Following last week’s dissolution of Kuwait’s parliament, the third in less than a year, a former MP announced yesterday that more details about a longtime bribery scandal will be disclosed. The scandal, which some have called “the Kuwaiti Watergate,” continues to swell, with allegations that at least 13 pro-government MPs accepted bribes totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Gulf country has been mired in a deep political crisis since last year, when two members of Parliament were accused of receiving $92 million from unknown sources. While citizens prepare for general elections, the Kuwait Transparency Society is holding a discussion around a new anti-corruption bill.
In the midst of the present turmoil, Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri has taken a look at her country’s history of corruption, which she traces back to the early 1980s, when one of the largest stock market crashes in history rocked the nation following a speculative bubble. Her short video, Rumors of Affluence, focuses on what she calls “acts of the ultra-rich that are talked about but have yet to be verified,” and includes a monologue she has written, informed by her research on the period and derived from personal stories told to her about Kuwait’s financial sector.
Voice, direction and videography: Monira Al Qadiri
Music: Traditional Kuwaiti percussion (artist unknown)
Script: Inspired in part by the documentary “Souk Al-Manakh” and in part by current events.