Green fields to nowhere

9 May, '06

I don’t suppose that the government really intends to have a fair and free elections this year for the municipal and parliamentary elections.

Nor is it demonstrating that famed “Arab Hospitality”. In fact it is demonstrating quite the opposite with them closing the National Democratic Institute and throwing its director out of the country without notice and for no fault of the NDI. And if you consider that Mr. Fawzi Julaid and the NDI were personal guests of his majesty the King under whose authority in 2002 they were established and sponsored, can someone tell me where the paddle is?

Thanks to the so called Bahrain Institute for Political Development which has been established here and thinks that it knows more about democracy and democratic processes in a country that has never experienced it.

Then add the fact of the continuing harassment of the Transparency Society in dissolving their board of directors and almost closing it down but for the efforts of its members to keep it going.

The precursor to all this of course is the closure of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, and the various harassments and imprisonments of people whose only fault is expressing themselves in a constitutionally guaranteed manner.

And of course only God at the moment knows when the elections will take place, that is if He received the confidential memo and allowed to got involved in the process.

I keep asking myself now what the common denominator is between all of these actions? The answer that continuously creeps into my mind is that “they” intend to screw around with the elections, and ensure that only those “they” approve of get elected. Why else would one expend all of this energy in these shenanigans? And why all of these desperate moves against any entity which asks to monitor the forthcoming elections? And why the electoral districts gerrymandering not fixed? If you have nothing to hide, why are you afraid?

What’s the point? If everyone who extends the hand of friendship, or even better, those who extend their hands in an effort to teach us about democracy and its processes, and prepare future generations of politicians for them to manage the country properly get thrown out in this despicable manner, is there even a point of having elections? Of course not, under all of these conditions the thing they call democracy in Bahrain is nothing more than a sham. A pretty one mind you, but still a sham.

Is it a wonder that international news outlets have started to point a non-too-flattering finger at Bahrain and its government, and call into doubt almost everything that comes out of its official organs?

Of course not, first we had the Financial Times publish a piece about sectarian tensions and disillusionments of a large swathe of our citizens, and now they follow up with another about corruption and the destruction of the environment that is even more damning. This is the Financial Times, not a Mickey Mouse publication. It will be hard for the government and its spin doctors to conveniently disparage and discredit. It’s the FT which is read the world over not by activists, but captains of industry and commerce. Think of all the good work already done by the EDB and like organisations going to waste.

What is the government doing for God’s sake? In all of our history we have never had an opportunity like this; an opportunity where we can grab by the scruff of the neck and use to launch ourselves onto the world stage as a modern, caring, constitutional and democratic nation which respects its citizens and adheres to human rights principles; however, we choose to squander it comprehensively, yet, we have the temerity to fight for consideration for a seat on the Human Rights council at the UN! What a laugh! Talk about getting the priorities straight.

Now the government has a green field. No obstacles on the horizon. They have a cowed parliament filled with morons and puppets and what the government has done is prepare the ground for more hand-picked and docile morons to fill its ranks sometime this year, or maybe next year, or even in two years’ time if and when they decide to give us “the gift” of being able to elect those who will have the pleasure of representing us.

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  1. tooners says:

    everything’s a sham……

    i just read this article in the GDN… couldn’t believe it. it doesn’t explain anything there… you explain it all so eloquently.

  2. Khalid says:

    What the hell is goin on with this country, everytime I leave Bahrain and come back to it, it gets worse. I don’t really understand, it’s not rocket science but yet again, bigger screwups take place day after day and we hear the same bs that we’re a democracy bla bla bla.

    Gimme a break, I honestly reached a level were none of this surprises me and as much as am optimistic about the future, there are some issues that will just go down the drain.

    What a shame, real shame.

  3. What do you expect from this tribal government! Just today, I just read in bahrainonline that out of the 56 managers in the interior minister, non of them were from the Shiats! This is all because of Khaleefa and Hamad,

    Similarly, do not say what happened to the NDU is because of National Democratic Institute, this is nothing but the tail of the snake, the head of the snake is the people up there dictating to this institute to do whatever suits them,

    As I said before,

    The primer minister and the king are two cheeks of the same arse. Their democracy is what is in the middle, and the parliament is what comes out of it.

  4. mahmood says:

    ِAyman, what you say might be true, but how is the way you put your thoughts conducive to solving a situation? May I suggest we use less rhetoric and more logical or at least civilised discussion?

  5. %50 says:

    I can hear that owl (al Dhahrani) asking you “who do you mean by (the government)?”

  6. apologies says:

    My apologies, I know there is no but here, but still, whatever the government is doing is not civilised at all, and this is the only language they understand.

    The ruling family stings with such behaviours

    sorry again,

  7. mahmood says:

    Ayman that is not true. You know that two wrongs don’t make a right. The only way forward is to be better than your opponent and certainly more civilised, otherwise you just lose credibility not just with your opponent but with the outside world too.

    I suggest you calm down and turn off the rhetoric, believe me engaging in logical and civilised discussion will get us there in a much faster fashion than cursing and ranting and raving.

  8. Ingrid says:

    I am naief. I thought that after the old Khalif (oops, forgot his name), the ‘old’ ruler with the nice smile (trust me, when coming in from saudi and seeing two portraits, one of King Fahd and one from the Khalif (?), he looked so benign and everything. When he was succeeded, I automatically assumed, new/young blood means improvement. Very naief indeed..
    sorry about your situation guys

  9. mahmood says:

    It did improve for a while, and in all honesty it is a million times better than ’99 and before, but as we have tasted a bit of freedom now, we want more, and as we have realised our potential, we want more. Only natural human tendency.

  10. Ingrid says:

    Sure, when things start to look up in any given situation, one gets hopeful and cannot but think, hey, this can only go better.
    Well, the ultra conservatives probably have been out in full force behind the scenes worrying that all those changes could lead to more sinful lives. Modernity is a scary think indeed, how much more people making their own decisions. What’s next. Not listening to their Imams I bet!

  11. Anonymous says:

    The NDI should consider appealing through the courts. A few months ago the Women’s Union got the courts to overturn the Social Development Ministry’s decision not to allow them to register as an NGO. The Women’s Union was seen as in competition with the Supreme Council (Sec Gen Lulwa Al Awadhi), just as the NDI’s seen as in competition with this new Political Institute (Sec Gen Lulwa Al Awadhi).

    Wasn’t Isa Qassim campaigning for the NDI to be chucked out too a while back?

  12. E-man says:

    I feel that reasoning and logic are not in the agenda of the ruling family. They think that they own the land and what is on it, including humans, this is the same thing happening in most countries in the gulf. I have relatives in Bahrain and I know exactly what you are going through.

    If the ruling family believe in reasoning and logic, why until now they are suppressing the majority of the people? Why until now they have closed every opportunity for the country to prosper and develop. The development they speak about is nothing but their own dynastical wealth and control. Even great projects like the formula 1, they are the only ones benefiting from, in terms of income. But the country pays for their projects.

    Ask your self, why is it most and all the key ministerial and major posts are held by them only?! Is it a private company they are running or is it a country?!!

    Why is it the prime minister is in post for more than 35 years! Tell me one democratic country had a prime minister for that long period!!!

    You know I am fad up of analysing, because as one Bahraini friend told me once, we are allowed to say whatever we want, but they “the sharks” do whatever they want. What we are doing is nothing but “analysis until paralysis”.

    Trust me Hamad is not different from Al-Qadafi at all, both have grandeur delusion, and you have two choices, you either wait for him get cured, or to cure your self from believing that he could do anything. I doubt it.

    The only hope we in the gulf region have is that the government in the US changes, to one like Bill Clinton who in fact, according to several sources, was a key player in the positive changes happening in the gulf, including Bahrain. Bust, is only interested in war, and you cannot have democracy in a war zone!

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