Photos of the activities of the Free Kuwait Campaign in London, UK, August 1990 through March 1991
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The Diwaniyas

For scenes from various KPC and KHC diwaniyas, click here.

An integral part of Kuwait’s heritage, the diwaniya is a weekly gathering by men in a Kuwaiti home in a room set up for that purpose. It is an open house with newcomers welcome to join the host’s family and friends for an evening of conversation, refreshments, and occasionally viewing of TV or DVDs. The occasion is primarily social, but diwaniyas may also serve educational, business, and political purposes. To this end, guest speakers may be invited.

Shortly after the invasion, a group of Kuwaitis from the London community formed the Kuwaiti People's Committee with the main aim of conducting a daily diwaniya each night from 8 pm to midnight for exchanging news and discussing the crisis. The Committee rented a room on Dorset Square for this purpose. It had no chairman or formal membership. Some of the most frequent participators took turns acting as moderator at the meetings.

Invited to speak at some of the KPC meetings were such prominent Kuwaitis as Sheikh Rashid Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah (the Emir’s envoy to the UAE), Cultural Attaché Ahmad Al-Duwaisan from London’s Kuwaiti Embassy, Dr. Mohamed Al-Rumaihi, Kuwaiti Minister of Planning Sulaiman Al-Mutawa, and politicians Jassim Al-Kharafi and Ahmad Al-Saadoun. Another Kuwaiti guest was a young man who had recently escaped from Kuwait and who offered a first-hand account of the distressing conditions in the occupied nation. Among the foreign visitors who graced the diwaniya were Egyptian author Fahmi Huwaidi and exiled Iraqi religious leaders who opposed Saddam’s regime.

 

The KPC also engaged In other activities. It published the weekly newsletter Beladi [My Country]. It sponsored a meeting in Porchester Hall with Mr. Huwaidi as guest speaker and invited all interested parties to the event. It created a sports committee to train men several times a week with jogging and other outdoor exercise for possible military service, and it had volunteers with medical training available in case treatment was needed in the field. After liberation, in coordination with groups in 10 countries, former KPC members organized a Run for Freedom for petitioning the UN to help bring home The Missing. The race was held simultaneously in these nations on May 17, 1991.

In mid-November 1990, the Social Committee of the Kuwaiti High Committee rented a building on George Street as a London Diwan. One room was for diwaniyas. Some of its distinguished guests included Kuwaiti Minister of Finance Sheikh Ali Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti Minister of Planning Sulaiman Al-Mutawa, and politician Jassim Al-Sager. During the tense days of the coalition force’s ground attack, Kuwaitis gathered around the TV in this building to stay apprised of the latest news.

Kuwaitis stranded in other countries also set up diwaniyas. One example covered in this website are scenes from a diwaniya in Dubai.

 
An Anxious Time
An Anxious Time
On the night of December 24, 1990, at the Kuwaiti People’s Committee daily diwaniya, the audience listened intently to guest speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun describing how the coalition forces were preparing for battle. The possibility of a tremendous loss of life weighed on everyone’s mind.

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