On Wednesday, Kuwait wore a festive look with high-rise towers and iconic buildings in the country lit up in colors of the national flag and portraying images of His Highness the Amir; roadside billboards were festooned with congratulatory messages from public institutions and private sector firms; and public places were reverberating with tunes of the national anthem and patriotic songs being played on state television and radio. The country was celebrating the safe return to Kuwait of their beloved Amir, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
On his visit to the United States in early September, and days before he was to meet with US President Donald Trump, His Highness the Amir was taken ill and admitted to hospital. Following a month of medical checkups and recuperation, His Highness returned to the homeland on Wednesday to a tumultuous welcome from citizens and residents. An official communique on his return announced that His Highness the Amir has returned home, “after completing medical examinations successfully and positively” in the United States.
The popular Mubarikiya Souk, a traditional market in the heart of Kuwait City, was the venue for celebrations organized by the Kuwait Municipality and local shop owners. A huge portrait of His Highness the Amir adorned the Al-Gharabally Square in the center of the souk with the caption: “A message of faithfulness and love from the people of Kuwait”. The organizers of the event were going around distributing photos of the Amir and later unleashed a huge balloon decorated with the Amir’s portrait, against a backdrop of tunes of the National Anthem.
In a statement released by the Amiri Diwan, His Highness the Amir expressed his deepest gratitude to the people of Kuwait and expatriates for their sincere feelings and the happiness they showed over his arrival in the country after successful medical checkups in the United States. He appreciated the people of Kuwait for their concern and follow-up of his medical condition throughout his trip, which in reality reflect Kuwait’s unity and distinguished moral status.
His Highness the Amir also thanked the leaders of Arab nations and other friendly countries for their constant follow-up of his health, their sentiments, and the genuine wishes they offered. He prayed to Allah to perpetuate blessings of security, safety and prosperity on the beloved State of Kuwait, and guide its people to serve the country at all times.
Overwhelming love and support that His Highness the Amir enjoys with all sections of society was evident in January 2006, when the whole country cheered as a special session of the National Assembly unanimously and constitutionally proclaimed His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as the 15th ruler and Amir of the State of Kuwait.
Since his accession, the Amir has a been a unifying source and a fountain of wise leadership in a country more often known for its diverging politics, bickering legislature and revolving-door governments. It is the Amir’s firm and fair decisions and resolute actions that have helped Kuwait pull through many a political and social exigency during the past 13 years.
Since he began his political career in 1954, His Highness has dedicated his life and energy to the welfare and well-being of Kuwait and its people. Following Kuwait’s independence in 1961, His Highness played a crucial role in cementing the country’s democratic credentials by being a member of the committee chosen to draft the country’s constitution that was enacted in 1962, and in organizing Kuwait’s first parliamentary elections held in1963. After being appointed as Kuwait’s foreign minister in 1963, for the next 40 years or so His Highness was the face of Kuwait in the international arena, meeting with world leaders and pushing for the country’s causes and interests at every global forum.
In the years following independence, Kuwait was considered one of the most progressive and developed states in the Arab world. Not only was Kuwait the first Arab state in the Persian Gulf to establish a constitution and parliament, it was the first Middle Eastern country to diversify its revenue away from oil exports, establishing the Kuwait Investment Authority — the world’s first sovereign wealth fund. In the 1970s, Kuwait was consistently ranked at the top of all Arab countries on the Human Development Index, with free education, lifelong healthcare, employment and social welfare guaranteed to all citizens. Art and culture flourished in the country attracting talent from around the region, and, in those heydays, Kuwait’s press was described as one of the freest in the world.
There are probably many in the country who are old enough to remember, or to at least have heard of those days gone by, and fondly wish that His Highness the Amir would lead the nation to those bygone glorious days of Kuwait. It is this trust and love for the Amir that manifested in the displays of affection witnessed on Wednesday.
On his safe arrival back in Kuwait, His Highness the Amir was received by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim, the President of the National Guard His Highness Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, President of the Court of Cassation and President of the Constitutional Court Consultant Yosif Al-Mutawa and other senior state officials.
On Wednesday, His Highness the Amir received a congratulatory cable from His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah regarding his safe return from the United States. In his cable, His Highness Sheikh Nawaf expressed pleasure, and thanked Allah for His Highness the Amir’s return to Kuwait after successful medical checkups. On behalf of citizens and residents of Kuwait, His Highness the Crown Prince expressed best wishes and congratulations to His Highness the Amir. In response, His Highness the Amir sent a thank-you letter to His Highness the Crown Prince for his kind words and sentiments.
His Highness the Amir also received a letter on Wednesday from the Chief of Kuwait’s National Guard His Highness Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah, who welcomed him back home after the medical checkups in the United States. In his letter, His Highness Sheikh Salem wrote: “The National Guard is ecstatic over His Highness the Amir’s safe return to the country after his successful medical checkups allayed all our concerns over his wellbeing.” His Highness the Amir thanked the National Guard chief for his warm sentiments, wishing Kuwait continued prosperity and development.
For his part, the Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouk Al-Ghanim and members of the Parliament sent a letter of congratulations to His Highness the Amir on the occasion of his return to Kuwait. In the letter, Al-Ghanim, on behalf of himself and all MPs, expressed sincere sentiments and happiness over the return of His Highness the Amir to Kuwait following a successful “medical journey” to the United States. He asked Allah to grant His Highness the Amir with everlasting health so that he may continue with his wise leadership of Kuwait and its loyal people. His Highness Sheikh Sabah thanked the Parliament, the Speaker and members for the sincere emotions they expressed through the letter, hoping for more achievements and prosperity. He asked Almighty Allah to bless the people of Kuwait with health and happiness.
His Highness the Amir also received a message from His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who wished him good health “so that he may carry on with his blessed march of serving our beloved country and pushing forward the process of development, progress and prosperity”. Sheikh Nasser said he is deeply proud of the noticeable development and progress in the country on various aspects “under your sagacious leadership”, renewing the allegiance and faithfulness to His Highness the Amir on his behalf and on behalf of the people of Kuwait.
His Highness the Amir sent a cable in response to His Highness Sheikh Nasser in gratitude for his sincere feelings. First Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on Wednesday congratulated His Highness the Amir, also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, on his safe return to the country.
In addition, congratulatory messages and well-wishes kept pouring in from regional leaders, ministers, diplomats, politicians, business people and from a multitude of citizens and residents.
Summing up the feelings of people and their relief on the safe return of His Highness the Amir, the Director General of Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) Sheikh Mubarak Al-Duaij Al-Ibrahim Al-Sabah said in his message that the joy of the people of Kuwait over the return of His Highness the Amir from the United States represents their loyalty to their leader.
In a press statement, he stressed that the Kuwaiti people deeply appreciate His Highness the Amir’s great achievements and wise leadership, adding that he also won over his people’s love by exerting great efforts to develop all sectors of Kuwait and build strong foreign relations as well as adopt neutral political stances in resolving various crises in the region and around the world. Sheikh Mubarak added His Highness the Amir is continuously providing humanitarian aid to those in need around the world, and his efforts were recognized by the United Nations when His Highness the Amir was presented with the title of ‘Humanitarian Leader’.