1 thought on “Bidoons”

  1. As UK Ambassador in Kuwait I called on the General in charge of Bidoons some time in 2007. I do not still have my notes, so these are a couple of comments from memory.
    First, on numbers, the General told me there were then about 120,000. I’d be surprised if there were many fewer now: natural reproduction would balance (and I’d have thought surpass) the rate at which Bidoons are processed – meaning either into Kuwaiti citizenship (very few), or to neighbouring states, or by emigration, eg to Comoros. So I’d expect the Human Rights Watch figure to be more probably correct than State Dept, and even that may be an underestimate.
    Second, on status: the General would not describe the Bidoon as “without nationality”. “They all have a nationality”, he said, “mostly Saudi, Iraqi or Syrian. It’s just a question of ascertaining, one by one, which of these states (or another one) they belong to.” So he saw his job as one of sifting through each family to see where they truly belonged. He admitted that this was a slow process. And I should guess that evidence linking them with any one of these territories is becoming fainter with the passage of time. Underlying it all is the fact that most Bidoon see themselves as Kuwaiti: they have made their lives there, and only by accident or carelessness failed to register for citizenship when they or their fathers/grandfathers first arrived – when the benefits of Kuwaiti citizenship were less obvious than they are today.

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