Martyr’s Day

17 Dec, '06

Dec 17th is quite contentious in Bahrain, on one side it has been recently declared as Accession Day celebrating His Majesty’s accession to the throne, while on the other activists chose it to celebrate and commemorate the tens of martyrs who dearly laid down their lives in order to demand parliamentary life and democracy in Bahrain.

I believe that both occasions are important to inculcate the spirit of Nationalism which is very important to the country as a whole as there are quite a few things which are dividing us rather than bringing us together. However, unfortunately the rulers regard this clash as an affront to their authority, which of course does not land very happily with the other side who look at this opposition as a complete disregard for the lives wrongly lost under torture or murder by the authorities.

A very explosive mix and as both side are adamant to “win” rather than find accommodation, or rather, why the rulers do not recognise that celebrating those who did lose their lives for the country and its people is the ultimate thing they can do to bring the people of Bahrain together and increase the respect they would have for the rulers is beyond me. No country exists in the world whose people did not sacrifice dearly to gain and keep their freedoms. Those countries not only celebrate those lost lives, but canonise them by naming streets, public buildings, universities and even put their images on their currency to remind people of those sacrifices and through that, get people to become truly nationalistic and increase their love they have for their countries.

We are quite a way away from those principals in Bahrain, what we have instead is the refusal of the authorities to allow a peaceful demonstration to celebrate those martyrs and immortalise them, even though the organisers complied with all the legal requirements to do so. The organisers obviously thought that this refusal is unconstitutional and that their cause is noble; hence, they just wanted to go ahead with their march starting at 3pm this afternoon at Ras Rumman mosque in Manama. That, would have been on the authorities dead bodies, and fights between riot police and demonstrators ensued in this rather charged atmosphere of Bandargate, the alleged fraudulent elections, and the Al-Wefaq boycott of the inaugural parliamentary session.

The demonstrators retreated and declared that they will regroup and launch the demo this time from Al-Khawajah Mosque in Manama after Maghreb prayers at 6pm. That was not to be, and the demonstrators were prepared for that eventuality and disbursed to various places in Bahrain to demonstrate in smaller groups. Chaos continued to ensue because of both sides just won’t give ground, the most skirmishes happening as I write this are in both Sanabis and Daih, both very militant areas neighbouring Dana and Bahrain malls.

The last I heard is that there are hundreds of riot police engaged right now with hundreds of demonstrators by using rubber bullets and tear gas in copious quantities.

What’s the end result?

It’s becoming like a scratched record now; they will be a lot of people hurt, emotionally and physically, there is going to be even more militancy because people are not allowed to show their respect for their martyrs, the authorities will be even more belligerent and arrest quite a few kids and throw them in prison because of them contravening the Gatherings and Assembly Law passed by our dear departed parliament of 2002, and the whole of Bahrain will continue to reel in the aftermath of this chaos for quite a few months to come.

What should happen, as far as I am concerned is rather simple:

    1. Partnership. This should be the operative word in the minds of both the rulers and the ruled. Thinking always of “them and us” does not help this country and history proved this time and again.
    2. For a country to move forward, its history must be celebrated and resurrected, or at least respected and learnt from. There is nothing wrong with celebrating and commemorating the lives of our martyrs. They paid for our current freedom with their very lives. Us acknowledging them is the very least that we, the people and the authorities can do.

There must be a mutually beneficial and agreeable way forward for both “warring” parties, because carrying on with the “us and them” mentality is stupid, tiring and detrimental.

Get with the program, both sides. Please. For the sake of Bahrain.

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Comments (9)

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  1. sohail says:

    well comeon what are u people upto around the year protests and demonstrations dont u people stay peacefully and continue with the countrys growth u people will blow away the foreighn investment resuilting bahrain not safe for foreighn investment come on bahrain be united and grow peacefully always crying and demonstrating come on 😡 😡 😡

    peoples always complaining of one thing and another and self are not here nore there bahrain is mine and im for bahrain not bahrain like this bahrain like that ohho

  2. Anonymous says:

    you get a cola bottle shoved up your ass first then talk about stop crying and demonstrating ok..

    maybe your too young to know all of bahrain’s recent past; but all these people are just looking to make sure those things that happened in the past aren’t allowed to be repeated and those who died would be remembered. (even the indians in the restaurant)

  3. Maverick says:

    Sohail,
    Think before you leap. It is one thing to be prejudiced and another to be ill informed. It seems you are both. You fail to realise and understand the pain that the people of Bahrain bear silently.

    Some go on with a forgiving smile, some protest, some rally and others maim and cause damage. Others like M try to get a meaningful dialogue going to bring about peaceful solutions to realy problems that the GDN or Bahrain Tribune do not report.

    Perhaps one reason that the government do not want to recognise this day is the same reason that the US does not admit CIA activity. It would amount to admitting of state sponsored executions/assasinations.

    See how many years it took for Japan to apologise verbally for the attrocities committed in the world wars.

    Perhaps the only way is for the people to show the govenment a way out of this embarrasing situation. Unfortunately the high handed way of certain officials is resulting in such backlashes and causing pain and misery again and again.

    Rather than focusing on martyrs which the King already recognised in his National Day speech, it would help if people held a rally based on Mahmood’s slogan, No Shia, No Sunni, Just Bahraini!

    This will help to spread unity and focus on Bahrain pride. The time for healing is now and way is clear. Meeting the government head on will only cause more pain for the people and more martyrs.

    I belive too that the government should recognise the martyrs (Bahraini and Expatriate) openly with a martyrs’ day. They are not ready to do so. Don’t push them. Use your energies to make a better Bahrain.

    Get to work early, don’t claim sick days or compassionate leave unnecessarily, follow a proper work ethic, do not waste company resources, work with your management to better your position and your company. If you hate your job get a new one or start your own enterprise.

    Hope I have made some valid suggestions……

  4. AJJ says:

    I have a theory,

    Until Bahrainis pay income tax we will never have any real right to complain about social services provided by our elected and unelected leaders.

    Mahmood, why not start a topic on this subject as I think that alot of the ills of this place, both sectarian and economic are down to the fact that most citizens do not see themselves as stakeholders in the country’s future, and they winge and moan when things get them down.

    If we all paid income tax we would feel as if we had the right to ask the government employees to work a proper week and go to work on time, the right to see out taxes were spent wisely and the right for a peacful and indiscrimatory society.

    Of course we would need salary increases which would come from working harder but this would lessen our dependence upon asian workers. Then at least we would only have ourselves to blame for the health service and the drainage.

    Finally we would then be free from this begging and behind ( noses?) kissing society and we could earn our pride and respect and not be given services in return for misguided loyalties to one sect or another.

    When some thing is given as a gift it is never appreciated as much as when it is earned.

  5. sohail says:

    cry cry cry 😆 😆 😆

    come on martyrs day what ever is anything left for rally and demonstration please inform me also in riffa people dont get the informations or on any of the sites so i can also join them please give the sites 😀

  6. Maverick says:

    AJJ,
    You have a valid point. However people here believe and they are right that they should have a share in the profits from oil and its byproducts, aluminum and other government controlled resources. When there is so much land and solar energy available, why are Bahrainis suffering from want of land, housing, reduced cost of power and better salaries.

    Over population or over production may be an answer from the social point of view, what about the irregular distribution of wealth and resources?

  7. Ameer Or Prince says:

    I believe that these two occasions should be both celebrated. We have common differences but we never quite well like to be questioned on our Patriotism. we all love this island. we never think of replacing this current ruling family, actually we strengthened this rule with the UN refrendum when Iran claimed Bahrain. However, it is clear said that we are the people of Bahrain and this country belongs to Bahrains and peaceful residents. Wealth is to be divided equally among the different layers of Bahraini society. We don’t want to await “Makramas”. These gifts are our rights. We love the King and we Love the Country. the King wil pass away one day, but BAHRAIN we be here for our sons, grandsons.

  8. Thogba says:

    Our martyrs are the first reason we are having a parliament. Without them and without the sacrifices in 1994-1997, Bahrain would have been ugly just like it was in 1994.

    However, the ruling family does not want to approve what they had done in 1994.

    The ruling family will face two directions: be modern and democratic and forget their beduin roots, or they will not exist sooner or later..

  9. BCHR says:

    Excessive Use of Rubber Bullets and Tear Gas

    Annual Demonstration Prohibited by Security Forces

    Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

    Ref: 06121700

    A demonstration, organized annually by the Victims of Tortures Committee, was dispersed today by special security forces using rubber bullets and tear gas. The demonstration takes place every year on the 17th of December, a day many Bahraini’s consider to be a day of remembrance, also known as “martyrs day” due to the fact that two youth were shot on that day in 1994, and this was followed by a series of civilian deaths as a result of torture and police brutality. This day became thereby marked on the Bahraini calendars as a day to remember the people who were killed and tortured by the government during the 90’s, when the governments human rights abuses were at its peak. Now, a decade later, human rights abuses evidently remain a problem. While yesterday the government set up pro government rallies, today it forcibly prohibited the oppositions demonstration.

    The BCHR has learnt that since the dispersion, there has been rioting in several villages whereby eye witnessed have seen young boys burning tires in protest. Eye witnesses have also confirmed to the BCHR that riot police are using tear gas in numerous villages.

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