Comparisons

23 Feb, '11

Comparisons from the NY Times in the upper image, Al-Fateh mosque also inserted for comparison's sake

I don’t want to start a “numbers war”, but just for my interest, I got this image from the New York Times which was attempting to compare between the route taken by the opposition protest yesterday which filled the whole length of the highway from Bahrain Mall to the Pearl Roundabout with Tahrir Square in Cairo. I took it a step further and go the Al-Fateh Mosque’s in there as well to complete the comparison.

I joked in a tweet yesterday that the people at the protest must’ve been 4,692,166. And it appears to be right, ratio wise which has been broadcast about the numbers in Al-Fateh!

Regardless, I’m glad that the whole of Bahrain now are becoming engaged in politics. Maybe something good will come out of this engagement.

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Comments (77)

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  1. Marwa says:

    The Fateh mosque courtyard is all the way around the mosque, secondly , people were standing in the parking lot as well . I was there , people were standing all the way out in the streets. Mahmood, get your facts right , everyone have seen the pictures and CNN was there and already reported 300,000 in Fateh.

  2. Rashid says:

    Interesting, but Bahrain has never been about the power of numbers but the power of ideas and the ability to convey them logically. Both gatherings had good turnouts anyone who beats his chest about numbers is an immature dweeb and out of touch with what is really important.

    • mahmood says:

      I completely and whole-heartedly agree. Hence the crux of this article.

    • 4luvofbahrain says:

      for everyone here i know its not a numbers war and we all know that battles (not saying this is one) are won by numbers , it is won on truthfulness and honesty and thats how the world works.
      But i know people who where stuck in traffic on their way to al fateh mosque and it was all the way back to adhari park, and north on the bridge to muharraq. Sadly we have no video proof of it but my friends where proof they where stuck in traffic and shared the moment via the radio. Maybe if you will be small minded and compare via google maps , may allah inshalla make things better and yan9irna JAMEE3AN as muslims and bahrainis to win this, and make this country a better place regardless which geographic location you wish to make your voice heard !

  3. AZ says:

    Dear Mahmood,

    I am not disagreeing with anything you said, I just want to point one thing out good sir (as a person who has been to both events)

    in regards of the United Bahraini Movement’s meeting at Fateh Mosque, I just one to clear one misconception; Bahrainis did not just gather in the mosque’s courtyard but they spilled into the library’s parking as well as outside the gates, across the streets, and inside (and ontop) both the mosque and library. I personally witnessed cars backed up until the isa town flyover moving towards the mosque (word is that the same thing happened in sitra).

    But I am not here to argue numbers.

    At this point, I fear that we have slipped into what I can only describe as a dick measuring contest (pardon my French by good brother). I think people are beginning to lose focus on what’s important; it’s not a numbers game, never was and never ought to be, but what we must focus on is what is for the best for ALL of Bahrain.

    I personally believe that there are mistakes being made on both sides to be quite honest, but unless we can find that sacred middle ground that would satisfy ALL sides. I think in order to do so, cooler heads NEED to prevail on ALL sides so that the appropriate measures can be taken to redeem the situation.

    Good sir, I am but a simple man who loves his country, and based on the actions I saw the past two days, I can safely say that the majority of Bahrain feels the same way. I think that if we can just talk with one another we can do wonders together.

  4. Ali says:

    Mahmood, god help us in trying to paint a truthful picture when there are so many willing to believe in false information/rumors. What can you do to fight that? some people seem like they have a blindfold on their eyes!

    I keep stressing this issue coz it’s about promoting false information as fact, which any self-respecting person, let alone a journalist, should reject.

    Once again, CNN NEVER stated that figure. It was only mentioned ONCE in their Arabic website and was acredited the BNA (Bahrain News Agency) as the source of that information.

    No journalist in the scne independently confirmed that figure. The figures confirmed by journalists on the scene ranged from 10,000 to a maximum of only 20,000.

    When people take BTV as their most reliable source of information, you realize something is deeply wrong.

    CNN’s on scene reporter said yesterday’s demonstration was more than 100,000. and we’ve all seen the pictures.

    How can we educate people when they are more than willing to be misinformed? a segment of Bahrain is living in total denial!

    • Anonny says:

      “When people take BTV as their most reliable source of information, you realize something is deeply wrong.”

      This is the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. 😀 My abdomen is in pain now!

  5. Hesham says:

    Well to my fellow brothers in Al fateh if you are so sure about the number 300,000 why are you so desperate to defend that number ok you were 500,000 are you happy

  6. Louis says:

    It was CNN iReport which said there were 300,000 in Al-Fateh. Anybody can write and iReport. Doesn’t anybody know what and iReport is?

    • Hesham says:

      No they are new to this stuff

    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      CNN iReports are about as useful as Op-Eds for getting at facts.

    • 4luvofbahrain says:

      بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

      كم من فئة قليلة غلبت فئة كثيرة باذن الله والله مع الصابرين

      To all who follow mahmouds blog,
      this struggle is not a football event between teams.
      this is our country, this is our faith.

      its time now you take a stand .. bahraini, muslim, al7amdulilah ! and anyone else christian jew bhudist are free to live here and enjoy the oppertunities our country has to offer.

      Its not just being political mahmoud , more than that it is being free to show your opinion and also inshalla our limits and red lines will be of respect, values, faith.

  7. Hassan Alkhuzaei says:

    If the people in Al Fateh were 300,000 as BTV reported, then this is really great thing and I would really be happy if it was right; it means you have 60% of Bahrainis with you then I don’t really understand why you are so afraid of democracy. let there be free election and you will diffidently win the majority and by free election you can vote for Sh. Khalifa bin Salman and the opposition will not be able to protest again.

    • Mohammed says:

      😐 100%

      I can’t understand why someone will disagree with the right of having an elected government ..

      especially when they got the majority

  8. brobof says:

    If you will excuse a non Bahraini comment: perhaps the way to solve this ‘dilemma’ would be to hold a simple referendum. Of course you could put other contentious issues to the Bahraini plebicite at the same time. On a more positive note surely there must be an issue that could get the two crowds together. An implacable hatred of an Ex-colonial power perhaps? We don’t mind: it’s a Tory Govermnent at the moment preaching Democracy and selling arms. Serves us right!
    Yours etc Dave U.K.

  9. D says:

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    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      HaHaHa. BS if I ever read it!

      Media has gone to hell in the past 20 years. The ones who are supposed to be doing the job, digging up facts and putting them out without bias are too busy making it all entertaining and writing opinions to whip people up. They’ve abdicated their responsibilities to every idiot with a computer, digital camera and an internet connection. Then it is all presented as truth.

      Sad state of affairs.

  10. Data says:

    For someone who got caught up in the traffic snarl-up going toward Al Fateh, I can contest that the road was jammed from Mina Salman right up to the US Embassy flyover.

    However, when you consider that the total population of Bahrainis is just over 550,000 (approx 46% of 1.2million) then to claim that 300,000 or two thirds of the entire Bahraini population was at the rally at Al Fateh is, to put it mildly, a little far fetched.

    It does bring up the question of how good are people at judging the size of crowds. I’ve seen a gathering of 19,000 at a Shakira concert and that’s a very large number. If you are not used to seeing such large crowds it’s very difficult to give an accurate, or even semi-accurate head count.

    I would be interested in a more accurate estimation of the number at the pro-government rally because we’ve seen the pics of the anti-government rally and there were definitely a large number. No, I’m not going to guestimate because the picture was only a section, not the whole.

    • mahmood says:

      There are scientific methods available to estimate crowd sizes of course, but in Bahrain, numbers having become an adjunct to a bifurcated and disputed political agenda.

  11. Observer says:

    Dear Mahmood,
    I have the actual number that noone can argue with.
    568,424 want change and reform!
    Enough said, there were 2 groups wanted one thing the best for Bahrain, all of them are Bahrainis!
    Once this is done, we need a unified gathering, 500,000 strong!
    Good bless Bahrain.

  12. peacefulmuslimah says:

    In every demonstration I have ever been in (and that is a lot from the 70s through the 90s), the demonstrators always over estimate our numbers and the media always underestimates it. Rule of thumb was that the truth lies about midway between the two.

    Either way, you have a whole lot of Bahrainis involved in the political process and insha’Allah it will give way to a better Bahrain.

  13. Reader911 says:

    Since we are in the subject of numbers

    I know that Al-Wasat newspaper has reported on 21 February on its website the official number of dead, which are Seven.

    Is there an official number of wounded since 14 Feb ?

  14. Reader911 says:

    Here is a youtube clip of the huge anti-government rally that took place on 22 Feb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHCwGq4AtMc

    Another rally will be held on 25 Feb, after Friday prayers

    One will start from Salmaniya the other from the very small Qadam roundabout

  15. jhubers says:

    I believe he did get his figures right. There will, in fact, be an attempt on both sides to exaggerated the numbers hoping that the press will pick up those exaggerations (as was the case as the world press reported “TENS OF THOUSANDS” turn out for the pro-government rally when, in fact, the area can’t hold that many.

    Certainly it is clear that there are a variety of opinions about this and that the government does have a lot of supporters. But it doesn’t help to exaggerate things because in this day and age there will be someone who will be able to challenge such things.

  16. Majid says:

    All of you ! Arguing and comparing number of protesters , whoever started that Al Fateh comparison is a child . PEOPLE concentrate on the BIG picture its your country Bahrain. Rather than trying to prove whoever has the largest croud , sit both crowds and start talking , maybe walk together ? In the end if Bahrainis dont sit and talk this will not be the end of it .

  17. anon says:

    I dont really think “talk” will resolve our issues, let’s just be as civilized as other nations, when they have issues they don’t talk they VOTE. I don’t understand what’s the issue here, Al-Fateh guys claim that they have the majority (300000 out of 500000) but they still don’t want democracy! ok hold on, even that’s fine by us; why don’t we make a referendum on democracy and you will also win and live happely everafter in your little shaikdom; let just agree to vote it

  18. all the way from Greece I’m watching the news on Bahrain TV with the pictures from the demonstration!
    Soooooooo many people!!

  19. Majid says:

    Referendum !! you make me laugh.
    I thought the Lulu roundabout(square)are calling for the government to resign , are they reconsidering to vote??

    P.S Im not Bahraini so not supporting anyone

  20. anon says:

    I’m sure they will be more than happy to accept a referendum on the legitimacy of the regime, but will the other party accept?!

    it’s not rocket science man, one party wants democracy under constitutional monarchy while the other is happy with their backward triable regime. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for you to choose between the two, just give me one logical answer (triable regime or constitutional monarchy?)

    • Majid says:

      Referendum or calling for the death of Al Khalifa ?? Im getting mixed messages !
      Plus 10 years ago people agreed with a 98.4 % on the changes , people cant call for major changes whenever they like ( every 10 years) thats absurd!
      But the as I mentioned I am not Bahraini and this is left for the Bahraini people to decide.
      Good luck with whatever you are doing .

      • mahmood says:

        they wouldn’t have called for “changes” if the constitution tallied with the promises (verbal and written) with the charter. unfortunately it doesn’t and this is the fact that got us to this stage.

      • Hassan Alkhuzaei says:

        That’s actually a very good point Majid, people agreed with 98.4% on the national charter, but do you what the national charter says???? It says this “Government system of Bahrain shall be a constitutional monarchy”, so people want what they have voted for 10 years ago, while those at AlFateh insist on tribal rule.

        Out of 22 ministers in the current cabinet is from the Royal family, is this the constitutional monarchy people vote for in the national charter?!

        Those in Perl roundabout insist on what they vote for 10 years ago, while those in Al-Fateh want us to believe that a cabinet with 50% from the royal family is a

        1- sh. Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa (premier)
        2- sh. Mohammed bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa (first deputy premier)
        3- sh. Ali bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa (Second deputy premier)
        4- sh. Khalid bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa (Minister of the cabinet minister’s court)
        5- sh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa (minister of defense)
        6- Sh. Mohammed bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa (minister of defence affairs)
        7- sh. Abdulla bin salman Al-Khalifa (Minister of electricity & water)
        8- sh. Rashed bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa (minister of interior)
        9- sh. Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa (minister of foreign affairs)
        10- sh. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa (minister of finance)
        11- sh. Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa (minister of justice & islamic affairs)

        • peacefulmuslimah says:

          So half are not from the Al-Khalifa.

          Besides, aren’t cabinets always made up of appointed officials and not elected? Ours in the US is, so we didn’t get a say when Bush chose all his father’s old cronies.

          What is it you want and what do you suggest?

          • Hassan Alkhuzaei says:

            I don’t understand what you are trying to say, do you want to say that the system in Bahrain is as good as the system in the states?! or do you want to say that it is normal to have half of your cabinet from a single family?! by the way, it has always been the case not just the current cabinet.

            Dear you didn’t get a say when Bush chose his cabinet because you had a say when US citizens elected him for 8 years and now he is gone and the Americans have a brand new president. Here in Bahrain we can’t even change the Premier who kept his office ever since we got our independence (that’s 40 years) can you tell me how many presidents you had over those 40 years?!

            I want a constitutional monarchy, something like UK/Sweden/Belgium, where the royal family do not get involved in politics. Bahrainis freely elect their MPs (one elected chamber and without gerrymandering)and from those MPs a Premier is elected.

            Is that too much to ask for?! Why do you think it is our fate to live under kleptocracy?!

  21. Mohd says:

    I never thought I’d see a protest against DEMOCRACY… ouh I forgot pro-government ok people so if the government decided to be a democracy what would you do? please stop, take your head out of the sand, don’t be afraid of progress, you can’t stop time and you must accept that the world is changing cope with it.

    • Mohammed says:

      I’ll try too google “protest against DEMOCRACY”, maybe will get the record of the first country with anti-democracy party.

  22. Coolred38 says:

    Threats from my childhood are echoing in my mind..all though in this case its ….my crowd can beat up your crowd.

    Too bad both of those crowds didnt march towards the palace…interesting to see what sort of reaction that would have caused.

  23. Peace begins with a smile... says:

    Dear all Bahrain,

    If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.

    Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

    We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

    Peace begins with a smile.

    • mahmood says:

      Sweet.

      Not sure about the silence though. It didn’t do much good for centuries. It’s time to really speak up and be heard.

    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      Don ‘t you think constructive dialogue would be instrumental in creating real and lasting peace?

  24. Robok says:

    Haven’t got much to add except this image I found on Facebook, really shows a beautiful spirit in those gathered up in the Lulu Roundabout:

    http://u.snelhest.org/i/2011/02/24_49.jpg

    (English translation is quite broken, it says in Arabic: My Sunni friend, our demand is one: Freedom. Even if we have a difference of opinion, I will gladly sacrifice my blood for your right to express yourself)

    • Hassan Alkhuzaei says:

      That’s very funny, I can’t stop laughing…. there are no people in your picture!!!

      There are many many pictures for the anti-government protests that show the crowds and the area covered by the protest (there are many photos to prove the images posted above) while there is nothing equivalent for the pro-government protest in Al-Fateh. All pictures are zoomed in and they just show the crowds but not the area covered by their protest.

      I guess it is time to stop this silly game, it is getting stupidly funny. If you want to think there were a million guys in Al-Fateh then let be, we don’t really mind just let’s go do a referendum. I don’t understand if you are so sure that you are the majority why are you so afraid of of going to ballot box.

      The guys in Al-Fateh are willing to sacrifice their country for one guy (the premier) who had his chance to run the government for the past 40 years. Why on earth shouldn’t he go and replaced by someone else, was he given a divine right to be the premier for the rest of his life or you maybe believe that Al-Khalifa are genetically superior and hence Premier, defense minister, finance minister, minister of foreign affairs, interior affairs minister and all other important ministries should always be held by one of them?!!!

      Just let us know what you think exactly and be brave and tell the whole world what you want, because if you want the current situation then you agree that you want Khalifa bin Salman to be premier for the rest of his life and Al-Khalifa to hold all importing ministries plus their hegemony on everything in Bahrain and Bahrainis have no say in their country.

    • Reader911 says:

      What is this suppose to mean anyway ?

      That day i took one of the highways marked in your map .. there was no such Super-Traffic

    • Reader911 says:

      OH and you want me to beleive people came also from Sitra to be in that rally ??

      Sitra was the first town to rise up on 14 Feb against the government

      • Hassan Alkhuzaei says:

        Dear Reader911,

        This still can’t show us a single picture that shows the area covered by their rally. All available pictures are zoomed and covers an area of tens of meters only. On the other side there are more than a zillion pictures for the anti-government protests that show the area covered by the protest and span for few kilometers.

        And still we didn’t get an answer for why they are so afraid of democracy when they have the majority on their side.

  25. Hassan Alkhuzaei says:

    Dear peacefulmuslimah,

    Did you understand what I asked for??? I want to see the area covered by the crowd not the traffic jam (I’m one of those who got caught in the traffic, but I’m not a fan of the government nor I was there rallying for them) !!! the youtube movies showing traffic jam and when it comes to the crowd they zoom in but no single shot for the crowd from distance so we can tell how big the area they cover.

    the other pictures are again showing the crowd but not the area the protest covers, actually if I used these pictures to estimate the number of people in them I would say couple of thousands max.

    Do you have pictures like these?? They don’t show the crowd, but rather the span of the protest, so I can see where the protest starts and were it ends, which makes it possible for me to estimate the number of protesters based on the area.

    http://www.forcabarca.com/vb/showthread.php?t=402558

    Now, would you please answer my other questions? why do you oppose democracy for us in Bahrain, again and again if there were a million people in Al-Fateh that night why they are so afraid of democracy????

  26. peacefulmuslimah says:

    Dear Hassan,

    Sorry, I didn’t understand. I thought you were suggesting these were small gatherings and you essentially wanted to see if there were a lot of people there. I was trying to be helpful but you guys can keep measuring your anatomy now and I will stay out of it.

    Why do you think I oppose democracy for Bahrain?

    And why are you so hostile? 🙂

  27. exclamation mark says:

    Other than those in the Al Fateh Yard:
    Is there a way to exclude those non Bahrainis and those not intending in attending the al Fateh rally? Maybe some were just caught up in the traffic…
    Car Rallies are very tricky…

    Unfortunately, these numbers just prove that the country is split… Which sets out a challenge to all Bahrainis about what they want!

  28. peacefulmuslimah says:

    Hassan,

    Please calm down and don’t take this so personally. I personally don’t think the system in the States is so great anymore because the US is in an era of career politicians who are doing the work of Big Business. But that is neither here nor there.

    All I have said from the beginning is that I hope non-sectarian peace and progress will prevail so that Bahrainis will be happy and stop fighting each other. I may not agree with the way some are going about it on both sides, but in the end does it really matter? Or do you want only your supporters posting on Mahmood’s blog, Hassan?

    BTW, ever heard of the Kennedy Dynasty? (and don’t get me started about the Bush Dynasty — lol)

    • Hassan Alkhuzaei says:

      peacefulmuslimah,

      I’m sorry if I have been hostile to you, I didn’t really mean that but probable due to my weak command over the language made it look that way. apologies again and by the way the last response by “exclamation mark” is not mine.

      I though you are against democracy in Bahrain for I saw your arguments defending the pro regime crowds while all the other party asking for is democracy and whoever has the majority win and form the government while preserving his majesty dignity and making him a king loved by all Bahrainis instead of part only like today.

      • peacefulmuslimah says:

        No problem Hassan.

        I am just trying to understand what’s going on and sometimes I question things from both sides.

        I wish all Bahrainis well in the reforms you need to make to feel united.

        🙂

  29. Da Rebel says:

    You know, I’m for a system where, if you want work, you can get it.
    I’m for a system where everyone is treated equal before the law, where wasta doesn’t count for spit.
    Where wrongdoers are punished with the full force of a judiciary that is truly independent.
    Where you can get a job on merit rather than on who you know.
    Where jobs aren’t looked down on and if, and I mean if, you want to work, you can get it.
    Where graduates realise that just because you have a degree that doesn’t mean that you can go straight into a cushy office job with an overinflated salary and not expect to actually work. You start at the bottom and move up, or you have the opportunity to start your own business and sink or swim on your own merits.
    Where people with minimal skills accept that they either have to be better trained (and get the training and education) or accept jobs that don’t require high qualifications and get used to lower salaries.
    Where people accept that it is normal to work for a living rather than expect the government to give them handouts.
    Where ethical behaviour is taught in schools and, in particular, racism is not tolerated under any circumstances.
    What cloud cuckoo land do I want? Is it too much to expect at least some of these wishes for Bahrain?

    Yours controversially . . .

    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      Hear hear! And then I want to come live and work in that paradise 😛

  30. freedom says:

    a secular Bahrain is it a dream far fetched ??????

  31. anon says:

    everything starts with a dream and we are dreaming today and we will make it a reality very soon. we are fighting not only for our rights but for the rights of those opposing democratic changes today. we will save them from their racism, sectarianism, classism and above all from the hatred.

    The Bahrain we are fighting for is a free, liberal and democratic where people (all people Bahrainis and none Bahrainis, Muslims and None Muslims, Arabs and none Arabs) treated fairly and equally and that mu friends is good for all of us; it is as goog for those in Perl as to those in Al-Fateh.

  32. Muzafari says:

    All I know is that if we had reliable media, THIS “FITNA” of numbers between children of Bahrain would not exist today.

    We COULD HAVE BEEN one fitna less, unfortunately we are one fitna more.

  33. Wayne Job says:

    Mahmood, if you can achieve a secular liberal democracy it will ensure freedom of all things held dear by those of us who are free. My only concern for your country would be the reaction of those at the other end of your causeway. They may feel a tad threatened.

  34. Sushil says:

    Are the three maps on the same scale?

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