Today is a sad day for comedy, Kuwait and The Expatess. It was reported that Kuwaiti comedian Ghanem Al Saleh passed away early this morning in London after losing his battle to cancer. You can read more about the details in this article here, as it would be dull and redundant for me to merely regurgitate what is already floating around the internet at this point.
I'm not writing this post in a bid to say my few words of Arabic condolences, or to try to submerge myself in what's happening in Kuwaiti culture. I'm writing this post because as a young girl growing up abroad, the only (small) window I had into Kuwait was the television. While we all know that the portrayals of Kuwaitis in the numerous soaps that circulate all the MBCs, ARTs and Orbits are not an accurate reflection of life in Kuwait or its fine folk, it was the only real link I had to my roots while living out a childhood in North America during the Nineties. I'm not going to go into detail as to why I wasn't more "aware" of my Kuwaiti background growing up (That's for another more appropriate time), but I'm thankful Mr. Al Saleh was a part of my life. I'm thankful he made me laugh during many Ramadans. He taught me how to furiously flip a ghutra, how to express outrage in a deliciously melodramatic way only an Arab man can. He showed off the hilarity of Khaleejis in foreign vacation spots, and made us all laugh at own cultural missteps. He founded a theater troupe, was a pioneer of his time, brought joy to many hearts, educated dozens and will be missed greatly.
For all the laughs, all the nasfas and all the memories, I wish you peace and happiness where ever you may now be Ghanem.
Bidding London one last bye bye,