Why no dialogue? The opposition’s answer

3 Mar, '11

The political societies released a statement this afternoon explaining their position regarding the national dialogue called for by the Crown Prince almost two weeks ago.

Here are their reasons, and my translation (errors in translation are mine alone and done in good faith):

Press Conference of the Assemblies of political opposition societies on the reasons for its call to overthrow the government

The seven opposition political societies invites you to join the Bahraini masses to attend the grand march on Friday, March 4, 2011, entitled “Down with the government.” The association believes the opposition to the current government to depart, for the following reasons:

1. The need for a transitional government of officers with integrity whose hands have not been contaminated with the blood of martyrs to pave the way for the transition to real reform.

2. The professional and ethical responsibility of the Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman for the government’s mistakes and excesses and failures and violations of the law for over 40 years.

3. Repeated and serious human rights violations since the seventies and which led to the deaths of dozens of martyrs shot dead by security forces or who died in the dungeons of torture and the wounding and arresting of thousands of protesters since the seventies of the last century.

4. The responsibility of the Ministers of Interior and Defense for the killings which occurred since February 14, 2011 and that led to the fall of seven martyrs and resulted in hundreds of wounded, and the responsibility of the Head of the National Security Service for the resurgence of torture over the last few years.

5. The government’s failure to achieve a minimum of decent living for citizens, despite the huge oil money flowing by the height of more than 5 times in ten years.

6. The government’s failure to solve the housing problem, leading to the exacerbation of the number of people on the waiting list within ten years from 32 to 54 thousand.

7. Senior government officials enriching themselves at the expense of the people through commissions on tenders and the seizure of State lands and seas.

8. The Finance Minister’s obfuscating the government’s expenditure figures in order to fund the expenses of the Royal Court and the Royal Family Council as well as hiding information on the fate of budget surpluses.

9. The government’s contribution to the destruction of the social fabric through political naturalization and its effects on economic and social issues, where the political naturalization of nearly sixty thousand between 2001 and 2007, notwithstanding the political naturalization which occurred both before and after that period.

10. The control of half of the cabinet seats by one family, especially the sovereign portfolios of defense, interior and foreign affairs in addition to the post of prime minister and his two deputies.

11. Its contribution to the discrimination between citizens and the increase of sectarianism and the exclusion of competent national talent and strengthening the system of tribal and royal family privileges during recruitment and promotions in the different branches of government.

المؤتمر الصحفي للجمعيات السياسية المعارضة حول أسباب دعوتها إسقاط الحكومة

دعت الجمعيات السياسية السبع المعارضة الجماهير البحرينية لحضور المسيرة الكبرى عصر الجمعة 4 مارس 2011 بعنوان “فلتسقط الحكومة”. وترى الجمعيات المعارضة أن على الحكومة الحالية أن ترحل، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

١. الحاجة لحكومة انتقالية من أصحاب الكفاءة والنزاهة ممن لم تتلوث أياديهم بدماء الشهداء لتمهد للانتقال لمرحلة إصلاح حقيقي.

٢. المسؤولية المهنية والأخلاقية لرئيس الحكومة الشيخ خليفة بن سلمان عن أخطاء الحكومة وتجاوزاتها وإخفاقاتها وانتهاكاتها وخروجها عن القانون على مدى 40 عاما.

٣. الانتهاكات المتكررة والخطيرة لحقوق الإنسان منذ السبعينيات والتي أدت إلى سقوط عشرات الشهداء برصاص قوات الأمن أو في أقبية التعذيب وإصابة واعتقال آلاف المحتجين منذ سبعينيات القرن الماضي.

٤. مسؤولية وزيري الداخلية والدفاع عن أعمال القتل التي وقعت منذ 14 فبراير 2011 وأدت إلى سقوط 7 شهداء ومئات الجرحى، ومسؤولية رئيس جهاز الأمن الوطني عن انبعاث التعذيب من جديد خلال السنوات الماضية.

٥. إخفاق الحكومة في تحقيق حد أدنى من العيش الكريم للمواطنين رغم أموال النفط الضخمة المتدفقة جراء ارتفاعه أكثر من 5 مرات خلال عشر سنوات.

٦. أخفاق الحكومة في حل مشكلة الإسكان، بل وتفاقمها حيث ارتفع عدد المواطنين في قائمة الانتظار خلال عشر سنوات من 32 لفا إلى 54 ألفا.

٧. قيام كبار المسؤولين في الحكومة بالإثراء على حساب الشعب من خلال عمولات المناقصات والاستيلاء عل أراضي الدولة وبحارها.

٨. إخفاء وزير المالية والحكومة أرقام المصروفات السرية التي تذهب لتمويل نفقات الديوان الملكي ومجلس العائلة الحاكمة وغيرها وإخفائهم معلومات حول مصير فوائض الميزانية.

٩. إسهام الحكومة في تخريب النسيج الاجتماعي من خلال عمليات التجنيس السياسي الواسعة ذات الآثار الاقتصادية والاجتماعية المدمرة حيث قامت بتجنيس ما يقارب 60 ألفا في الفترة ما بين 2001 و 2007 عدا التجنيس السياسي الذي تم قبل وبعد هذه الفترة.

١٠. سيطرة عائلة واحدة على نصف مقاعد الحكومة، خاصة الحقائب السيادية من دفاع وداخلية وخارجية إضافة لمنصب رئيس الوزراء واثنين من نوابه.

١١. مساهمتها في التمييز بين المواطنين وإذكاء الطائفية وإقصاء الكفاءات الوطنية وتعزيز نظام الامتيازات القبلية والعائلية من خلال عمليات التعيين والترقي في أجهزة الحكومة المختلفة.

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Comments (36)

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  1. Robok says:

    The fact that the King himself went to congratulate the Riot police for a “job well done” right the killings is disturbing. Makes you sceptical of the government’s intention of actual talk.

    But I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  2. ajax says:


    may the fail be with you o.0

  3. Dan says:

    Still got “The Crown Prince” eh? Does any of THIS sound familiar?…

    He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

    He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

    He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

    He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

    For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

    For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

    For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

    For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

    For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

    For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

    For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

    For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

    He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

    He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

    He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

    • mahmood says:

      Completely and utterly lost here. What are you talking about?

      • peacefulmuslimah says:

        It’s from the American Declaration of Independence and is called the “Right to Petition”. Leave it to us Americans to assume everyone knows our own history and speeches – lol

      • Dan says:

        I offer my apology, Mahmood. I thought that since you have lived in the United States, or at least worked here, that you might have recognized the Declaration of Independence. Also, I thought that you might find something in the above quote that was applicable to ya’lls’ situation there in Bahrain. My bad again.

        While I do understand that your nation is in turmoil and you are trying to sort things out, I for one don’t understand why Bahrain wants to have a Grand Pooh-Bah(Crown Prince)for; a man who is elevated above everyone else with unearned and undeserved wealth and privileges and, obviously, with more powers and authority than anyone else.

        When people start getting gunned down in the street by the government there, the Crown Prince is the FIRST one that I would hold responsible. Yet for some reason Bahrainis, while giving this man such privileges, think this man is NOT supposed to bear any responsibilities.

        Well, hopefully this “Crown Price,” or at least his henchmen, WILL sit down with those who wrote the demands mentioned at the top of this post and, if not agree on anything, at least look the demanders in the eye and listen to them as they make the demands to their faces.

        Just keep in mind that if people start killing each other instead of talking then they end up dead. But it’s the ones who are doing the killing that DON’T want to talk now isn’t it? The phrase “Give as good as you get” comes to mind.

        EVERYBODY should begin talking to EVERYBODY and Mahmood’s living room…uh…Den…is as good a place as any for such a thing.

  4. Khalid says:

    He is comparing Bahrain to the USA prior to the war for independence. He has listed the reasons America fought Britain for independence. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html
    Relevance? Well, everybody needs to exercise their brain cells, even if its now and then.
    Next we’ll be seeing quotes from Niccolo Machiavelli.

  5. Cleareview says:

    Robok come to the table first! then we can talk…

    • mahmood says:

      Talk about what? The weather? Athari? Gardening? Chit Chat? Have some chai?

      This is the future of the country and if the groundwork, guarantees and a roadmap are not in place, the “talks” won’t go anywhere. What they’re asking for is reasonable enough.

      • exclamation mark says:

        Is it reasonable for Al Khalifa??

      • peacefulmuslimah says:

        I have always found it strange in Modern politics that agreements have to be reached BEFORE sitting down to talk. I can only presume it is to massage everyone’s ego, as in cases like this proceeding with negotiations is of utmost importance.

        What I read here from the opposition is a long list of complaints that have taken place over a long time that need to be addressed and resolved for peace to be restored. Nowhere does it say specifically what it would take for them to sit with the government to start talks. Am I correct that what they are saying is they will not accept talks and will only accept the overthrow of the Bahraini government? In that case, I assume they feel no need for talks.

        Insha’Allah khair, Bahrain.

        • Robok says:

          Not precisely, right now the agreed upon demand is for the country to be transformed into an actual Constitutional Monarchy(ala United Kingdom) where the royal family owns, but the people rule.

          Thing is, this is as bad as being overthrown for them, I’ve heard rumours that the Crown Prince was researching for a third option besides how it is now and what the people want, and there isn’t one.

          But yes, in entirety everyone agrees that the government needs to resign and re-elected for there to be talks.

          • peacefulmuslimah says:

            Thanks for the answer.

            By “everyone” I presume you mean everyone in the opposition since it seems to me that there are some people who do want the Al-Khalifa to stay in power and (for whatever reason) fear the alternative, right?

            I hope there will be some step towards resolution before there is any more violence or a greater impact on your economy.

          • Mohd says:

            2 days ago “everyone” might point to everyone in the opposition but after the scandal of buying BFH for 1BD I don’t think anybody would even think about keeping this government another day needless to say start a national dialogue with such people who tortured childs in prison!!! and handle the future of this country as their cash cow!!!

      • CB says:

        A basic tenet of a healthy democracy is open dialogue and transparency.
        Peter Fenn

        Dear Friend,

        As seen in this cartoon by the much loved Muharaqi (a cartoonist and national treasure) http://www.flickr.com/photos/60231397@N02/5497238442/

        The two main political currents are those in the pearl roundabout and the Al-Fateh. If these two groups agree on a list of needs and demands the crisis will be over.

        I agree the future of the country is at stake.

        Honestly, “talk about what?The weather?”

        Conceding to the demands of one group without reaching a consensus with both groups is an injustice.

        Stop this ostrich act and wake up, my fine feathered friend.

  6. Mohammada2k says:

    What fails to be brought up over and over again is that Bahrain would not be in such turmoil if the initial, and quite honestly more easily achievable, demands of the general populous were accepted.

    Instead the king sent his thugs, then apologized, and then resent his thugs, and then he sent his son to apologize.

    What everyone here must remember is that the general population of bahrain trusted hamad when he first came into power, he made promises that many bahrainis only dreamed of, and what ended up happening? He self-appointed himself king, continued stealing money, deceived the people and HE CREATED the division that many bahrainis are facing today, and i dont mean between sunni and shia, but i do mean between those who were naturalized and actual bahrainis.

    Afterwards he sent his son, the CP to try and strike a deal, but everyone please remember, corruption begets corruption, we trusted hamad son of isa, now that the trust has been lost they want us to trust his son, i’m sorry but that isn’t going to happen.

    This is the youth movement of bahrain, and no matter who stands in the way of our demands, whether they be with us or the opposition, they will have to face the consequences sooner or later. There is innocent blood on the hand of the govt and whoever supports it or strikes a deal with it.

  7. Mohammada2k says:

    oh and dont get ma started on the fact that we want the prime minister gone instead he sacks a few useless ministers, what a sham!

    how long did it take the govt to formally acknowledge that they are holding the officer that laid his weapon down and joined the protestors? AND THEY’RE ASKING FOR TRUST?? GIVE ME A BREAK!

  8. Mohammada2k says:

    khaled al khalifa is now trying to show that he is doing the best for the people and hashtagging #unitebh , here’s a simple question, wasn’t it your govt that tried to divive bahrain with political naturalization????

    REAL Bahrainis aren’t able to get passports without a rectal exam, yet you have those who are coming from different countries and given the citizenship based on their religious sect, this govt disgusts me!

  9. exclamation mark says:

    Couldn’t agree more with you Mohammed! As some people still think that they’re living in the 1700s

  10. Nhusain says:

    The opposition has many legitimate demands and some that are not legitimate and not even practical. They need to come up with a set of demands on which the majority of the citizens and residents can agree on. People need to start talking to each other. News keeps on getting worse. Things are happening in Saudi. Hardliners there and in Bahrain see this as a Shia attempt to grab power and these list of demands don’t seem to disprove that. I’m afraid that Saudi military may get involved on both sides of the border and things could get real ugly. May Allah protect us. Iran has also made made threatening statements. We are witnessing what’s happening in Libya. My advice is opposition including youth need to start talking to the CP. On the Government side there needs to be some movement in terms of independence of judiciary etc. The PM issue is a real sticking point. Governments wants him and the opposition don’t. He should ideally be out. They could compromise by agreeing to keep him if they can audit all his wealth andante returns the money to the treasury. Also this crap about naturalization needs to go. You then get into a discussion of who is real Bahraini and who is not and it distracts from the core issues of corruption and abuse of power.

  11. Da Rebel says:

    If both sides don’ trust each other that much, why not appoint an independent mediator to act as a go-between? Someone who has not axe to grind or who won’t benefit from the situation. Someone maybe from Scandinavia, or I wonder what Desmond Tutu is doing this month?

    Just a thought. It’s worked in troubled areas before. It could work here. But it does mean that all parties have to be prepared to TALK. Nothing is going to happen until they all stop messing around and start the dialogue.

    Just my 2fils

  12. They are just stalling. They don’t want to dialogue. Everytime people are coming up with new demands and raising expectations. Just like enforcing a penalty fee for each day of delays. And they are the ones delaying talks! Get it started then move it forward from there.

  13. exclamation mark says:

    The opposition parties had asked and requested for a dialogue for years, and all channels had been blocked by the Govt.

    How many petitions were made in order to for them to be handed over to the King and his Govt?

    How many requests to meet King had been raised, and all had been rejected!!

    And take into consideration the circumstances that the people (in the other face pf Bahrain) had gone thorugh the last few years just for asking for their rights!! The oppression, the brutality and torture! What a Govt. that you want to have a dialogue with, when they’re arresting 11 and 12 year olds for months???

    What do you think the opinion of a mother would be about a dialogue with a Govt that killed her son? What do you think she would say?

    People need to understand why those people in the roundabout are calling for the out throw of the ruling family and what they suffered! And than, we do not have to blame the opposition societies if they’ve put some hard conditions for a dialogue…

    You may doubt alot of what being said, or maybe deny it, because of the one sided coverage of whats happening in Bahrain.

    Mohammed Al Buflasa had been missing and jailed for just expressing his opinion, is this what you call a democratic country? Is this Govt serious when calling for a dialogue??

    It just pisses me off to see those persuading the opposition to go for the dialogue without considering the brutality and ruthlessness of the regime!

    Just a reminder:

    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      But reality is that when there is a political stand-off, not everyone will get what they think is justice. There has to be compromise to even start talking. We have to have faith that Allah will grant justice — if not in this life, then the next — and have to do our best on earth to move forward for the betterment of society.

      Just my opinion….

      • exclamation mark says:


        We have to look at things on the ground and whats happening in reality.

        The Govt. hadn’t shown the people any good will and intentions even after the events of 17 February, still there is no trust being established on the ground!!

        And about compromises, the opposition had made alot of compromises during the last 10 years. And what people think is that accepting the pre conditioned dialoge with the Govt. had compromised the innocent lives that had been killed or those suffered, and is just a step backwards as it marginalizes the “real” demands of the people!

        • peacefulmuslimah says:

          I understand how you feel. I am just saying that I personally think it will works against the greater good to allow this to continue indefinitely, like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As a mother, I cannot imagine putting my personal grief before wanting to see my nation move forward.

          I seem to remember that people looked at the CP’s initial call for a National dialogue and the reining in of the police and military as steps in the right direction. Are those not considered even a small sign of good will?

          • exclamation mark says:

            People are sceptical, because the calls of dialogue had come after pressure had been practiced to refrain from using force.

            Mohammed Al Buflasa participated in the last Parlimentary elections, nothing was said since than!

            There is a difference between political participation and someone expressing his views.

    • ajax says:

      that guy is from the military

      he is prohibited by military law from political participation

  14. exclamation mark says:

    10 years of the opposition trying to work with the Govt. according to their rules… And with no positive results…

    The people had given the Govt. 10 years and alot of chances… But no success…

    After 10 years, and after the events of 17 February, things won’t be the same, and the Govt. needs to expect a new face of the opposition…

    I hope the Govt. understands that…

  15. Anonny says:

    @Ajax Isn’t he ex-military?

    The more fair the govt. are, the less ammunition they give to snakes like Mushaima.

  16. Shiraz says:

    it is easier to start a revolution than to finish one…

  17. Kevan says:

    I think the whole situation in Bahrain, and the Middle East as a whole, can be summed up as a moment when we step out from the old, to the new. A moment when an age ends and the soul of a nation suppressed, finds utterance.

  18. exclamation mark says:

    If some one is going for a dialogue I hope he doesn’t for too easy and surrenders for more compromises and on the people’s account.

    People won’t accept any stands of weakness.

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