading in Kuwait and globally. No one should face this just because they are different from others. Now that we are older, we also see how it impacts the peace of the world. This issue can literally create wars and yet some people are still not taking it seriously.
We have realized discrimination has been escalating globally and we are starting to see it more publicly, especially here in Kuwait. A lot of people are experiencing race, national, religion and color discrimination. It’s sad to see this in a developed country like ours, so we created our social medoa account to try our best and stop this issue.
Kuwait Times: Have you noticed any discrimination in the university or your community? How did other people react?
Judy: Yes, we have witnessed color discrimination. Back in high school, they made fun of a girl just because of her skin color. Some people were okay with it, while some fought the fact that people are starting to see discrimination as if it’s a good act.
Layla: National origin discrimination — when I was outside of the country, they hated me and treated me badly without knowing me, just because of my nationality. People didn’t even react they continued the hate with them.
Zahraa: Race discrimination — it was almost daily that I saw this in high school. Just because some of our teachers were not Kuwaitis, they were treated badly and made fun of. Some didn’t like this act, but the rest were okay with it, and in the end, no one reacted.
Negin: I have experienced national origin discrimination. Whenever I go to the bank, they ask if I’m Kuwaiti or not. We have noticed discrimination at the university and we want to put it to an end.
Kuwait Times: What do you hope to change?
Zahraa: In order to live in peace, we hope that discrimination stops and all people start to accept each other for their differences. We hope our campaign opens people’s eyes and reduces this issue and hopefully stops it.
Kuwait Times: How will you change it?
Zahraa: As Paul Klee said, ‘One eye sees, the other feels.’ Each person sees and feels differently, so we want to spread awareness through anything that can touch a person. Some get touched by stories, poetry, music, shows and movies that represent a type of discrimination.
Kuwait Times: Is there any future plan to spread awareness in larger groups?
Zahraa: In order to spread awareness in larger groups, we hope to grow our social media campaign and start creating posters around the university; maybe even open a club about it in order to support this issue.