Monday, July 02, 2012

Kuwaiti activist laid to rest amid tributes

Jasem Al Qutami
Jasem Al Qutami

He was a national icon who devoted himself and his life to serving country and people

gulfnews : One of Kuwait’s most prominent political and parliamentary activists was laid to rest on Sunday amid tributes, eulogies and tears.
Hundreds of Kuwaitis gathered at the Sulaibikhiya Mosque to take part in prayers and attend the funeral of Jasem Al Qitami, 83, who died on Friday at the Amiri Hospital.
“He was not in any way an ordinary person,” local Arabic daily Al Jareeda said.
“He was a national icon who devoted himself and his life to serving Kuwait and its people. He invariably sided with people, democracy and freedom.”
Al Qitami was born in 1929 and was educated in Quranic and in formal schools. In 1948, he left for Egypt where he submitted separate applications to study medicine and to join the police academy. He eventually went to the academy. Upon graduation, he went back to Kuwait and was appointed the first police chief in 1954.
However, when he was asked in 1956 to disperse demonstrators who were protesting the attack on Egypt, he refused and resigned.
He also made his mark in sports. He was named the first head of the football association in 1957. In 1962, he became an undersecretary at the ministry of foreign affairs.
One year later, he ran in the parliamentary elections and took a seat in the Fifth Constituency. He later gave up his seat to press for reforms in the nascent nation.
In 1975, he ran again in the parliamentary elections and took a seat in the Second Constituency. In 1985, he won a seat in the Third Constituency.
Following the dissolution of parliament, he hosted the first of two meetings by lawmakers pushing for a resumption of the constitutional activities, Al Jareedareported.
Al Qitami was well-known for his pan-Arab activism and was in 1983 a co-founder of the Arab Organisation of Human Rights, offering financial support and deploying outstanding efforts. He also helped found the Kuwaiti Orgnisation of Human Rights.
The Arab organisation named him honourary president for life in appreciation of his remarkable achievements and contributions.
Al Qitami again made history in Kuwait by becoming the first lawmaker to draft a bill to empower women politically.
He was a co-founder of the Kuwaiti Democratic Tribune alongside Ahmad Al Khateeb, Sami Al Munayyas and Abdullah Al Nibari.

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