Thoughts on tomorrow

16 Apr, '07

Thank you all for your unstinting support. I truly appreciate it.

What I want to emphasize, if I may, this is not really a case against Mahmood Al-Yousif as much as it is a case against the tenets of the freedom of expression.

We, the people, should not be cowed into a status of never questioning or criticising a government official no matter how high that position is. They have to realise themselves, or be made to realise that the positions they occupy being called “civil servants” is no accident of nomenclature, but fact.

Unfortunately, both the Penal Code and the Press & Publications Law specifically not only discourages this civic responsibility of criticism, but glaringly criminalise it!

Is it any wonder that these very officials have risen within their own spheres to a status of demi-gods, inviolate, unapproachable and completely disconnected with the very people they are sworn to serve?

Parliament, on the other hand, continues to prevaricate and hasn’t even scheduled discussions on a retooled Press & Publications law which will elevate freedoms of expression in all its forms, concerning themselves more with perceived sorcerers and witches!

No, this is not a case against Mahmood Al-Yousif and never was. What I have written is rather mild when you consider it. This is a case purposefully levied to silence criticism.

Today it is me. Tomorrow it is everyone who dares to even glance “wrongly” at a public official, even if that official happens to be a janitor.

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Comments (27)

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  1. Be strong, Mahmood, I know you will be.

    If I was in Bahrain tomorrow I would be there to support you!

  2. Adrian says:

    I wish you the best from Spain, I understand you, Spain was dictatorship until around 35 years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_State), if the fascists were still in power today, they would already have killed me (for many reasons, like to be republican and non-catholic…).

    I am not saying Bahrain is dictatorship, I just mean that I undertand your ‘fight’ for free speach
    If you win the case tomorow, it will be a very important day for free-speach in arabian gulf i think

    :heart:

  3. All the best man 😉

    Your battle – as you said – is Freedom of Expression vs. those who think they are invincible in the endless war for people’s freedom!

    Although I can’t come, but may God be with you 🙂

    TC & byebye!

  4. Wishing you all the best in your fight for what we all believe in..

  5. Good luck Mahmood

  6. Yohay says:

    I’m glad that you’re not scared off by the government. Your criticism seems totally legitimate.
    Also in Israel, which considers itself a democracy, the journalists often silenced.
    Azmi Bishara, a member of the Israeli parliament and a proud Arab, is accused of all kinds of things. He talked about it in an interview to Al-Jazeera, but the Israeli press was forbidden to translate the parts related to the investigation. Censorship didn’t win, as some bloggers translated it and published it on their blogs.

    Good luck tomorrow!

  7. Tracy says:

    Best to you tomorrow.

    Remember the old words:

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    Voltaire

  8. Bernie says:

    An overused phrase but give ’em hell Mahmood.
    I’ll be thinking about you man. Not much help but if I could be there I surely would.

  9. Mahmood, best of luck tomorrow.

    Excerpt from a post on my blog: “And another point becomes glaringly clear, while the Publication and Press Law and the Penal Code seem to protect public figures the American Laws applies to regular people and provides additional requirements to be met for public figures. Moreover, the additional requirement for public figures in the US defamation and libel law places the burden of proof on the public figure him/herself. After all the government official is a public servant with the duty to serve the society the best way he/she are able to.

    So what you have here in Wonderland is a law that protects public figures from scrutiny. You cannot criticize a government official, candidate, etc for not doing their job because you will get sued!”

    Our laws aim to silence us wheres as in other countries laws are put in place to define the average citizen’s rights.

  10. Good night and good luck says:

    Mahmood, despite the efforts of Sorcerer-hunter Mohammed Khalid, MP, (see below) to outlaw magic, it really can happen.

    Stand firm on your feet, open to the vibe from all your supporters and sometimes, just sometimes, you will have your rightful wish.

    On a lighter note, I saw your reference to Penal code and witch-hunting (and recall the spectacular Al Yousif lac) so I have pasted below my ‘Letter to the GDN Editor’ jsut sent this evening:

    Dear Sir

    Am I alone in being bedazzled at the extraordinary coincidence of first reading (Monday 16th April) that MP and Witchfinder General Mohammed Khalid wants to insert something into our Penal Code to outlaw the practice of hurtful magic, only to flick the page and read that I had missed Saudi Ahmed El Bayed performing his latest illusions at the Golden Tulip?

    I hope the two stories are not causally related, and further that the proffered Penal insertion would not prevent the likes of Ahmed El Bayed from returning to perform great feats in the cause of Bahrain, like making the traffic jams disappear, and levitating the stagnate water that remains after a rain storm.

    I also noted in the same edition that some of the hotels affected by the latest clampdown would be magically transported back to the Dark Ages. This will surely help our economic drive by literally driving that sector of tourism underground, just like that other great icon of the Dark Ages, The London Dungeon has profitably done.

  11. milter says:

    You will be in my thoughts tomorrow (or rather, today, in Bahrain).

    You say it is not you that will be on trial. You’re right to a certain degree but, I’m not sure your family will agree completely.

    For their sake and yours I hope the outcome will be in favour of your interpretation of freedom of expression.

    Good luck!

  12. Laurie says:

    Good luck tomorrow, Mahmood!

  13. M says:

    If there ever were a time for Bahrainis to stand up and stand together, the time is now. Good luck, Mahmood; you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. Khodmoony says:

    “It’s not how big the dog is in the fight, but how big the fight is in the dog”

    p.s. MBR actually looks like a dog..

  15. Vincent says:

    Not a whole lot I can do to help, being on the other side of the globe, and all, but you’ve got my support nonetheless!

  16. Troy Z says:

    For what it’s worth, I can only hope that this turns out amicably for you, or, more to the point that you infer, for bloggers and journalists in Bahrain.

  17. Jen says:

    Mahmood,

    I’ve thought about you throughout the day. I cherish my freedom my friend. I pray that due course will find you in a good place after you go to court. I had hoped Bahrain was making leaps and bounds for democracy and freedom of speech. Unite Bahrain’s fight for freedom for all.

    Jen

  18. Ibn says:

    Go get em tiger!

    Remember, go on the offence, not the defence.

    Allah ma3ak habibi.

    -Ibn

  19. LiB Team says:

    All the best wishes to you Mahmood, you have our support and we do hope that power of free speech will prevail.

  20. billT says:

    I wish I could be their in your support. The best I could do was to call my congressman and ask him to keep an eye on this since the fleet is based in Bahrain. Good luck tomorrow my friend.

    billT

  21. captain Arab says:

    I guess that is the same problem all over the Arab world… Ministers, Politicians, Government employees, Cops, Military all seem to forget that they are employees of this country. They also seem to forget that being criticised for the job performed is not only healthy but in modern democracy is considered the vital way of improving services and above all performance.

    I wonder about our civil servants…. They have an obligation and responsibility to all of us.

    Take them on on Mahmood, and good luck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Show them that things don’t run us, but we run things….

  22. doe14 says:

    Inshallah u will be victorious. To me and I am sure to numerous others you already are. Thanx for having the courage to stand up for all of us. You are trully a freedom fighter. I salute you

  23. Ayman says:

    Good luck man.

    I hope this will be the start of something good in Bahrain. Start of Freedom of Speech, Revision of the Publication Law, and Civil Servants realizing they are just that, Servants not Gods!

  24. Tony Tindale says:

    Can just add to the good wishes from all above. Will look for your blog tomorrow

  25. F says:

    I hope it all goes well. Good luck!

  26. Mahmood,

    You must realize that in order for ‘One’ to get rid of ‘the pesky branches’ growing on an Oak tree, the tree stump should be cut; what’s more, to guarantee that the tree does not regenerate back and grow branches again, the roots must be removed as well.

    I fear that this is exactly what is being done to you. When you say that the case is not about them verses you, it actually is. You should know by now that to us, ‘Mahmood Al-Yousif’, you represent the means of getting to ‘the tenets of the freedom of expression’. You my friend are the messiah and are leading us all. Additionally, when one thinks of Bolgging in Bahrain, ‘You are in the forefront’ and represent the masses that aspire to publish their thoughts and opinions for the world to see and hear. Those who want to prevent this know these facts.

    I am sorry to say that “Our legal system will come down on you hard”, it is inevitable considering what would be the alternative if you were allowed to win your case.

    The only way out of this i suspect is the immediate intervention of The King or Crown Prince or the Prime Minister. I do not mean granting you forgiveness after the courts verdict, but rather the immediate suspension of this ridiculous circus act.

    I hope I am wrong, but god forgive me if I’m not.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, in spirit ( :ninja: )

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