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Kuwait: Bidun fly “Freedom Balloons”

This post is part of our special coverage on Refugees.

A month ago, the stateless community of Kuwait started a 3 day-long campaign of “flipping your Twitter avatar” to catch the media's attention and highlight their cause for the world. This Friday, they've made another campaign to set balloons in the air, calling them “freedom balloons“.

The avatar designed by @tatabotata spread on Twitter to show support for the Bidun of Kuwait

Just as people have interacted and sympathized with the “flip your avatar” campaign, many Twitter users have changed their avatars to one designed by Talal Obeid (@tatabotata) that says one word in Arabic: “Bidun”, which means “stateless”. People are showing support and sympathy to those who want to speak up for their rights in a peaceful way, by flying balloons.

A female Twitter user called Manayer (@ManayerAbs) complimented the Bidun for using peaceful expression in her tweet:

@ManayerAbs: Despite the miserable ways of living, they manage to create a peaceful campaign to stand up for their rights.

Omar AlOraiman (@OmarAlOraiman), a Kuwaiti student, has also pointed out how peaceful the Bidun are when demanding their rights:

@OmarAlOraiman: #Freedomballoons and they keep on showing us how great they r by their patience & love to Kuwait with their neat peaceful campaigns

Kuwaiti Lawyer Nasser Najaf (@NasserNajaf) addressed the government in his tweet about the status of Kuwaiti Bidun, saying:

أتمنى ان تكف الحكومة عن المماطلة في توفير الحقوق الانسانية والمدنية لهذه الفئة المظلومة

@NasserNajaf: I wish that the government would stop playing around and guarantee the human and civil rights of this oppressed community

A girl from Kuwait whose nickname is Qaboul (@Qaboul) has been tweeting over the past few days for the #FreedomBalloons campaign and in one of her tweets, she shows how disappointed she is over the arrest of those who were flying the balloons, although there is no confirmed news on these arrests yet:

@Qaboul: Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. But today they Kill the Dreams they kill our enthusiasm

An American blogger based in Kuwait called “American Girl” has quoted the statement of the campaign in a recent post, to show support:

The bidun and all their supporters launch A campaign to ignite the freedom glow flying lantern in Expression of the Departure of Their Lives out of the prison of racism to the sky of freedom,Timing of the launch will be in the date of 29/7/2011@ 8:30 PM Kuwait local time,plz support the bidun human campaign to claim their humanity and freedom. Participate Through the launch of the glow lantern of freedom At the time mentioned.

Kuwaiti Twitter user Abdulaziz Al-Assaf (@Bo_S3aiyed) was there to show support for the campaign and he recorded a video then uploaded it on Youtube . According to his niece Fouz Abdullah (@FouzAbd), Al-Assaf was going to be taken by the police but was let go of when they discovered he is Kuwaiti and not stateless:

@FouzAbd: Interestingly, My fully kuwaiti uncle @bo_s3aiyed was also asked to go with the police but they left him when they knew he is Kuwaiti!

One of the bloggers called Khaled has gathered pictures of the campaign from Twitter and put them together in a post. Here is one of them:

A man flies one of the Bidun's Freedom Balloons

This post is part of our special coverage on Refugees.

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