“Inciting hatred” is becoming a fashionable charge

17 May, '07

Soon, Bahrain’s streets, villages and towns will once again live several days of a perfumed atmosphere. The wafts of tear-gas and the sounds of rubber bullets will be infused in decrepit narrow streets, while that effervescent smell of burning rubber, that major adrenaline aphrodisiac normally only experienced when paying hundreds of dinars at the F1 racetrack, will be available completely free of charge while cars dodge the flames and probably accompanied by thrown rocks and sticks; all of those terrorist acts by kids who – because of their reaching the legal age of maturity which is 15 in Bahrain – could be imprisoned for a very long time, but could never dream of exercising their energy and intellect to vote for a representative who could speak with their voice. When those kids are from the 55% of the population that only got 18 representatives while across the fence they see that they do not count as much as those 35% who got 22, then they deserve everything that they get!

And they will get the usual “inciting hatred of the regime” charge, get locked up and the keys get thrown away awaiting a usual royal pardon a few weeks later.

And the cat-and-mouse games continue.

Soon too, three citizens who believe in the adage that one should be patriotic to ones country all the time and only be loyal to its government when it deserves it will be taken to court with this familiar and oft-used charge:

التحريض علانية على كراهية نظام الحكم والازدراء به، وإذاعة أخبار وشائعات من شأنها إحداث الاضطراب الداخلي بالمملكة والتحريض علانية إلى مقاومة السلطات وعدم الانقياد للقوانين

which translates to:

    Publicly inciting hatred against and scorning the regime and broadcasting news and rumors that may cause internal unrest and publicly inciting resistance to the authorities and not to bow to laws

Okay, talk – against another old adage – is not cheap in Bahrain. It can cost you your freedom!

Throughout my observation of the political scene here, and from the various video clips that I have seen of Al-Khawajah and Mushaimi’s speeches and lectures, I have never, not even once, heard them publicly calling for violence against the regime. Never once did I hear them demand the removal of the ruling family, nor did I hear them call for their death either. Yes, their neophyte and overzealous followers regularly call for the death of Al-Khalifa and I know that is more passion than fact but those calls are ignored by the two in question.

From what I see from an objective point of view is that they are both exercising their full right to speak freely, which is their constitutionally guaranteed right. If and when they do extend that right to calling for violence or the illegal exclusion of the ruling family, then and only then should the legal authorities react and put them through the grinder.

Ironically, I know of one person (at least) who should be charged under those felonies because he and his team have been fully inciting hatred against and scorning the regime and broadcasting news and rumors that may cause internal unrest and publicly inciting resistance to the authorities and not to bow to laws but all they got are bagfuls of cash and various other incentives for a job well done!

Strange times we live in…

update: I found an interview with lawyer Hassan Radhi in today’s Al-Waqt very appropriate to this topic:

عندما نتحدث عن الوطن فإنا نتحدث عن الحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والسياسية، حق الحياة والتمتع بها، بناء الوطن هو بناء البيت والمسكن وإيجاد المأكل والمشرب والملبس ومساحة الحركة والتمتع بثروة الوطن وأرضه وسمائه ومياهه وهوائه.

الكل فيه ينبغي أن يكونوا سواسية، وأي تمييز بسبب الدين أو المذهب أو المعتقد، هو معصية دينية وجريمة في حق الوطن واعتداء على حقوق الإنسان التي تقررها الشرائع السماوية والأرضية على حد سواء، وأية دعوة قائمة على التمييز والتجزئة من أي طرف كان، خيانة للوطن وتصب في خدمة الأعداء، وعلى مؤسسات الدولة خصوصا العسكرية والحكومية أن تكون القدوة الصالحة وإلا انطبق علينا المثل ”إذا كان رب البيت بالدف ضاربا، فشيمة أهل البيت كلهم الرقص”.

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ألا تعني الأساليب الحقوقية الالتزام بالقانون؟

– الحق فوق القانون، والقانون شرع لحماية الحقوق وليس سلبها، القوانين التي لا تخدم الحق لن تكون مصانة من التمرد عليها كما كان شأن قوانين أمن الدولة، لكن الإخلال بالأمن والسلم باللجوء للعنف والقوة هي في نظري محرمة ومرفوضة من أي طرف كان خصوصا من جانب الدولة.

الوقت – ١٧ مايو ٢٠٠٧

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Comments (4)

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  1. Hamad Al Johery says:

    The royal family in Bahrain is really very good leaders . Im not complementing this is the truth . They build from Desert a destination of beauty by all means . They have the wisdom and respect for all but some people blame them for jobless and think that Bahrain the only country in the world got jobless people . Jobless never end I studied economics and read the best book in this field and all these books say jobless and inflation are our forever enemy to fight in Bahrain ,Europe or any part of this planet .

    But it doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t say their ideas and suggestion and implement control to ensure better future for all people and government .

    The only shortage this government have is communication .Yes they must communicate the economics and business strategy for all Bahraini young and old because some people using these young people to create problems standing in the face of our development we should use schools to build the coming generation in respecting our future plan and explaining why all these projects coming up in this country .

    We must know one very important point :

    We have economics competition all around us ,they all want to take business from us people please don’t support them and put all your hand together to build greater island

    I wish this butyfull island all the best because it really only deserve the best .

  2. milter says:

    Mahmood.

    You’ll have to excuse me my lack of knowledge of the Arabic language.

    When I read your comment it reminded me of an article I once read. It deals with the differences between the two Arabic words “Hirabah” and “Jihad”. The article is here

    “Hirabah”, from what I understand, is interpreted as “spreading mischief in the land.”

    Is that term used in the Constitution or in the charges you mention under …”which relates to…”?

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