I would never say that I visited Kuwait if I haven't visited the Shuwaikh Palace where Sheikh Nasser Al-Muhammad lives it is also considered as his office, library and the place at which he communicates with the modern world. This elegant palace, which follows classic architecture with a touch of modernity.
Here the Sheikh receives his visitors and visitors to his father's memory. Whenever you visit him you will find him busy with his guests from all classes of the Kuwaiti people. With a constant social dialogue has not deviated from its morning schedule for decades.
In the main reception hall, I sit with the sheikh, who has served his country for more than half a century. We talk about the general issues that the region is going through. There are no limits for conversation with such unique person that many are looking forward to meeting.
Sheikh Mohammed has been working in the public domain since his thirties, and is now ready to begin his seventies with an excellent memory.
The Sheikh, born on December 22, 1940, was the Prime Minister of Kuwait from 7 February 2006 to 30 November 2011. He is the second son of Kuwait's first defense minister, Sheikh Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah. He completed his primary and intermediate education in Kuwaiti schools, while later he continued his studies abroad.
The Sheik, who is also the third in command in his country, received his education in the United Kingdom, and in Switzerland, where he got a bachelor's degree, specifically from the University of Geneva, Department of Political Science and Economics. He began his career in 1964 when he was appointed as third secretary at the Kuwaiti Foreign Affairs Ministry, which was the first position before being appointed to several important positions.
We were hours away from the Gulf Summit hosted by Kuwait, and that was the best opening for a talk on politics and history.
He says to me in his quiet voice: “Gulf leaders possess great wisdom that has enabled our countries to overcome the biggest crises. We are in a region full of resources and has always tempted many aspirants, but the wisdom of the Gulf leaders gave our countries to opportunity survive, gain stability and prosperity, and achieved remarkable levels of development despite the difficult circumstances.”
He adds some points from history, which he loves and reads a lot, even on his iPad: “Our leaders have given our region a lot, although we have gone through periods of poverty and lack of resources throughout our history. This desert was not a good place to live or flourish and it received just a little attention with no real desire to build it. But there were exceptional leaders, who determined to face the geographical obstacles and managed to survive and built strong countries, until oil emerged on the scene, and our countries became a focus of attention for everyone.
Speaking about Saudi Arabia, with which he has a special relationship and many memories, Sheikh Nasser praises the momentous change in the kingdom led by the Saudi monarch and crown prince: “Saudi Arabia is witnessing a great revival thanks to the conscious leadership that is keen on building the country and keeping it with the pace of modernity and development. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince has a genuine desire to build and promote stability in the region."
The talk extends, and is now about senior politicians in the region. I hear names: King Fahd, Saud al-Faisal, Bandar bin Sultan, and Ghazi al-Gosaibi. He has stories about them all, and perhaps it would be a good collection if he wanted to write his biography, he has witnessed the historical events of Kuwait, especially the era of invasion and liberation, which is unforgettable.
Sheikh Mohammed tells his memory in a voice That simmers with emotions: “King Fahd was an imposing figure. A great political figure, we will never forget him, and Kuwait will not forget him. He had his pivotal role to counteract the invasion. He did not hesitate to support Kuwait during the invasion and we will always remember him."
During the invasion, the Sheikh was among the Kuwaiti officials formed the Kuwaiti Government in exile while in Taif.
The Sheikh says that he knows the whole city, like the back of his hand, this is attributed to his stay there while overseeing official receptions of the late Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber, with his political guests.
The conversation with Al-Muhammad does not end with leaving his palace, but the ideas continue to revolve and develop in my head. The last thing I wrote in my notebook about the conversation was the following: “We cannot eliminate all colors, but we need to coexist, because it is the cure to all diseases the world suffers.”
That’s the case, Coexistence, Coexistence, and again it is Coexistence, that is the key to developing stronger nations and more civilized societies as this world is not a private property of someone ... On his own.