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Message of love from Ambassador Christian Nakhle to his friends before leaving the State of Kuwait
December 16, 2017, 4:58 pm
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Message of love from Ambassador Christian Nakhle to his friends before leaving the State of Kuwait

Dear Kuwaiti friends, or rather, I should say "Dear Kuwait",

I, actually, address this speech to Kuwait, my friends and to the meetings and gatherings I had with them, as well as the work we accomplished together in four years and three months, which allowed me to discover an extraordinary country in the Arab world that I know quite well. I arrived from Paris on the 15th September 2013 and, literally, I did not know any person here at that time. My diplomacy life has allowed me to visit your country only once about ten years ago and it was a short visit.

I was a student in 1990 when, just like everybody else, I was shocked with the invasion of Kuwait and, seven months later, I was happy to know that Kuwait is liberated. In the courses I attended in preparation to the competition of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kuwait has often been mentioned as an example in the administrative work we had to prepare and submit in the field of international relations and law enforcement. Directly after liberation, a friend of mine, a journalist who was living with me in Cairo at the time, visited Kuwait at the invitation of Kuwaiti authorities to witness the looting and robbery that Saddam Hussein's forces had carried out. He returned with a live testimony that I kept all these years in my personal belongings without ever imagining that one day I shall be among you during my term of office, which is about to end in few days.

This message of friendship, or rather, this message of love, is a testimony of mine to the years I spent with you: a message of love to those friends I met; young and old, women and men, students, artists, businessmen, politicians, ministers, members of the National Assembly and human rights defenders. During my stay in your country, I highly appreciated the spirit of debate that prevails, whether in offices, in press or through social networks. Democracy in your country is not an empty word, but a reality, and your diplomacy is that of peace, just like that in France. Kuwait owes this to its leaders, in particular to His Highness the Amir, who is a true example of wisdom to the region as a whole and a "humanitarian leader" to the entire world.

The family spirit, which I treasure the most, prevails in Kuwait; everyone knows each other and exchanges visits in joyful occasions, such as weddings, and in times of grief at the death of any person. Kuwait is a large family in itself, with a very important trade heritage that is part of the country's fundamentals, in addition to its cultural dimension, with photographers, painters and musicians. I also learned the art of self-photography "Salafi" and I did notice how distinguished the bloggers are on social networking sites and the activists in the fashion world. Your country is one of the most modern countries in the Arab and the entire world!

I am leaving in Kuwait several friends with whom I spent quality times chatting, exchanging conversations and dreaming with a better future for the region and peace in the world. Of course, as always, HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, from the very moment H.H. received me at Bayan Palace to deliver my credentials on the 4th of November 2013, and while speaking in Arabic with me in a very nice and friendly manner, he just said to me gently and humorously: "Welcome in your second home!"

HH was extremely right! It took me mere few hours after my arrival on the evening of the 15th of September 2013 to feel at home. I knew the Gulf States by then because I worked as the General Consul in Jeddah for many years. I also knew Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, as much as I know Iran and its language, in addition to my knowledge of the Arabic language and the history of this region of the world. What I did not know is that all this, mixed in a high-speed mixer, would make me a friend to many Kuwaitis whom I found enjoying all the above characteristics; all except for the language.

I had to get used to the local dialect and the use of feminine and masculine which I missed all the time. There was a friend who used to address me at the beginning of my stay saying "Shlonek" (How are you?), yet I always thought he was addressing the lady behind me, when I found out that when she spoke to her he used "Shlonech" instead. Here I figured that I obviously have a lot of work on this subject or I shall look stupid in my conversations!

Now that we have become friends, I allow myself to reveal some secrets and perhaps give some advice, in a spirit of humor of course! Please, dear Kuwaitis: Travel less because it is almost impossible for me to know if I can see you at the end of the week except by following up your accounts on Instagram. Stop publishing Snapchat because whenever I am about to open this app the story disappears.

Guys, spend less time at the Oxygen Sports Club and more time at the French Institute to get a certificate in French! Also, an advice from a friend about visas: do not submit your requests on Monday the 12th while you would like to travel on Sunday the 11th! You also shall have to find a solution to WhatsApp; this "national epidemic" with the "Selfie" pictures, which hit me as well, since I consult my messages by my right hand while dipping into a glass of hot milk with saffron with my left hand; frankly, I cannot do them at the same time without ending up dipping my iPhone in the milk instead of the biscuits!

Kuwait has been a school for me; a school of working with excellent professionals at all levels, not to mention in foreign affairs and other ministries, as well as the Amiri Diwan. Moreover, in the private sector, I learnt perseverance, patience and taking enough time to think, in addition to friendship in work relations and the desire to share with my country, France, which loves you so much in return.

In the last few weeks, I have visited many offices and entities that I have visited during my stay to say goodbye to my friends. I met some of you personally to pay tribute. I also sent messages on WhatsApp and made some phone calls ... to farewell you all and confirm that I shall see you again real soon. As our dear poet Sheikha Suad Al-Sabah says with great skill, "We Remain". I shall always enjoy seeing you again and I shall definitely accept all future invitation to "Megabus" dish on Tuesday or to share a dish of "Naqror Fish", because, as per the old saying, "He who eats the eye of Naqror shall never leave". I shall come back!

@ christian.nakhle

Christian Nakhle
Ambassador of France to the State of Kuwait

 

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