shhhhhh! keep it down will ya?

13 Oct, '06

<whispering> the silence is absolutely deafening lately. as the bchr has observed, it’s been a whole month since they kicked dr. salah albandar out of bahrain; it’s also been a few days since the high criminal court has issued its infamous gag order on the local press not to discuss part of the case, yet all the papers, being responsible, you see, have cowed to not only that instruction, but have maintained a self-imposed censorship at a time when the whole country needs not just news, but responsible analysis of what is going on.. so once again, this responsibility has fallen on us bloggers to tell people at least what we personally and collectively think in the hope that someone up there will listen and pull the finger and do something about this situation… that is required right about now… actually a few weeks ago would have been ideal, but i’ll settle for now nevertheless, before that brown stuff hits the fan externally, then our reputation would just continue to be maintained below zero, because maybe a bahraini citizen might be a mushroom (kept in the dark and fed on excrement) but other countries around the world actually at least make a semblance of an attempt to value theirs.

here’s one which you might want to add to your bookmarks (we’re still whispering remember, and that’s why we have no capitalization at all, just remember that):

We can’t say, as Palmerston did in 1850, that “a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong”. But we can give a voice to our citizens when they suffer injustice and wrong, especially when they are being punished for upholding high standards of governance and exposing serious misconduct.

but we’re told that dr. al-bandar is nothing more than a spy for a foreign power, in fact our public prosecutor was so sure and adamant that he was that he deported him forthwith! without the need to question him at all and without putting him on trial for espionage and without executing him, as all traitors should be. maybe our public prosecutor considered that if they executed a british guy, black as he may be, there will be hell to pay, so it’s probably better shipping him out asap, yes, a s a p would do very nicely, thank you kindly.

Dr al-Bandar is a brave man who deserves the support of his fellow-citizens, and especially at a time when the government of Bahrain – ie the royal family, of which this Minister is a member – is busy silencing its critics. The Public Gatherings, Processions and Assembly Code, ratified on July 20, is the latest attack on freedom of expression, but it is part of a steady erosion of people’s rights. The Foreign Office say that ‘democracy, good governance and human rights are major objectives’ of their policy, and we shall see what they have to say when one of our own citizens is a victim of oppression.

well her majesty’s government doesn’t think so it seems. shame on them. and a lord of her majesty’s court no less is championing this national traitor and making way for him to give speeches and all that sort of thing in “the house” no less.

while we maintain our whisper mode; while we maintain our mushroom mode; while we maintain the rape of our dignity mode; we also maintain our obsequious silence! while fingers are squarely pointing now at our his majesty and our beloved crown prince as wholly complicit in this saga, nay, actual architects of the whole shebang, our government is as silent as a tomb; while the elections are only a month and a half away, the named individuals in bandargate still enjoy their positions and possibly their additional – now regular and extra-legal – monthly stipends.

would there be any movement to redress the balance? is it even necessary?

i guess not.

a report as damning as this anywhere else in the world would have toppled a government at the very least…

while in bahrain all we hope to see is everyone diligently aid and abet this deafening silence as if the problem just does not concern us and it never has.

hangdog beaten scareddead! our souls must be.. or like completely beaten dogs, we just put our tails between our legs, lower our heads and avoid direct gazes and just carry on with our lives, slinking and running away from what remains of our dignity.

and we cry for answers…

we want answers?

if we did, we wouldn’t have remained this deathly silent.

we deserve what we have

and what we will continue to get

sleep well, little sleeping beauty that is called bahraini public

you shall not be further disturbed



sweet dreams.

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Comments (21)

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  1. H says:

    I must say, having talked with a few groups of people about the situation, I have received many negative reactions. I was even lucky to get a reaction.

    Some looked puzzled, some saw it as needless noise, some thought it’s a desperate act that would die in vain, and some miraculously and ginuinly were pretty much clueless about it.

    We only resort to expression, and most of the times we are short with it anyway, out of brute force or out of despair. Some prefer to sleep it through like you portrayed, an easy way out at the price of dignity.

    I don’t know if I can say that it could’ve been worse. I simply don’t know. But what I’m sure of is that there will always be a few of us who voice through their presence and defend the dignity others prey on.

    I hope that this letter you’ve written is intended to shake about what’s left of people’s self-worth, for they might wake up and realise where they’ve ended up. I hope that this letter is not a sign of dispair.

    What does a man have other than hope and will?!

  2. anonymous says:

    True. in any other country, this would have at minimum shaken up a government or toppled it! I wonder, will this be just swept under the carpet by everyone? Or will there be press gag, after press gag? Do people have such a short memory, that all will be forgotten? I wonder.

  3. ASKAD says:

    They are trying to flex the Bahraini People and see at what point they will break, yet we reached to this situation and still we ask for more!!!

    We should stand & not lie down like pieces of rugs.
    We should not forget that we are Bahraini Citizins on a Bahraini island so we have the right to know, to express, to act.

    Hope your letter wakes some people & make them think at the level of BS we are in. :no:

  4. Anonymous says:

    كلمة عبدالهادي الخواجة في الاجتماع الحاشد في المنامة بمناسبة ذكرى استشهاد علي بن أبي طالب (ع)
    13 اكتو بر 2006

    السلام عليك يا علي بن أبي طالب، يا أمير المؤمنين:

    لقد قلت يا علي: Ùˆ أنت الحكيم والصادق في قولك: “وما معاوية بأدهى مني، ولكنه يغدر ويفجر” ..
    لقد تحدثت عن الغدر والفجور السياسي، وهانحن نرى هذه الصفات بارزة فيمن يتآمرون علينا.
    • فقد شهدنا في هذا البلد نكث الوعود فيما يتعلق بالدستور والميثاق
    • وعانينا التضييق على الحريات بعد الوعود باطلاقها
    • ونعيش تزايد الاستبداد و الديمقراطية المشوهة
    • ونرى نهب أموال النفط، وسرقة الأراضي كما لم يحدث من قبل
    • والتجنيس السياسي على قدم وساق لاستضعاف الشعب، وضرب الناس بالناس
    • و أخيرا وليس آخرا المخطط الطائفي والشبكة السرية

    ولكن من وراء كل هذه المؤامرات الخطيرة على الشعب؟
    كل الدلائل تشير إلى أن الملك نفسه هو وراء ذلك:
    • فهو من غير الدستور وجاء بالديمقراطية المستبدة، وأناط جميع السلطات بنفسه
    • وهو من اصدر مرسوم توزيع الدوائر الانتخابية الطائفي الذي يجعل من سكان مناطق معينة اقل قيمة من غيرهم
    • وهو من يولي ويعزل من المناصب، وزاد في عهده التمييز والامتيازات
    • وهو الذي يمارس التجنيس السياسي الطائفي
    • وهو من ينهب الثروة ويحتكر ملكية وتوزع الأراضي في جميع البر والبحر

  5. Anonymous says:

    الاستاذ عبدالهادي الخواجة مناضل ورئيس مركز البحرين لحقوق الانسان قد وضع النقاط علي الحروف و اوضح للشعب من هو وراء المخطط الذي ذكرة تقرير الدكتور صلاح البندر

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hadi Khawaja speech in the mass meeting in Manama on the occasion of the martyrdom of Ali bin Abi Talib (a) October 13, 2006 Peace you Ali bin Abi Talib, O prince of believers : I said to you : you wise and sincere in saying : “What Maaouya Padhi me, but betrayed and blows.” We have talked about treachery and debauchery and political Now we see these qualities for anyone who conspire us. • We have seen in this country broke his promises with respect to the Constitution and the Charter • woes restrictions on freedoms after launching promises • live increasing despotism and democracy distorted • We believe the looting of oil money, and the theft of land as never before • Naturalization political in full swing to subdue the people, and hitting people with people • Finally, and not least the outline of sectarian and underground network But behind all these conspiracies dangerous to people? All indications are that the King himself was behind it : • It is not the Constitution and democracy was authoritarian, and all authorities entrusted himself • issued a decree sectarian distribution of electoral constituencies, which makes residents of certain areas of less value than others • a pay and removed from office, and increased in the custody of discrimination and privilege • He practiced Naturalization sectarian political • one of the looted wealth and monopoly ownership and distribution of land in all land and sea

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hadi Khawaja activist and Chairman of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BHRC) has put the record straight and clear to the people who are behind the scheme mentioned by the report of Dr. Salah Albandar

  8. bahraini4eva says:

    How do you suggest the Bahraini public react to this report Mahmood? What are we suppose to do at this point? Can we do anything? If we were to raise our voices and ask to have a clean and thorough investigation initiated to find out ALL those behind these sickening secretarian behind-the-scene acts of which our esteemed minister is obviously the head, then what would we be getting in return? We will most likely get a few gifts here and there, such as a free visa to spend a lifetime away from our home country just like Mr.Bander himself! Come on now, we are quiet because we have no choice but to be quiet! The newspapers reported on this and look at the result..they aren’t even allowed to type the word Bander on any of their pages after that malicious court order. The Bahraini people voiced their concerns to a certain extent at first, but they, like the newspapers, were told to shut the hell up! We are helpless and so we choose to remain quiet because that is our only sane option! May God be with us All!

  9. mahmood says:

    No. I completely disagree with you. Completely.

    Have you considered that most – if not all – ills that has befallen us is because of attitude like yours? Be quiet and keep your head down? What has that gotten us other than being completely taken for granted and stepped on without so much as by your leave?

    If we AT LEAST clearly and unequivocally voice our dissatisfaction without fear or recrimination, those who have taken us for granted will be woken up to a new dynamic that tells them – again clearly – that they cannot continue to tread on Bahrainis with impunity.

    WE HAVE to speak up! Your option is completely wrong and your attitude suggests that we should just continue to have no dignity whatsoever!

    Speak up and be heard!

  10. Yousif says:

    نامي جياع الشعب نامي

    حرستك آلهة الطعام
    نامي آلهة الحرب غنت الحان السلام

    نامي فإن لم تشبعي من يقظة فمن المنام

  11. Yousif says:

    1) ٌٌRead the above poem.
    2) Repeat as required.


  12. bahraini4eva says:

    With all due respect, I fully understand that my option is wrong, but also my option is realistic. You are telling us to fight a system that will do whatever it takes to keep us quiet, even if it means getting rid of most of us. I am not happy nor satisfied by remaining quiet, but I act upon what I view to be in my and my countrymen’s best self interest! We tried voicing our concerns, but that apparently did NOT work.. So, what next? We should go ahead and knock on their doors, and tell ’em listen up and give us REAL answers or else? OR ELSE WHAT? They have complete executive power, and unfortunately, we have to obey. This statement is cowardly, but you know what, it’s also honest! And Guess What? The rest of Bahrainis are remaining quiet too.. Name me ONE person who’s actually fighting and speaking up? Just one! Exactly what I thought..


  13. mahmood says:

    Well okay, I respet your point of view and it is completely up to you what you want to do or believe and choose the path more applicable to your ideals.

    Now to answer your question regarding who is fighting and speaking up, at the moment quite a lot actually, from Shaikh Salman bin Sager through to the whole crowd at the Haqq movement and of course the whole crew at the BCHR.

    So we do have some very good voices disgusted with the current sitaution and who are patriotic enough to want a peaceful and orderly change.

  14. bahraini4eva says:

    It would be great if these groups would actually let us know of events they organize that people could join (although I understand that that isn’t possible since our media has been slapped and told to be quiet). Honestly, I haven’t heard anything from any of the above mentioned groups other than a few statements here and there that quite frankly is just all freakin talk! I’m talking about action.. I’m talking about bahrainis making their voices heard loud and clear in front of our gov’officials from top to bottom.. I’m obviously very pleased to hear that some good people have actually stood up, however, call me pessimistic but I don’t believe it’ll go too far unless action is taken! Hopefully the King will follow through with his democratic reforms and get rid of those implicated in this corrupt scheme. In any case, that would be wishful thinking on my part!

  15. H says:


    …I act upon what I view to be in my and my countrymen’s best self interest! We tried voicing our concerns, but that apparently did NOT work … The rest of Bahrainis are remaining quiet too …

    I am sure that you intend to act upon your and your countrymen’s interest, but as you kindly deatiled, it is to what you view as best interest. As far as I’m clued up on the situation here in bahrain, people’s interest always was contrued by dignity and compliance to what all Bahrainis take as common decency, not lost hope. If the people of this land had lost hope then they’d be gone to another country long ago.

    If voicing our concerns do not pose any change the first or second or third time, it would eventually do the time after that. If things don’t work in the first instance, it doesn’t mean that we should give up. Life, let alone political change, is alway full of obstacles, disappointments, and failures. But that doesn’t mean it all doesn’t pay off. We bang on all doors, and most probably half of them would open, and those are the ones we’d want to enter.

    My friend, if what you only come across is bahrainis remaining quiet, then why should you follow the herd, and that is exactly what we’re trying to do, to give the voice back to the people, and that’s the least.

    Be strong.

  16. bahraini4eva says:

    I always try to look at matters realistically. I voice my opinions and base my decisions on what has happened in the past. I am all for bringing this matter up to our gov’t until it gets resolved. I am all for fighting for what’s right. However, being brought up in Bahrain I realized that talking gets us nowhere, and the Kingdom is unfortunately all about talk. I am with you and Mahmood 110%, and believe that these corrupt officials named in the Report and all those who were not named but are somehow implicated directly or indirectly should be thrown out of office Immediately.
    Every day I wake up I hope for a better future for our people, and every day I hope that our government’s starts accomplishing it’s countless promises for a better and decent standard of living for all! Bahrain has a very long way to go in order for all of our people to live in happiness and tranquility, and I am for anything and everything that will get us there!

  17. Anonymous says:

    English version from BCHR

  18. can we talk now says:

    we do have some very good voices disgusted with the current sitaution and who are patriotic enough to want a peaceful and orderly change.

    I’m sorry Mahmood but although I agree with you in that there are voices who are patriotic, etc. I don’t believe the above speakers (in the video) are those people who want a peaceful and orderly change.

    I watched the video and I was extremely disturbed.
    It had nothing to do with human rights, or right.
    Before I begin, I have to say, that I’m not saying that things he said were untrue, I am saying that it was wrong, IMO, on so many levels.

    1) the venue was not appropriate for this type of speech.
    2) the audience were of one sect and the speech was sectarian and written for that target audience. (keep in mind the sheep approach we discussed somewhere on another thread, i think the women praying in the mosque thread)
    3) the mindset is not pro-bahraini. It was anti-(certain people mentioned in the speech) and their entire family.
    4) it was not positive, it was hateful. and instead of calling for right he was essentially saying to people let me tell how badly you have been treated.
    5) he (AK) was winding up people and inciting them.
    6) basically the second guy was saying there was no point in going to the polls.
    7) the second guy giving the example of one sunni who stood on “their side” makes him sound like the exception.
    8)AK was obviously not calling for an investigation because he admitted that he didn’t believe it was possible, so what was he calling for? If you go to a group of people and tell them that x,y and z have been done against you and the powers that be will be will not do anything for you, because they are the oppressors, what does he want? a civil war? is that the way forward? what good could come out of that?
    9) this speech had nothing to do with humanrights nor with haq (truth). I think he truly believs he is standing for human rights in his activism but he is so not for nationalism in this instance.
    10) I could go on..
    but i think I have made my point.

    now, what these people are preaching is so not what I want for my country. I don’t wish death on any family and I don’t want a civil war, and I am sick of hearing about sects. In fact, I think they can be dangerous if that is the path they want to lead us down. and I don’t see what other objective they might have.
    Tell me something, if he doesn’t believe there can ever be an investigation, for the reasons he clearly explains, why go through this whole petition thing and sign it? Is it posturing? or is it so he can then turn around to people and say “see, I told you so” and add one more thing to his list of grievances?

    If one wants to make a change, one does not bring it about by inciting unrest or by accumulating arsenal for future use.

    I am now convinced that Milter was right in the other thread when he stated that one must be careful who one stands up with..(these is my interpretations of his words, I don’t know how to link).

    if you want to make a difference, mend bridges and make fresh starts, you look for the commonalities with your opponents. you use that as starting point and slowly find more. you don’t sit there and trash them and collect points to use against people later and basically say they are s**t (whether or not it is true) and then expect people to turn to you and play best friends. that’s just stupid.

    that is the difference and it is a huge one between the buttons which are about inclusive nationalism and what these people preach.

    Milter was right, before and I was wrong.
    It is not enough that the message be right, the messenger has to be looked at as well. if the messenger’s train stops in places you find objectionable, no matter how right the message, you should think hard before you decide to board. else, you might find yourself being asked to sacrifice your vaules somewhere along the ride.

  19. mahmood says:

    I didn’t include Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja with the group of people I admire. Tenacious, yes, but impractical and has a death wish which I do not agree with.

    Things could be done differently rather than the constant in-your-face shout and rant.

    Would I call him unpatriotic though? No. He’s patriotic enough for this country in his own way. I just don’t share his methods of getting things done.

    I haven’t watched the video yet, but from what you said, I think I would tend to side with your observation.

  20. milter says:

    can we talk now,

    I am now convinced that Milter was right in the other thread when he stated that one must be careful who one stands up with..(these is my interpretations of his words, I don’t know how to link).

    Your interpretation is spot on!

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