10085001 – Haitham Alsaraff

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An inconspicuous, warded, rectangular parcel of land is fenced up. It is built with mundane slabs of yellow brick bodied walls and heads of triangular, greyish, concrete shaped pyramids, with steel barricades and extra protruding iron fencing on other ends.

Directly in front is a Jafari Shiite mosque, seemingly there to protect the petite tract of land from peering eyes, and from inquisitive minds. From fundamental Islamic attention.

The mosque’s backside intersects and walls the main portion of the hidden grounds. The Islamic temple appears to have adopted and fostered this apparent blank land. It keeps it tucked behind, like a guardian would shield its loved ones.

Two giant modern towers hover next to this bleak stretch of land on the other side, entrenching and shadowing it with ornate glass and fringed curves. One of the towers is called 25 February Tower, dedicated to Kuwait’s National Day. The other is 26 February Tower, signage to the 1991 Liberation Day when Saddam’s Iraq was expelled from Kuwait.

Car parks monotonously embody the outer nucleus. The entire structure is encircled by fresh black asphalt, new metallic luxurious European and American cars that dot it throughout, and little sandy areas that release dust swarms whenever cars drive by.

Outside the undistinguished structure, a silent small plate, next to the only slab of a red metallic door with a tiny padlock, reads The Public Authority for Civil Information, with a larger branded number: 10085001.

The Arabic numbers numb the entity into meaninglessness.

The land inside the grounds is flat. Sparse pieces of sandy dried out shrubs, broken wood and an occasional row of relinquishing mud bricks speck the otherwise unsightful area. There are very few grave markings in English, homage to British agents who historically protected, altered Kuwait’s history.

And then, there is a faint marking of a rabbi, tucked near the only large, very green tree.

Alive. The tree is holding on. Thriving.

 

Kuwait’s government would prefer to label such a place 10085001.

 

Jews would rather call such a tract Yahweh’s Acre.

 

Haitham is a Kuwaiti author of two books, “Inshallah, Habibi” and “Invasion Occupation Awakening.” He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in English literature and he has been teaching English at Kuwait University since 1997. Haitham was the founder and editor of the Kuwait University literary magazine, “Perceptions,” and the online literary magazine, “Kaleidoscope.” His work has been internationally published in “Pif Magazine,” “The Ofi Press,” “Sukoon,” and “Egg Barrel.”

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