We all have our preferences in camera styles. The country of Kuwait, however, has taken its camera preferences to heights never before seen in the history of the world! In a move sure to bolster the fortunes of the new class of mirrorless cameras in the small, oil-rich country of 2.7 million, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Information have all banned the use of DSLRs in the entire country by anyone except accredited journalists.
"We're actually not entirely sure how this happened," explained Mohammed Al-Shepwoop, the Ministry of Information's Infidel Liason, at a press conference for puzzled foreign journalists in Kuwait City. "Maybe it got a little out of hand. A bunch of us were just sitting around arguing about the Micro 4/3 standard, and somebody said he doubted EVFs would displace DSLR viewfinders entirely no matter how good they get—and then the Emir, who'd been real quiet, blurts out, 'Damn all DSLRs anyway! I wish everybody had to choose some kind of mirrorless! Micro 4/3, Sony proprietary, X1—people should take a stand and make a choice!' It kind of stopped the conversation. I mean, what do you say to that? It was probably just a moment of pique, but he's the Emir."
There is no word on possible punishments for non-journalists who dare to show up in Kuwait with DSLRs, but Al-Shepwoop muttered darkly about secret prisons with 386 machines, 80MB Memory Sticks, and unsupported ex-newsroom Kodak DSLRs left over from the '90s.
"I mean, it's not like every guy in the ruling elite is over the moon about mirrorless subcompacts or anything. The Minister of Finance, naturally, is a Leica guy. He could care less about DSLRs. I think his last DSLR was a 10D.
"As for the Minister of Information," continued Al-Shepwoop, "We think he's just disgusted with the bigs. I spoke to him the other day and he's like, what, do Nikon and Canon think they can rub the fat bellies of their market share forever? He's got a point. We're all sick and tired of waiting for Canon and Nikon to get off their butts with their mirrorless offerings. I mean, come on, already. It's like they think tomorrow is yesterday."
The Minister of Information, who speaks little English, had told journalists earlier, "We wait, we wait, we wait—no mirrorless, no mirrorless. Well, good then. No mirrorless, no more oil money for you!"
Al-Shepwoop again: "But now the Minister of Social Affairs—well, he's probably behind this when you get right down to it, although I wouldn't want to get beheaded for saying so. He's been a Panasonic fanatic from the get-go. Really, the guy's the biggest Panny fanboy in the entire Middle East. And that's saying something—we get some extremists here, as you know. But if you get seated near him at State Dinners, you're just going to Allah, 'Please nobody mention photography, please nobody mention photography'—you know what I mean? Once you tick his engine over you'll be hearing about things like GH1 firmware updates and video modes til midnight."
Kuwait has already also banned Cuisinarts, electric toothbrushes, the television show TMZ (quite sensibly), riding lawnmowers, belly putters, wall-to-wall carpeting—"and American so-called country music," added Al-Shepwoop bitterly. "Nothing past Bill Monroe, so help us Allah. I'd rather be buried up to my neck in sand and stoned to death than have to listen to some of the camel poop that passes for Nashville these days."
Asked if film SLRs are also banned, the Minister of Information looked surprised and said, "They still make film? Really? News to me."
P.S. Seriously now: I have to say I'm skeptical about these reports of a Kuwaiti DSLR ban, even though they're all over the web. They might be true, but they have somewhat of the smell of "internet wildfire" about them to me so far. I could be wrong. We'll bring you confirmation if and when a formal statement comes from the Kuwaiti government.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Dave: "Hmm. I can't seem to find the URL for Craigslist Kuwait."
Featured Comment by Davis Littlejohn: "You really have to include Merle Haggard."
Infidel Liason M. Al-Shepwoop replies: First you let in Merle Haggard, then Carl Perkins, and before you know it you're at Bobby Bare and "Drop Kick Me Jesus." It's a slippery slope.
Featured Comment by Jim: "Honey, I need to buy an M9 for our next trip to Kuwait because...."