Wikipedia Bahrain Politics page is interesting

23 Dec, '06

Wikipedia Bahrain SectionIf you haven’t already, I encourage you to look at the Bahrain section of Wikipedia; the people maintaining that section have done a very good job, and especially about the recent elections with good background information and links that you might find useful.

I find some of the entries a bit annoying as they seem to be purposefully against Islamist parties and personalities and I detect a definite slant which takes away from the otherwise excellent work.

Regardless, have a look at that section if you have time, being Wikipedia, you can also contribute to expand what is available and correct mistakes and omissions.

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Comments (24)

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  1. milter says:

    Mahmood,

    a bit annoying as they seem to be purposefully against Islamist parties

    and

    a definite slant

    … maybe that’s because it was written by somebody who has realized the shortcomings and dangers of basing politics on religious convictions.

    Doing that has never been a good recipy for a stable society with equal rights and opportunities for everybody.

    I don’t know how the elections appear from Bahrain, but to the outside world it certainly looked like the religious aspects were at the forefront of it. That normally leads to fights over morality issues and people claiming “My belief is better than yours”.

    And most importantly, in politics based on religious beliefs, the concept of “compromise” is normally very conspicuous by its absence.

  2. Wolfwood says:

    I totally agree with milter. After all, wasn’t it one of them (Majid Karimi, I believe) who was responsible for that embarassing “mannequin” incident last year? Complaining that “some young men were around and that these mannequins are so lifelike that the divorce rates in Bahrain are rising” certainly was a good use of his position, wasn’t it? Meanwhile, neighbourhoods in Muharraq went without power for a few days recently.

    I think that citizens’ wellbeing holds precedence over (but not limited to):mannequins; advocating racial segregation, sexism, terrorism and sectarianism ; imposing dress codes in the University of Bahrain; suggesting that we have religious policemen wander about the country shoving their beliefs on others; destroying historical sites to make room for housing because they’re not islamic; boycotting a country’s products over pathetic things to further their own interests; campaigning against witchcraft; replacing all windows with one way mirrors to “prevent people from seeing OUT” and my personal favorite, trying to get the airport moved elsewhere.

    And the less said about the (dis)honorable Mohammed Khalid’s views on anything that he doesn’t approve of i.e. everything normal people enjoy, the better….

  3. Wolfwood says:

    Er, that should be “some young men were AROUSED”…

  4. Yousif says:

    Ahh so you noticed that too. The Al Wefaq wikipedia entry was full of BS and I ended up getting into a lengthly argument with someone who was watching that page. BUT the entry now is more neutral than it used to be when I read it first and I added some relevant stuff to it too. It still needs allot more detailed info (maybe you can help :rolleyes:)

    So yeah please everybody if you see something wrong with anything in Wikipedia. Be bold! Edit! I might do a similar clean-up of the Bahraini parliamentary elections 2006 page when I have the time.

    Milter,

    Doing that has never been a good recipy for a stable society with equal rights and opportunities for everybody.

    You could be wrong. You are probably recalling the European experience with Church and state and how a miserable failure it was back then. I think though that Islam is far more flexible and tolerant. Yes there is the odd lunatic here and there but if applied correctly with constant maintenance it would ensure equal rights to everybody (everybody including atheists and non-Muslims). Think of Islam as a political theory and you’ll find it very similar to Socialist/Marxist theories but including a super-natural power (a god).

    Also don’t compare others experiences with Bahrain. Obviously Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are great examples of how the political Islam experience has failed but the Bahraini community is allot different. Being a small country, everybody is touched by everybody else. Unlike neighboring countries, we have been exposed to diversity since forever. Its like a mega family here and even if we have arguments we don’t go on the streets and shoot each other. The worst case scenario would be a flamebate article on the daily newspaper.

    I don’t know; I could be wrong.

  5. Wolfwood says:

    I wish all of it wasn’t true but let’s face it, even if half of what I listed was made up/exaggerated, we’d still got a way to go. When I was growing up, one of the questions I remember hearing the most at school was “Are you Shiite or Sunni?” Like that should have an effect on whom you want to make friends with at an early age. Not their character, but their religious affiliation which they had nothing to do with?

    Its like a mega family here and even if we have arguments we don’t go on the streets and shoot each other. The worst case scenario would be a flamebate article on the daily newspaper

    Now that you mention it, there was that tragic shooting in Muharraq a few months ago (over a small matter).

  6. mahmood says:

    milter: … maybe that’s because it was written by somebody who has realized the shortcomings and dangers of basing politics on religious convictions.

    That’s beside the point. Wikipedia is supposed to be an unbiased encyclopaedia, letting personal prejudices – no matter how “right” they appear to be – is wrong.

  7. Yousif says:

    Now that you mention it, there was that tragic shooting in Muharraq a few months ago (over a small matter).

    The whole of Bahrain was shocked by this isolated and irrelevant incident.

    You missed my point by miles.

  8. Wolfwood says:

    The whole of Bahrain was shocked by this isolated and irrelevant incident.

    You missed my point by miles.

    I got your meaning. I’m just saying that this whole ‘mega family’ thing just isn’t really true either, given some of what’s gone on here over the past few years.

    Then again, I’ve been a pessimist lately, so I’m probably exaggerating things…

  9. milter says:

    Yousif, you wrote:

    I think though that Islam is far more flexible and tolerant. Yes there is the odd lunatic here and there but if applied correctly with constant maintenance it would ensure equal rights to everybody

    How many examples of that can you give me, say from the last 100 years? And by examples I don’t mean individuals that hardly anybody has heard of. I mean leaders, presidents, scholars, intellectuals etc. that have had an infuence on the way Arabs live and are governed. People that are widely respected by all across sectarian and religious lines.

    And what do you mean by “applied correctly with constant maintenance “? That phrase can be used on any ideology, even communism and fascism, and make them look like something attractive.

  10. milter says:

    Mahmood, you wrote:

    That’s beside the point. Wikipedia is supposed to be an unbiased encyclopaedia

    First of all I think the religious point is very relevant. When politics is discussed and analyzed the ideological background of a certain party is a major factor. It gives an idea of what kind of laws you can expect from that party.

    In most liberal democracies political parties can be put into boxes with labels like “socialists”, “liberals”, “communists”, etc. Some are between two boxes, but it gives you an idea of their ideological inheritance. And, like I wrote, of what kind of legislation you can expect from them.

    And as for the part about being unbiased, well, ideally articles like that should try to be unbiased. The question is, though, whether that is possible at all. I don’t think anybody, no matter how neutral he/she is, can free themselves of letting their political opinion have an effect on their reports about matters like that.

  11. mahmood says:

    It shouldn’t be too difficult to be unbiased if all that you are doing is stating facts about a party and its ideology, even if the writer is completely against the party and its ideology.

    That’s what I was getting at milter. It is an encyclopedic article for goodness sake, so why does the writer insist on looking at the subject of his/her entry down their nose?

    The reader then could level as much bias and prejudice as he or she likes when reading the article and draw their own conclusions bases on a myriad of psychological factors. The writer in this particular case; however, shouldn’t.

  12. milter says:

    Mahmood, could you give me a link to the part/parts you don’t like?

  13. mahmood says:

    have a look at the write-up on all the Islamist Parties, any of them, and you will probably perceive a decided slant in the way they are portrayed. You know that there is no love lost between me and the Islamists anyway, but even I could feel the purposeful slant there.

    Unless I am imagining things, which I don’t think I am.

  14. Wolfwood says:

    It’s sad in a way that nobody’s all that thrilled about revising those entries and that visitors are content just leaving them as is, due to how they feel towards them. Guess nobody wants to seem like they’re “defending” them with neutrality even 😆

  15. mahmood says:

    It’s in English, hence, maybe, they’re not viewed as that important.

    Even so, I agree that people visiting should at least voice their opinions in the “Talk” page and others who are good at writing and cross-referencing should update those pages whenever an update is needed.

  16. Yousif says:

    mahmood and milter,
    The issue of a neutral point of view in an encyclopedia was hammered to death. Read 25 pages of discussion in Wikipedia. To save you the trouble, in short it is possible and you should at least try to write in a neutral point of view in an encyclopedia like Wikipedia .

    milter,

    And what do you mean by “applied correctly with constant maintenance “?

    What is the purpose of religion — philosophically speaking and not theologically speaking? Isn’t it a socio-political system that in the end aims to bring order to an otherwise chaotic society by using the principal of reward and punishment. If you think about it, religion is “good” by default because in the end it is a mean of human survival. Sure there are other ways of surviving without having to “believe” in a deity but why limit humanity to one way if both have been proven to work.

    Sure religion may have caused wars and destruction to humanity in the past few hundred years but if you think about it deep enough you’ll realize that in the past 100 years humanity suffered from a serious lack of resources. Man never thought that one day he will run out of resources. When man started realizing that there is a limit to our resources and that he is dangerously approaching these limits, he started forming groups. That group competed with other groups for Earth’s resources. The ties in religious groups were the strongest and so their competitiveness was more prominent than other types of groups (such as those based on race or national affiliation). Unfortunately, groups are based on selfishness. Perhaps if we could replant the idea that we share the same destiny and re-encourage altruism we could ensure that we survive the longest possible period.

    On a positive note, I don’t think we would have developed altruism or even science without a history of religion.

    Applying Islam (or religion) correctly is done by sticking to the basic principals of religion which is the prevention of destruction and preservation of humanity. If Islam was applied correctly, the good to humanity would outnumber the bad. This is not impossible. Islam just like any other religion is flexible just like rubber. If you read about its history, you’ll notice that it changes with time. It doesn’t stay the same and adopts to any changes in the way people think and reason. Why bother you ask? you don’t want to force your own belief on others especially if they constitute a majority otherwise you’d form a threat and you know where that ends.

    ps. sorry for going way off-topic Mahmood 😛

  17. Ibn says:

    Milter,

    And as for the part about being unbiased, well, ideally articles like that should try to be unbiased. The question is, though, whether that is possible at all. I don’t think anybody, no matter how neutral he/she is, can free themselves of letting their political opinion have an effect on their reports about matters like that.

    Milter, I am surprised at you. Please dont throw out objectivity just because you cannot tolerate Islamists. Mahmood is right – an encyclopedia is supposed to give us facts, not opinions of those facts. Period. And what is this about “well but no body can really be neutral”? There are some people who’s jobs require it of them – they’re called judges. Society actually needs neutral third parties in order to arbitrate disputes.

    I am no fan of Islamists, but to the extent that Wikipedia strives to be an encyclopedia, is to the extent that it must remove any negative slant about Islamists and their roles in Bahraini politics.

    -Ibn

  18. mahmood says:

    Thanks Yousif, and don’t worry about going OT. I’d welcome more if they were of this calibre!! 🙂

  19. milter says:

    Yousif, Mahmood and Ibn,

    Yousif, I read that discussion in Wikipedia about neutrality some time ago. Doesn’t the magnitude of that discussion indicate how difficult it is to give information that is 100% objective. Some articles can be considered biased because of their omission of information, others because they seem to concentrate on negative or unpleasant sides of a subject.

    Maybe we read the information about the political parties from different perspectives but I can’t see anything in those articles that, in my eyes, are irrelevant.

    If I were to decide on what party to vote for in an election I’d certainly like to know what they base their basic ideology on. I’d also like to know to what extent they are willing to go in their pursuit of those ideas. And if some of those ideas include attempts to introduce a dress code that must be acceptable to a certain religion at a university, well, then I’d be very suspicious of what else might come from them if they had more power. And as a women I’d be very sceptical if a party claimed that women’s role in society should be in accordance with rules laid down in a book that was written 1300 years ago, interpreted by men only.

    That said, I don’t mean religion should be “banned” or discouraged from participating in public discussions. Religious and spiritual views should be welcome in debates about how we’d like our society to develop.

    But their influence should stop there. When it comes to the point where politicians insist that laws must be accordance with the spirit and text of the Bible or the Quran, then I think it’s time to object.

    Yousif, you write:

    What is the purpose of religion — philosophically speaking and not theologically speaking? Isn’t it a socio-political system that in the end aims to bring order to an otherwise chaotic society

    That sounds reasonable enough, at least that’s what some people use it for, but then you go on to say:

    by using the principal of reward and punishment

    That bit about punishment has been used for centuries by a lot of religions. It usually refers to punishment in “the next life”, though some people apparently haven’t got the patience to wait but prefer to see the sinners punished in this life. That threat has been used for centuries to control people and it becomes even more powerful when scholars claim that you can only interpret the text correctly if you have studied it for many years (like them!).

    It is a very powerful tool and can very easily be misused. It makes the Bible/Quran the reference point for law-making instead of the constitution.

    That’s why I am very suspicious when religion becomes a major part in politics.

  20. Ibn says:

    Milter,

    No one is, (well, at leat Im not), disputing the ugly role of religion in politics. But like I said, wikipedia cannot go on an anti-Islamist tirade if its going to be encyclopedic material. Anymore than it can go on a freedom-is-awesome rant. Wiki is not a blog. Its supposed to be an encyclopdepia.

    -Ibn

  21. can we talk says:

    the thing is, though, that even if the entry is unbiased, it will still sound derogatory as soon as it starts talking about some of their demands and/or achievements.

    how can anyone calling for subjugation of women, burqa women driving, segregation in the malls, uniforms in university, demonstrations against singers or demonstrations against the laws that regulate relationships within the family sound anyrhing be described without sounding socially retarded?

    let’s be realistic

  22. milter says:

    Ibn,

    wikipedia cannot go on an anti-Islamist tirade

    Can you give me an example of that?

  23. mahmood says:

    Milter, excuse me for saying that your comments have become pedantic. What everyone is discussing here is not whether the Islamic codes could form good governance, what everyone agrees with here, rather, is that an encyclopedia should be completely – or at least as much as possible – unbiased in its definitions.

    Now can we move on please?

  24. milter says:

    Mahmood.

    …. and that’s why I’m asking Ibn to give me an example of what he considers an “anti-Islamist tirade”.

    I still haven’t found anything that I would describe with those words but I’ll respect your wish and move on.

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