CNN: Poverty in Bahrain

3 Jun, '07

Lulu once again has an excellent opinion which is well worth reading:

Hala Gorani, presenter of “Inside the Middle East,” apparently was in Bahrain, interviewing Shi’a poor villagers, Nabeel Rajab, and a couple of government Ministers. The program started with an assertion that Bahrain, despite being one of the world’s richest countries in terms of per capita GDP, has a “hidden population.” Political and economic issues in Bahrain were reduced to ” long-standing tensions” between the ” poor Shi’a majority” and the “ruling Sunni elite.” And that’s that.

update: Anwar Abdulrahman, that doyen of democracy and righteousness has also spoken about this subject in his column in today’s GDN:

This must reflect the extreme naivety of producer Hala Qorani, who has allowed herself and her film crew to be lured into exaggerated and unrepresentative situations.

I wonder what they hoped to achieve by such blatantly untrue, unfair and biased reporting. Bahrain is presently buzzing on the cusp of an economic boom, which must have been obvious to these cameramen and ‘journalists’ as they toured various parts of the country.

Ironically also, such irresponsible reportage has been released when the United Nations has bestowed high honour on our Prime Minister for his key role in human development, placing the urban poor at the very centre of Bahrain’s modernisation strategy.

can you smell the roses yet?

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  1. ASKAD says:

    The programe shed light on some known issues here in Bahrain & thats good, but i did not like the key words (Sunni & Shi’i) repeated over & over, they should replaced these words by Bahraini citizens regardless of what religion or race or color, this problem of poverty is related to all Bahraini citizens that requires an immediate solution & a future plan to avoid this to our kids.

  2. Ali M says:

    I dont know wat to think. On the surface it looks like a good way to show wat problems we have in bahrain. But why would CNN come all the way here, say alot of Sunni Shii and leave? Yes we have poverty and yes it has alot to do with power and whose who.. For now I take it as a good thing to show the world wat Bahrain goes through.

  3. Salman says:

    Someone just revealed the truth to the world.

    Guy in the blue shirt is going to be sitting on a bottle very soon, and will be prosecuted for “inciting hatred against the regime”.

    And this seems to me like more of a plan to stir up more sectarian hatred between the Bahraini population.

    But then again, she speaks the truth about marginalization. Interesting video. Thanks Mahmood, was looking forward to seeing it.

  4. It’s the new media frame for the Arab world – ancient and inscrutable sectarian hatreds abound!

  5. Bahraini Citizen says:

    This story is true i accept that, but it should be resolved, and not make this country another afghanistan or iraq.you know what they did there..
    this is what the westerners want!

  6. can we talk says:

    my biggest fear is that vocalizing views like this naturally alienizes sunnis who are being categorized as part of “the ruling minority” instead of as “citizens with grievances” themselves, enlarging the divide instead of strengthening the unity.

  7. Salman says:

    All they are trying to do is create more problems than we already suffer from. We are trying to resolve the matter of poverty, and trying to unite against the discrimination, yet they come and try to spark it up all over again.

    People around the world never knew what Shia & Sunni were until the Iraq war.

    As interesting as the video is, i would have thought it would have at least been biased.

    Yes, the government does bring in its policemen and army personnel from Syria, Jordan and Yemen. Yes, they are Sunni. Yes, it does show a sign of mistrust in the local Shia citizens.

    And Al-Jowder talks about housing units? What housing units? All of them are being given to the naturalized Syrians, Jordanians and Yemenis. Who is he bullshitting?

    Of course, as usual, he would be ass kissing the government. He would not risk losing his job.

    The lands this man has swooped up to himself are endless, not to mention the cars he purchased with the ministries allowance, and then sold for peanuts, to himself i might add.

    A lot of areas in Bahrain are being neglected, because they are not within the view of the foreign investors, nor does the main stream media report about them. But now at least some one has. Now i think the whole world will be shocked and thinking “such a rich country, and it leaves its people living like this?”. And its a problem, regardless of sect.

    By the way, i read in the news papers the minister of labour blasting Bahraini youth for their demands of jobs while being under qualified , and that the expat gets the job because he is able to perform the job of 3 Bahrainis and the same time. By the way, he can quit his job, and we can have an expat do his job, and the job of the other 2 people working below him, don’t you think?

    Do you not think the educational system is to blame if the youth are under qualified? Is it not the responsibility of the ministry of education to provide us with better a education? Is it not the responsibility of the nation to breed strong and healthy minds?

    Praise to God over what he has privileged me with, and may he privilege the rest of Bahrain with better than what i myself have, Inshalla.

  8. Ali J says:

    Salman,

    There are two things to this story, firstly fanning the flames of sectarianism ( however true the documentry may have been) will turn Bahrain into another Iraq. There is no real quick fix to Bahrains problems but for sure the wealth of the country needs redistributing in future to give just rewards to people who work and produce for the economy.

    The second story – unemloyment is also difficult to fix overnight.

    The dependance on low paid imported labour for the development of the country has also resulted in dependence by the private sector for pure profit, and domestically, dependance on low paid labour to make things bearable at home.

    It is interesting to note that whilst there is a groundswell of opinion in Bahrain to introduce a minimum wage for Bahrainis, there is active resistance to other governments insisting on a minimum wage for their nationals. In short the message Bahrain is sending out to the world is ” I want BD 200 a month salary minimum to work my five day week but I am not going to pay my 7 day a week housemaid whom I employ, any more than BD 55 a month”

    We were promised the introduction of the labour reforms 18 months ago but it never happened. This was going to help pay for training and education by taxing employers who employed foreigners. This put the price of Government Construction Contracts up as labour costs were forecast to increase as a result – mainly because Bahrainis didn’t want to work on construction sites. This sent out another message to the world. ” I don’t mind paying an Indian BD 50 a month to build my house for me in the hot noon day sun, but I am not prpeared to work outside for BD 200″

    It doesn’t help when the Minister of Labour pledges ” Air Conditioned jobs for all Bahrainis” – what sort of message does that send out to the world ” I am not capable of working outside because it is too hot”

    So there is a bit of discrimination, a bit of injustice, a few jobs not available to certain sections of the community what does that really matter when the opportunity for wealth lies in the hands of Bahrainis themselves.

    The reason why there is a housing shortage is because Bahrains don’t want to build their own houses and thereby create the wealth such industry brings. They prefer to pay others in the mistaken belief that it is cheaper, just like the cheap housemaid. All the money that leaves Bahrain every month for India and the Phillipines could just as easily be in circulation here.

    Anyway the message is clear, don’t give in to US fanning the sectarian flames and please recognise the Bahrain ” poverty problem” for what it is – reliance on slave labour and a cultural abhorrance of any work which Bahrainis consider beneath them and which Indians/Filipinos should be doing.

  9. Salman says:

    The reason why there is a housing shortage is because Bahrains don’t want to build their own houses and thereby create the wealth such industry brings.

    I am sorry, but building a house is no cheap feat. And you need to be quite well paid to be able to afford to build your own house. Do not forget you also need a land to build your house on.

  10. Barry says:

    “this is what the westerners want!”

    Actually NO, this is NOT what we “westerners” want. Thanks for speaking for me and just about every other “westerner” who doesn’t wish that. It’s no wonder why the divide between the Muslim world and The West continues to stay open, with statements like yours. It’s like pulling at a gash, if you keep pulling at it and keeping it open, how can you expect it to heal?

    This type of situation is not particular to Bahrain or even the Muslim world, it has analogues with other divisions of the social strata. It’s all the same, but wrapped in a denominational coat. How many of you realise that even in the west, wars and bloodshed were fought between sects? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Wars_of_Religion

    Here’s a question, since it seems to be self admitted here, how does one go about working to bridge the gap between Sunni and Shia? Or, is it that the division between the two denominations is far too wide to reconcile?

    Do you confront these issues, or do you hide it behind a façade and pretend that the problem isn’t that there’s a “sectarian” issue, but it’s just the west trying to divide the Muslim world and create endless wars (which leads into the whole, let’s blame others for our problems)?

  11. Babbling one says:

    doesnt it break your heart when u go to a petrol station and see a poor bahraini boy sweating in the heat filling up your car with petrol and earning no more than 100bd a month whilst others who shouldnt be in bahrain sit in nice air conditioned blocks? this isnt right.. and this is not a shia sunni affair either…yes the ruling family are sunni, and yes the majority of the population are shia…however, there are also sunnis that are oppressed as well as shia… (i am shia myself by the way)….why is this? it obviously not because they are sunni…that wouldnt make sense right? its because they wouldnt go down oon their knees to suck al khalidas hairy toes! oh yes….this is the truth, and anyone who denies this is probably one of those toe suckers!

  12. Salman says:

    Here’s a question, since it seems to be self admitted here, how does one go about working to bridge the gap between Sunni and Shia? Or, is it that the division between the two denominations is far too wide to reconcile?

    Barry,

    Being Sunni or Shia is entirely dependent on personal beliefs, and there is no bridge to gap. It is a freedom of practicing your religion, the way you see fittest to yourself. I am a Shia myself, but that is my decision, and my beliefs. And the same way others who choose to be Sunni, they do so according to their belief of what is right.

    Look at Mahmood’s campaign of the No Shia No Sunni, Just Bahraini move. What we want, is to be recognized as Bahrainis, and not Sunni and Shia. We want equal rights, and equal opportunities. Whether we are Sunni or Shia is entirely up to us. When at work, you work professionally, and what you practice, you practice alone, to yourself.

    This Shia Sunni thing is almost like racism, except to there is no difference in the color of skin.

    Maybe you haven’t seen the old passports that had Ù… Ø´ written on them 🙂 If you do not know the Arabic letters, Ù… is the letter M, and Ø´ is the letters Sh. I think that is enough that people were even classified in their passports with their beliefs.

  13. Salman says:

    Babbling One,

    Yes, you are right. Kissing some ass and licking a few toes will get you anywhere in Bahrain. Well, not just Bahrain, anywhere in the Arab countries, it works! It is those who refuse to do so who are side lined.

  14. mahmood says:

    And Al-Jowder talks about housing units? What housing units? All of them are being given to the naturalized Syrians, Jordanians and Yemenis. Who is he bullshitting?

    Of course, as usual, he would be ass kissing the government. He would not risk losing his job.

    The lands this man has swooped up to himself are endless, not to mention the cars he purchased with the ministries allowance, and then sold for peanuts, to himself i might add.

    I’m not sure if you mean the same person here, or have any proof of these allegations.

    I can tell you for free though that Al-Jawdar is one of the very few ministers who actually are known for burning the midnight oil. And he makes his staff do the same too if there is work to be done and that is why he is respected.

    What he is saying is factually true; his ministry has built tens of thousands of houses which normal Bahrainis have benefited from. I doubt very much if the allocation of those houses are his soul decision though, yet, there is no denying that people are being housed.

    So let’s give the government some due, especially in this department.

    “such a rich country, and it leaves its people living like this?”

    and they will forget it immediately they finish their corn flakes, with an “ah well, gotta get to work” if we’re lucky.

    These programs do raise some flags, and that’s good, applying pressure no matter how minute will illicit some kind of reaction, in the good direction we hope, but the real change must come from within. That is gathering pace and it behooves the government to embrace that change rather than blame everyone and their dog for stressing the crown or some such trumped up charge.

  15. mahmood says:

    reliance on slave labour and a cultural abhorrance of any work which Bahrainis consider beneath them and which Indians/Filipinos should be doing

    Ali J, the job market target for Bahraini should never be low-wage/hi-labour. It is not necessary. I don’t want to see a Bahraini sweeping streets or emptying garbage tips. I would; however, fully support a scheme where a Bahraini is trained and re-trained to take up higher paying more value-based jobs.

  16. mahmood says:

    doesnt it break your heart when u go to a petrol station and see a poor bahraini boy sweating in the heat filling up your car with petrol and earning no more than 100bd a month

    No, it doesn’t. He’s doing honest work and probably collecting just as much – if not more – of tips.

    whilst others who shouldnt be in bahrain sit in nice air conditioned blocks?

    I guess you’re talking about the imports here. Yes I do mind.

    and this is not a shia sunni affair either

    This is absolutely key. The more that condition gets defined as spiritual rather than political belonging, the better we will get and be.

  17. can we talk says:

    if you keep pulling at it and keeping it open, how can you expect it to heal?

    yes, if people keep talking about sunnis and shias, it makes some people, especially when they are agrieved, use that as a nail to pin their problems on. sunnis are not better oss than shias.

    Here’s a question, since it seems to be self admitted here, how does one go about working to bridge the gap between Sunni and Shia? Or, is it that the division between the two denominations is far too wide to reconcile?

    there is no gap. really, there is no gap.

    doesnt it break your heart when u go to a petrol station and see a poor bahraini boy sweating in the heat filling up your car with petrol and earning no more than 100bd a month

    nope. not one iota. i’m glad they have a job and they are worlking hard. i’ll tell you though it makes me very mad to see illegal aliens selling flowers at the roundabouts and strawberries at traffic lights, without a permit.

    The lands this man has swooped up to himself are endless, not to mention the cars he purchased with the ministries allowance, and then sold for peanuts, to himself i might add.

    if you go around making baseless outrageous claims, you credibility will be questioned next time. you need to find some new sources that don’t make up stuff.

  18. Salman says:

    if you go around making baseless outrageous claims, you credibility will be questioned next time. you need to find some new sources that don’t make up stuff.

    I trust my source. I know what i said, and i didn’t type it with second thoughts. And it is not important to me if my credibility is questioned, and it would not bother me if others trusted what i say or didn’t.

    By the way, he is not the first or the last to do it. It is merely a game of “follow the leader”.

  19. mahmood says:

    there is no gap. really, there is no gap.

    There is a huge gap, a bit gaping wound that has almost completely healed after the events of 1923, completely healed again between 1954 and 1956 only to flare up completely when the loyalty of the Shi’as was brought into question during the Khomaini years.

    We have a problem, a big one that needs to be talked about openly so that we can bridge it and get on with our lives.

    Only a couple of days ago I received a call from a girl so angry that a university professor (Islamic Studies) “explained” to her that Shias are not really Muslims and that they “make things up” and that they are loyal to Iran and all that sort of stuff. He put it – apparently – in a very sweet way to this naive girl that she came out thinking that these are how things should be; only when asked what went on by her friend did the complete horror dawn on them.

    The girl who talked to the “professor” happened to be a “mixed” girl, her father is Shia while her mother Sunni, so instead of this gentleman embracing the fact that she should represent what could be the beautiful version of Islam – by just being a Muslim – she was coerced into taking sides.

    The girls were asking if there is anything I could do to help, being associated with the Just Bahraini campaign. I’m afraid that just distributing buttons is not longer enough. We have to think of more creative ways to bring the message to these people and educate them that they can be whatever they want to be and however they want to be spiritually, but understand that it is their private matter and they do not need to marginalise the other to appear “more correct”. We need to think of ways to make people realise that tolerism is the best way forward for them and their country.

  20. mahmood says:

    I trust my source. I know what i said, and i didn’t type it with second thoughts. And it is not important to me if my credibility is questioned, and it would not bother me if others trusted what i say or didn’t.

    Salman, I’m afraid you burnt your cards with such a position. You cannot just throw accusations and stand behind “I trust my source” without sharing more information to corroborate the allegation. This just will not stand.

  21. Esra\'a says:

    Can we talk, you hit the nail on the head when you talked about Sunnis only being presented as the ruling elite. There are many Sunnis going through similar situations. I am not sure why Sunnis in general are always being painted as the oppressors… it’s not accurate at all. We should start saying “the rulers” without attaching Sunni or anything else to them that allows us to categorize other Sunnis in the same manner. This only feeds the problem we are facing.

    One thing worth pointing out, if it hasn’t already been said, is that Fatima Al Baloosh does have a point when she said that some people would rather stay unemployed than do hard work. You may disagree with her other principles but this one is valid as it’s happening all around us. Still it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to leave such people out in the dry; but some effort should come from us as well.

    There are people who are unemployed and while many job opportunities arise, they want something “better” so that they can be proud of their higher position. Not many are willing to start low and rise. I’m not denying the problem of unemployment in this country and I do think that there should be more good opportunities especially for those that aren’t in the field of banking, finance, or business, but there is also a level of arrogance here where lazy people demand the impossible.

    I truly admire the ones who are busting their asses for their money and while they have every right to complain about their employment conditions; many don’t. I’m certainly not excusing it and I do think they deserve much, much better, especially since they are putting a lot of effort instead of expecting the effort to come from others, but I just think that we all at least have to start this low and prove that we are putting in the effort and only then can we start making valid complaints.

    I just don’t see how people can be taken seriously when they don’t put in the effort and when offered certain jobs they don’t accept it because they are too proud to be anything less than a manager with a suit. Many of my friends here are like that. Because they have a college degree they think that they deserve more than what they are offered; and while that may be true it doesn’t mean you have to start high. Needless to say these people are still unemployed after years of trying (and giving up, and then constantly complaining about the state of job-hunting in this country.) So their living conditions continues to be poorer and they blame the State for it.

    We all have responsibilities…. I think we deserve a lot from our government but I don’t think that we should sit around and just expect it. That’s just my 2 cents.

  22. can we talk says:

    mahmood, when i say there is no gap, what i mean is that shias and sunnis are not different breeds of people, they are not different races, they are not even opposing religions. although a lot of shia feel discriminated against, there are many poor sunni families as well. and when one claims that they are the only aggrieved ones, all that does is increase resentment among sunnis most of whom do not feel that they are getting such a great deal themselves either. ideally, we should all be uniting against discrimination of any kind not looking for differences to highlight and calling them gaps.

    if we keep dividing people and labelling them we will have categories of sunni and shia, ajam and hwala, intelligent and stupid, home-owners and non-homeowners, people with university degrees and people without, blacks and whites, men and women, muharraqis and rifaées, young and old, muthajibas and non-muthajibas, guys who wear thobe and guys who wear trousers. would you call all of these gaps?

    you know something, personally, as a female, i feel a bigger gap between muthajibas and non-muthajibas than between sunnis and shias. i also feel a bigger gap between working mothers and stay at home mums than between sunnis and shias.

    the fact that some idiots teach obscene stuff at university does not validate the differences between us, they merely underline the limits of their small minds. there will always be people among us who enjoy feeling superior about themselves and if they have to put down most of the population to do it, they will.

    this girl should make a formal complaint about the instructor who said that and an investigative committee will be set up to determine what was said and then the instructor will be disciplined accordingly. which would not be the first time something like this has happenned. as i write this, i am wondering if this is not the same guy who was accused of something similar a couple of years ago. he was cleared last time, but if such things persist, they will be more credible. the solution is to address cases like this case by case, not by demonstrations, etc, but by following due process so that others would see the futility of following suit. she needs to talk to the head of her department, or the dean of her college. if they are not supportive, she should go higher. the man is entitled to his opinion, but should not be preaching it.

  23. Ba7rani says:

    Injustice cannot continue, this is a fact that has been assured since God created this world. Just sit and watch and coming days shall disclose it all …

    Also I believe that the guy in the blue shirt is a hero .. he is a real hero …

  24. can we talk says:

    Needless to say these people are still unemployed after years of trying (and giving up, and then constantly complaining about the state of job-hunting in this country.) So their living conditions continues to be poorer and they blame the State for it.

    …..and, they have nothing to put on their resume, which means it is just getting harder to find a job against more competition as older jobseekers with more responsibilities who need higher salaries.. and the problem just gets bigger.. meanwhile the guy who took the burger-flipping job for peanuts has long moved up to a better paying job..
    i know it is not ideal, and things need to change, but that doesnt men everyone has cut off their nose to spite their face. change takes time, meanwhile you need to eat.

    I trust my source. I know what i said, and i didn’t type it with second thoughts. And it is not important to me if my credibility is questioned, and it would not bother me if others trusted what i say or didn’t.

    you can go on believing what you choose to believe, but don’t go around accusing people unsubstantiated. people’s reputations are not chewing gum

  25. mahmood says:

    ideally, we should all be uniting against discrimination of any kind not looking for differences to highlight and calling them gaps.

    I agree with the first part of the statement; we should unite for in unity lies strength.

    While I see your interpretation of the “gap”, I do not completely agree with it; at best, I would call our differences here are just semantics rather than an actual disagreement. We both recognise that somehow the differences between the two sects are emphasised for political gain, rather than anything religious or spiritual.

    Both sides are aggrieved. Both sides are suffering some measure of marginalisation. Both are being generalised and identified as loyalists and opposition; Sunnis for the former and Shia for the latter, which we know is a gross simplification of the problem, as you and I know that some of the greatest opposition figures in the history of this country have been both and did not regard their religious affiliation at all when fighting for societal justice.

    I believe that through this exploration will lie our salvation; we should not (and you haven’t, I am just talking generally here) rob people of their religious affiliation. Let them be whatever they want to be: shi’a, sunni, Buddhist, Jew, Christian, whatever pleases them to reach their spiritual fulfillment, but let that be on the spiritual rather than the nationalist scale and let that not be a cause to subdue others in order for one to feel “more correct”. Tolerism, as I have said before, is the key.

    Your suggestion of telling the girl to raise the issue with the Uni’s superiors have been made and I hope that she feels courageous enough to follow through with it. As you so rightly said, every case should be fought and won for the sake of making examples of narrow-mindedness in order to promote the idea of tolerism.

  26. Jen says:

    Yes, this disturbed me. We, people; in the states hadn’t seen the deplorable conditions until I saw it on CNN. Yes, Sunni & Shiaa were discussed a lot. Hey, it’s predominately Shiaa neighbors who are living in squaloring conditions.
    Why are you so racist amongst your on kind?

    Jen

  27. First, I have not yet watched the video, so I’m not commenting on the video, but on Esra’s comment above.

    I’m not denying the problem of unemployment in this country and I do think that there should be more good opportunities especially for those that aren’t in the field of banking, finance, or business, but there is also a level of arrogance here where lazy people demand the impossible.

    OK, I will have to agree with you on the existence of lazy people. We have a major unemployment problem though. I do not know how much of this problem is contributed by people’s laziness.

    I just don’t see how people can be taken seriously when they don’t put in the effort and when offered certain jobs they don’t accept it because they are too proud to be anything less than a manager with a suit.

    Again, this is not the general rule. The fact that some people are lazy does not mean we can go on saying that unemployed people cannot be taken seriously. There are many hardworking people out there and to say that they all (or even most) want to be managers in suits is quite offensive. Bahrainis work as waiters, in petrol stations, technicians, electrecians, cleaners, and I can go on.

    Many of my friends here are like that. Because they have a college degree they think that they deserve more than what they are offered; and while that may be true it doesn’t mean you have to start high.

    Interesting point, so do you really think that offering a college degree holder an non-graduate post with a very low salary is fine and that they should swollow that easily? I’m not saying sit and home and do nothing, for sure, if that’s all you have then go for it. However, that does not mean that this is fine and that this is not a problem. That itself is a big problem. People expect their college education to pay off, that’s natural. Here, I don’t meaning having to start as a manager, but the actual distinction between a graduate job and non-graduate job in terms of both skills and pay. If only one is missing then that would probably compensate for the other, but you really have a problem when both are.

    I think we deserve a lot from our government but I don’t think that we should sit around and just expect it.

    Very true. Still, sometimes there is only so much that some people can do. It does depends on the opportunities you’re presented with, it depends on your background, the circumstances. There are clueless people, there are people out there who genuinely need the job and are looking for it and still not finding it.

    I will be back, after watching the video.

  28. Muslim says:

    Mubarook, Bahrain problems are now start discussing in CNN seems very soon USA and Israel are going to start Shia and sunni war in Bahrain like Iraq.

    NO shia NO sunni

    just muslim

  29. jasra jedi says:

    Muslim,

    very soon USA and Israel are going to start Shia and sunni war in Bahrain like Iraq.

    Oh for God’s sake …. will you PLEASE stop with the victim mentality already????? Why are we always so good and blaming everyone else and NEVER taking responsability for what we do to our own?

    Do you think that the idiot professor who thinks that the Shia are not Moslems is a result of an Israeli-American strategy that specifically targets some professor in some random college somewhere in order to prove a point?

    PLLLEEAAASSSEE.

  30. Just me says:

    Firstly, this is CNN what did u expect, fair and balanced? The simplistic black and white rhetoric dressed up as some kind of discovery and investigative journalism will enlighten the world is classic CNN style. Despite this, I thought it was better than nothing and i’m sure it’ll piss off quite a few officials, which is always good; the image of impoverished Bahrain on an international news channel flies in the face of millions spent on glossy fake PR.

    Secondly, the minister needs to now be question on what happened to the 45,000 housing units that provide ‘a home for almost every Bahraini’. I know at least 4 members of my family who have been on a waiting list for 10 years or more and some outrightly denied.

    Thirdly, from nabeel rajab’s statements were true although unhelpful in this context, it’s one thing to be seen through a sectarian watchglass, and it’s another thing to internalise it. Bahrain’s cause and the calls for social justice is not an exclusive shia one, it is a plain and simple humanistic one.

  31. Esra'a says:

    Hi Cradle,

    Again, this is not the general rule. The fact that some people are lazy does not mean we can go on saying that unemployed people cannot be taken seriously. There are many hardworking people out there and to say that they all (or even most) want to be managers in suits is quite offensive.

    Hmmm… I never implied that all unemployed people are lazy. I said more than once that we should be given opportunities, overall. I also never denied the existence of a big unemployment problem in Bahrain despite the “booming economy.” I just said that these people do exist and they only contribute to this growing problem.

    Interesting point, so do you really think that offering a college degree holder an non-graduate post with a very low salary is fine and that they should swollow that easily?

    I don’t think it’s fine. But I don’t think you should sit at home and whine about it either. In Bahrain, with no connections, you usually get nowhere. I see more dumb, lazy, and unqualified people in higher positions despite their low college grades or the fact that they had no good experience whatsoever. Some are in such positions even though their college degrees were completely irrelevant. But because he is the son of this or that guy, he gets special treatment. This is a problem and it exists. However, while it’s a problem; it’s not an excuse. If this is our reality we should protest it but not while sitting around and doing nothing at the same time.

    What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t be arrogant in the job-hunting process nor should we expect the best findings. We need to build ourselves and our experiences up. Only after we give it our best shot and actually make an effort, can we honestly complain.

    My neighbor here says, “they build these financial harbors, but for sure we won’t be the ones employed, my son is trying to find a job and he can’t because they give it all away!” ….. his son flunked college, twice. He hardly speaks English. He also refuses to work in any job without a desk and an AC and a big office. What his father is asking for is unfair. If you don’t work hard you simply don’t deserve such higher positions and shouldn’t expect to be rewarded with it by the government. For example, in Sitra Mall, they are hiring employers in stores, and after suggesting the idea he says “my son will work in no mall!”

    Do you see this level of arrogance? This is what I’m talking about. This happens a lot and it does contribute to our troubles. I never said the majority are like that – if you go to Karana and other villages you will see people working literally day and night for maybe BD 5 at the end of each day if not less. I respect and admire them because they at least do something with their lives instead of just sit around and complain. These are the ones who really deserve more.

  32. M says:

    “Yes, this disturbed me. We, people; in the states hadn’t seen the deplorable conditions until I saw it on CNN. Yes, Sunni & Shiaa were discussed a lot. Hey, it’s predominately Shiaa neighbors who are living in squaloring conditions.
    Why are you so racist amongst your on kind?
    Jen”

    Jen,

    Honestly, I’m surprised people gave you a pass on the crap you wrote; count your blessings. Did you really need CNN to do a series about the ME for you to realize that there has been poverty in the area forever and that the peoples there face the same problems as the rest of the planet? Just fell off the turnip truck, did you?

    “Why are you so racist amongst your on kind?”

    Is that the same thing as the Amish being racist against the Baptists?

  33. Craig says:

    People around the world never knew what Shia & Sunni were until the Iraq war.

    Untrue. Just do a quick look at news stories from the 1980s. I think you’ll find that the sect of the group responsible for attacks was always named. Particularly, if they were Shia, such as Hezbollah.

    Maybe it’s people in the middle east who were unaware of the differences? At least, it seems like that’s what Arabs would like people to believe, isn’t it?

    Look at Lebanon’s civil war and tell me Lebanese didn’t know the difference between a Sunni and Shia, going back to the 1970s. Amal was formed in the 1960s, wasn’t it? What does that have to do with a US conspiracy to stir up sectarian tensions?

    These people are trying to help. Brushing the sectarian nature of problems in Bahrain will buy you the same thing that’s been bought everywhere else in the ME where people mis-stated the true nature of social problems.

  34. Salman says:

    Craig,

    What does that have to do with a US conspiracy to stir up sectarian tensions?

    A perfect excuse to remain in Iraq longer. Just say “we are fighting terror, and we will not leave till we bring peace in the country, and make it a safe place for all” and not to mention “suck Iraq dry of its oil resources, and leave the country with nothing but a bloody civil war and walk out of it”.

    If you ask me, was safer when Saddam was in power. Maybe not as free of a country as it is now, but still safer.

    And i am beginning to wonder if all the so called car bombs are actually acts or terrorism? Or staged terrorism by the invaders themselves to use it as an excuse?

  35. Craig says:

    Salman,

    A perfect excuse to remain in Iraq longer.

    I think you really don’t understand what is going on here, in the United States. We are on the verge of losing only the second war in our entire history. The troops are NOT going to be in Iraq, much longer, whether there is an “excuse” or not, and the neocons have all but destroyed the Republican party. Even a majority of Republican want the US out of Iraq. Bush is out of office in a year and a half, and he will leave office with a humiliating legacy. I can’t understand how any sane person can believe that the situation in Iraq is what the US wanted it to be. It’s like we live in different realities.

  36. Barry says:

    It is quite obvious that a lot of you deny that there is an ideological gap big enough to swallow a bus here.

    Also, can we PLEASE stop talking about how we in the west are going to use this obvious divide it to start a war in Bahrain. Just because these gaps have been exposed doesn’t mean it’s going to be used to go into your country to cause a war. Please, shut up, shut up, shut up! If you knew any of us, most of us don’t want that so stop generalizing all of us. Do you like it when idiots here in the west generalize you as being part of a “hate mongering” religion? No, so please, stop it. It’s incredibly offensive to me, ignorant of you, and small minded. I don’t make judgements about you like that, so stop making them about me and every other person from “the west”.

  37. Anonymous says:

    this shows you your government’s sectarian plans. Im sure CNN will be blocked now in Bahrain.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Bahrain has long suffered from sectarian discrimination, with the Shia majority getting the short end of the stick. Freedom of speech is detested by this corrupt government. If you treat your people like dogs rest assured they will bite you one day, and not even the US (to which this government is an obedient slave to) will save you.

  39. Esra'a says:

    Please, shut up, shut up, shut up!

    … What a mature refutation.

    Barry, can you calm down? Who here is making generalizations about you? The ones who addressed this issue are talking only about the political institutions that are being fed by certain media outlets and vice versa. Don’t be so defensive. People applaud us when we criticize ourselves; but they go nuts when we criticize them for legitimate reasons.

    You need to calm down and approach others here with some respect. Listen to what others have to say instead of shutting them up.

    this shows you your government’s sectarian plans. Im sure CNN will be blocked now in Bahrain.

    Hmmm. Try again. This report is not the naked “truth” as we should see it and as many already stated it only furthers the already existing gap.

  40. Chas says:

    Salman,

    You have already been called to question for your dubious sources, and then you claim:

    And i am beginning to wonder if all the so called car bombs are actually acts or terrorism? Or staged terrorism by the invaders themselves to use it as an excuse?

    Statements like this show you to be what you truly are – a verbal bomb thrower. You just want to fuel the conversation with out any reasoned responses. Yes, that’s a brilliant strategy, kill your own troops to make the situation worse.

    I don’t even know why you bother to post.

  41. Maverick says:

    All the money that leaves Bahrain every month for India and the Phillipines could just as easily be in circulation here.

    😳
    Is this wrong? People come here to work and support their poor families back home, at teh same time suffering without them and at times at the mercy of the employer who treats them like property and without medical or pesonal insurance that cost few dinars. This is true. Housemaid insurance in Bahrain is quite cheap. You can check it out. 😉 💡

    Some of us like me blow most of our salary to have comfortable life here and try to invest outsite as the markets are doing better in India, Asia, South America, at least better than in Bahrain.
    🙄

  42. Maverick says:

    😯 🙄 😳 Soooorrry bout the typos!

  43. Naz says:

    Am I the only one who’s worried Bahrain might end up like another Iraq or Lebanon?

  44. Anonymous says:

    I double dare you to show me one example of a Sunni washing cars or pouring petrol into them at the pump or sweeping the floors in hospitals and shopping malls.

    I have seen them at the BDF hospital, actually

  45. LuLu says:

    Bibi, I understand your point. Hopefully your comment will not be deleted of course but I would like just to make a quick comment: try to read before you actually comment. Your comment may apply to (e.g.) Anwar Ahmad’s editorial in Akhbar Al Khaleej where he denied that poverty or discrimination are a problem in Bahrain, but I don’t see how it’s relevant here.

    Of course there are huge problems. And there IS a gap. But the issue here is that you place a causation between people’s sect and the treatment the government gives them, whereas the causation is really political. Historically, the government (or the ruling elite) gave privilages to people who were supporting it and withhled privilages from people who opposed it. It’s an authoritarian government, what do you expect? Yet to focus on Shi’a suffering as if the government is “targeting” the Shi’a misses the point. The government can easily put dummy Shi’a figures in government and show that a substantial percentage of housing beneficiaries are Shia but the problem is still not solved. And at the rate the government is going with naturalization and corruption, the problem of poverty is simply spready across sects faster than ever.

    Again, I understand people’s concerns and sensitivities, but realistically to solve our problems our only option is to call for reforms, transparency, human rights, etc for ALL. For all its worth, Wefaq and Haqq seem to realize it and I admire them for not getting involved in this controversy now.

  46. mahmood says:

    Comments will be deleted if they are disrespectful. If anyone wants to come into my house, they’d be well advised to remove their muddy boots at the door and abide by the house rules. If all that person wants to do is swear at me of be disrespectful or overly quarrelsome for the sake of showing off, they are not welcome; not in my house.

    I’ll let it stand, this time, but will have no quarrel whatsoever in erasing it from existence if that person does not behave.

  47. Proud Bahraini says:

    All I’m going to say is that i love the soil of Bahrain,

    I love the land, but now days it have changed alot and it is not the friendly little island that i knew once.

  48. can we talk says:

    All the money that leaves Bahrain every month for India and the Phillipines could just as easily be in circulation here.

    Is this wrong?
    it is not wrong, but it hurts the economy. this is called “leakage”. governments try to attract foreign investments and tourism because it brings money into the economy, money which stays in circulation, is spent procuring local goods and services and therefore providing jobs (hopefully for locals). if people work here and spend a large portion of their salaries locally, by renting houses, buying groceries, club memberships and restaurant meals, buying cars and petrol, clothes as well as invite their friends and relatives to visit and spend more money here, then that’s a good thing. local businesses profit and grow and hire more employees. if these are local or white collar expats, the cycle continues strengthening the economy.

    but if the employees do not spend any of their money locally, because they come here to help support their families back home, and they live in shanties and are provided meals which cost next to nothing, their whole salary is shipped out. although it isnt much individually, altogether it adds up to a substantial amount, which is “leaked” out of the country.

    now, i am not discussing the role they play in the development of this country, that is another issue altogether.. i am simply stating why leakage is bad for the economy.

  49. Salman says:

    Comment No. 40,

    Chas,

    You seem to underestimate what power hungry people will do to get what they want. It is called “framing” in normal terms.

    At the end of the day, if you killed your own soldiers, they will only be marked down as “heroes” at the end of the day.

    The government can play with the emotions of the people to get support, and they know how to do it.

    That is the way they did it to Bahrain. Freed all the political prisoners, pardoned the exiles, gave everyone raises, and double salaries every now and then, and visits to the villages and cant even remember what else they did to win the hearts of the public, made everyone vote for what they wanted (at the moment, the people were blinded by all the goodies, and thought that finally the changes were going to happen) and here we are again back to where we started 🙂

    And that same theory applies. Play with peoples emotions, and they will do anything.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I don’t want to see a Bahraini sweeping streets or emptying garbage tips.

    What’s so special about Bahrainis that they can’t get their hands dirty? Why is manual labor frowned upon?

    This is honest labor that performs a needed function in society. If the problem is that it is poorly paid, then something needs to be done about salaries.

  51. Barry says:

    Barry, can you calm down? Who here is making generalizations about you? The ones who addressed this issue are talking only about the political institutions that are being fed by certain media outlets and vice versa. Don’t be so defensive. People applaud us when we criticize ourselves; but they go nuts when we criticize them for legitimate reasons.

    Sorry Esra’a, but saying “This is what westerners want” IS making generalizations about me and every other westerner. Would you argue the same point if someone said “Those Muslims are murderous, treacherous, evil people”? No, you wouldn’t. You would say the same thing. Can you tell me exactly where Bahraini Citizen said that they were talking about western governments here:

    “This story is true i accept that, but it should be resolved, and not make this country another afghanistan or iraq.you know what they did there..
    this is what the westerners want!”

    Because I’d really like to know. Really, enlighten me, mahaguru.

    As far as I can see, there’s a generalization there. Please, don’t insult my intelligence by pulling out subtext which doesn’t exist.

    I don’t have a problem when you criticize the people who make these stupid decisions, such as meddling in the affairs of other countries, but I will take offense when you lump me in with them. Just as you are not your leaders, I am not mine.

    You need to calm down and approach others here with some respect. Listen to what others have to say instead of shutting them up.

    *sigh* is suppose I should have typed in there.

    I’m sorry, I didn’t know I now had moderator priveledges here? Also, I have listened to what others have said, and what I see here is a tendency to blame “the west”, which is just as unfair as the west blaming the Muslim world for *whatever*. Wouldn’t you agree that’s unfair for both sides, or does criticism work one way?

  52. Anonymous says:

    Barry;

    Unfortunatly, there are too many individuals in the middle-east who really believe Westerners have nothing better to do than plot against them.

    To be fair, the conspiracy theorists really are a minority in this forum.

  53. can we talk says:

    Unfortunatly, there are too many individuals in the middle-east who really believe Westerners have nothing better to do than plot against them.

    true, but to be fair, thanx to the current US administration, there are also too many individuals in the US who believe all of us in this entire part of the world are jealous of them and want to destroy their democracy. thankfully, they are a lot fewer now than there were a couple of years ago.

  54. M says:

    “thankfully, they are a lot fewer now than there were a couple of years ago.”

    Well as long as we are pitching the manure……..all that simply means is that Americans have now classified you as useless and unworthy for the time being anyway. It’s a good thing really.

  55. Esra'a says:

    Barry, you need to keep in mind the language limitations. You are making a huge rant without even allowing the commenter himself explain his reasoning.

    There are far too many people here who use “Westerner” or “Americans” as a term for US government only. Here we have been exposed to anti-Iraq rallies in the U.S and thus a lot of Arabs realize how the U.S govt doesn’t truly represent its people.

    Secondly the comment was merely a claim, not a hateful statement. After what happened with Iraq, Afghanistan, and now the escalating problems with Iran, people do believe that the “West” is plotting against their religion, nation, and existence. Just as much as many Americans are paranoid about “terrorists,” people here are paranoid about invading US forces. The US media, with its frequent misrepresentations, are only feeding such a view. Ever seen CNN footages of Iran? FoxNews footages of Saudi Arabia? Nothing close to reality. Now that you have the internet to connect directly with individuals from these areas, it’s your responsibility to explain why this isn’t true, not to get angsty.

  56. can we talk says:

    M,

    Well as long as we are pitching the manure……..all that simply means is that Americans have now classified you as useless and unworthy for the time being anyway. It’s a good thing really.

    how do you get THAT from what i said? maybe you need to work on your English and comprehension skills. ???!!!!!!!!

    i am not pitching anything, just saying that there conspiratory theorists on both sides.

  57. ali ahmed says:

    To say the truth, alot of people in the villages are unemployed because of low level of education. I have lots of colleagues of shia sect and they are living in middle class sect after they worked in high positions in big companies and banking sector. I think one of the problems is the focus of their studies which is a high degree of religion. There is no harm of religious studies but at the same time focus on every day schooling. However, saying this does not mean the government is innocient. There is lots of segregation in employment and choosing qualified professionals . My solution is I can see it is that the Shia should open their own BANK and channel their money into it and get the reward of the interest for good causes. Unfortuantely the government will never ever allow this!

  58. Guys, this is not a Westerns vs. Middle Easterners debate.

  59. Maverick says:

    Naz,
    Inspite of everything, the people of Bahrain will not allow another Iraq or Palestine tp develop here. I firmly beleive that the people of Bahrain are intelligent and smart and peace loving. Yes there are problems and protests, but such protests are only to make the government to listen to their needs.
    🙂

    There is povery in Bahrain due to many factors, some of which are, incorrect distribution of wealth, greediness by the rich, laziness by some, hoarding of land and resources by few, over expenditure by some, over population by illiterate, importing of foreign elements who then also over populate and drain the resources.

    Leakage does not cause poverty in this country. The petty cash earned by broken backs does not drain the economy as those housemaids too spend to enjoy some small luxuries as well.

    There are housemaids I know who are happy and treated like members of the family.

    Peoples attitudes need re-adjustment or change. A person can improve his lot by improving his attitude. More than once Mahmood has stated this and provided ample examples.

    If you have the daring to be different then determination and discipline are what you need to succeed. Luck is just relevant to the situation and not a critical factor.

    Hot weather, lack of water, no vastja (influence), incorrect curriculum is not an excuse to better yourself.

    When you see yourself as different from those around you, then you can be unique but also treated different. If you see yourself as equal to those around you, then you can expect atleast equal treatment or atleast command it.

    Titles are created by humans not God. Prophet Mohammed (Sal Allah hu Alehi Wa Sallem) always taught his people to follow the path of respect and forgiveness and to fight when required for the defense of the poor and the righteous.

    This being said, what people in Bahrain need is to focus on the theme of No Shia, No Sunni, just Bahraini. Start calling yourself Bahraini and be proud and lawful and harworking and go after what you believe and work for it. Stop blaming others for your problems, start finding solutions within and you will find new doors opening that you did not see.

    I know I am talking like it sounds easy. It is not easy believe me. It is not supposed to be easy. Firstly believe in yourself, focus on what you want and work towards it not against it.

  60. Aliandra says:

    a lot of Arabs realize how the U.S govt doesn’t truly represent its people.

    Yes, it does. Our representatives are democratically elected.

  61. jasra jedi says:

    Aliandra,

    How nice to hear from you again. And how nice to see you misunderstand the comment. The comment meant that we, in the Middle East, recognize that most American citizens do not currently support the US Government’s foriegn policy, even if they did elect their leadership through an electoral college vote system.

    Now, back to the issue of blue collar/white collar jobs. Sometimes I think that Bahrainis would be much better off if they lived for a period of time in other countries. They would then realize just HOW MUCH of a welfre system Bahrain is where we pay minimal rates for education, electricity, health, water, etc. We dont pay taxes, and we dont really oay market (production) rates for any of these services.

    I think that once we did realize how much of a safety net the system does offer, then the issue is how much of the population can we afford to have live beneath the poverty line. (Keep in mind that poverty in Bahrain is not the same as poverty in India). In some countries, 6% unemployment rate is acceptable .. there is a natural rate of unemployment in every country.

    Also, to the point of ‘leakage’ in the system by remittances paud aboad. One way to keep the money in the country is to allow these guys to bring their families and send them to our schools and be part of the system .. which would mean naturalization. Like they do in Canada and the US and the UK and Australia with targeted immigration. But socially, people would find this unnaceptable.

    The question to ask is what kind of a contract do we want with our Government in terms of services. It is impossible and unrealistic to expect the Government to provide a job fob for every Bahraini. It is also unrealistic for us as Bahraini’s not to comtemplate moving to places like Dubai or Qatar for jobs. Most people who end up working in top jobs in London or New York or Hong Kong are hungy and ambitious enough to work their butts off to get there, and ALL are willing to relocate.

    We need to grasp the fact that we are prt of the 21st century. Freedom means tradeoffs.

  62. can we talk says:

    Yes, it does.

    many americans would not agree with you on that, thank god. the ones i know tend to disassociate themselves as much as possible from your elected president and do not consider him to represent their people. especially after the second time when noone could plead ignorance and be telling the truth.

    in a different way, our parliament also does not represent many of us, even though we voted.

    Leakage does not cause poverty in this country. The petty cash earned by broken backs does not drain the economy as those housemaids too spend to enjoy some small luxuries as well.

    all it takes a little arithmetic. multiply the number of expatriate blue collar workers x most of their salary and you will be shocked at the size of the leakage. it is HUGE! the multpiler effect makes it even bigger because if it stays in circulation it goes around several times. once it leaks out, that’s it, gone.

    those housemaids too spend to enjoy some small luxuries as well

    nothing of any substance. very little. most of it is wired home. plus the leakage is not just the housemaids, it is all the blue collar workers with meagre salaries who cant afford to live a decent life here and send it all back home surviving on nothing.

  63. can we talk says:

    One way to keep the money in the country is to allow these guys to bring their families and send them to our schools and be part of the system .. which would mean naturalization. Like they do in Canada and the US and the UK and Australia with targeted immigration. But socially, people would find this unnaceptable.

    ORRR….
    we can get our hands dirty and do the work ourselves. stop repeating the illusion that somehow these jobs are beneath us as if we were made from some different matter and just do what needs to be done.

    Now, back to the issue of blue collar/white collar jobs. Sometimes I think that Bahrainis would be much better off if they lived for a period of time in other countries. They would then realize just HOW MUCH of a welfre system Bahrain is where we pay minimal rates for education, electricity, health, water, etc. We dont pay taxes, and we dont really oay market (production) rates for any of these services.

    Amen! to both parts. it is precisely this that fosters the illusion above, of the right to homes and comfortable lives and that anything less is not good enough.

  64. Esra'a says:

    Guys, this is not a Westerns vs. Middle Easterners debate.

    Cradle, to be honest, when a ‘Western’ media outlet represents a country in the Middle East, yes it raises some “Westerners vs. Middle Easterners” debate… which is not how I’d describe it, but the debate has a point, and much to your dismay, it’s an inevitable and necessary one.

  65. Aliandra says:

    Can we Talk;

    many americans would not agree with you on that, thank god. the ones i know tend to disassociate themselves as much as possible from your elected president and do not consider him to represent their people

    Our government consists of more than just our president. Since all our politicians are chosen in elections free of fraud and rigging, they do technically represent the people of the country, even though we may disagree with some of the things they do. No one expects politicians to do everything they want 100% of the time.

    If the only Americans you know are the ones that have dissociated themselves from the elected president, then you don’t know too many Americans. There is a great variety of opinions among the US individuals. Try and meet more of them :mrgreen:

    Mornin’ Jasra;

    Greetings returned to you too, Jasra! 🙂

    .. though I’m disappointed that you think you know more about American opinions than the folks who actually live there. So, just to clear the air, here’s the skinny … We’re unhappy with Iraq, but okay with Afghanistan, and don’t care too much about Russia’s recent antics. We don’t like those terrorists in Lebanon and our government doesn’t either so we agree on that one. Same with the idea of Iran getting a nuke, but really, that’s more worrisome for the middle-east than for us.

    Our foreign policy encompasses more than the middle-east (100+ other countries out there, you know), and generally we’re not too fussed with the rest of it.

    Hope that helps

  66. can we talk says:

    Aliandra,

    There is a great variety of opinions among the US individuals.

    AND

    here’s the skinny … We’re unhappy with Iraq, but okay with Afghanistan, and don’t care too much about Russia’s recent antics. We don’t like those terrorists in Lebanon and our government doesn’t either so we agree on that one. Same with the idea of Iran getting a nuke, but really, that’s more worrisome for the middle-east than for us.

    make up your mind, dear.

    Try and meet more of them

    having lived there for a couple of years, i think i know quite a few! i will add, however, that the ones who we meet outside the states in the last few years, here, in Europe and other countries outsude the US all share the sentiments i mentioned. before GW they used to be “greatest nation on earth… proud to be american…etc.” no more. at all. now it’s apologetic and embarassed. ‘americans are not like that.. we dont support him…etc.)
    i am excluding the military of course.

  67. Anonymous says:

    “Europe and other countries outsude the US all share the sentiments i mentioned”

    All of them, eh?

  68. Aliandra says:

    Can we talk

    make up your mind dear

    Key word, Madam, generally

  69. Salman says:

    Aliandra,

    The hypocracy in your post No. 65 is unbelievable. OK with Afghanistan? What have they ever done to you? Or is it just to run pipe lines through the country? I know, lets spread peace, by violence. Awsome!

    Terrorists in Lebanon? I guess you do not want anyone giving America’s illegitimate child a taste of its own medicine then?

    Iran getting a nuke? Funny, from the only country to ever use a nuke, 2 actually, and wipe out millions of people within mere seconds.

    All that is happening, is for the greed of one man, and for the jobs of hundreds of thousands, and for America to keep running. Because if Saddam had closed the oil taps, your country would have come to an immediate halt!

    Another thing. You say that because you elected your cuttent president through a fraud proof election system, and that because he is elected, he is your representative, which means whatever decision he makes, it is your decision, and he represents you, correct?

    By the way, America is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. The president can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, even if those who have elected him disagree with what he is doing, or if his actions were immoral and unfair (just like every thing he has ever done). See how this paragraph contradicts the one before it?

  70. M says:

    Too bad this had to turn into and east/west thing. While some may see it as that, I don’t at all. It’s a good thing to not blindly accept what is pitched your way by anyone, but to take the leap that CNN is spoon fed by the U.S. government and is trying to stir up civil unrest and fan the flames of sectarian violence in Bahrain is just plain baseless and illogical. Guess maybe the GDN is doing the same thing when they “report” something I disagree with about America and that they are trying to undermine my government and my culture. They must be “jealous” of my democracy.

    Do you really want me to believe that no entity from the east or west has mentioned the differences between the Sunni and Shi’a prior to this CNN piece being aired? So anyone discussing the split is also guilty of fanning the flames?

    Suppose I should buy the innuendos here that CNN is a government puppet; funny stuff. Truth of the matter is this is media hype by a private organization per SOP; nothing more and nothing less. To blow it out of proportion and then blame anyone but CNN is just plain stupid. To further compound it by blaming this administration, this or any other government or “the West” is illogical and a cop out. Show me the money or shut up.

    Aliandra is right, and she didn’t misunderstand anything; we are responsible for our government as you are for yours. We elected this administration, twice, and are responsible for their actions. How very convenient and arrogant to disassociate yourself from something you don’t like, didn’t vote for or agree with; just claim they don’t represent you, and you’re all set. Wonderful.

    CWT,

    I’m glad you know a few Americans and have spent a few years here; too bad you didn’t listen.

  71. mahmood says:

    CNN are not the only media outlet to discuss this problem in Bahrain, if I can remind everyone, FT and other high-profile publications and media stations have done so extensively as well.

    Maybe we should discuss the underlying reasons for actual poverty in Bahrain and attempt to find solutions, rather than divert this thread into a blame game?

  72. Anonymous says:

    Complete and utter rubbish. Typically CNN.

  73. can we talk says:

    “Europe and other countries outside the US all share the sentiments i mentioned”

    All of them, eh?

    you missed the first part of the sentence. …..the ones (americans) who we meet outside the states in the last few years, here, in Europe and other countries outside the US all share the sentiments i mentioned.

    I’m glad you know a few Americans and have spent a few years here; too bad you didn’t listen

    sarcasm.. actually, i did and we have had prolonged friendly discussions about current affairs and their positions on recent politics. your opinions obviously differ and that’s your right.

    and as for the “jealous”bit, i didn’t make that up. we heard it from your country, over and over again.
    kids in america:
    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/elder110101.asp

    just google “jealous of our democracy america”and see what pops up.

  74. CNN are not the only media outlet to discuss this problem in Bahrain, if I can remind everyone, FT and other high-profile publications and media stations have done so extensively as well.

    Maybe we should discuss the underlying reasons for actual poverty in Bahrain and attempt to find solutions, rather than divert this thread into a blame game?

    Yes, thank you Mahmood.

    Esra’a:

    I don’t know why you took my comment so sensitively. The thread did divert from its main point, and I was not pointing figures specifically at you. To my dismay, yes, the arguement is not focusing on the real problem.

  75. can we talk says:

    thanks, Cradle, the voice of reason, you’re right

    ok,
    how about we start (step one) with the education system and fix i t so that it provides graduates with better tools, better skills, better ethics, better ethos and a better attitude.

    the problem with starting here is that it takes time for change to occur on a grand scale, but IMHO, it has to be done, nothing will change until then.

    you know what, as i write this and get a sense of deja vu, it seems that all the problems we have can be solved by the same solutions. so if certain changes were made, we would end up solving so many of our problems, unemployment, brainwashability, professionalism, environmental awareness, need i go on..

  76. M says:

    CWT,

    “that’s your right.”

    You betcha that’s my right; you can certainly give your subjective opinion on the position of those Americans you have/had discussions with, but that’s about it.

    I would think you would have better things to do with your time than presenting the opinions of twelve year olds from the jewish world review as the standard for American opinion on……..never mind. It’s all way too silly. Maybe someday, Mahmood can do a CWT top ten list of google searches just for grins. :mrgreen:

    Listen, I think enough about stupid America stuff. Bahrain is at an important time in it’s history with a great future ahead of it if everyone works to get it right. If someplace like Bahrain can’t do it, then there is not much hope for the rest of us. There have been steps forward over the last several years even though there is a long way to go still.
    Yes, education is a big part of it both from the government’s part but also from the business world and the general population. Everyone’s got to have the same standards, and you can’t let the poor fall through the cracks. It’s not just education, but opportunities with the government and the private sector funding small businesses and new technology and home ownership. Start building some state of the art schools in the poorer districts and forgive the cost of education for every university student who teaches in a given area for 4 years. Make sure the locals get to work on the construction of the schools, and start to organize parent/teacher organizations where parents are involved in the process from the beginning.

    Biggest thing is politics; it’s easy to snipe, but get involved particularly on a local level. That’s the only way things will change in a nonviolent way. Yes, there is politics involved in politics, but it will change. Look at the changes in America from 40 years ago when blacks sat on the back of the bus. If you don’t run for an office, then get involved with political groups and let the powers that be hear your voice. They will listen, because it’s in their interest to do so.

  77. Maverick says:

    “Can we Talk” talks of leakage.
    I do not see it harming Bahrain’s economy so much. I am sure it may add up. I do not need to do any arithmetic. But I am sure the cost of the drain outweighs the benefits that Bahrainis get from such cheap labor and with the treatment that they met out to the poor housemaids. This is not a general statement but I am talking about those who do violate human rights and get away with it especially with such lax laws.

    The biggest drain or waste is when Bahrainis take out so much loans and spend or waste their loans on flashy materialistic luxuries and then cannot pay the loans. This is not so good for them to be in debt as family wage earners and not investing in insurance that can help them in times of need.

    You want expats cheap labor and you want them to build your economy as well by spending their money back in your country whilst your laws prevent them from bringing their families here unless they have a salary of more than BD250 plus those who can can do so 1 month at a time for a maximum of 3 months each time shelling out so much money….

    Where is the sense of justice?

    If expats could, they would bring their relatives here as permanent dependents, they would be happy and more productive and expenditure would increase here, leakage would lessen.

    Why not ask the Min of Labor to open permanent residence permits without restrictions for earning expats to bring their families under condition that they have medical insurance to care for the hospital bills so that they do not further drain your economy.

    You cannot have everything. This is not an ideal society with ideal conditions and laws.

  78. jasra jedi says:

    CWT,
    Why is everyone getting on your case?

    M,
    You need to takea deep breath. Seriously.

    Aliandra and M ..
    What the US does affects EVERYONE else in the world. EVERYONE. Right now, the US is a superpower. And the presidential election in the US has EVERYONE riveted. So, it is entirely normal for all of us non americans to have opinions on the US as well as US foriegn policy. And most of us on this blog have had some interaction with Americans. Be it on an professional or personal level.

    The original point that was made way back when was not to say, quite simply, that the US population is quite divided at this exact point in time on quite a bit of things that the US administration is doing. Meaning, that although there is some sort of a legal mandate (as per the last election, which was contenious in its own right if you recall .. unless of course, you judge histroy by years and not decades or centuries .. 😉 .. there isnot very much support at the moment.

    So, M .. dont be a cheapazoid and take cheap shots to prove your point. CWT has actually responded and explained her position. The way I see it, CWT is respecting you by listening and addressing your points. The least you can do is return the courtesy, unless, of course, you have no intention of havign a dialogue but a slamming session instead?

    Aliandra,

    though I’m disappointed that you think you know more about American opinions than the folks who actually live there

    Yes, tragic. Isnt it. Because, I read the NY Times everyday as well as the editorials in the Washington Post and the LA Times. Now, lets count how many of these papers are read by the AVERAGE AMERICAN? And you will be surprised that there are more Bahrainis, as a percentage of population, who follow the US news than Americans themselves.

    Same with the idea of Iran getting a nuke, but really, that’s more worrisome for the middle-east than for us. Our foreign policy encompasses more than the middle-east (100+ other countries out there, you know), and generally we’re not too fussed with the rest of it.

    🙄 🙄 🙄

    errm. right. yeah. you are correct. except, you dont define who in the Middle East is worried about Iran getting nuclear weapons. You should have specified Israel. Hence the US. Tail wagging Dog … 😉

    And as far as not being fussed with the rest of it?! Lol!!! Afghanistan, Iraq and now Iran. I am not really quite sure what else this current US Administration has done in the rest of the world?? Certainly not the environment.

  79. M says:

    JJ,

    Since I have been hanging around here pretty much since day one, I don’t think you can pin the queen of cheapazoid on me although I admit I can be as petty as the next guy sometimes. Sorry. :mrgreen:

    In terms of CWT, I guess you and I simply disagree. To question that I question anyone’s right to have an opinion on America is really pretty silly.

  80. Ibn says:

    CWT,

    I know what you mean about finding Americans all over the world who are embarrased and against their government. Perhaps its because those are the types of Americans who are worldly and travel and are open minded to begin with, VS the ones who have rarely if ever left the continent and watch FOX’s inflamatory propaganda from some suburb in Maine.

    I for one would pay handsome money to see a correlation graph for peoples’ Republican/Democrat allegiances and the number of tourist visas they have ever been issued.

    Regarding the sunni-shia relations, I think it starts at the smallest unit – the individual, and the nuclear family.

    Just the other day, I chastized my cousin for putting “Muslim-Sunni” on his facebook account. (My background is sunni too). I told him that if he’s going to be a Muslim, just be a freakin’ Muslim. Worry more about following the 5 pillars than what suffix you place in front of the word.

    And whats funny is that people will openly take down 2 shots of whiskey sours – openly violating an uncontested tenent of Islam – but then get one someones case because he is a Shia and “not a true follower”. Ha!

    Anyway, I REALLY do think that if our generation makes enough noise – whether it is ridiculing misguided cousins or just talking to friends about it, it will really have an impact. I dont think anyone told that nutty Islamic professor when he was a kid that sunnis/shias is an old and artificial if not outdated construct. There was no resistance to this concept. Hence he grew up to be the way he is, and now he is telling little girls that Shias are allied with Iran.

    Even a little resistance can make a difference. (In the long run).

    -Ibn

  81. jasra jedi says:

    M,

    Apology accepted.

    Now, back to the original discussion, which was the CNN video.

    I sometimes get a nasty feeling, which I dont really like, that tells me that the US would rather frame the conflict in Iraq (internally) and the impending conflict betwen Iran and the rest of the GCC as a Sunni – Shia struggle than it would as one that strikes to the heart of legitimacy of rule and leadership.

    This video is case and point.

    I know, for a fact, that there are many poor Sunnis in Bahrain. And if you go to Saudi Arabia and do a video on poverty, you will find many many poor Saudis in the heartland of the Sunni heartland there. In whose interest is there to fan the flames of a sectarian strife?

    And, my other question is, if Iraq does end up breaking into three regions delineated by Sunni/Shia and Kurd. Will this have an impact on Bahrain? And if so, how?

  82. A learner of Arabic says:

    Bahrain = Northern Ireland.
    Sunni = Protestant.
    Shia = Catholic.

    The mind boggles at these obvious parallels.

  83. M says:

    Ibn,

    10 for predictability
    1 for accuracy
    5 for comedic value; it’s a slow day.

    JJ,

    “This video is case and point.”

    Or of course, CNN may actually hold the view, like others, that it is a Sunni-Shia struggle. Besides, it’s much easier than using that old tired power, money and greed thing even though everyone knows that’s all it ever comes down to.

    No problem in asking the question of whose interest is there to fan the flames, and we all know the answer is a lot of people. So speculate all you want if that’s your style; just don’t be surprised when people don’t buy what you’re selling based on that alone.

  84. Ibn says:

    No problem in asking the question of whose interest is there to fan the flames, and we all know the answer is a lot of people. So speculate all you want if that’s your style; just don’t be surprised when people don’t buy what you’re selling based on that alone.

    Western history is rife with examples of divide-and-conquer. What evidence exists to suggest to us that they have changed their ways today? Because they’ve become more polite and dont openly say it?

    1 for accuracy

    Why thank you! I was always number 1 in my class! 🙂

    -Ibn

  85. jasra jedi says:

    So speculate all you want if that’s your style; just don’t be surprised when people don’t buy what you’re selling based on that alone.

    I ain’t selling anything darling. I don’t recall even positing a point of view on this matter. But, how come Ibn gets ranked and I don’t?

    Bahrain = Northern Ireland.
    Sunni = Protestant.
    Shia = Catholic.

    The mind boggles at these obvious parallels.

    Messy and bloody the struggle will be …

  86. I agree with many of you at many points, and disagree with many of you on a million other points.

    I personally found the report to be a piece of horse crap, for many reasons, all the facts that were said are things we live with every day and we hear in news paperers, which means the whole world can see them,what was really shameful is what the ignorants of minsters that made the whole country look like a tripe of monkeys, and I really think we should be angry for that.

    I mean the whole Bahraini people are being mugged by the government, Sunni, Shiite, Jews what ever they are, why would any one want to make it look like Sunna are getting a real cut from the cake and any one else isn’tShiat are more harmed only statistical as they are the bigger portion of Bahrain, but the other portion includes, Sunni, New citizens (mwaleed 7war!) and any one on this Island.

    this is the point that CNN didn’t show and thats why I think the report is full of crap,I mean, its not a secret why did they do it but that doesn’t mean aim at a person rather than a problem, thats not the expected from International media.

  87. NO house citizen says:

    Thanks to Cnn and Hala Gorani for presenting this proggramme. There are alot to say but i just want to say something to the lier Ministery Of Housing, my father has an application for house since 34years, he reached all the doors and even to this lier minister Fahmy Jowder but no response. simply because he’s a poor man and has no media. [expletive deleted] Fahmy Jowder.

  88. mahmood says:

    I find it hard to believe that you have been waiting for a house for 34 years, that means you application was probably handed in while Isa Town was being built and at that time just about everybody got a house or land almost immediately (by today’s standard); so there must be another side to this story.

    It would probably be better for your case also not to swear as you have or accuse people of being liars without providing proof that they have. I understand that you are frustrated, but my advice is frame your contribution in a way that at least allows you some leeway while giving the others the benefit of the doubt.

  89. @NO house citizen,

    Blogs get Banned and looked because of people like your self swearing at figures of the community, so just for the sake of the Administration of any Blog, I’d recommend thinking about what words we choose and use.

    many of us (including my self) don’t really like the way our country is ran, and certainly don’t like a few of the community figures (including MP’s, Imam wana be’s and so on), but it wouldn’t solve anything to publicly call them names or swear at them, will, at the end of the day, they don’t log on to Blogs to read the people’s concerns.

    @Mahmood, I agree with you, its Hard for me to believe that any Bahraini citizen Have been waiting for 34 years on a housing application, under Normal circumstances that is, there must be a catch.

  90. Salman says:

    34 years is a very long time, but in Bahrain, nothing would surprise me.

    Here you go, the latest from CNN’s reports on sparking up more sectarian conflicts http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/06/14/iraq.main/index.html

    If you ask me, i believe this is all staged terrorism.

  91. fahad says:

    i understand the harsh situation that the citizens of bahrain are going through, but didnt you take a minute and ask . . from all the arabic news channels out there, why did CNN only, step up to talk about poverty in bahrain ? the answer is , by my opinion: like all the other western news channels, CNN is trying to create conflict within the country, the the inner conflicts we see in iraq, which were only triggered by western media and ideas. But we know for certain, their are Bahraini ppl who are treated badly and deprived from benifits they must procure because they are bahraini.

  92. Salman says:

    Mahmood,

    I was always curious about what the Bandergate scandal was all about, but never found answers. Then i did do some extra research today, and i have mixed feelings regarding the whole issue.

    I believe (personal belief in regards to my understanding of the scandal and how the government works and the accusations in the scandal) that the Bandergate thing itself is a scandal.

    A secret group were accused to be working hard to marginalize the Shia in Bahrain, and to produce Sunni supremacy (which already exists anyway) and were also accused of corruption. And here comes a man who exposes them.

    Then i begin to think to myself, why? How? Where did he get this info? I start to think to myself that maybe this is also planned, so as to make it look ugly for government officials and members of the royal family, and make it look ugly for the government and the ruling family. So the man is departed to the UK, and the case is closed.

    It makes me think that this man exposed this, and it also caused a bigger fuss than the original one, because he tried to prove that they were actually trying to marginalize and segregate the citizens of Bahrain. He was trying to confirm everyones accusations of what we think the government wants and is doing to us.

    I am no politician, but this is just my personal opinion and understanding of the matter.

    Could you shed some light on the matter please? As this religious discrimination that the Bandergate scandal supposedly revealed, is also a main factor of the poverty problems that people in Bahrain suffer from.

    Thank you in advance for your effort to help me understand this matter even more 🙂

  93. mahmood says:

    Could you shed some light on the matter please?

    I can’t. Simply because no one other than a few have the full information.

    I would rather you insisted that the authorities to allow an independent commission to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into this matter and make the results available.

    Only then can we be certain of the facts, and demand reparations be made.

    For the moment, as the government seems to be so “sensitive” about the issue – and that is putting it mildly – people construe that as they are simply hiding things and are therefore guilty of gross misconduct.

  94. Salman says:

    So, it seems like they will just broom the dust under the carpet then? As far as the media goes, the scandal seems to have been long forgotten. I was never interested in it, but i was just a bit curious about what it was all about.

    Thank you Mahmood. I hope the truth does arise some day, not only for this, but for all the corruption that goes on within out society and political organizations.

    But i do not trust that the government will ever provide us with the truth, unless the scandal was made up by Bandar himself due to some personal grudge against the ruling family?

  95. New to Bahrain says:

    Look, I’ve read all these comments and have some interesting thoughts to share on the subject. Firstly I do not agree with biased reporting. As a journalist one should remain biased instead of causing mayem and chaos and causing people to scratch where it doesn’t itch! If you are a journalist, then remain impartial. If you are a documentary filmmaker with a deep appreciation for Human Rights, that is an entirely different story. I am new to Bahrain, and I suppose you could call me a “westerner” although I come from Africa, not America. I came to Bahrain as an “expat”, not to steal jobs or prosper from the wealth of the country. I came here to teach people skills in order for them to find work and sustain themselves. And through this I am also creating many, many jobs. I see the unemployment issues here, it is not hard to notice. But I do agree that one’s people should never rely on the government for their daily bread. Its all very well to argue and complain, but from what I understand schooling is free, so is basic healthcare. Which is more than a lot of African country governments provide. I’m a supporter of “teach a man to fish” mentality, and must say that I have had a great deal of support from the Ministry of Labour with regards setting up a training facility here in Bahrain for locals. And as always, I personally will sponsor training to those people who come from disadvantaged families. I think it is easy to bitch and moan about the situation, but are the people on this forum actually doing anything to help? How about sponsoring someone to go and study something so he/she can improve life for their entire family?
    Its time we became doers instead of moaners. Every country has its problems. And its “segregation” in some form or another. But instead of focusing on all the problems, lets think of solutions. Solutions start with self. Doing a good deed every day will go a long way to helping the country as a whole!
    Peace be to all.

  96. can we talk says:

    I wish everyone had the attitude of what can i do, instead of what should i ask for. the 1% is a prime example. i cannot believe that anyone would complain about paying 1%, no matter how low their salary is.

  97. Abdo says:

    In Bahrain, so many people live in poverty despite the fact that it is an oil-producing country.The problem is that its regime incites hatred and thinks Bahraini shi’a villagers do not have the right to live happily.The question is ‘what is its attitude based on?’Does the regime think they pose a threat?Do they want to overthrow the government?As a Bahraini citizen,I see no reason why the regime treats shi’a villagers so badly.Therefore,its attitude is not justifiable and has to be changed

  98. The Traveler says:

    Hi..
    will it seems i am sending late maybe..
    But for all of u.. there are poor sunni and shie.. a small visit to old Muharraq will show and old Busaiteen and Hidd the amount of poor sunni..
    By the way the community should have poor and rich.. u shouldnt break the lader of life..
    bahrain either it was rich or poor country u should have all variety of classes.. ONE CLASS IS UNHEALTHY
    Second, cant people live in peace.. come on live in peace with ur self what ever ur believes
    Thanks

  99. Salman says:

    True what The Traveler says,

    but, do you not read the newspapers when the Prime Minister visits these “run down” villages and orders houses to be built for them immediately, and that they are moved to furnished flats and provided with allowances for food?

    Do you ever see the PM going to Shia villages and doing the same? I never have seen it happen, and it will never happen.

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