Opposition’s Conditions for National Dialogue

28 Feb, '11

Here’s a list I received detailing the opposition’s requirements to enter the national dialogue called for by the Crown Prince. I cannot vouch for them as I cannot get independent confirmation, but they look genuine and represent them here for their informational value, and hope that we can start this dialogue here too.

Objectives of the Revolution of Anger of the people of Bahrain

Emphasis on the achievement of popular demands:

1. Dismissal of the government and the formation of a government elected by the people

2. Cancellation of the 2002 Constitution and all laws passed by decree

3. The formation of a national body of ten elected members by the people to formulate a new constitution that abolishes all the king’s powers and that he be a symbol of the country and that legislative and regulatory powers are fully in the hands of an elected council (parliament).

4. Amend the electoral law so that the people elect all members of Parliament in which the cabinet ministers will be selected from 25% of the members of parliament

5. Cancellation of all boards and councils immediately and ensure that all executive agencies are subject to the elected govenrment

6. Comprehensive reforms of the judiciary and the restructuring of the Supreme Judicial Council which shall be constituted of judges and lawyers elected by the people

7. Abolition of the powers of all naturalized citizens to prevent them from participation in the electoral process or to stand for election until a law regulating naturalization and the Bahraini nationality is promulgated

8. Prevent the army from participating in the electoral process

9. Ensure that all corrupt persons stand public trials, as should those practicing sectarianism and re-open the Bandergate file and prevent any judicial and public prosecution powers of issuing any gag orders relating to any case concerned with public opinion

10. The return of all looted lands and coasts and the nationalization of real estate projects such as Amwaj Islands and Alzalamah and Riffa Views to be within the purview of the Ministry of Housing to equitably distribute the wealth to the citizens

11. Instating Bahraini citizens in jobs which are currently occupied by foreigners, especially those in the ministries of interior and defense without any sectarian discrimination

12. Dismissal of all heads of agencies, boards and institutions at the same time as dissolving the cabinet

13. Bring to account all those who practiced corrupt practices before 2002

14. Fairly compensate the families of martyrs and all those affected during the past twenty years

To engage in national dialogue, a minimum of four of these popular demands must implemented.

Do you think these demands reasonable? Especially the precondition to enter the national dialogue only when a minimum of four demands are met?

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Comments (36)

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  1. Um Nayef says:

    I think most of these demands are absurd. The people who made up this insane list should learn about global politics and economy.
    Since it’s too in depth to get into, and they are nit wits anyways.

    Amwaj and Riffa Views CANNOT be nationalized because they are PRIVATE developments. Now they are asking for democracy right? Not communism. Perhaps I should donate a dictionary to them so that they can distinguish between DEMOCRACY AND COMMUNISM.
    “Equitably distribute the wealth to the citizens” sounds more communist than democratic.
    Let them get their heads screwed on straight before making such absurd demands.

  2. Alia says:

    What do YOU think Mahmood?

    • mahmood says:

      I think that this situation does not require a black or white stances and if we want to go forward as a country and society, we must seriously start thinking in shades of grey and give the other side the benefit of the doubt.

  3. eyade says:

    where did you get this set of demands from, Mahmood? it is not reasonable and I don’t think anyone in the opposition will put his name on a weak, badly written list like that, not anyone you would want to talk to anyway.

    from #Feb14 official FB page: (really surprised you didn’t look there first!!)

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    نحن شباب البحرين دعونا إلى ثورة شعبية سلمية في يوم ١٤ فبراير/شباط ٢٠١١ للمطالبة بتغييرات و إصلاحات جذرية في نظام الحكم و إدارة البلاد و التي بسبب غيابها أدخلت البلاد في حالة إحتقان مستمر بين الشعب و النظام على مدار عقود من الزمن. نحن لا ننتمي لأي تنظيم سياسي أو ديني أو مذهبي أو طائفي، إنتمائنا هو حبنا و وطنيتنا لبلدنا الحبيب البحرين. الثورة ستبدأ من يوم ١٤ فبراير/شباط بإعتصامات سلمية في مختلف أرجاء البحرين و ستستمر حتى تنفيذ مطالبنا الرئيسية و هي :
    – إلغاء دستور ٢٠٠٢ الغير الشرعي Ùˆ الذي تم فرضه على الشعب بشكل غير قانوني، Ùˆ حل مجلسي النواب Ùˆ الشورى.
    – تكوين مجلس تأسيسي من خبراء Ùˆ كوادر الطائفتين السنية Ùˆ الشيعية لصياغة دستور تعاقدي جديد ينص على أن :
    ** الشعب مصدر السلطات جميعا.
    ** السلطة التشريعية تتمثل ببرلمان يُنتخب كليا من الشعب.
    ** السلطة التنفيذية تتمثل برئيس وزراء يُنتخب مباشرة من الشعب.
    ** البحرين مملكة دستورية، تحكمها أسرة آل خليفة و يمُنع على أفرادها تولي مناصب كبيرة في السلطات الثلاث: التشريعية، التنفيذية، القضائية.
    – إطلاق جميع الأسرى السياسيين Ùˆ الحقوقيين Ùˆ تشكيل لجنة وطنية للتحقيق في مزاعم التعذيب Ùˆ ملاحقة Ùˆ محاسبة المسؤولين قانونيا.
    – ضمان حرية التعبير، والكف عن ملاحقة الصحفيين قضائياً، ومنع حبسهم في قضايا النشر، وعدم التضييق على الإنترنت وفتح المجال أمام التدوين، Ùˆ إستقلالية هيئة الإذاعة Ùˆ التلفزيون، وعدم تدخل الأجهزة الأمنية في عمل المؤسسات الإعلامية.
    – ضمان إستقلالية القضاء Ùˆ عدم تسييسه.
    – تشكيل لجنة وطنية للتحقيق في مزاعم التجنيس السياسي Ùˆ سحب الجنسية البحرينية لمن ثبت حصوله عليها بشكل غير قانوني أو بسبب دوافع سياسية.

    و أخيرا نهيب بجميع جماهير الشعب البحريني من الرجال و النساء و الشباب و الشابات بالمشاركة في الإعتصامات بشكل سلمي و حضاري لضمان مستقبل مستقر و مشرق لنا و لأبنائنا. كذلك نود أن نؤكد بأن ١٤ فبراير/شباط سيكون البداية فقط و أن الطريق قد يطول و الإعتصامات قد تستمر لأيام و أسابيع و لكن إذا الشعب يوما أراد الحياة، فلا بد أن يستجيب القدر.

    شباب البحرين – ١٣ فبراير/شباط
    البيان الرسمي لثورة ١٤ فبراير في البحرين

    from: [link]https://www.facebook.com/TrueRoyalDemocracy?ref=ts[/link]

    • mahmood says:

      Thanks Eyad. This was just one of the lists I came across. As I said, I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but still worth considering if for nothing but to start the conversation, and it has.

  4. Observer says:

    I don’t think any of the above demands are realistic, this looks like it’s written by someone who’s still living in the soviet union’s shadow.
    Where did you get this from?
    I think the there were 6 demands, here: http://www.alwasatnews.com/3097/news/read/529658/1.html

  5. Faros says:

    I’m for once convinced that we can go forward….opposition is more than reasonable with those demands >= 4

  6. peacefulmuslimah says:

    You possibly COULD go forward but I personally don’t think this is very realistic OR reasonable. You know I especially don’t like anything that is trying to divide and marginalize Naturalized Bahrainis. If the opposition’s numbers are so high and they are a non-sectarian movement, why do they need to exclude a relatively small group of Bahraini citizens?

  7. Muzafari says:

    Don’t mean to be a spoiler, I don’t support communism in anyway, BUT sooner or later everyone will be FORCED to follow its rules somehow, as capitalism is based on the mere justification that all resources are infinite. if you don’t believe me try to forecast it and see how much potential it has to becoming a reality for the WHOLE WORLD. well at least we will know what framework is most compatible to follow when we have limited resources.

    Just spreading the message which I think should be promoted to prevent growing hatred and mistrust between Bahraini’s is

    “TACKLE ISSUE AND NOT PEOPLE”

    Maybe at least this way we can assure people are not looking to point fingers at each other but look at challenges faced by every individual in the society.

    For example an issue would be “trust” between all cultures, factions etc. Very vague, but very valid. Sit and think

    How can you make another individual in your society with a different background TRUST that you will not cause any threat to his/her existence or belief?

    This is a list of demands regardless of it being true or not, indicates there are unhappy people among us, is it fair to live in a society were not everyone is happy? What if it was you? and some find harmony and some don’t in their daily lives? People from different locations in Bahrain maybe have the NEED to go out and continue their normal lives, some don’t like politics, some just want things to go back and don’t care.

    But due to unfortunate events which happened in Bahrain such as the existence of military tanks in the capital and citizens dying, that will have an EFFECT ON EVERYONE in Bahrain, like it or not.

    Therefore we should tackle the issues not people. Awdm ibroo7hum thay3een mo kil min y3rf the whole story, do you know the exact story on the other side of your point? If you do, then you would stop pointing at people.

    Sorry for being so long, I had to take that out of me and I did it here, May God protect Bahrain and ALL Bahraini’s.

    • Muzafari says:

      Please whoever disagreed please give me your point of view, I want to learn why, People should communicate, maybe I am wrong!?

  8. Mohammed Al Daaysi says:

    I got that same broadcast a couple of days ago … not very reliable and sounds like one of two things … either put by protesters that are not so engaged in decision making (that of the roundabout’s semi-organizations at least) or just a cheap shot to discredit their demands by an (unknown) party…

    Perhaps you might want to use the list mentioned above? seems more credible and with a trusted source (or at least on the face of it)

  9. ajax says:

    unless the secularized the system first.

    and build trust between factions(that is no hidden agendas) ,

    can hardly trust any of those faction that certainly present in parliament (fyi i voted for Independent candidate) ,they would run down the country in a blink of an eyes >.>

    maybe if worked to achieve the above in the next 100 years …. good luck buddy

  10. Dan says:

    Not exactly a Bill of Rights. But nobody knows what a right is anyway.

  11. tataloo says:

    As the majority of the opposition are from Shia sect, the so-called “democracy” that they want is just a mask to elect Mullas. Can you imagine every four years someone like Ahmed Najad as Prime Minister in Bahrain?

    F**K That!

    • mahmood says:

      Why would you think that Tataloo? I’ve heard this from several people, some of whom I thought were better educated than to assume that, but I was mistaken, which leads me to believe that I’m either mistaken or am missing something drastic. Please elucidate, why do you think that the Shia automatically would want to be ruled over by a theocracy, mullahs or even someone like Ahmedinejad?

    • Khalid Busaqer says:

      So true! This whole sham democracy movement is nothing but a Trojan Horse for a nice little surprise that will wake up Bahrain in the years to come! SURPRISE!!! “You are now all under Velayti Faqih”!! SURPRISE!!

  12. Khalid Busaqer says:

    This is the most pathetic list of demands you could come up with. In fact it shows that the people behind this mess are nothing but kids with no grasp of real politics. Enough with this nonsense can we get back to work before Dubai and Doha take whatever crumbs we have left thanks to these moronic protesters. The government should issue a deadline, if they do not want to engage in dialogue, we should let our Saudi brothers in to clean up the filth.

    • mahmood says:

      That’s hardly an attitude that will engender the return of lost trust and encourage debate Khalid.

      And I should think that the Saudis have problems of their own to care too much over what’s happening here. Even so, if they do enter, I’m not sure they’ll have an easy time of it.

      • Khalid Busaqer says:

        You are underestimating the ignorance and indiscriminate nature of the Saudi sword.

    • anon says:

      Congratulations you represent the morally decadent, hateful, and violence-advocating people that are just about everything wrong with Bahrain.

  13. exclamation mark says:

    Well the people don’t want the same mistake they’ve done when voting for the charter! As all what they’ve got were promises, and ink on paper! But none of the promises were fulfilled, and people say that the charter was breached!

    Well part of my argument is that it was the people’s mistake to rush and vote for the charter, Why? Well the government that opressed and killed the people during the 90s is the same that brought the charter, with due respect to his majesty, the system is still the same and hadn’t changed, and it is hard that things chage during a day. And live proof of that are the events that started on August last year!!!

    Secondly,
    Whether it is a well prepared list od demands or not, the people in the square do atleast know what they’re talking about. And as I said earlier they don’t want to fall in the same mistake.

    Third,
    I’m not sure whether this list does represent the demands of those in the square! As what they’re calling for and demanding is to out throw the ruling family!

    I think what is happening know is following this policy: keep your demands ceiling high to get as much as you can!

  14. exclamation mark says:

    Mahmood,

    Is there an option to edit the comments?

  15. Majid says:

    Easy said , not easy done ! The demands are unreasonable , and as someone just commented that they were poorly written by a bunch of kids with no idea about politics ( I agree).
    People around Bahrain are frustrated because demonstrations are everywhere , everyday . Other people have jobs , commitments and a business to run . You know other people have a life as well! and they have nothing to do with Bahraini politics .
    I respect that people were allowed the time to speak up and show their demands. Now is the time to sit everyone together and get on with talking.
    Isn’t that what everyone wants ?

  16. Anonny says:

    It wont be swords, Khalid. The odds would be too even. Should America permit them (then and only then Khalid) they will come in with tanks.

    Sword against sword while the world watches? Your fantasies are juvenile and inadequate, Khalid.

  17. Muzafari says:

    Bas hay eli y3rfona el Bahrainyeen, hathylain yaboon chithi wa theylain yaboon chithi, ish3leykom min el awdm. FIX THE ISSUES not the people, Shia yabon Mullas, Saudia btl3n gfdhum, Grandizer ma beye ba3ad? g3dow t7chow logic,

    ka2nkom fil madrisa taboon itchofoon el hoosha ow mino bytd5l o mino befooz, ee i7na bntjama3 azyad fi fate7 HOOO ! lulu y39boon ytjam3on HOO ! wtf , ishga3d e9eer feekom ya Bahrainyeen ? choof solutions hag problems mob solutions had awdm, awdm mafee lihum solutions

    • mahmood says:

      for the uninitiated amongst us in gobbledigook, could you please re-enter this in either English or Arabic?

      • Muzafari says:

        TRANSLATION OF GOBBLEDIGOOK ABOVE:

        This is what all Bahraini’s have come to, pointing at what the other side wants, why do you bother yourself with “people” so much? “FIX THE ISSUES” not the people, Shia want Mulla’s! Saudi will come and interfere! isn’t Grendizer coming as well? please think and speak logic.

        Its as if all of Bahrain is watching a school fight, waiting for others to jump in or waiting for one or the other to get knocked out. People say we will show them, HOOOOO! and go gather in Fateh then people go gather in Lulu to respond HOOOO! wtf? what is happening with the people of Bahrain? Find solutions to problems we face not solutions for the people, people are not math equations you can not solve them.

        • mahmood says:

          Many thanks!

          Yes, issues must come first. But everyone want’s a “watch me” moment at the expense of resolving problems.

  18. exclamation mark says:

    Mahmood,

    Are there any guarantees that what happened at 2002 won’t get repeated again after 10 years with a bigger crisis?
    All what is happening are reprecussion of the 2002 charter…

    People feel deceived when they voted for the charter, and nothing happened in reality! In fact they say that the King intentionally turned on and broke his promises!!

    Why start the dialogue now? Why hadn’t that dialogue start before the crack down on the 17th of February? Or is it when their scandal went to the media, and felt the pressure from the US and other governments, the time of dialogue had come?

    People don’t want to repeat the same mistake, and these protests would just put the government’s seriousness for dialogue to the test, and they need to show how “white” their intentions are… And not call for dialogue to pass the time and reduce the pressure.

    • mahmood says:

      Valid points and I cannot fault your for thinking them. Good will must be shown now in tangible forms, I agree, and guarantees must be put in place so that if and when the dialogue starts, it doesn’t end up in a ping-pong loop without an end in sight or they reach a point that whoever does the negotiating doesn’t have the final say in decisions. So yes, the conditions need to crystalise to be sure.

      All I’m saying is that the prerequisites must be done with expeditiously (but thoroughly) to start repairing the country. Time – as ever – is a double edged sword and won’t wait for anyone. The opportunity is right this time around I think and for all we know, the discussions on the prerequisites at least must be ongoing. Coming back to the street to shore up positions from both sides is a rather intriguing game too.

      Complex issue. Historic moment. But we do need to get on and start riding.

  19. Zain Al Thawadi says:

    I did not realise the list was this extensive. Most people are under the impression that it was 8-12 legitimate demands, with a few extreme ones.

    I really believe some of these requests are possible immediately, others in the near future, and a few in the long term.

    But there are some that are just impossible. Such as the nationalisation of privately owned and developed assets/property, which just don’t belong to the state. That is basically, legalised theft. That would do no good to the economy or to justice.

    Regardless of the requests, one thing remains, this whole situation was handled badly by everyone, and I mean everyone, including the average person who was just watching it on the news.

    And I hope with time we learn to stop pointing fingers and find a common ground to develop as a country and as a people. Because at this rate, we are just going backwards…

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