September 5, 2007

Im 10 I Rule Kuwait

FROM: Katherine Phillips, Al-Bayan Bilingual School Middle School
Deputy Principal, Kuwait
US PASSPORT NUMBER: XXXX9279 --- contact ISR if needed.
TO: Whom It May Concern
DATE: June 21, 2007
RE: Detained in Kuwait/In Fear for My Safety

I am a Middle School Vice-Principal at Al-Bayan Bilingual School in Kuwait. I have been employed in Kuwait for 6 years at the same school. One of my primary responsibilities is student discipline. On March 8, 2006, three boys in grade 5 were suspended for fighting. I interviewed the boys, met with my principal and followed normal procedure. There is no stigma here regarding suspension. Students spend the day in the office where they study, are visited by teachers, and are taken to the canteen, etc. It's a normal consequence for fighting; all students are aware of this and the procedure is clearly defined in our Parent Handbook.

In the afternoon of March 8th, I received a phone call from one of the boys' fathers, Mr. Fawaz Khalid Al Marzouq, who is a powerful man in Kuwait. He called to inform me that this situation was "personal," that he is "friends with the emir" and that he planned to "destroy" me. This conversation, which lasted about 9 minutes, was littered with profanities and threats. On March 11, 2006, the parents met with me, my principal and our director, Dr. Brian McCauley, to discuss the suspension. The father requested that if there was an issue involving his child that I would call him immediately. On April 27, 2006, I was requested to write a synopsis of events and to visit the Ministry of Education to answer questions regarding the suspension, describe the room in which the boys spent the school day and provide a copy of our handbook. In June 2006, the father transferred his children to a different private school in Kuwait. Also, we received notification from the Ministry of Education that in-school suspensions were no longer to be applied; instead, parents must be contacted to take their children home.

In February 2007, I learned that a case had been filed against me at the Jabriya Police Department in Kuwait; the charge was "illegal detainment" of his son on March 8, 2006. I answered questions in my director's presence and the Consul from the US Embassy, Mr. Sonny Busa. My lawyer was also present. The police did not suggest that there was any reason for me to be concerned as all of the questions were answered to the apparent satisfaction. On June 13, 2007, I was at the Kuwait International Airport intending to fly to Bahrain. I was stopped at immigration where I was informed that there was a case against me, pending further investigation and that a travel ban had been placed on me. I had not been informed. My lawyer had not been informed. This travel ban was placed upon me 15 months after the boy was suspended. The parent said that he would make this personal and this seems to be what he is intent upon doing.

On Saturday, June 16, 2007, I visited the American Embassy where I met with the Vice Consul, Mr. Jared Caplan, who informed me that he sympathized but could do nothing to lift the travel ban. He suggested that I get an older Kuwaiti man to appeal to Mr. Marzouq. I was told on Wednesday that my file would be transferred to another agency for review so the ban could be lifted. Five working days later, the whereabouts of my file are uncertain. I have been told that my file is in 2 different places; this seems to be a delay tactic. Why? Because I angered an influential Kuwaiti national who is at the top of the social register both locally and at the US Embassy? On I visited the office of a police inspector named Falah Al Otaibi, whose office is in Salmiya. He is a police official who was to evaluate my file and determine if I could leave or not. He stated that he didn't have my file. I visited him on June 17th and 18th. On June 18th, not five minutes after I left his office with my director, the Business Officer of my school and another school representative, I called Mr. Jared Caplan, Vice-Consul at the US Embassy to gain his insight into the situation and to see if any progress had been made to help me leave. He was completely aware of my visit to Mr. Al Otaibi's office and instructed that I not return as it "interfered."

Several Kuwaiti families are aware of my situation but they are not in a position to help or they don't want to get involved. They have ALL said that I should go to my embassy because my embassy can help me. The fact that the embassy can't seems shocking to everyone. Many people also question why this accusation from Mr. Marzouk is placed solely on me - not the school, not the principal, not the director of school. I feel that I am being used as an example because I am a single, American woman and he wants to show others that he can do what he said which is to "destroy" me. Yesterday, June 20, 2007, I received a paper from Mr. Al Otaibi's office in Salmiya which lifted the travel ban. This waiver had been granted by the Kuwait Minister of the Interior. Not long after the Minister released me, he reverted his decision at the request of the Marzouq family or his representatives. I went to the airport last night, only to learn that I couldn't leave. I am in fear for my safety. If the Embassy can't help me, then who can? I contacted the FBI in Riyad, Saudi Arabia yesterday and talked to "Mike" who couldn't give me his last name. He was non-committal but did suggest that he thought the embassy should be able to get me out. Mr. Sonny Busa has informed me that they are "working on it." That seems a little vague and I am not sure if the US Embassy completely realizes the level of danger that I feel that I am in. Why does Mr. Marzouq want me in Kuwait during the summer when no one from my school will be in country to offer their support? To make me feel vulnerable? He is well-connected and his friends are supporting his mission to damage me in any way that he can. What's next? I do not feel safe. I am not safe. I need someone from the US to acknowledge the urgency of my situation and coordinate my release. I committed no crime. I am simply the victim of "wasta" which roughly translates into "influence/pressure" at a high level.

The story has been confirmed by BBS. Many people tried to help her but with No avail.
It was battle of the wastas.
The matter reached the primeminister and the teacher was finally able to leave the country.
As a result of this incident, the Ministry of education has announced that within the next three years they expect all private schools to have 100% Kuwaiti management!!

I wonder what kind of man that boy is gonna grow up to be.
posted by eshda3wa at 4:20 PM



September 5, 2007 at 4:44 PM  

3amar ya q8 :P ?

September 5, 2007 at 4:45 PM  

WTF!!!!!!!!! aY SHAY! Weeeen ga3deeeen!!! What's wrong with everybody!!!!!! OMG OMG! I am seriously overwhelmed with shock and disgust.

September 5, 2007 at 5:00 PM  

you really think a kuwaiti managment will hekp?? wasta is wasta..even the unknown kuwaiti families will have someone greater than them in wasta...

September 5, 2007 at 5:06 PM  

I assume it is that a Kuwaiti would have more understanding of 'wasta', and would be less likely to upset somebody whose parents have 'wasta'.

This guy sounds like quite the incompetent father role model. Bullying somebody in a lesser position than you is cowardly and weak. And, I know this is a bit sexist, but picking on chicks makes you a total pussy.

September 5, 2007 at 5:29 PM  

happened, happens, will happen.

i wana watch it on 60 minutes!

one word.. is the answer to all the world problems(or the majority of them)... and ours in particular.. RESPECT!

September 5, 2007 at 6:23 PM  

WTH, for real! MASKHARA

September 5, 2007 at 6:45 PM  

I first read this on Intlxpatr's blog. Horrible really horrible stuff. Sad, but this is the world we live in, smile be happy, hakuna matata!

September 5, 2007 at 7:09 PM  

7esbii allah w ne3m el wakeel. and he calls himself a man? *************

September 5, 2007 at 7:13 PM  

That poor soul, I cant imagine how threaten she must have felt!

so sad and too bad for kuwait!!!

whats wrong with our do they think???

alnas tamshi le jedam ow e7na le warah

September 5, 2007 at 7:19 PM  

hmmmmmm, wallah shocking!

inshallah ysawoon shay 3ad

September 5, 2007 at 8:34 PM  

السالفة قديمة وفيها اسئلة وايد وكل الحجي اللي انقال من طرف واحد وهي المدرسة اللي مو راضية تتقبل القوانين ....واسطة ولا مو واسطة اي شخص يتوجهله اتهام اكيد راح ينمنع من السفر حفظا على حقوق الخصم ولما تطلع البراءة يقدر يقاضي الخصم ويطالب بالتعويض
لكن لانها شايفة انها اعلى من قوانين البلد المضيف وانها المفروض ما تتحاسب او ما يحق لاحد يدعي عليها سوت اللي سوته مع شوية دموع وشوية موسيقى تصويرية وانحاشت
الحين السؤال المهم :
لو طلع الريال مظلوم وانها فعلا كانت مخطئة ...منو اييب له حقه ؟؟

September 5, 2007 at 8:39 PM  

Somethings will never change .. she is lucky she was American .. if it was Egyptian or Indian can imagine the rest

September 5, 2007 at 8:53 PM  

Interesting. That's her version of the story story, I'm sure she is annoyed just as she says she is and of course il wa96at sha'3alla bil deera, but you can't really judge unless you hear both sides of the story. I'm glad she can finally travel.

September 5, 2007 at 9:44 PM  

Bo 9ale7 has as point.. although.. When kids do anything wrong WHILE they're at school, there should be consequences... ba3deen am i the only one that thinks tha in-school suspension is FAR better than go-home suspension?? like eshda3wa said.. what kinda kid is gonna grow up out of such a situation, if he never lives the consequences of his actions...
true wasta is always there.. will always be there.. and to be honest this exists everywhere.. i dunno why she would make it seem like it doesn't happen in the US.. cuz theres wasta there too..
BUT.. this isn't a solution when it comes to pity things like my kid fought it school and who ever suspended him will pay..
Allah yesa3edhom..

September 5, 2007 at 9:44 PM  

il modaresa gashra tara ;P se2looooni 3anha :P

September 5, 2007 at 9:58 PM  

yeah, poor ms kathrine ..
but there is more into the story .. ya3ni ma yiswa kil hatha, but both of them iqli6aw ..
plus, but i agree w/shoosha ..

September 5, 2007 at 10:25 PM  

typical ass!!!
what the hell?! no wonder we r falling behind!
poor poor woman!! my heart n thoughts go out to her!
kuwaiti managment won't be any different! wasta is wasta! this country is going down! it makes me sick :(

allah y3eena!

September 5, 2007 at 10:41 PM  

i talked to her.. i tried to help her.. but when she realized i could get "insider info" about what really happened sakarat her phone mara wa7da :)

September 6, 2007 at 12:17 AM  

:( 7aram maskeena!

September 6, 2007 at 1:32 AM  

I was following this incident very closely when it she was going through all this. el7emdella she has left now... this is just 1 story of the many other that happen every year!

September 6, 2007 at 8:50 AM  

DAYUM! what can I say that haven't been said before? Anyway I need me some BBS brats for inside gossip, then it's curiousity killed the cat, someone make this into a TV series pronto, shar elbaliyya ma yuth7ik, tsk tsk tsk...ONE WAY ticket please..

September 6, 2007 at 12:09 PM  

Ok, we don't have both parts of the story, there is a missing part of why the parent made it personal.. there might be other reasons
That being said, 1st of all think of the "image" that kuwaities seem to be very concerned w/
2nd: That was stupid and stubborn of that person to do what he did over w/e it is, and totally unfair and unjust.. all she wanted was to leave the damn country.
It is a shame that these actions when someone almost destroys an ex-pat that they can get away with it
Our Religion teaches us the principal of equality and the right thing is for that guy to be punished, not just him.. all those who helped him in his plot. But corruption runs DEEEP in to the core of these officials no shit is gonna happen, excuse my french

September 6, 2007 at 12:16 PM  

And also, Kuwaiti management? thats the solution to this problem?
So many things are wrong w/ that damn solution that I can't be bothered to list them all
How could this happen at this day and age? how could people accept it?
My 2 cents worth

September 6, 2007 at 12:22 PM  

الله يرحم زمان أول
كانو المدرسين لهم هيبه
أصلا ماكو شي خلاني أحفظ جدول الضرب إلا المسطرة الخشب أم متر

anyways, I luv you :*

September 6, 2007 at 4:22 PM  

this is what i mostly hate about Kuwait !! wasta has ruined almost everything in Kuwait .. you find it everywhere destroying everything .. its wrong it makes this country heading to a complete mess ... no one should be above the rules .. it gives this country a bad name .. i mean what would that teacher think of us ??

this boy will never know how to behave if he always got his father to get him outta troubles !

September 6, 2007 at 6:49 PM  

what a terrible situation! to say that i am disgusted is truly an understatement.

anywhere in the world, people with influence can get away with anything.

i don't see much hope for the boy who has now learnt that since his father is a "big" man, he can get away with anything.

father and son will have to pay the price soon.

September 7, 2007 at 5:18 PM  

wahahahahha - we can all kiss good management goodbye. Now we can't on top of the fact that some of us decide that we dont wanna put our kids in public schools, we can't even put them in private schools cause we now that their management IS gonna rely heavily on wasta and what not.

and I agree with Spikey and xkaos - wasta is wasta and unknown Kuwaiti families will have bigger fish to threaten them -

I cringe every time I hear this st

September 7, 2007 at 5:19 PM  

omg !! jad wai3! waaain ga3deen?! 7adii in shock! :s

September 7, 2007 at 9:17 PM  

Wow, this is hands down the worst use of a wasta.

September 8, 2007 at 8:21 AM  

boy am i glad i graduated god help our kids :)

September 8, 2007 at 4:38 PM  

oh wow..Not suprised..disgusting

September 8, 2007 at 10:49 PM  

ma dam fe qatheya against her, then she has no right to leave the country, of course there's going to be man3 safar.

I don't feel any sympathy towards her. If she had been convicted and jailed, then yeah I might have. If she had done nothing wrong, why didn't she face the charges?

The story is missing a lot of information.

September 12, 2007 at 9:15 AM  

o 3ashaw fe sabat o nabaat :D

September 12, 2007 at 10:55 AM  

If the story is truly as she accuses! If was done exactly the way she said it was (which I don’t find really difficult to believe)… I think it’s sad that such things still happening there! I knew few (bad guys) working for such families! I know worst things have been ordered to be done in more than one occasion!

Well your question what will the kid grow up to be! My answer is from experience! (As I never knew any of the Almarzouq family) I’m saying this IF the accuses were true! He will grow up darling to one of those useless guys (some well named, rich, well-connected, spoiled) I met in privet parties back when living in Kuwait! He will think and most probably be above the law! He will hurt as many as he can on his way to what he wants! He will not know how real people feel and wouldn’t even bother to care to know! He will be a very sad creature just as his father is (remember! IF the story was like she said it was)!

September 17, 2007 at 5:15 PM  

Welcome to Kuwait!!

November 30, 2007 at 9:17 PM  

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