I love the concept of a Diwaniya. I really do. Men sit around, in a grand formal setting, often from different segments of society bringing their set of knowledge, values and perspectives on life. Oh…and in this part of the world, they also bring gossip. What's an election, after all, without a certain amount of he said/she said. In the spirit of my little mixed diwaniya here at the Panic Button, I'm going to perpetuate this tradition and tell you a story without, of course, assuming any responsibility for its accuracy.
A religious bearded friend of mine starts to tell me his story:
Black Beard: Hey Saracen, did you hear about the people that got pulled by the cops? Flaan and Flaan??
Saracen: Yeah, loosely getting bits of news here and there….
Saracen: Okayyy…What about them??
Black Beard: Well, a friend of mine from high school who I've known for years came to another friend's diwaniya where we were sitting. We were four men, and he was our fifth. This was a few days ago…
Saracen: Uh huh, and then?
Black Beard: So he starts saying
Flashback Scene (Think Grease with the whole stairway in the Johnny Rockets restaurant)
Sketchy Guy: Listen guys, if you or someone you know wants to sell their vote to Flaan, you can come through me.
Black Beard: You're working for that guy?
Sketchy: Why wouldn't I? There is a lot of money in it and he's good for Kuwaitit!
Black Beard: (smiling widely)…Ok, but how much?
Sketchy: Haaa…um…700 KD
Black Beard: You bastard, are you trying to take us for a ride? We know the price has gone up to at least 1000 KD
Sketchy: Yeah, but I get something…you guys wouldn't get to this guy except through me.
Black Beard: (Laughing) Yeah, no thanks.
Sketchy: Itha it7armoon* there is another option. Vote for Flaan, and he will give you a gurantee that whenever you need something from him, he will take note of your name and make sure that you get that one thing that you ask for.
Black Beard: (Laughs mockingly) Like a genie?
Sketchy: I told you guys what I wanted to tell you, and the choice is yours. He's going to win no matter what, you might as well get something out of it. God knows nothing else works in this country.
Saracen: No way…has it really come down to this?
Pause while we both shake our heads with disapproval
Saracen: (suddenly looking up and at Black Beard) Agool, I have a question. What made this guy think that someone with your obvious religious inclination think that you would be interested in something like this.
Black Beard: (grinning widely) I don't know, I guess because we knew each other from high school.
Saracen sits with a question mark on his face letting his mind wander…