Another metric heads south

18 Mar, '06

The US State Department released its Human Rights Report on Bahrain for 2005, and it’s not good at all. If anything, it’s probably more damning than the ones released in the 90s, considering we have democracy now and even a parliament.

Thanks SBG for the heads-up.

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Comments (69)

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  1. Gizmo says:

    They might want to check their human rights issues first. Its just amazing how they forget about themselves while releasing reports of other countries stating the lack of human rights. Guantanamo Bay, Abu Gurib prison, and the war on iraq as well since it was unjustified by the UN.

  2. I agree with Gizmo. Pointing fingers is but a way of diverting attention from oneself.

  3. CharlesWT says:

    Why waste time and resources on reporting our own faults when the rest of the world will do it for us for free. 🙂

  4. Gizmo says:

    Exactly Nomadic, and sadly only those who fall for this trick are the ones who will condemn it later. The american government has practuced torturing pratcices since the vietnam war since they found it very vital to get information from detainees. Its just amazing, they said that we can’t judge the american government for few soldier’s mistakes while I see the whole religion of islam being blamed for the barbaric riots that took place in many arabic countries over the cartoons, and yet we are the violaters. After reading the whole reports, it makes me think, its true yes.. but why the bahrain government cannot make such a report against the U.S governemtn mentionting the violation that they’ve done? You see the contradiction, the u.s is controling all of the arab regimes… they dont want democracy for us, and even if they did.. they will do the same senario they’ve done with HAMAS.. They asked for democratic election and once the palestinians chose their candidates, Bush says his govt will not deal with this govt.. GIVE ME A BREAK! If arabs really want democracy, we will get it buy ourselves not from anybody else.. because we are the ones who will chose what we want… but unfortuntly… we are so confused of what democracy is really about.

  5. bahraini4eva says:

    I agree too with both Gitzmo and Nomadic! It’s about time the US starts looking at itself before going about accusing others! The US should just stop intervening in other country’s businesses and reporting such CRAP! In any case, since it’s the Super Power of the World, I’ll just sit back, eat some popcorn, and laugh at all this BS!

    Give Us A Break PLEASE!

  6. Just because they didn’t they also have human rights violations doen’t mean we and the world should ignore the part about us. It is either true or false. The fact that we still have big violations although we have a democracy now and even a parliament, as Mahmood said, could be alarming.

  7. will says:

    Mahmood,

    I take it that you believe that this report is fairly accurate?

    Gizmo,

    Human rights in a war zone are different from those in a peaceful nation.

    There is no question that the US is guilty of many violations as is every other country in the world that has a prison system. Perhaps you should view the report as information that you can use instead of an accusation.

    As far as HAMAS goes, the other side of electing someone is living with the results.

    Churchill said that democracy was the worst form of government …..except for all the rest.

  8. Nobody says:

    Hmmm. Not too sure about your statement Mahmood. Have you gone through the 2004 report? This one seems to be much better to me! Look at the jargon being used…
    Besides, the fact that more information is provided in the report, is a thumbs-up to the law of “Transparency”.

  9. mahmood says:

    Gizmo, I don’t doubt for a moment that the US and ALL countries in the world have human rights violations. The US infringing on human rights does not however make this report imprecise as regards to Bahrain. I would thank them for highlighting these issues which we must attend to, rather than putting the “they’re worse than us” blinkers on.

    bahraini4eva Give Us A Break PLEASE! I think we will get a break only when we deserve it. The infringement on human rights in this country are despicable. Do I need to remind you of Law 56? How about the biased and politicised judiciary system? How about imprisoning kids for throwing rocks for TWO YEARS yet serial rapists and paedophile get suspended 6 months? We don’t deserve a break. We deserve more eyes to be staring at us until we get our act together.

    Salman, I agree.

    Will, from my daily observations on the ground here, yes, I would say it is accurate.

    Nobody, that transparency was thanks to dissolved human rights organisation, even if they are more politically slanted than others. Maybe it is because of these kind of activities (challenging the government and submitting cohesive reports) that they have been closed.

  10. bahraini4eva says:

    Perhaps you should view the report as information that you can use instead of an accusation.

    I don’t think any Bahraini would view this report as an accusation, since we all know that US and Bahrain have always been allies with very close ties in which the recent signing of the FTA agreement between both nations illustrates this point!
    Every nation has human right violations, so please don’t bring up the War Zone debate, because it’s BS!
    I, as a Bahraini, and, like many other Bahrainis, a strong supporter of democracy, believe that the US should just cut us some slack and deal with it’s own affairs instead of butting into others! It is our, the Bahrainis, job to report and act upon Human Right violations, just like it is the US’s job, and only the US, to report and act upon its issues!

    Take Care

  11. mahmood says:

    In an ideal world I would agree with you bahraini4eva; however, the fact remains that we are not prepared to stare truth in the eye and do something about it. Isn’t Adel Flaifel and others like him still living amongst us with impunity enjoying vast riches most probably ill-gotten? How about his managers and his stooges? How about others like all of them? How about police brutality?

    I don’t think we are in a position to deal with these “mistakes” without someone else pointing them out. And if that someone is the most powerful nation on earth with the threat of excommunication, then nothing will be done.

  12. bahraini4eva says:

    I agree Mahmood that we have TONS of Human Right Violations, but I still think the effort of change has to come from WITHIN our country! Like you, I am sick of all these flaws in our political/judiciary systems, but all that this US report provided to us is not new information! Bahrainis understand that we have flaws and we all want to work at changning it for the better, but only by ourselves! Hopefully, in the time to come, we will all work towards listing and reporting the US human right violations, So we can Return them the Favor!

  13. Gizmo says:

    bahraini4eva,
    No the u.s shouldnt stop intervening with other countries since its the most powerfull nation on earth and it can chance someting. Violating some of the human rights doesnt make a nation a bad nation, remember that there are three parts of their government which I believe is a better system as its good for the check and balances, however this doesnt make it a good govt, I believe their adminstration is controlled by the lobyist or basically the *wealthy part of the country*. I agree with you that they have to look at their own violations at first. But will they ever report themselves? i guess not.

    Salman Al-Rahma,

    Democracy, oh please remind of me something that im completly forgetting.. Do i have the power to critize the government in press? or wait do the forign labors walk around freely in the country without being discriminated.. I totally agree with the report, however I dont see it fair enought that they can critize Bahrain and not themselves.. get my point?

    Will,
    exactly, human rights violations differ from each other in many cases. And no, the best form of government is democracy that can be formed by the people of certain country and not forced on a nation.

    Mahmood,
    all we need is ourselves, really. We might be thankfull for the U,S report but will it do us any better since the iggnorance we have in the arabic world? Will many people believe this report, i belive not. I would notapreciate the u.s for pointing out the violation of a country while they its forgetiing their human rights violations,, you see the contradiction here..

    All we need is ourselves.. you can never force something on somebody forever unless you practice something unusual. Who hates democracy? we all do… will it become part of the arabic world? I have no clue….

    Take care all.

  14. mahmood says:

    I know it’s painful, especially in our culture, to point at someone else’s problems or shortcomings and emphatically say that they are wrong. But kind of truth is the truth that we need in order to get our act together. I don’t care whether it is the US, UK or even Israel showing us that we are wrong AND saying it loudly enough for the whole world to know it too. Because with this comes monitoring and a path will be laid to get things toward a solution.

    I’m particularly happy that it is the Americans who pointed the finger this time, because you can rest assured that they will follow up on these shortcomings and demand resolutions from the government.

    I’ve said this before; a friend of mine related a story while he and his family lived in the Cayman Islands and used to regularly go to Florida for a break. He said that a restaurant owner once told him that he hated English tourists (my friend is English) because if they found anything wrong they would never complain about it to the restaurateur, but would not hesitate on telling everyone they know how bad the restaurant was. This same restaurateur said that he loved American tourists because if they found something wrong they would immediately complain about it, and then in a few days come back to ensure that the mistake has been fixed and not repeated!

    I like Americans!

  15. Bright shinny button says:

    Nobody’s got a point. There’s a difference between 2004 and 2005 reports in terms of tone – just compare the first paragraphs of the two.

  16. mahmood says:

    I don’t particularly see much of a difference between the 2001-, 2002-, 2004– reports. If there was a difference between all these reports then I am inclined to veer toward the hardening of the language of the reports in an escalating manner from 2001 to this day.

    In any case, none of these reports make me prouder to be a Bahraini.

    We have a lot of work to do.

  17. Gizmo says:

    Mahmood,

    Im not proud to be a human, if that helps your case.

  18. tooners says:

    We Americans can be a bit tough and too outspoken at times, that’s for sure…. but, I believe, like you Mahmood, that if you don’t speak up and make your voices known, then how can things change? I think your story about the restaurant in Florida is great and a true testiment to what we expect. What’s wrong w/ telling someone if there’s a problem, if not, how can it ever be corrected? Even tho, sometimes, we can be a bit crass. But, you know what, people in the States appreciate your honesty in the end.

    People believe that Bahrainis need to take care of their own problems and I do agree, but sometimes a little outside influence doesn’t hurt. If not, how long do you think it would take for change to happen? You can read about problems every day in the paper but things aren’t changing… some things do… but a lot of things don’t change, and they need to. A lot of people here in Bahrain just turn the other cheek which is an easy habit to get into, but it’s not a healthy one.

    I’m not saying that America is perfect because God knows she’s not, but we have great potential and so does Bahrain.

    One thing about this report… so they, the govt, listen to phone calls and check personal correspondence? If so, I would assume this is especially true in the govt sector? I’ve heard this rumor but I thought it was only that… a rumor. Please fill me in.

    Another point about the report (but I’m only a little bit into it), which is true, because I experiened it when I was first trying to find a job here, is the discrimination issues. Not only was I discriminated against because I’m an American, which is still happening by the way, but I also saw it w/ relation to my age.

  19. Gizmo, I totally agree with you.
    Democracy, I was quoting Mahmood. I think what we have in bahrain is a Demo version of it 🙂
    I didn’t read the report to judge its contect, but I know we have bad human rights record, as everybody living in Bahrain does. Not based on american observer, but from the facts we see everyday. I know the the report mentioned that the american government needs to improve its record, they put it in a smooth and nice way. they will not hang there own bad washed clothes publicly 🙂
    Yes they have no right to critisize anybody while they are no saints, but that doesn’t make the report wrong. This is an execuse the government would use to dismiss the report, not the people suffering.

  20. AHK says:

    Bahrain’s got a better human rights record than the US after Guantanamo. A thousand people plus locked up without due process for years – many of whom have been tortured. Putting Guantanamo outside the bounds of the American judiciary just makes it worse. There’s nothing in the State Department’s report about Bahrain to compare with that human rights blackhole.

  21. Femme Fatale says:

    Human rights being people demonstrating every Friday? or Human rights being trashing the International Airport? or Human rights being violating commercial and personal property, scaring away visitors and tarnishing the reputation of respectable families?
    I am not sure if everybody’s understanding of “Human Rights” is the same.

  22. Gizmo says:

    AHK,
    Not really, the prisons we have in our countries are not different from Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghurib prisons, trust me we do have awful things going on. And I believe that the report is 100% accurate.. But the point here, can our governments make such reports about the violations of the U.S government? That will never happen… and its unfortunate and you know why? because we have democracy.. YAY!!! woohoo finally we can imeach the king or the president.. woohoo.. the money from our natural resources is being spent on us? YAY!!! We have democracy!! we can vote… or shall I say our government treat people equally and not based on their family’s origin.. example a qualified person gets the job.. not an iggnorant crap whose father has connections in the government? I mean what kind of demoracy that will exist with the mentality that we have?

    I hope that every government in the arabic world can become like the u.s.. not precisly but at least close because that will never happen.. our voices are not united people!!! Each one of us have differnet definition of democracy.

  23. mahmood says:

    Femme Fatale, this is probably a good place to start.

    AHK, the issue is not what America’s or any other country’s human rights record is. Do you have a problem with the contents of the report as far as Bahrain is concerned? Don’t obfuscate the issue. You’re trying to excuse the bad human rights records in this country by saying that the USA or Saddam or Mr. X is worst that we are, so we’re ok.

    Concentrate on the issue at hand, rather than firehosing the rest of the world while ignoring the facts that Bahrain’s record sucks.

  24. AHK says:

    I’m not trying to excuse anyone’s human rights record and I don’t have any problem with the contents of the US report. I’m basing my views on what the report says and I don’t find anything in there to back up what Gizmos saying about Bahrain having an Abu Gharib or Guantanamo.

  25. mahmood says:

    Maybe Gizmo is alluding to the despicable prison and judicial systems we do have?

    Maybe comparing them to Abu Ghuraib is a bit much, but the similarities in the recent past can’t be that much further from the truth, even though we have to register a note of thanks to the government for allowing independent human rights officials to visit the prison and talk to prisoners freely.

    This (the prison system) certainly seems to be improving (they’re even talking about conjugal visits!) but there is still a lot to do in the human rights sphere, the least of which is complete re-education of the police in what they can and cannot do, and when I see a police officer held to account, that will be a happy day for me.

    Apart from that, there is a long list of things that need fixing very quickly, the most urgent of which to me is the independence of the judiciary and their retraining.

  26. Gizmo says:

    Mahmood,

    We need to re-shape the whole constitution very quickly. Its a vital thing to have a new and fresh constition with new laws such as the separation between religion and the government which I find is a good thing since we do have many ethnic groups. I dont wanna really go off topic on but certainly I agree with on you on some points there.

    But here is a question for you? is the democracy in bahrain a real one? or as one of the posters said a demo than limits the actions of people? If we can elect the parliament, that doesnt mean we have a democractic government by any means especially with the mentality of our own people, will most of them i believe still think in a way that will not take us anywere. Democracy is not just the government mahmood, its our own people.. if we have the intention to form a democractiv government.. hey i would give that a shot.. not practicing it while restricting others from doing the same. No democracy can exist in a monarchy ruled government…..

  27. mahmood says:

    but the only way to “fix” democracy is by more democracy!

    Constitutional monarchy does work, as in Morocco, UK, Netherlands, and other countries, and they work because of the none-interference and set and agreed limits to the ROYAL families.

    In Bahrain there has to be a clear transition from an OWNING family (العائلة المالكة), to a Royal family (العائلة الملكية). Look around you at all government ministries, at all large corporates and at even most NGOs and you will see a member of Al-Khalifa heading them. With all due respect to the Royals and the Royal family, there are also capable and loyal men and women in Bahrain who could easily fill in those posts without them having to belong to the Royal family. Time to see them take a lead and I am absolutely convinced that when this happens, the Royal family will be even more loved and respected than they are currently, for they would have shown that (a) they are sure of their position in history, and (b) they appreciate the Bahraini citizen.

    Yes, our people don’t know democracy as is defined in dictionaries and as it is applied in the West, but the only way to educate them is to show them its application in clear and unambiguous ways.

    We have started a long path to democracy, it probably will take a lot longer than people anticipate, but with the changes happening in the world now, I would hazard a guess that it will be in our lifetimes.

    The sooner that the rulers and the ruled get in-synch, the faster we can rise and face the various challenges we’re facing.

  28. Gizmo says:

    True, monarchy does work but I hope that you wouldnt give me morocco as an example as I can get you many bad thigs that are going on in morocco, in the other hands the U.K is a good governemental system because the royal family is not part of the government in anyway. They just have the name, as a respect.
    And its true, many can fill the current positions and yes they will gain respect but seriously not from me. After they embarresed us in front of the world as we kept asking ourselves * why the whole world can vote except us* untill now.
    The only way we can have democracy when every citizen in our country hold a book and read it.

    Anyways..Heading to bed its almost 4 AM here ( arizona time) I got got classes in the univ at 10 tomorow.. so i could barely sleep.
    IT was a nice talk mahmood.

  29. mahmood says:

    good night and sweet dreams!

  30. “الملك يبقى مع الكفر ولا يبقى مع الظلم”
    and I will leave the translation to more quilified people than me

  31. bahraini4eva says:

    I agree Mahmood. Constitutional Monarchies do work, and if our people were to fill in more gov’t positions, this will make all bahrainis happier and the royal family very much loved!

  32. Gizmo says:

    A good monarchy works. If the monarchy has no part of the governemnet. No parts by all means! Which means that they dont have the power or cannot get into the government business.

    Every government/monarchy will be loved when it has done soemthing for the people.

    Take care.

  33. Mr Confused says:

    I don’t understand the American report. it says that there were multiparty elections but then says that political parties are banned and then that theyre called societies and operate like political parties. Do they proof read these things to make sure they’re coherent before publishing them?

  34. Nobody says:

    “Parties” is a direct interpretation of an arabic word “Ahzab”. In the quran, this word is used to describe the “Kufar” non-beleivers. Therefore, the govt. wanted these parties to function as parties but be called associations or societies to disregard the connotation of “Evil” as per the quranic interpretaion.

  35. Mr Confused says:

    Great a semantic issue is Bahrain’s second top human rights problem according to the State Department.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Mahmmod there’s too much crap going on to bahrainblogs.com i suggest it’s time to cut down the list of bloggers (who write crap). This should make the site more interesting.

  37. Great Red Spot says:

    Gizmo;

    u.s is controling all of the arab regimes… they dont want democracy for us, and even if they did.. they will do the same senario they’ve done with HAMAS

    I thought it was the Jews controlling everything. Thanks for clearing that up.

  38. mahmood says:

    re: bahrainblogs.org, I know. But the premise is that any and all Bahraini bloggers be listed there to give them a platform to be noticed. I don’t want to go into “the selector” mode and would rather leave that to the readers themselves on who to ignore.

  39. Anonymous says:

    No, its the jews who control the Americans, who in turn contol the arab regimes. Get your shit together, man!

  40. Citizen Quasar says:

    A RIGHT is a moral principle sanctioning and defining a human’s range of activity in a social environment. That PRINCIPLE that one must not initiate the use of physical force against another human.

    THIS is the only true moral validation of any government on Earth. Only a REPUBLICAN form of government, a government that allows for popular elections of officials yet restricts those elected officials’ powers and authorities, assures this. A democracy does NOT accomplish this goal.

    Having said that, and being an American, I know that the “United States of America,” though not a perfect system, accomplished this better than any government before or since.

    However, as a result of two centuries of statist legislation, and one civil war, the “United States of America” has faded from legal memory. What we have today is a corporation called “The United States” which is an adjunct of the international banking cartel.

    THIS is an “Experiment in Democracy” and the “elected” representatives only sit in corporate offices. This explains why one NEVER hears of the “United States” being refered to as a republic anymore. It is also why world leaders speak of establishing “democratic” governments and NOT defining “rights” or, hence, protecting such.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Citizen Quasar, I hate to burst your bubble but which America are you talking about? 200 years ago before ‘statist’ legislation was introduced America was respecting the ‘Principle that one must not initiate the use of physical force against another human’ by wiping out the Indians. OK, so they built something good afterwards but let’s not get all misty eyed about a sometimes brutal past.

  42. Citizen Quasar says:

    Anonymous, and that’s a nice informative handle I will add, it was not that simple or that collective; no matter what you may have heard.

    It was more up to the INDIVIDUAL way back then. The King of England, who, by the way was HEAD OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, gave away some land in return for the produce ot land. Yet, it was NOT his to give.

    People fleeing from the King England were hard pressed to find “religious” freedom and thus cut him, and his minions, a deal just to get out from under his tutelage. Some of these (the Pilgrims,” some of whom were my ancestors, come to mind) got along very well with the local natives.

    Others did too, such as Thomas Jefferson. He, in fact, was friends with a Cherokee Indian chief. However, despite the founding documents he wrote, he had a farm (plantation) of over 4,000 acres, utilized many black slaves, and NEVER set them free.

    John Adams, friend and political foe of Thomas Jefferson, left a black couple in charge of his farm when his wife, who had been managing said farm, went to join him in Europe.

    Back to “the Indians.” And I will add at this time that I live in Oklahoma and there are still many of them around:

    In “colonial” days, the “Indians” did NOT consider themselves sovereign. They considered the LAND sovereign and they considered themselves “children of the land.” Their “goddess” of “the Land” was considered to be a “Grandmother.” THIS played right into the ideas of the King of England as he thought that all he had to do was SEIZE land to have a “right” to rule over it. Yet his colonizers, except for a very few, were seeking new lives away from and out from under his influence.

    Yes. There were wars and fighting and skirmishes. Yet, there was not a significant number of British troops sent in until there was a large population of learned individuals who had had enough of that “King” stuff to attempt to define “rights” and found a government to protect those said “rights.” No, they did NOT figure everything out or get it all straight and proper. Yet, they wrote down what they reasoned to be correct.

    Much has happened since then. Some things have gone right. Many have gone wrong. Still, I submit those documents to you for you to read in your “bubble” bath! Be careful! Don’t drown.

  43. Anonymous says:

    “Yes. There were wars and fighting and skirmishes”

    Love the evasiveness of that statement. What you mean is the mass genocide of the natives.

    One of the reasons that there ‘are still a lot of them around’ in Oklahoma is that the Indians were herded to live there on reservations after being ethnically cleansed and wiped out from the rest of the country – an approach familiar to the constitution’s founding fathers. And as you’ve got an interest in history here’s a task – how about finding out how many natives lived on Jefferson’s 4000 acres before he moved in?

    And what’s this stuff about the ‘nice informative handle’. I hate to seem pedantic but you’re kind of anonymous going under the name Citizen Quasar. Crash! You know what that is? That’s the sound of a brick landing back in your glass house.

  44. Citizen Quasar says:

    Okay, Anonymous. Where do YOU live? Where is YOUR home?

  45. Citizen Quasar says:

    Oh, by the way, my name is Dan…Just ask Mahmood. He will verify this for me.

    —Dan

  46. Citizen Quasar says:

    Pedantic: Root: Pedant

    “One who is unimaginative or who unduly emphasizes minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge.”

    Personally, anonymous, I believe you are evasive and cowardly.

    Do you like apples? How about them apples?

    —Dan

  47. Citizen Quasar says:

    Continuing:

    If you “hate to seem pedantic,” then WHY DO YOU PRESENT YOURSELF THAT WAY?

    —Dan

  48. Anonymous says:

    Let me try and work out the logic of what you’re saying here: in your opinion its ‘evasive and cowardly’ to post anonymously, and you’re taking a principled stance against this by saying your name’s ‘Dan’ – thus narrowing down who you might be to one of the probable ten million plus Dans in the world. Er…OK.

    Whatever your name is or whoever you are its pretty clear that you’re a semolina brained moron.

  49. Citizen Quasar says:

    Anonymous: WHERE DO YOU LIVE AND WHAT IS YOUR “REAL” NAME?

    Beyond that, all I have to say is that Mahmood has posted again and it is time to move on.

    Thank you for the thrust and parry.

    —Dan

  50. Citizen Quasar says:

    Anonymous,

    Parting shot:

    Yea, yea, yea. There are probably ten million “Mahmoods” in the world too. For all you know, THIS one works in a basement at the Whitehouse and is a Bush crony.

    One has to draw a line of trust somewhere, especially on the Internet. Get a life, dude.

    —Dan

  51. Coffee Lover says:

    I like New York Coffee 😉

  52. ES says:

    Well, speaking of human rights, do you think we have taken one step forward after the temporary ban on Indonesian maids? How do we know that this was even activated? The argument was that Indonesians are mistreated in Bahrain and there has been several cases in the past (and these are just some of the hundreds of horrific cases) where young (and supposedly “illegal”) maids have been injured either directly by their employers or while trying to escape from their employers (a recent case was when a young Indonesian lady jumped out of the 3rd story window from the room that she was locked in.)

    I hear abysmal stories about this almost daily in Bahrain and I know it’s not just the conditions in Bahrain but the entire Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia. So, what will the role of the government be? Personally, I think there should be very harsh consequences, quite possibly a large fine, if the maid provides evidence of mistreatment.

    I think there’s a lot of human rights violations against our very own people, but we still shouldn’t ignore the one thing that makes others look down upon us. We constantly whine about the West’s discrimination against Arabs and yet we treat others even worse. Why? Because our problems with America are merely political and the less fortunate people have sold themselves into slavery?

    I think the ban was mainly on Indonesians because there is no Indonesian embassy where Indonesians can go to. Remember the Indonesian maid that was raped and brutally killed by her employer a few years ago? She apparently made many visits to both the hospital and the doctor and they rejected her rudely in both places, saying that they will not deal with her if her boss is not present.

    Do you realize what is going on? We are having maids as young as 15 years old coming into Bahrain to work 24/7, some of which have to suffer through harsh living conditions such as sleeping outside in a room that reeks of dog feces, with no air conditioning in the scorching weather, and still be expected to be fully energetic by 5am. That is not fucking worth the BD40 that they get each month. That is the biggest rip off and is right up there with harsh child labour in Latin America. We have accepted this as the “norm” because we are too fucking lazy to pick up after ourselves, so we don’t argue against it, saying that these maids are much needed. A live-in maid or nanny in any other decent country means hundreds of dollars each month. Why can’t we have the same here? A lot of families here are well off, and if they’re not then they probably have small homes where they can maintain good living conditions: cleanness, cooking, trash, etc. It’s really not that hard, and we shouldn’t use these innocent people who left their entire families behind just to come here and help us slap a simple life together. Not only are we ripping them off, we are using them as inflatable punching toys, taking our anger out on them whenever something personal goes on. I’m ashamed to say that this happens within my extended family. Someone gets into a little argument and somehow the maid has to sit through an hour-long lecture where the employer belittles them and tells them that they are no more useful than maggots.

    I’m not saying these people should fuck off back to their 3rd world countries and starve, I’m sure they are desperate which is why this was even an option, and I’m grateful that our country gives them job opportunities that help them raise their families back home, but this is inhumane and should be unacceptable to anyone who values human rights. I’ve yet to see a campaign strictly against this. The situation in Bahrain in particular is tear jerking and I hope this was more emphasized in the human rights report.

    At least such people could pride themselves on being brave enough to do what they do everyday of their life, it requires a LOT of strength which should be rewarded with a good amount of respect if not a proper salary.

  53. mahmood says:

    but on the other hand ES, we have this:

    Housemaid held over child abuse
    By RASHA AL QAHTANI

    A FILIPINA maid has been arrested for allegedly abusing two Bahraini children, aged eight months and two years.

    She allegedly spat repeatedly in the girls’ food, shook them violently if they woke when they shouldn’t, spanked the toddler and told another maid to force-feed them if they wouldn’t eat.

    A second, freshly-recruited Filipina maid was so distressed at what was going on that she tried to resign after just seven weeks, the children’s mother told the GDN yesterday.

    Now the 29-year-old Bahraini, an early childhood educator, is warning other parents to keep a strict check on how their children are being treated by their maids.

    She and her husband took the 41-year-old maid to the police last Thursday, after being alerted by the other maid.

    The couple employed the maid more than 10 months ago and in January brought in another, 35-year-old Filipina, to help with the housework.

    The mother is not teaching at the moment and has been running a business from home, so she could be there for her children. She said she was stunned that her children could be abused without her realising, even though she had never even gone out and left them with the maids.

    It was only when the young maid asked to leave, that she learned what was going on.

    “Last week the new housemaid, who has been with us for nearly seven weeks told me that she wanted to leave,” said the mother, who asked not to be named.

    “She told me that she couldn’t continue working because she was not comfortable working with the other housemaid.

    “When I asked her what was bothering her, she reluctantly told me that the other housemaid spat in the children’s food and when she asked her why, she told her that she does it because people back at home say that the children will come to love you.

    “The new housemaid told her that it was not right to do that because bacteria and germs can be transferred to the children.

    “I was so shocked I asked her how long this has been going on she told me that it has been going on since the first maid arrived.”

    The mother said she was stunned that this could have been going on for so long, right under her nose.

    “I work from home and still this happened while I was there and I never knew,” she said.

    The children are never left at home alone with the housemaids, said the mother.

    “The new housemaid also told me that when I’m busy with work, or I get into the shower and my children are sleeping, if one of them wakes up the other housemaid shakes them vigorously to get them to go back to sleep,” she said.

    “My younger daughter, who is eight months old, has a reflux problem. The new housemaid told me that the other housemaid told her to force feed the child if she didn’t feel like eating.”

    The new housemaid also told her that the other housemaid spanked the two-year-old daughter if she misbehaved when the mother was busy.

    “She also told me that when she told the other housemaid that she wanted to leave, she told her to runaway at 5am and find her way to the embassy,” said the mother.

    “I don’t know why she (the first maid) would do such a thing. We gave her a certificate of appreciation, we celebrated her birthday and we even celebrated Christmas together and I’m a Muslim.”

    The couple went to great lengths to ensure that they employed trustworthy maids and treated them well, yet still this happened. The mother said she dreaded to think what might be going on in other homes, where both parents are out working, leaving their children with just the household staff.

    “We took the housemaid to the Hoora Police Station and reported what she did to the police and she admitted how she treated the children,” she said.

    The maid was still in custody yesterday and the file is due to go to the Public Prosecution, said the mother.

    She warned other parents to beware, saying there should be more day-care services in Bahrain, to cut the risk of such things happening.
    GDN :: 20 Mar ’06

    What I’m trying to say is that it works both ways. If you treat them as humans (as you should) they should return the favour. I know that there the majority of abuse cases goes from the employer to the employee, but there are some disgusting cases going the other way as well. They’re not all angels, and likewise, not all employers are good employers.

    What we should have here is a registry in which abusive employers are registered and are completely forbidden from employing maids of any nationality, while abusive maids should never be allowed to come back after serving whatever sentence they are given.

  54. mahmood says:

    Coffee Lover, try their plain croissant and their tuna salad, the best you can get in Bahrain!

  55. jasra jedi says:

    maids? what about the stories of absue and rape and torture? where the hell is the judicial system and where the hell are our courts? one law for locals, another for expats. one law for men, another for women?

    as far as i see it, the hierarchy of power and rights in bahrain operates as follows:

    Supreme Being: Bahraini Male
    Normal Human Being: Western Expat Men and Women
    Beings: Bahraini Women
    Sub Human Beings: Subcontinent Expat Men and Women

    Within the Supreme Beings, we have differet classification for Shia, Sunni, Ruling Family, Clergy depending on what hats people wear.

    As far as I am concerned, I really dont give a hoot about how the Supreme Beings in Bahrain figure out their deal. They are all getting 72 virgins in the end anyway. So before people ask me to support a new constituion or demonstrate by breaking windows at the airport or in Dana Mall, let them fix the bottom two catgegories first.

    A democracy is only as healthy as it takes care of its minorities. And by minority, I am talking about those groups that have less rights … not those groups that have more numbers.

  56. mahmood says:

    I agree that the whole Judicial system is long overdue a major overhaul, the first part of which is (with all and profuse respect) NOT making HM The King as its head. It should be a completely independent organ answerable to its own judicial council which should not be swayed by political considerations.

    Then train the hell out of judges, and bring in the “12 peers” system as (at least in the movies) it seems to work quite well. If they do wrong, at least the blame will not be on a single person.

    That reform (if applied universally) might remove the various stratifications of our society.

  57. jasra jedi says:

    agreed .. and part of the training will take place in culture sensitivty where we can introduce them to women so that they can learn how we are also humans, and not merely vehicles for having sex or for carrying children ..

    ooh .. i can just see it now. can i write the manual for the training? lets start with the dress code .. no beards, no short thobes, the induction ceremony will start with nancy ajram vidoes, music in the background, and the teachers will all be women and in skirts .. with the sex appeal of j-lo and the strength of margaret thatcher…

    i cant wait!

  58. mahmood says:

    heh, you’re taking a page out of the Netherlands immigration tests!

    This is not exactly a run-of-the-mill homework assignment: watch a film clip of an attractive woman sunbathing topless, and try not to be shocked.

    “People do not make a fuss about nudity,” the narrator explains.

    That lesson, about the Netherlands’ nude beaches, is followed by another: homosexuals have the same rights here as heterosexuals do, including the chance to marry.

    Just to make sure everyone gets the message, two men are shown kissing in a meadow.

    The scenes are brief parts of a two-hour-long film that the Dutch government has compiled to help potential immigrants, many of them from Islamic countries, meet the demands of a new entrance examination that went into effect on Wednesday. In the exam, candidates must prove they can speak some Dutch and are at least aware of the Netherlands’ liberal values, even if they do not agree with all of them.
    NY Times — you might have to register to view the article

    I like!

  59. Steve The American says:

    Anon: “200 years ago before ’statist’ legislation was introduced America was respecting the ‘Principle that one must not initiate the use of physical force against another human’ by wiping out the Indians. OK, so they built something good afterwards but let’s not get all misty eyed about a sometimes brutal past.”

    I hate to burst your lefty mythology, but the Indians were not wiped out. There were about two million of them when the Europeans showed up in North America. There are about two million of them now.

    If you would care to remember the brutal past accurately, American settlers were more likely to be the victims of the Indians rather than the victimizer. The Americans were largely sedentery farmers while the Indians were largely nomadic hunter gatherers. The Indians were constantly robbing, wounding, and killing the American settlers because that’s what they did to the other Indians. The American settlers were easier victims because they were relatively immobile, planted in their cabins, while the Indians frequently packed up and moved. Most of the time, settlers who were attacked could not catch their attackers, who disappeared in the terrain.

  60. Steve The American says:

    Citizen Quasar: “There are probably ten million “Mahmoods” in the world too. For all you know, THIS one works in a basement at the Whitehouse and is a Bush crony.”

    I can vouch for this. Mahmood and I both work for Karl Rove in Sub-Basement G under the West Wing of the White House. He’s on loan from the CIA, Bahrain Division. After work, when Mahmood is done doing his Bahraini schtick all day, we head over to The Palm to knock back some cold ones, hobnob with lobbyists, and have a good laugh at your expense.

  61. mahmood says:

    Yeah but last night was rough Steve, after that 3rd speech I just couldn’t hold myself from crylaughing, especially with the excellent flow of amber liquids at The Palm!

    Now why did you “out” me?

  62. Citizen Quasar says:

    Steve The American and Mahmood:

    Hey, guys. Was Ted Kennedy at The Palms too? I heard he drinks scotch. Is that true?

    I just don’t know who to trust anymore. It’s all smoke and mirrors, web cams and monitors.

  63. mahmood says:

    Hey, my brother works at Smoke and Mirrors!! 🙂

  64. Citizen Quasar says:

    That figures. Does your brother ever visit you at the Whitehouse? 🙂

  65. Steve The American says:

    Mahmood: “Now why did you “out” me?”

    I couldn’t go on living a lie, Mahmood. Your readers have a right to know.

    Citizen Quasar: “Hey, guys. Was Ted Kennedy at The Palms too? I heard he drinks scotch. Is that true?

    We used to see him there but it was impossible for a single bar to stock that much liquor. Last I heard he goes straight to the distillery to quench his thirst. Chivas Regal sends a freighter of its product every month to dock at Hyannisport and unload.

  66. mahmood says:

    at least he’s got good taste! 😉

  67. Good Taste? Perhpas, but have you seen ole Ted’s Rudolph Red nose and how bad his hands shake? He is barely a functional Alcoholic at best and people still vote for him………

  68. mahmood says:

    What better politician is there than one who is so inebriated that he cannot produce brain-farts that would pit the whole society against each other? Let him drink until his liver gives out. Maybe he could give lessons to some of our own!

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