The Ayes have it

6 Oct, '05

According to Saar Online which has been following the Al-Wefaq vote on whether to register under the new Political Societies law:

1754 people participated in the vote
1062 voted
972 voted YES
127 voted NO

Well the numbers don’t add up, however it is quite apparent that the Ayes far outnumbers the Nays. So we’ll have Al-Wefaq now officially registering under the much debated political societies law, which to me is a precursor for them to enter the parliamentary elections in 2006 although they’re not coming out and saying that outright yet.

In any case, this is Good News and as far as I’m concerned they have done The Right Thing too. Now the staunchly pro-government useless ass-kissing MPs have something to look forward to…. unemployment in 373 days!

update 051007L0919:

Meantime, the other boycotting society, the National Democratic Action Society‘s members voted by a margin of 66% to register under the new law and change their name to “Promise” (وعد).

Both societies will be holding their General Meetings in the next few days to approve their new Bylaws which are expected to veer towards those of a political party, rather than a “society” as we know it.

To me, this is excellent progress.

picture credits: and Al-Wasat Newspaper

Filed in: General

Comments (84)

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  1. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    I hope and pray they do run for elections. At least the news will be more interesting.

    The Joker

  2. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    I dont think this is the right move, to register under a law that is against basic human rights. If Wefaq had stood against it then maybe something could have been done. But accpeting it and registering under it will just make them the new MP’s who cant do anythign to help themselves let alone help the people in Bahrain.

    I wish I am wrong and that they are able to do something for the people.

    Otherwise they will be the new disappointment, in the line of many many disappointments.

    Zainab Alkhawaja

  3. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    Allow me to disagree with you yet again. Until now we have seen that everyone who says they will work form within the system fail to do so. It is very simple why they fail, the rules they are agreeing to abide by ensure their failure. For these laws give the government the right to dispose of them the minute they find that they are not serving its interest.

    Secondly most changes in the world happen by the people who protest without being involved in the government. For if the viewer doesn’t like the movie and cannot change the events….
    he sure as hell can change the channel….. for he has the remote!

    Zainab Alkhawaja

  4. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    You’re really sold into this “revolution” bit aren’t you?

    Did you not stop and think of the chaos that would ensue should your version of “change” come to be? Do you not value stability or gradual change at least?

    I, like the majority of Bahraini citizens are actually happy enough with this channel but we do agree that the programming needs to be modernised and its operators held accountable by the people.

  5. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    There is some measure of truth in what you say. The constitution and the parliamentary bylaws are not the best the world has seen, and they certainly are lacking as far as the normal Bahraini is concerned, however it has been amply proven over the last 3 years that (1) parliament does have a voice, (2) working on the sidelines produces nothing but noise, and (3) the only method available that can correct the bylaws and constitution is through peaceful pressure from within the system.

    The alternative is civil war, which is no one’s interest.

    Given the above, the vote to register – which I hope is the precursor for the boycotters to enter the parliamentary elections come 2006 – is the correct path to tread.

    Now that they have democratically chosen to register, they should not sit on their laurels, but continue to pressure the government in changing if not the constitutions, at least the demarcation of the constituencies, limit the role of the Shura council or its membership numbers, and work out a cohesive battle-plan to guarantee that they get as many seats as possible (observers say they can win anything between 14 to 18 seats in the 40 seat Chamber of Representatives, which is a sizable majority that can truly affect the way laws and regulations are forged and passed.

    Taking your way just allows the country to descend into chaos much more than we have seen in the 70s to the 90s.

    I choose the path of participate and resist from within the establishment.

  6. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    I’m totally with Jalila Alsayed on this one:

    …both on a legalistic and basic political rights perspective. The government is setting the rules of the game, gradually restricting basic rights and yet….we accept this game of slow political strangulation and hope we will able to loosen the noose around our necks if we agree to be hanged!!

    Still, i’m glad it went to a vote and each member of the society got a say in the matter. I’m just left wondering where the_wefaq_basher has gone 🙂

  7. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    how long are you going to accept Mahmood?? How long are you willing to live under a government who has no rights to rule. Nobody chose this government, they killed and stole to get the power they have.

    Sometimes making changes takes sacrifice, if you do not want to make that sacrifice then your children and their children will live in the world you are living in. DO you want them to accept it as well. The government wont give anything unless it is forced to do so.

    As an Arab I will never forget about the occupied territory of Palestine and I will never accept the zionist rule, and in the same way as a Bahraini I will never forget how the ALkhalifas took power and what they did to my country.

    I will not be one of those people who put my hand in the hand of criminals, who detained and tortured and killed my people. And I am sorry but I do not value stability more than freedom.

    Zainab Alkhawaja

  8. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    With all due respect to Ms. Al-Sayed, she is looking at this whole issue from a lawyer’s perspective, nit-picking what “might” happen. She is absolutely right in what she has highlighted and I completely agree with her. However, if we take any law or legislation in the world and we try to micro-analyse every line and every article, we will them all out of the window as none would be perfect. Should we look for perfection in these things? Hardly. But as in any agreement, if you are prepared to abide by its spirit rather than every single word and every single interpretation there is no way you can arrive at a partnership. We have to abide by the spirit of the law and treat it as it should be, a non-perfect evolutionary text.

    In that respect, continuing to exert pressure and seeking control and changes from within the system is much more effective than standing on the sidelines and shouting at the top of our lungs to try to change things.

    Dr. Mansour Al-Jamri, the editor of Al-Wasat Newspaper, put it quite nicely (and I paraphrase): “non participation is like a TV viewer, they can rant and rave at the screen, but there is no way in hell that it will change the events of the movie!”

  9. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    They have legitimacy and they acquired that legitimacy from the Bahraini people TWICE.

    The first was when they invited the 7th Al-Khalifa shaikh, Isa bin Ali, back to Bahrain* after he was thrown out off the island, and the second more recent one was when 98.4% of the Bahraini population voted for the National Charter.

    Therefore, the bulk of your arguments are moot points. The fact of the matter is that they are here and they have legitimacy, regardless of what you and I think, 98.4% of our country wants them. As for the killing and pillaging etc. that history is repeated and shared by all countries, particularly those with monarchist rule. Are we to continue to let the past dictate our future? If this is the case then we will be in perpetual blood-baths.

    Yes, some change requires sacrifice which is a noble notion, however, this noble notion should be reserved for activities that deserve it like the elevation of the people of this land through education and the provision of an honourable way of life, not to shed blood and create unending chaos.

    As to your notion of preferring freedom more than stability, how can you be free in a state of Chaos? That doesn’t really compute. If you value freedom as every single person in the world does, then you have to accept that you have responsibilities dictated by the very freedoms you cherish, the most important of which is perpetuating them and inculcating them within your society. How are you going to ensure that when blood is flowing and chaos rule?

    No Zainab, there are other ways to fight the fight. Do what you’re doing right now, study hard and make something of yourself and serve your people and country. Ultimately, these small steps will ensure that the rule will be as is advertised: respect for a binding constitution.

    Not all change warrant wars and upheaval. The most effective way to effect change is a stepped, studied approach.

    * “بناء الدولة Ù?ÙŠ البحرين Ù€ المهمة غير المنجزة” by Abdulhadi Khalaf

  10. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    Who said anything about blood, you make it sound like I was calling for the french revolution. Not wanting people to accept the government and PEACEFULLY work to change it does not mean I want a bloodbath. The reason for the 98.4 is exactly your way of thinking. to trust the government and go along with it to make changes. After that turned out to be a failure, people should learn a lesson.

  11. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    Sorry if I misinterpreted your views; but when you talk about “sacrifice”, “revolution”, “change” I naturally assumed that you have exasperated peaceful change venues and now espouse the use of violence to “rid” these islands of Al-Khalifa.

    And 98.4% can’t all be wrong, nor can they all be hoodwinked.

    What is your solution then…


  12. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    My solution is peaceful resistance. Now and until we get all our rights.

  13. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    Let me play the devil’s advocate here Zainab; define your “peaceful resistance” please.

  14. anonymous says:

    Re(1): The Ayes have it

    [quote]The fact of the matter is that they are here and they have legitimacy, regardless of what you and I think, 98.4% of our country wants them.[/quote]

    I’m not so sure about your usage of the 98.4% statistic. I don’t think that the 98.4% was for the continued rule of the Al-Khalifa in whatever way it wishes to dictate for the rest of the people. As I remember it, the 98.4% was for the end of 27 years of systematic torture, forced exile, and extrajudicial killings under the State Security Law; it was for the return of the 1973 Constitution and a parliament elected by the people; it was for the National Action Charter that had been clarified by Hamad bin Isa in his much publicized Feb 2001 meeting with the clerics, in which he signed a document explaining the role of Shura Council; it was for a king who doesn’t renege on his promises.

    The Sitrawis didn’t just randomly wake up one day and say “Hey, forget the uprising… we love the royal family now. Let’s carry Hamad bin Isa on our shoulders” . Rather, they carried him on their shoulders to show that they wanted him to be their King within the bounds of a mutually agreed upon social contract, and more importantly, based on trust and respect for the citizens (and for the promises he makes with them).

    Anyone who was in Bahrain during the time of the referendum will recall the atmosphere of hope, optimism and idealism. We all wanted to believe that we could all live together as one big happy family, and we all wanted to believe that the replacement of Shaikh Isa by his son could cause the regime to take a U-turn overnight. We all wanted to believe that, and that hope (false or real) probably contributed greatly to the 98.4% .

    So does the 98.4% vote give legitimacy to the continued rule of the Al Khalifa? I’d be interested to see what the result would be if that referendum was held again today. Obviously, I’m not convinced that that referendum statistic can be used as a source of legitimacy for the rule of the Al Khalifa. However I think the ball is still in their court, and there still exists the opportunity to win the people’s trust again if they choose to do so. I hope they avail the opportunity soon.

    (Hope everyone is having a pleasant Ramadan so far)

    — Chan’ad

  15. anonymous says:

    Re(1): The Ayes have it

    wohooo….political society’s law rocks…just like the Information act, the hijacking of the constitution, gatherings law,internet registration…who cares about the wording … its about the ‘spirit’ of things ppl..the ‘spirit’…. v funny

  16. mahmood says:

    Re(2): The Ayes have it

    Alright, fair enough. Wide open laws could be interpreted to suit any particular situation so it is important to make them as specific as possible. Or at least the explanation memo should leave no chance to misinterpretation. Agreed.

    At the same time, lawyers themselves would tell you that any agreement is not worth the ink it’s printed in because they can take any agreement and rip so many holes in it quite effortlessly, hence the important of the spirit of contract and agreements, and much more important than both of these factors is the mutual respect between the parties in the first place to ensure that the contract or agreement draws agreed particular boundaries.

    The internet registration by the way doesn’t really come into this discussion as it is not law, but an administrative order, so let’s leave that for another time, although you know that I am completely against it.

    As to the “Gatherings” law, according to the papers this morning, all parliamentary blocs have refused it and are telling the government to amend the older and saner law number 8 of 1973. As it has not officially been refused (no vote yet) and that the law has been returned to the appropriate committees for further discussion, there is every chance that it could be modified to the better or worse. However, the consensus now is that it is rejected in totality and the old law is going to be modified to take into consideration the current climates.

    With the above, and this is true also for the controversial constitution, you can easily deduce that:

    1. all laws are subject to change
    2. the constitution is subject to change
    3. it is easier to effect these changes from within rather than without the current institutions

    I agree that effecting changes to the constitution especially is very difficult, nigh impossible, but it still could be done.

    What can the opposition now do? Nothing, they have come closer to the centre-line, it is now the government’s turn to give in a little bit so they too can move closer to the middle line. It is now the government’s turn to show good faith and reduce the number of appointed Shura council members and allow even indirect elections for its members vis-a-vis Morocco. Other methods and solutions are also available.

    The ultimate result is that we should all work toward a better and more democratic Bahrain.

    Standing on the sidelines and shouting foul doesn’t really cut it any more.

  17. anonymous says:

    Re(3): The Ayes have it

    [quote]Standing on the sidelines and shouting foul doesn’t really cut it any more.[/quote]

    I think Mahmood that this is crux of the problem. People standing around and not dealing with the issues directly and then the general acceptance in the Arab World of being mediocre and then being rewarded for it.

    If you don’t vote you shouldn’t bitch about the system. By not taking part in the process you by default have accepted the Status Quo. Whatever it may be. Constitutions are “living” documents and like “laws” they are and should be subject to change with the times. It shouldn’t be an easy process but possible.

  18. anonymous says:

    Re(3): The Ayes have it

    [quote]By accepting the Charter WE have also accepted Al-Khalifa rule.[/quote]
    Fair enough… the Charter gave them de facto legitimacy, but I’m not convinced that it can still be used as a source of moral legitimacy as I explained in my earlier comment.

    [quote]Now, I already stated quite explicitly that the current state of affairs is not perfect, and I am all for its reformation, but I recognise in the interest of stability and continued economic health of the country it has to be a gradual give and take situation without half-brained vengeful crappy ideas of revolution. We don’t need nor want that.[/quote]
    I’m in complete agreement with you here. Nowhere in my earlier comment did I ever advocate any sort of revolution or “vengeful ideas”. In fact, I did not advocate any sort of action at all in the comment. I was merely commenting on your use of the 98.4% statistic as a source of legitimacy — that is ALL.
    I should also add here that I did not say that there aren’t other ways to argue in favour of legitimacy of the Al-Khalifa. I was just expressing my personal opinion that the Charter referendum is not the most convincing way to go about it. (So just to clarify once again: I was not trying to give my opinion about whether to lead a revolution, or whether to boycott elections, or whether to register societies.)

    [quote]What I get from both you and Chan’ad is an awful lot of hatred for its own sake.[/quote]
    This concerns me a bit more (speaking on behalf of myself only). Nowhere in my comment did I express hatred towards anyone. I expressed my disapproval of certain actions, but that is very different from “hatred”, and certainly from “hatred for its own sake”. I agree with you 100% (or maybe 98.4% 😉 ) that hatred and vengeance can never achieve lasting change.

    — Chan’ad

  19. mahmood says:

    Re(2): The Ayes have it

    Chan’ad, I’m sorry if this is going to sound harsh, but who are the “we” you’re talking about? Did you actually vote for the referendum? I don’t think so. So please don’t use the “we” so liberally, with all due respect to you personally and your views of course.

    The overwhelming majority vote for the Charter implies the acceptance of the rule of the current regime, otherwise people could have easily continued their dissent and refused their rule. By accepting the Charter WE have also accepted Al-Khalifa rule.

    So get over it.

    Now, I already stated quite explicitly that the current state of affairs is not perfect, and I am all for its reformation, but I recognise in the interest of stability and continued economic health of the country it has to be a gradual give and take situation without half-brained vengeful crappy ideas of revolution. We don’t need nor want that.

  20. mahmood says:

    Re(3): The Ayes have it

    You can agree with Chan’ad all you like Zainab, it’s not going to change the situation that virtually the whole country agreed upon. If you believe in democracy you would accept this “defeat” quite graciously and get on with your life and find other ways than direct confrontation to achieve your goals, if those goals are of course to the good of the country rather than serving personal egos.

    As to “giving the government another chance” doesn’t cut it. If the people of Bahrain really wanted to “get rid of Al-Khalifa” that was their golden moment, they could have as easily voted a resounding NO to the Charter’s referendum which quite clearly stated the continued rule of Al-Khalifa and the changing of the country into a constitutional hereditary monarchy.

    The release of political prisoners and the return of exiles happened before, during and after the referendum, so that’s another thing that doesn’t compute in your views.

    What I get from both you and Chan’ad is an awful lot of hatred for its own sake. This I’ll have you know is an all-consuming disease that you need to get rid of. With this hatred you will never achieve any lasting change, nor is it going to allow you to actually smell the roses, you will just concentrate and complain about the shit in the flower bed.

  21. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    So how does a continuous attempt to change the regime fit in any of these scenarios? Regime change in this situation will most definitely produce a copious amount of blood and a whole lot of tears.

    That is different of course if that is not your object of civil dissobedience. If the object is demanding a better government more answerable to the people regardless of who is at the top of that government, it’s a cause that I think we all can share and work toward.

  22. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    I demand a democracy where it is not upto a king to decide the fate of the people. I dont want to live under the mercy of a king. And this is the right of every citizen

  23. anonymous says:

    Re(4): The Ayes have it

    I sure hope you dont think of this as “democracy”.
    Furthermore it was no golden moment.

    As for serving personal egos, I dont have a clue what you mean, please explain that to me.

    As for the changes happening before and after, this makes sense, and I never said it happened after. but still it is the government asking the people if they want this change or not. If Hamad hadn’t done that then he wouldn’t have got his 98.4

    Hatred for its own sake huh. You stop taking pics of your car and flowers and go visit the poor families in Bahrain. Then look at the filthy rich Khalifa. Look around you and see how much freedom of speech there is. As I remember you wanted to close this blog cuz you didn’t feel safe. Look at how migrant workers are treated. Or maybe you should look at the fate of the torturers in Bahrain. Or go and speak to the victims of those torturers.

    I think your problem is that you look at everything from inside the walls of your little heaven. If your little sister got beaten up in a peaceful demonstration, then come and talk about hatred. When you have lived in bahrain your whole life, and you’re still treated like an outsider, then come and talk.

    The shit in the flower bed is all we see, because the flowers have been plucked and they are in a vase in one of those palaces.

  24. anonymous says:

    Re(5): The Ayes have it


    Given that you use your blog to express your admiration for ‘great man’ Ayatollah Khomeini, the butcher of hundreds of thousands, how can you either talk about democracy or human rights?

    You either don’t know what you’re talking about or are a deeply cynical person.

  25. anonymous says:

    Re(3): The Ayes have it

    “half-brained vengeful crappy ideas of revolution. We don’t need nor want that.”

    Let me first congratulate you on the vocabulary, secondly I think Chanads view really does represent many Bahrainis. And by the way i dont know if Chanad views himself as a Bahraini, but if he does, then it sure is a gain for Bahrain to have a citizen who cares so much about this country.

    If by revolution you mean the change of the regime then I think the real question is Who are the “we” that you are talking about Mahmood?

    bahrainis might not agree about many things but if there was a referendum on the Alkhalifas being overthrown I think “you” would be a small minority

  26. anonymous says:

    Re(6): The Ayes have it

    The only thing me and you disagree on is that Khomeini “butchered” hundreds of thousands. I am all for democracy and human rights, if I find out that Khomeini is responsible for what you accuse him then I would not admire him.

    But from what I know about Khomeini is that he led a revolution that resulted in overthrowing the Shah who was a dictator. And since I am against dictators then I supprt those who overthrow them. Can you see the logic.

    I have read about Khomeini, and I have written about him and nowhere in the history books that i read about him did it say that he butchered people. I am not talking about arabic or Iranian books. I am talking about books written by American authors. SO unless you have a source, a credible one that will prove your accustaion, i will continue to admire Khomeini. And pray for more men like Khomeini.

  27. mahmood says:

    Re(5): The Ayes have it

    Zainab let’s not let this decent conversation descend into personal slurs. We agree that there are problems, we disagree on their extent and how best to fix them. Let’s concentrate on those.

    Human beings are very different from animals as not only can they think, but actually have and exercise their choice. Labelling those vast majority who have voted for the Charter and by default ALL of its contents as unthinking and easily fooled fools is nothing short of disrespectful and condescending. You should give people the benefit of the doubt, and accept that they differ in their views than yours and leave it at that. If you then disagree with the way things are you, as a human being, have choices, either work with the system to change things, leave and live elsewhere, mount a war or insurgency to effect that change.

    You seem to have taken the third option unfortunately which has blinded you to the first two. That’s what I meant by pandering to your own personal ego, rather than accepting the very essence of democracy, the majority vote on this particular issue.

    As to me posting pictures of my cars and flowers, I have worked very hard for what I’ve got. I didn’t receive any handout from anyone and have built everything that I have by my own resources. I am proud of what I have achieved and will work even harder to achieve more. If you or anyone else have a problem with that, then it is hardly my problem and I won’t even waste a moment’s sleep over the issue.

    My opening up my personal life to share with you and others doesn’t give you the right to criticise my way of life nor be black-hearted about it. Learn to love success and reward it, that way you will become successful, rather than loving the idea of being a victim and downtrodden all the time. It’s YOUR life and YOUR duty to make the best of it.

    I could have just as easily chosen to blog anonymously as some have and pretend that I care about this country.

    I do care however, very deeply, about this country and ALL its people. In my way I have helped countless others throughout my life without asking for any return and will continue to do so. You’re not the only patriotic person on the planet.

  28. mahmood says:

    Re(7): The Ayes have it

    Advice: remove the rose-coloured glasses and re-read those books. You might be surprised.

  29. anonymous says:

    Re(8): The Ayes have it

    I dont think i could ignore that poeple were butchered if it was written in any of the books. Please give me a name of a book and a page number.

  30. mahmood says:

    Re(4): The Ayes have it

    We’ve all risen to the defence of Chan’ad before and will continue to do so. However, believe me when I tell you that he can take care of himself quite admirably.

    bahrainis might not agree about many things but if there was a referendum on the Alkhalifas being overthrown I think “you” would be a small minority

    Dinna fash y’self lass as our Scottish friends would say. You will be unpleasantly surprised that the vote (which has already been cast, but you will not accept it for your own reasons) is recast. The vast majority of Bahrainis would value stability much more than egotistical empty notions.

    If we are to make progress however, we should get to the real issues rather than continue to engage in peripheral discussions, those being the overthrowing of Al-Khalifas particularly. And once again I don’t even pretent to defend them because they can do that themselves quite adequately.

    What we should be engaging in is the primary issue of demanding better governance. Everything else would take its natural place once that is achieved.

  31. anonymous says:

    Re(6): The Ayes have it

    It seems that you read alot between the lines, alot of stuff thats not there.
    I don’t think badly of anyone who voted in favour of the Charter, and I did not say they are fools. On the contrary I said they are people who want a better life and they cannot be blamed. Please reread what i wrote.

    Secondly I do not think you havn’t earned what you have Mahmood, no nead to be extra sensitive here, I just want you to realize what other bahrainis go through. I am happy that some people are making it and I congratulate you for what you have. But I am tryign to tell you that other people are suffering and those are the poeple we need to fight for, so they get their rights.

    Again I repeat i do not want a war or an insurgency. I told you a Peaceful movement is all I want. PEACEFUL is the key word here. Please remember that, because u seem to forget it in every post.

    I am sure you are patriotic and that is why i am having this conversation with you. If I thought you did not care then i would not go to the trouble of explaining my views to you.

  32. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    That’s very naive isn’t it? Democracy and monarchy are not mutually exclusive. Vis-a-vis the United Kingdom and many others.

    You just are beginning to sound like “I want to get rid of Al-Khalifas regardless” which is envious and vengeful. Did you not stop to think of all the people who might very well lose their lives and livelihoods if they pandered to your stream of thought? Did you not think for a second of the chaos that would ensue? Did you not think of the complete destruction of the economy which might take decades to be resurrected?

    I thought you cared about “the people”!

  33. anonymous says:

    Khomeini mini me

    At last you’ve come out because that’s what this debate is about – praying for Khomeini mini mes to have the run of the place, but couching it in the language of ‘human rights’.

    Surely your father, Abdulhadi Khawaja, who has dedicated his entire life to champion human rights (yeah, right) would be terribly distraught to see his daughter disown everything he stands for with her praise for this mass killer?

  34. anonymous says:

    Re(5): The Ayes have it

    I dont think Chanad needs defending, I just spoke my mind becuase I didn’t like the tone of your comment.

    The vote for overthrowing the Alkhalifas has never been cast Mahmood. None of the voting that has happened has been about choosing a government, even if you’d like to make it sound that way.

    “What we should be engaging in is the primary issue of demanding better governance” I am demanding better governance Mahmood, I am demanding democracy. If we have a democracy, a real one, and people have a choice, and the people of Bahrain choose Hamad to be the president. Then I promise you I would accept that. I wouldn’t vote for him, but I would accept the choice of the majority. Until that happens, I am going to be against having a dictator rule my country.

  35. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    Again…. a book and a page number. thats all i ask. Its very simple, instead of tiring yourself of repeating the same comments over and over.

  36. anonymous says:

    Re(1): The Ayes have it

    Why would people die? Are you saying that the government will kill those who choose to peacefully resist???
    Is that the government that you dont want overthrown?

  37. anonymous says:

    Re: Khomeini mini me

    Again…. a book and a page number. thats all i ask. Its very simple, instead of tiring yourself of repeating the same comments over and over.

  38. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Khomeini mini me

    Remember this???

    two seas liberal said…
    “And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of the thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioner.”

    Nor on the side of child executioner either as you are with your admiration of Khomeini.

    6:09 AM

    Zainab Alkhawaja said…
    Hiya liberal

    Could you do me a favour and tell me your sources please. I would like to take a look at them.


    You didn’t answer then either. But I’ll keep asking, because really as a human rights activist I don’t want to admire a butcher. But I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything without proof either. 🙂

  39. anonymous says:

    Re(2): Khomeini mini me

    You’re a ‘human rights activist’???? Yet you admire Khomeini???? OMG – the complete and utter shame of it.

    So this is the deal – someone points out your hero’s crimes and you can then say ‘Oh but I wasn’t aware of it and I could never support such a thing’ and then get yourself off the hook? Sorry lady it doesn’t work like that. There’s no way you can play the innocence card not with all that happened in the 1980s and you aren’t getting out of it that easily. As a self declared ‘human rights activist’ you’re up shit creek contemplating a turd on a stick for paddle.

    Its this sort of nonsense that gets legitimate human rights activists a bad name and undermines their very necessary work.

  40. mahmood says:

    Re(7): The Ayes have it

    But I am tryign to tell you that other people are suffering and those are the poeple we need to fight for, so they get their rights.

    Excellent. We have arrived at the crux of the discussion here and this is what we should have discussed all along, this is the real issue and nothing, absolutely nothing else matters.

    Let us begin to construct a way through which we can help these people:

    1. We do not need to fight for them, they can fight for themselves. What we need to do for them is allow them to see and sieze opportunities, and then run with them to make the best they could out of it.

    2. They are not victims. Nor should they EVER regard themselves as victims. They should walk tall and grab whatever life is giving them and turn it to their advantage. Again this has to come from deep within them, if they don’t believe these points, nothing is going to change their lives. Not my, you nor the government even if they poured oodles of cash into their environs.

    3. Now what can the government do to help them find a better way of life? First think, is it the government’s mandate in the first place to do this? I don’t think so. To me, the best government in the world is that that doesn’t exist! Governments are meant to govern hence the smaller they are the better for everyone. As Thoreau said:

    “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.

    As far as I’m concerned, let private enterprise provide the opportunities and solutions, NOT the government.

    I recognise however that our situation is different because of the dependance on oil for decades, and the sidelining of businessmen and enterprises because frankly they were unneeded for such a long time, from the 30s in fact. Businessmen contributed very small amounts to the country’s coffers hence they became secondary or even tertiary points of consideration as far as the government is concerned. And because of the dependance on oil revenues, the government has become huge. What government requires about 40,000 civil servants to run it in a country as small as Bahrain? This would tell you that the government has become the nursemaid of society rather than what it was created for in the first place. Govern fairly and ensure that by fair governance opportunities would be present for everyone.

    So because of this obtuse situation (a situation repeated throughout the Gulf I might add) the government has to take the initiative in providing resources to make these opportunities abundant. And this is exactly what has been happening over the last 5 years.

    a) we have had a change of leadership who are young and dynamic.
    b) this leadership has recognised that in order for them to ensure their longevity, they have to share their wealth or allow the country’s wealth to perculate and reach the ordinary citizen.
    c) the best way to ensure the longevity of this perculation is the preparation of various economic grounds needed, hence, serious strides have happened to reform the labour and education markets as well as the economy and finance.

    All of these factors will create unbound opportunities, but in order to recognise these opportunites and take advantage of them, people need to be educated in vastly different ways than methods adopted so far. On top of that, I believe that it should be law that everyone must finish secondary education, rather than the current sitaution of finishing primary education only. Without good education, opportunities would simply disappear because no one will recognise them as such, and continue to be sidetracked by every wiff of wind.

  41. mahmood says:

    Re(2): The Ayes have it

    No, that’s not what I meant Zainab. I meant that people would die because of revolutions, the unfortunate side effect. And not necessarily by bullets, but because of hunger, looting, rioting, and the various other civil strife which could be manifested because of violent (or peaceful) regime change.

  42. anonymous says:

    Re(3): Khomeini mini me

    A Book and a page number 🙂 dont torture yourself, all these comments dont effect me. I dont need you to tell me what a human rughts activist is.

  43. anonymous says:

    Re(8): The Ayes have it

    “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.”

    Gotta love Thoreau, by the way he wrote that in “Civil Disobedience”. Hint hint…

    “As far as I’m concerned, let private enterprise provide the opportunities and solutions, NOT the government.”

    That sounds fine as a plan Mahmood, but you say that as if the governemnt has nothing to do with this. Its hard to have private enterprise with the government stealing and controlling everything. Yes bahrain is what is called a “rentier economy” and that is what gives the government so much power. You cannot realisticly expect the government to govern fairly because a dictatorship thinks of its own interest first, and that is why democracy is necessary. Read Common Sense and you will see how hereditary dictatorships never work in favour of the people, for as Thomas Paine puts it, they are a bunch of ruffians.

  44. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    I think we have gone a full circle and we are back where we strated. For I find myself telling you again that some sacrifice is necessary. By saying this I dont mean i want chaos and I want a revolution, but simply that we wont get anywhere without sacrifice. Other populations sacrificed for their freedoms. We should learn from history.

    You know after all this talking I find myself wishing I was convinced with your arguments Mahmood, because I do wish that people could get their rights by accepting and trying to influnece the government and with no sacrifice. but the past tells me otherwise.

    If this was possible then i sure as hell would choose to live a peaceful life where I don’t have to worry about my family, my poeple and my country. But somehow even after listening to all your arguments I still find myself worried all the time.

    Alwefaq has made their move, and frankly I hope they prove me wrong and they prove you right. For in the end I truly want whats best for the people.

    I hope that i did not offend you in this discussion.

    its nearly 5am here and I think I need to go to sleep


  45. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    Have a good sleep Zainab. But before you retire, think about this: sacrifice need not be in human lives, but with outdated thoughts.

  46. mahmood says:

    Re(9): The Ayes have it

    Wrong end of the stick Zainab.

    I didn’t disagree with you; but rather explained that in an ideal situation we (the people) should not be attached to the teat of government and I have shown examples of why we currently are in fact. I have also argued that opportunities come to be mainly because of fair governance and private enterprise.

    There are several examples where these factors are present and due to their presence great nations have been built and sustained even in the presence of monarchist rule.

  47. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    Peaceful resistance could be many things: It could be simply speaking out against what is wrong, it could be peaceful demonstrations, it could be civil disobedience. In short anything that empowers the people and at the same time does not advocate violence.

  48. anonymous says:

    Re(2): The Ayes have it

    I agree with Chanad. Bahrainis just wanted their children out of jails and relatives back from exile. They wanted to be able to live a normal life. I dont think many Bahrainis thought ” We want the Alkhalifas to stay forever”. Actually many are filled with feelings of hatred toward the governemnt which was the reason for all their suffering, but they decided to give the government another chance. Lets hope that was the last chance the people of Bahrain will give this monarchy.

    Zainab Alkhawaja

  49. mahmood says:

    Re(6): The Ayes have it

    You have every right to question a monarchy and express your opinion. Mine is, with feet firmly on the ground, that this attitude is counter productive. I repeat: Al-Khalifa at this point in time are not the issue. The issue is wresting the best education we can for ourselves, our children and our neighbours because with good education, we regain control of our own destinies and grab opportunities by the neck. Heck, opportunities would be chasing us!

    I know the angst people feel. I know their feelings of helplessness and degradation. My approach would be if we concentrate on all of these negatives regardless of their legitimacy, all we will get is direct confrontation. I think that we do not need that, not now and not for a long time, because we have other priorities that we must accelerate.

    Does that mean that we should remove the pressure on government to provide better services, to acquiesce to a decent constitution, to respect our freedoms, to provide better education, to be more transparent, to level the playing field as far as opportunities are concerned and eradicate corruption? Not a chance.

    We have to think of, and adopt a pragmatic and constructive approach to reach our goals, not be sidetracked into battles we could never win.

  50. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    Interesting discussion.

    Let us, for a second, debate whether a non al khalifa governance would fare better for average Bahrainis.

    My gut is that the alternative would be some kind of religious clergy. Either Shia domintated (ala Khomeini) or Sunni dominated (ala bin Laden).

    Did Khomeini do better for Iranians as a people? I think the resounding answer to everyone in Iran is no. Khomeini did very well for the clergy – and he just replaced the Pahlavi’s elite with the Mulla’s elite. So – I am not sure that the distribution of wealth today in Iran is ANY better than it was pre 1979. It just replaced one elite with another. And if you take a poll of the younger Iranians today – most of them weren’t even born during the time of the revolution and do want some kind of rapprochment with the rest of the world.

    Bin laden is doing no better either. And the wahabbi-salafi rule wont work in Bahrain because we are majority Shia. Plus, the wahabbi/salafis are seriously messed up in the head and would take us all back to Taliban rule.

    So – what alternative to the Al Khalifa?
    Nothing that I would ever support in any way shape or form. And, I am not so sure that any kind of civil war/revolution will lead to more freedom. Specailly not in our aprt of the world.

    Zainab – look at the Iraqi military overthrow of the monarchy – and we ended up with a brutal saddam hussein. Look at the Iranian religious overthrow of the monarchy – and we ended up with some very corrupt mullahs. Look at the Syrian, Egyptian coups – and the quasi ‘monarchies’ they reinstated – the very same thing that they sought to overthrow!

    We need organic change- from within. And, for better or for worse, we are experimenting in Bahrain. And the best, most healthiest thing for our future in bahrain is a healthy, legitimate opposition. Thats why I am glad that Al Wifaq and others have joined. They will have raised the bars for performace.

    And incidentally – its not the rules that determine how the game is played. Its the players and how well they play the game that determines the outcome.


  51. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    Well said and summarised.

    Welcome back JJ, you’ve been missed!

  52. anonymous says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    Hi JJ

    Firstly, I would disagree with you on the situation in Iran. True that the Iranian case is not perfect. True they dont have 100% democracy, but u cannot say that the mullahs replaced the Shah. I mean come on, even here in the west where Iran is considered an evil, they admit that the Iranians are better off now, and the situation is better than before.

    I realize that I cannot predict a wonderful future if the ALkhalifas are overthrown, but I do know that if people fight for their rights and get ALkhalifa overthrown they will not accept another dictatorship. In the end we will reach our goal: A democracy.

    I dont appreciate people who look at “our part of the world” as different to other parts. We are not inferior in any way, and we have all kinds of possibilities and if people set their minds to it they are capable of achieving anything they want.

    Zainab Alkhawaja

  53. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    The opposition’s been squashed liked a shwarma under the wheels of a GMC.

  54. anonymous says:

    Re(3): The Ayes have it

    Actually acceptance of the Charter implied the acceptance of both the people and the ruling family to make Bahrain a Constitutional Monarchy:

    1. Return of 1973 constitution which recognises the Alkhalifa as the ruling family
    2. Changing Bahrain’s status from State to Kingdom.

    We got number 2 but NOT number 1. So quite frankly, u can throw this charter outta the window. Hamad backtracked on this agreement before anyone else did. And the consequence of this is all the political turmoil you see today. If you were to conduct an open survey in Bahrain today regarding people’s view of Alkhalifa, i’m sure a large percentage would consider them an ‘occupying force’. I’m sure another large percentage would consider them legitimate rulers but still, there is a whole other story that needs to be told. Anyhow, like any other monarchy, that wishes to ensure survival, it will adapt and evolve to buy more time: one good policy is the promise of reform and modernisation.

    All monarchies come to an end: the bad ones sooner than the good ones. We love in the hope that day comes soon. Revolution or self-destruction. I don’t mind either.

  55. mahmood says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    Why? You obviously believe in the win-lose situation. I’d rather go with the win-win scenario:

    1. The opposition decided to register themselves as Political Societies under the new law approved by Parliament. The upside of this is that this is virtually the first time in history the State allows formal political associations over-seen by the Ministry of Justice, rather than continue to operate as a social society under the Social Affairs ministry.

    2. In deciding to register, the societies have to re-write and agree upon new by-laws, both Al-Wefaq and Wa’ad are soon submitting these by-laws which if you have read about them you will see that both bring the constitutional problem on centre-stage, AND they all but declared themselves as Political Parties rather than societies.

    3. In accepting to register, they categorically denied that this automatically means that they will take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

    Therefore, they still have the ability to put some pressure on the government to acquiesce to their demands which are plenty, the top of which is the constitutional amendments, together with amendments to the current political societies law, and various other issues. In fact by deciding to register they now have gained the moral high ground against the government to demand some give on its part. And I think that they (the government) will. It might be an 11th hour “gesture” by the government, but I fully believe that the government will give ground. After all, isn’t this politics?

  56. mahmood says:

    Re(4): The Ayes have it

    We got number 2 but NOT number 1. So quite frankly, u can throw this charter outta the window. Hamad backtracked on this agreement before anyone else did. And the consequence of this is all the political turmoil you see today.

    True. I can’t argue with this point. It’s the State’s turn to now show us unequivocally that they mean business and keep their part of the bargain. I should think that the public have shown quite a lot of goodwill since 2002 to allay any fears of revolution.

    All monarchies come to an end: the bad ones sooner than the good ones. We love in the hope that day comes soon. Revolution or self-destruction. I don’t mind either.

    That’s another seemingly inescapable fact. There are a lot less monarchies in the world today than there were even 100 years ago. The ones we do have now are concentrated in this part of the world, and Europe. However there are distinct differences between both in that in Europe they are “Royal” families charged primarily with PR functions and are tolerated, while with this area they are “Owning” families still holding on to old notions of master and serf. In order for our version of Royal families to continue in existence, they have to re-evaluate their methods and ideas and convert themselves very very quickly from Owning families to Royal ones. This I am convinced will come, in fact, like it or not, Bahrain has already started in that direction by virtue of the various steps taken to elevate the standards of living, education, unemployment, etc.

  57. anonymous says:

    Re(5): The Ayes have it

    The way I see the angst and the apparant ‘hatred’ of Alkhalifa is not one that should be offensive or unpatriotic especially if it stems from an anti-royalist perspective that no one person/family has absolute control of an entire country’s destiny out of a freak chance of nature ie by birth. Its not a personal thing. Its not driven by my circumstance, a hidden agenda, vendetta, political affiliations. To me it seems perfectly rational to question Alkhalifa’s legitimacy to rule. We live in a dynamic ever-changing world, their existance as absolute rulers should heed to the will of the nation. They are citizens just like any other Bahrain, and not elite higher beings of superior eligibility and privaleged rights. Unfortunately, this is their mentality and always will be, and u cannot deny the manifestations of this on a delay basis, like a smack in the face:

    …the newspapers, the tv, the public bumlicking, our master, our lord, we bow to thee…its almost blasphemous…

    So whatever, the tone, Zainab or most anti-khalifa’s adopt, it is out of the humiliation of having to degrade oneself to surviving off makramas, hand-outs, arse-kissing, and hamad’s whims. None of this has changed since hamad’s so-called reforms, in fact, it accelerated. However optimistic u wana be, at the crux of the matter, things arnt that much rosier.

  58. mahmood says:

    What say you now?

    You might be interested in reading this article which appeared in Al-Wasat Newspaper this morning about Shaikh Salman, the crown prince, visiting one of the dignateries houses (Ahmed Mansour Al-A’ali) last night as is custom during Ramadhan, and categorically said when directly asked about Al-Khalifa rule, that they rule by sharing power and consultation and respect of democractic institutions which they will continue to guard and develop.

    I believe in him and am with him. But I am not alone (it certainly seems like it in this thread!) to support and believe in him, she does as well, although she seems to have the hots for him too no matter how much she denies it! 😉

  59. mahmood says:

    Re(1): The Ayes have it

    Zainab, congratulations on selecting a very appropriate name for your blog – Dreamer – which I am now convinced reflects your own view of life, taking into consideration what you have written above.

    I completely differ with you on the Iranian analysis, the country now is no where even near to being held up as a model, nor is it anywhere close to even approaching equilibrium. The majority of its people are poor, and is a very young population who are disenfranchised and are itching for a way to break out of the shackles that the mullahs and their thugs have foisted on them. And if you actually listen to people who have been there, you would accept that should freedoms there prevail, the vast majority would flush their religion down the tubes and then get on with their lives. So off with those pink glasses again Zainab and smell the hummus.

    As for your dreamy version of democracy if “ALkhalifas are overthrown”, I would be willing to put serious money down and say that the version of “democracy” that you would get is nothing less than anarchy and chaos.

    I thought you said repeatedly that you favour “peaceful resistance?” How is those statements to support your version of peace? It is much closer of let the blood flow in the streets rather than peace, and don’t go about sacrifice again unless YOU are prepared to lay down your own life and those that you love down. Holding demonstrations doesn’t count.

  60. anonymous says:

    Re: What say you now?

    No you are not alone at all. You speak for a great many.

  61. anonymous says:

    Re(2): The Ayes have it

    Mahmood, I take pride in being a Dreamer. For without that i would be one of you guys, who cant even fathom our country being a democracy. How the hell did it happen in other countries?? How do you explain that. WHy didn’t all the people just perish in chaos?? Do you think other countries became democratic because they had pessimists like you who support a monarchy because they cannot dream of anything better?? If you are willing to live in this situation because you fear change, well thats too bad. That just means you will depend on dreamers to make that change for you.

    Yes I am guilty of dreaming of something better, but Mahmood, dreams do come true.

  62. anonymous says:

    Re(1): The Ayes have it

    thanks mahmood!! havent had access for a while .. but glad to see that you are still manning the fort!!


  63. anonymous says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    Well at this point in time you should be happy the King is playing the role he is. If not the “Beards” and the Turbans” would have transformed Bahrain into an Afgan/Iran blend between the 7th and 9th Century and then where would you be? Of course, perhaps this is what you want?

  64. anonymous says:

    Re(6): The Ayes have it

    Dreamer Zainab sounds like the type of guy who would run to sign a petition to ban [b]di hydrogen monoxide [/b]without even knowing what di hydrogen monoxide is or what it does. But because someone has a petition then it must be worth signing. Forget logic, forget the facts. By GOD someone says this stuff is dangerous therefore it must be true. Even more so if it is wrapped up in the guise of being tied into the evil Americans, the Royal Family or if the Iranians said so. Stop the presses if arch enemy Israel is mentioned or better they are the ones manufacturing the stuff in quantities suitable to drown the entire Middle East leaving only the JOOS unscathed. Such is the danger of youth.

  65. anonymous says:

    Re(7): The Ayes have it

    I respect Mahmood and JJ’s comments and I probably agree on many of the things mentioned. The balance between the notions of idealism and pragmatism is a very difficult one, there has to be a compromise. I see Zainab taking one extreme and Mahmood another: dreams v reality, principles v interest. Its a difficult balance. The youth dream, we have every right to, we want to take our destiny in our own hands and seriously r sick of the arab situation in the ME, everything is so backward. If Mahmood’s generation couldn’t change anything, maybe the next will. Quite frankly, the excuses given against a ‘hypothetical revolution’ (revolution here simply means changing the status quo) sounds something an old fogy would say if u ask them whether they want to redecorate their house…”oh the ceiling might fall in, or it’ll look awful”; fear of the unknown is not an argument against change, it is one supporting the status quo.

    What we lack is an open platform for dialogue, with the ‘youth’ the ‘masters

  66. anonymous says:

    Re(7): The Ayes have it

    I dont sound like that type of guy at all. One cuz I’m a girl… and two you don’t know me. How do you know if I would sign something or not. COme one it seems each one of you guys is pissed at something and wants to label me so that you can have a go.

    one person is pissed at the mullahs so they make me a mullah lover, another is pissed at fundamentalists so you wanna make me sound like one.

    Come on, be honest and comment on my opinions. I say peaceful resistance, dont answer me with, “why do you want blood”. I say change a bad monarchy dont answer me with “you want the mullahs”. Leave your prejudice aside gentlemen.

    “evil americans” and “if the iranians said so”. WHat are you talking about?? Do you know how I feel about Americans, do you know how many AMerican friends I have?? DO you know that I’m totally against the “velayeta faqeeh” and have you read my opinions on the human rights abuses in Iran these days??

    Reading your comments make me feel like you all are halucinating. Next time u want to comment on something I wrote please quote me first. and then comment on the quote. DOnt put words in my mouth.

  67. anonymous says:

    Re(8): The Ayes have it

    [quote]Come on, be honest and comment on my opinions.[/quote]

    Well when you say things like “pray for more men like Khomeini” one has to wonder where your heart and head is. Your gender makes no differance to me nor should it to anyone else so don’t toss up the sexist issue. It won’t play here.

    By the way di hydrogen monoxide is another way to write h2o which is of course water.

  68. mahmood says:

    Re(8): The Ayes have it

    You want change; you go out and try and make it happen…even if it means signing a useless petition, or demonstrating as a Symbolic acts of expression and dissent. If you get up off ur arses and go out to the university, to the mosque, to the gahawi, the majalis u’ll feel the vibe.

    And who says that we are not ‘dissenting’ in our own way? Us ‘old foggies’ do have brains and feelings and believe it or not can also recognise right from wrong and can and do express our opinions which reach the right ears faster than people who just make it their career of jumping up and down shouting and screeming for change. I challenge you to compare what is on the ground today, right this minute, with all that you and I would consider wrong with just a few years ago. Do you not see that as progress? What was the catalyst for this change? Just a change in leadership? 9/11 maybe? 9/11 accellerated the process for sure, but the huge pressure exerted by everyone in Bahrain initiated and maintained that change. And now we do have that momentum, believe you me that should these career jumper-uppers, including their impressionable youth which you seem to be one of, will derail the changes and ensure that the only change possible is when blood flows on the streets of Bahrain.

    For all that’s holy, please, grow up and recognise that there are millions of layers between black and white.

    This kind of debate on an english blog, although intellectually stimulating, is out of touch.

    Why? Just because it’s in English? Look, we are discussing things here, and you would be surprised to see the statistics for people spending some time here and their activity, so don’t be naive and assume that Bahrainis only read Arabic blogs or newspapers. And if this is such a waste of time as you claim, why do you take the time to debate here?

  69. anonymous says:

    Re(4): The Ayes have it


    I’m 21, what does that have to do with anything?? Does the age difference make your ideas superior to mine? I dont think so.

    “That YOUR solution of seeking martyrdom is the only honourable thing to do?”I never mentioned martyrdom. AGain, halucinating.

    Dont ask me to listen with an open mind, when you are not listening at all Mahmood. Sure you’re old, doesn’t mean you can’t respect the person your having a discussion with.


    I do not have a political “master”, I read and think for myself, and what I say is what I find logical and convincing.

    “The argument can also be viewed from another perspective: M and JJ think supporting top-down reforms is the way to go whilst Zainab thinks the bottom up approach is the key. Both are valid,”

    I think this is a very good way to put it. that is the difference. You guyz are dreamers too, except your dream is that the ALkhalifas will suddenly become decent human beings and decide to give us our rights. While I think they need to be forced, or else they wont give us anything. Rights are not given, they are taken!

    But you guys keep on dreaming and waiting for the kings “makrama”.

  70. mahmood says:

    Re(3): The Ayes have it

    How old are you? 20? 22? You’re not even a pipsqueek yet and you’re trying to tell us that YOUR “solution” is the only one? That YOUR solution of creating chaos and shedding blood is the only way? That YOUR solution of seeking martyrdom is the only honourable thing to do? That YOUR solution of confrontation is the correct way to going about things? That YOUR solution of civil disobedience is the only honourable thing to do?


    very funny Zainab. Grow up kid, and for goodness’ sake don’t try to teach your granddaddy how to make children. Just listen with an open mind and you might learn something new rather than ra ra ra-ing your way in life. People who’ve done that didn’t contribute much to society or its aspiration, except for getting a few welts across their backs!

  71. anonymous says:

    Re(9): The Ayes have it

    In what way does “pray for more men like Khomeini” lead you to believe that I would follow anything Iranians want. Or that I think Americans are evil. I explained why i like Khomeini, I said it very clearly that I am for anyone who is against monarchy.

    Because you are against Khomeini can I go ahead and assume that you love the Shah and his regime??

    You suspect things and make them facts. WHen you’re not sure if I am a guy or a girl, you can ask. And if you’re not sure if I think Americans are evil or not, you can ask. Dont just assume.

  72. mahmood says:

    Re(5): The Ayes have it

    Ok Zainab, let’s step back because this is going to turn ugly. Let’s look at the positives and go once again from there.

    1. The main point is for a better Bahrain
    2. Everything and everyone can become better
    3. There are problems which can only be solved when they are understood

    We seem to agree on points 1 and 2, we differ in our understanding of the problems (not their identification) and their remedies, where you espouce the use of force while mine is the use of reason, logic and provide a period of time to transition from what we are at now to the utopian ideal, or as close to it as possible within practical considerations. These approaches I think manifest themselves quite clearly with our age gap. My way is caution, yours is let’s just get it over with. Zainab you cannot do that, if it could be done it would have been done, God knows Bahrainis have had probably hundreds of opportunities over the last 250 years or so, but something prevented them from adopting your method. Why do you think that is?

    The age difference is important, and your answers show why. And that is exactly why that the best souldiers are those who are in their late teens. Full of vim and are ready to lay down their lives. That is also why you don’t find many generals who are teenagers or even in their 20s. There is a reason for everything.

    And no I am not being condescending. I am trying to defuse a situation by presenting my case.

  73. anonymous says:

    Re(6): The Ayes have it

    “where you espouce the use of force while mine is the use of reason, logic”

    You know what, theres no use, you dont even want to understand. I want force you want reason and logic, thats what you think…. Firstly, I’m getting tired of saying that I did not say I want force.

    Secondly, WHy cant you see that I want reason and logic too, why cant you say that we are convinced different things are logical. but u cant do that because you are too busy patting yourself on the back for being the older and wiser.

    “And no I am not being condescending”
    you might not think so but yes you are being condescending. But I guess thats your way of arguing for what you believe in. “Grow up kid” is not exactly the best way to show that you treat me as your equal in this discussion is it now? But then again why should you? Afterall, you are the wise old guy.

    For your information I could never be a soldier because I don’t take orders from anyone, I like to be free to make my own decisions.

    Who told you that no1 tried “my method” in the last 250 years, they did, and they are still trying. The 90’s and how people fought for their rights then, is what lead to all the “democratization” in Bahrain. You think the king would just release prisoners and let the people in exile come back because he is nice. He did it because he knew if things went on the way they were, then the opposition would in the end get rid of him. For the monarchy had started to look really bad infront of the whole world because of the International Human Rights organization.

  74. mahmood says:

    Re(7): The Ayes have it

    But you did say that! Let me quote you so you can refresh your memory:

    You guyz are dreamers too, except your dream is that the ALkhalifas will suddenly become decent human beings and decide to give us our rights. While I think they need to be forced, or else they wont give us anything. Rights are not given, they are taken!

    How might one read that, please explain. You have repeated the exact same sentiment over and over again in this thread. Anyone would be pushed extremely hard to misunderstand your methods and motives when they are laid out in plain sight and in writing Zainab. And you blame me for pulling you up on what you actually said?

    Okay, I misunderstood you, please answer this question in plain English and ONLY this question:

    Q: How exactly do you propose to achieve democracy in Bahrain?

  75. anonymous says:

    Re(8): The Ayes have it

    “2. Malkiya can teach the parliamentary blocks how to work together to achieve a tangible result. The Malkiyans created a committee composed of the right mix of people to portray their points of view and stuck by them. The committee was professional and spoke collectively with a clear vision as to what its purpose is. They were intelligent in picking their fights and the people and organisations they interfaced with. They also kept advocating peaceful demonstration and did not hesitate in condemning violent acts”

    Like this Mahmood. Thats how we’ll achieve democracy. Forcing them does not mean using force. Forcing them means putting them in a situation where they have to give in to the demands of the people. What I want to highlight by saying forcing them, is that we dont sit and wait for the government to do something. But that we work to make it impossible for them not to. Peaceful resistance works. Even you could see that 🙂

  76. anonymous says:

    Re(5): The Ayes have it

    zainab ..

    easy does it habibti. noone is attacking you personally. you have a right to your ideas and your thoughts – and they are valid. i am sure that you beleive strongly and vehemently in what you are saying. passion is always a good thing … but …. temper it with some reason ..

    1. democracy is not always one man one vote. in greece, (where they invtented the term), they had a system where they had a council of elders. in theory – it does mean rule of the people, but the question remains .. which people exactly? the US has an electoral college system, Singapore can hardly be called a democracy, or even a free market – and china, a bustling economy, has none at all. So – the first thing you need to ask yourself is what kind of a democracy do you want to see in bahrain. is it a parliament system? if you abolish the head of state (the alkhalifa), how would you draw the lines between president, prime minister, speaker of parliament? as far as i am concerned, bahrain is a small island in the middle of very very unstable waters. and our biggest strength, which is our divresity, is going to be used against us whilst we grapple with these issues. and dont underestimate how much time and energy that needs to be invested to come up with the appropriate answers. just look at iraq …

    2. revolutions are effective in changing the command center at the top. the question remains, what does it take to change a frame of mind about accoutnability, power sharing, and civic responsability? i personally think it takes time. and a few generations. will an outsing of the al khalifa in bahrain autmatically change the way people think overnight? no. it will take time. Thatcher didnt change the fabric of the UK – before Thatcher there was democracy, and the same is for post Thatcher. However, it was her ability to lead amd govern in an entirely gutsy manner that changed the UK into what it is today. Sometimes, leadership is more important than the system of leadership.

    3. yes, we do need ‘sweeping’ educaitonal reform. and it isnt about learning more about ‘shiism’ for shiism’s sake. its to basically make up for the fact that we are a small island living bettween huge and powerful neighbours. we should also be learing about history. modern history. things like .. how israel became a state. how did they build critical mass, how did they formualte immigration laws. how come lots of israelis speak arabic fluently and we dont speak hebrew? again – its a frame of mind. or we should be learning about the tradeoff that the signaporeans made between democracy and their economy. and how that manifested. and how they changed the culture of the country over a decade or so. this is what we should be learning… we should be developing critical thinking.

    4. personally speaking – give me the leadership in bahrain over any in syria, iraq(during saddam) and iran. even saudi arabia. and given the concessions that have been made and will continue to be made, i will support the current leadership 100%. much less bloodshed than the alternative with no guarantee that things will work out any better… i dont like the clergy. i dont trust them. and i will opppse their involvement in the political life of bahrain for as long as i am able to.

    as for al makramah al malakiya – dont resort to low blows zainab. not everyone has a price on their head. some people just have experience and wisdom .. they have heard the promises before and seen them being broken. go back and watch saddam and the baath party and their initial promises. ditto for khomeini. and gamal abdel nasser. its the same story .. promises and passion, that led to nothing.

    at the end of the day – you need two things to have a successful country. you need good leadership (good meaning brave, wise and visionary). and you need a very healthy and legitimate opposition.


  77. mahmood says:

    Re(9): The Ayes have it

    AT LAST! Why didn’t you say this from the begining, or at least explain it better? We finally see eye to eye. Thank you.

    So what was so painful about that then? And to top it all off, there was no mention AT ALL in your response about removing the ruling family! So democracy and the current regime are not mutually exclusive and indeed can coexist. By accepting this Zainab, you have brought forward the reforms and democracy that we all as Bahrainis crave and demand. Once you put the removal of the regime into the mix, you automatically cloud the primary issues of us requiring democracy, transparency and respect for human rights and take us into a wasteful and unneeded secondary battle that we cannot win, at least not easily and not without losing lives.

    Thank you for making your point plain.

    Friends? 😉

  78. anonymous says:

    Re(10): The Ayes have it

    Well, if what you mean by democracy and the ruling family can co-exist is that we will have a vote and people might vote for the Alkhalifas. then yes we agree. If that does happen then they will be coexisting. but if what you mean is without a vote on who the government should be, the Alkhalifas can stay and we’ll make minnor changes. then i dont. Because dictatorship and democracy cannot coexist. They are opposites.

    My main goal is Democracy.

    sure we’re friends, as long as neither of us have to compromise their views.

  79. anonymous says:

    Re(4): The Ayes have it

    Mahmood ..

    I think Zainab echoes quite a lot of the views that are prevalent amongst the young in bahrain. And, this is where I wish we had done educational reform because if anyone is even a superficial reader of history, they would realize that yes, the youth can be quite powerful (french revolution, iranian revolution) – but they they can also be extremely manipulated by their political ‘master’s who want no more noble goals than the consolidation of power – at whatever cost.

    Thats the sad bit. Just look at the furor over the Israeli boycott office. Don’t you think that we, in bahrain, have much more fundamental issues than the bl**dy Israelis? Shouldn’t our MP’s be targetting more serious issues like unemployment and reform of the judicial system? Or are they just latching on a controversial issue because its a cheap way for them to campaign by targetting on deep rooted anger and frustration? If the Egyptians and the Jordanians have come to some kind of stalemate with the Israelis, who the hell are we to be ‘more royal than the king?’

    The young in Bahrain need jobs, need education, and need to understand the way that power works. And passion that is unbridled can be very very dangerous, and also the dream of someone as manipulative as bin Laden and co. Noone in their right mind would ever go to war willingly. No-one. Not if can be avoided. And democracy does not come with a change of leadership at the top – its the whole system of tribal culture and the balance of powers that needs to be addressed in the Gulf. And that takes time to evolve …


  80. mahmood says:

    Re(5): The Ayes have it

    Someone onces said that “youth is wasted on the youth!”

    I somewhat agree with this statement. For most, including Zainab it seems, grays just do not exist, it’s either white or black. Which is very unfortunate but can only be changed by time and experience. This will happen sooner or later, but the later it happens the more dangerous it is as the backlash of realisation might send them in a headlong downward spin.

    In order for political situations, traditions, culture and people to change, it has to be a methodical and slow approach. Sure the current reforms CAN and should be speeded up because I agree that what we have now is akin to stalemate as everyone is playing chicken and people are fed up of this exhausting situation. But changes on the level that both Zainab and the other commentor want is unhealthy and unachievable.

    With all due (true) respect to both, slow down and calm down. There are hundreds of ways to skin a cat.

  81. mahmood says:

    Re(11): The Ayes have it

    Ok Zainab. We’ll have to agree to disagree then.

  82. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    Wish I had discovered this discussion earlier because its so interesting but it seems to have died now.

    Basically I see it this way: We have one group of people who want to turn Bahraini into a mini-Iran and another group who want to turn it into a mini-Saudi Arabia. Bahrain as it is now is better than either of those scenarios. The people are obviously not yet ready for a democracy so be careful what you wish for…

    Tariq Khonji

  83. anonymous says:

    Re: The Ayes have it

    Hi Tariq

    Not a mini Iran or a mini Saudi. All we want is a mini democracy 🙂

  84. anonymous says:

    The Ayes have it

    If you want an example of what a sudden move to democracy looks like in the Middle East you needn’t look far: Iraq’s on the doorstep. Given the spiral into looming civil war, extremism and warlordism, Bahrain is a much better way of doing it.

    Democracy depends on a complex set of institutions and values, which take time to build. They can’t be simply wished into existence, and judging by the sort of people elected in 2002, these values don’t seem to be too prevelant yet. It’s going to take time, but Iraq shows what happens when you think there’s an easy route.

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