Toward an equitable resolution

31 May, '11

courtesy of http://www.peacedialogue.am/In Bahrain’s recent history, no other date has been so keenly awaited than the 1st of June 2011, for on that day, the State of National Security ends, and a new era for Bahrain commences. The hope for that day is the return of the military forces to their barracks and the national dialogue resumes.

But, danger is in the offing. If people take it into their heads to confront the regime one more time, if they needlessly attempt to go out and re-occupy the erstwhile Pearl Roundabout, then in all probability they will once again be met with force which might result in loss of life, injury or at best incarceration. The indications from online forums and Facebook pages suggests that some are determined to tread that path, folly as it is. For the sake of Bahrain, I hope cooler minds prevail, and a very much restricted and proportional use of force is employed, if required to restore the peace.

What we need now are cool heads to get together, to listen and try to find ways to resolve the situation, to bring us back from the edge onto a plain on which grievances are aired and ameliorated and long lasting political solutions are sincerely sought and applied.

We do not need more violence. We currently have no need for any further demonstrations and we most certainly don’t need any fatalistic confrontations. Violence – on or by either side – will never resolve the situation, no matter how long that violence lasts.

I believe that the military’s deployment has achieved its objective of attaining enforced calm which should be used as a catalyst for positive change, for enabling the environment for dialogue. Wars have been fought throughout history in which millions perished only for bitter opponents to ultimately sit across a table to find common grounds and resolve their differences.

We should be under no illusion that things will magically get fixed. Nor should we fall into the trap of believing that our differences will be ameliorated in a matter of days, weeks, months or even years. The path ahead is littered with thorns and dead-ends; honest people must put Bahrain above their own personal, political and communal desires and work toward an inclusive and mutually beneficial outcome. Most of the demands are still legitimate and must be addressed for the country to move forward.

Political problems require political solutions; therefore, an honest and inclusive national dialogue is the only way forward. Let’s create the environment for that to succeed.


update 110531@1910: related news: Bahrain King offers July reform talks

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  1. Lizardo says:

    to avoid (the explosion) we need to cool up the heat first, u can’t just wish that the container don’t explode while the temperature getting higher everyday.

    I thought I would read some suggestions from u those will fix the problem not delay it.

    Good article though

    • mahmood says:

      The problem is a complex one that I wouldn’t assume for a second I have the exclusive solution. What I do offer is my unfettered help in any way that I can muster to help the country and its people move forward.

      Not sure how you interpreted that what I offered is a hindrance in any way and would like to know how you came to that conclusion.

  2. Dave says:

    Very wise words as usual Mahmood! I am concerned though that with the SNS ending tomorrow, there has been almost nothing from the govt on dialogue. Surely if they are serious to talk, they would have announced this prior to June 1 in an effort to defuse the situation. This has not happened.

    Noone can simply forget what has happened over the past months and clearly justice must prevail. However due to the fact that blood is (most likely) on the hands of both parties, neither the govt nor the opposition can adjudicate. What needs to happen is an international tribunal be established to probe the allegations and criminal acts by both sides. Will the govt accept this? I have my doubts.

    • mahmood says:

      I completely agree that an independent commission must be sought to mount a fact finding mission regarding the recent and ongoing events. Without knowing the facts we will continue to just point fingers and shout at each other. Finding out what really happened when will allow the country to honestly move on and turn a page. I hope that this will be done as soon as possible.

  3. Dan says:

    Though I question whether this “State of National Security” made anyone “secure” other than to keep His Exalted Dictator and Daddy-Over-Bahrainis-For-Life Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa from losing His Head, reserve and distance suggest that I withhold commenting on this post until others closer to the action have had their say.

    However, as today, June 1, 2011, is the Big Day, I want to predict that a provocateured violence will occur and that the national “security” will be extended indefinitely. That’s the way dictatorships work, historically.

    If not today then soon. I just wanted to predict this before it happens.

    • mahmood says:

      I do hope that you’re wrong, but yes, there is a possibility for your prediction to come true if violence is sought and cool heads don’t take control. Then the emergency laws might well be applied and we have recent historical precedent.

      If that does happen; however, I suspect it will be more violent and more repressive than before and will get the country to spiral down an abyss for a long time to come. This scary thought alone should convince everyone to choose the path of diplomacy and seek a political solution rather than the alternative.

  4. Isa says:

    False dichotomy: Dialogue Vs. Protests

    They are not mutually exclusive. Both can go on at the same time.

    Why do we assume that citizens and activists would be violent if they decide to protest or conduct a sit-in? They have a right to do so peacefully whether we agree with what they have to say or not.

    If anything, as a society, we should protect their right to assemble and express themselves especially if we disagree with them! They need a chance to assemble, express themselves, maybe even organise themselves if they decide to, or not.

    We can’t assume that their views are being communicated fully by the political societies.

    Did we not learn anything from the past 3 months? When will we start treating people as citizens with rights? When will we respect the individual.

    • mahmood says:

      Isa there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that everyone has the right to express him/herself as they see fit. Freedom of assembly is an intrinsic human right. I agree that the two are not mutually exclusive and can be conducted simultaneously, in fact, in a lot of democracies this is exactly what is done as protests exert and maintain the pressure for change and for demands to be enacted.

      However, at this current time in Bahrain and taking into consideration what has happened since Feb 14, it is folly to pursue that track as regardless of what our constitution and written laws say, it is an extremely sensitive time and I can almost guarantee you that protests will not be favourably looked upon by most people, let alone the regime. Hence, it is more expedient at this juncture to concentrate our efforts at attempts to resolve the situation through dialogue rather than protests and sit-ins.

      • Yes, but I’m sure that the opposition and especially those who have been conducting peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins do wish dialogue to happen. The problem is with those who have been organizing the crackdown. Do they wish for dialogue?

        Peaceful human rights workers like Abulhadi al-Khawaja have been jailed and allegedly abused and tortured. I am sure these people do want dialogue. Do their jailers?

        Still, you’re right so far that good people should not go out and needlessly be killed. And I do realize that it’s easy for me to say on thousands of kilometres of distance. But it’s also not the right moment to ask “both sides” for restraint. Torture should stop, arbitrary arrests should stop, free speech should be allowed immediately. Not that this is going to happen, but until it does, it’s hard to see those who want free speech and are jailed and allegedly tortured for it as “at fault”.

      • Isa says:

        I understand your concerns, but the whole point of letting people assemble freely and demonstrate peacefully is to allow them to communicate what is important to them, not just to have them agree with the consensus view.

        It is important for us to support people’s right to express themselves even if we assume most people would not look at it favourably (which is debatable).

        It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. Citizens can protest while politicians & “civil society” pursue political resolution. If anything, street protests are important at this juncture to ensure pressure on the powers that be.

  5. mahmood says:

    this just in:

    Bahrain’s king offers July reform talks

    MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa called for talks on reform involving all parties in the Gulf Arab state “without preconditions” from July 1, the state news agency said on Tuesday.

    The offer comes as the government prepares on Wednesday to lift a state of emergency imposed in March to restore order and break up a pro-democracy protest movement following uprisings that brought down veteran rulers in Egypt and Tunisia.

    “The king called on everyone to take part…to push forward reform for development in all areas and to firmly anchor the bases of the reform process,” the Bahrain News Agency said.

    It quoted the king as saying the talks would be “comprehensive, serious and without preconditions.”

    Bahrain called on Gulf Arab forces to help break up the protests in March, and has said the Saudi and United Arab Emirates forces will remain the country indefinitely to help face a perceived threat from Shi’ite power Iran.

    Bahrain says Iran was behind the protest movement, which was dominated by majority Shi’ites.

    The authorities unleashed a campaign of detention and dismissals during martial law that has affected thousands of people who took part, mainly Shi’ites.

    Dozens of Shi’ite places of worship have also been demolished and four people have died in custody.

    Twenty-one opposition figures — seven of whom are abroad — are on military trial on charges of seeking to overthrow the system. Rights activists say they were tortured.

    U.S. President Barack Obama criticised the crackdown in a speech this month saying the government should begin dialogue with peaceful opposition leaders.

    The king praised the National Unity Rally in the speech before a gathering of Bahraini journalists. The rally is a government-backed Sunni group that emerged during the unrest as a counterweight to Shi’ite opposition groups.

    The government had threatened to close down Shi’ite group Wefaq, the largest opposition party. No Wefaq leaders are detained or face trial.

    “Reform is the project that we have not and will not flinch from, it is the faith and the will between us and the people,” the king said.

    “Who does not want more efficient government performance? Who does not want more effective legislative representation? Or political associations and civil society groups that work in the framework of national unity and the rule of law?”

    Reuters via swissinfo.ch

  6. Fysth says:

    That’s promising, now if only there were a way of bringing the 29 people who died back to life so that their widows, sons and daughters can stop crying, that would be swell.

    The reality that Hamad and his family don’t yet understand is that their heavy-handedness resulted in the death of 29 people (4 in prison under torture), the firing of over 2000 people including straight-A university students, the injury of thousands (some of which lost eyes, limbs, etc), the disappearances of tens, the imprisonment of over 1000 and the tarnishing of the reputations of tens of people through state media programs and websites.

    How are we going to compensate all of those affected?

    What Hamad and his cousins from across the gulf did is irreversible. Your heart is in the right place, Mahmood, but unfortunately, the situation has been complicated to a great extent.

    It is too late to say “Sorry guys, mistakes were made, let’s kiss and make up”.

    The whole developed world has realized the inherent corruption in absolute monarchies and moved past them. It is time that we did too.

    • mahmood says:

      How are we going to compensate all of those affected?

      Justice and time will take care of this my friend. Just as both have taken care of countless conflicts and millions of souls lost.

      The alternative is continuous conflict that will serve no one.

      What we should concentrate on apart from the above is instituting a cohesive constitutional monarchy which respects human rights and guards their freedoms. I believe that is doable and the dialogue is a good vehicle for their achievement and advancement. Though no one should be under any illusions that this will be effected immediately. It will take time – probably years – but the end result is a peaceful country in which people can happily coexist.

      What we need is an evolutionary process rather than a chaotic revolutionary one. The first can be achieved, the second is a far fetched fantasy.

      • A “chaotic revolutionary process” could indeed be achieved, but nothing good would come of it. Alas, the only place that could lead is into a ghastly civil war. But it’s not a fantasy, only a very bad direction. I sincerely hope Bahrain will find a peaceful evolutionary process which will secure the rights of all its people.

  7. Coolred38 says:

    Protest tomorrow…or same time next year? What difference would it make to the Khalifas who will still be in power…still come down with undue force…and still demand complete compliance. Same shit…different day…as the saying goes.

    As for returning to dialogue as the King mentioned…rather hard to take him seriously considering all those he has had jailed and who are now in court facing life altering verdicts.

    • mahmood says:

      What would you have done?

      Carry on protesting and collecting more bodies for their troubles? No my friend, there are other ways in which a “war” – for want of a better word – could be fought. Continued demands for transparency, fight corruption, better education, enshrine and practice human rights and equal opportunities is a better way forward. They’re all achievable. They all require sacrifices of time and compromise to reach consensus. This is the evolution we need, rather than the revolution that will exact a tremendous amount of souls which would have needlessly be lost with no guarantee of success.

      Even water droplets with time can crack a solid rock!

    • Rashid says:

      This is the exact negative mentality that we should abolish now before it is too late. We should leave this bubble of thinking that we are being victimized. It has brought nothing but hate and more divide.

      As for Bahrainis that are imprisoned, as far as I know the majority( mushaima, khawaja, abdulwahab hussain, etc.) were actually inciting hatred and chaos by fueling the minds of youth, who are now suffering as a result.

  8. Robok says:

    Realistically speaking how the hell can you proceed with dialogue when as of today all the political leaders are being tried in court, in prison, or summoned to the martial court for criminal charges? Who’s left to “dialogue” with if those who supposedly represented the wide spectrum of views amongst the protesters is in fact missing?

    Not to mention that arrests and mid-night raids are _still_ happening, which indicates that the crackdown hasn’t stopped, only slowed.

    You can’t have dialogue while following the path of oppression, I think the closest we ever were to an atmosphere of dialogue was when the the CP first called for it right after after lives were sadly lost in the first Pearl Roundabout raid, what we got now is a conflicting message.

    • mahmood says:

      My suggestion is for all concerned to get to the table. Take a seat. Smile and say salaams and then put in the very first demand for the authorities to immediately release all political prisoners and absolve them of any guilt. Set the date for the next meeting to be immediately after the political prisoners are released.

      That would work, wouldn’t it? That would satisfy the “condition” of starting the dialogue without any conditions. The rest, is bloody hard work. The hardest of all is to get those around the table to have an open mind and a clear conscience for what they are about to demand/agree upon.

      We have to start somewhere. We *know* from previous recent experience that the alternative just doesn’t work!

      • Robok says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for dialogue, and I certainly don’t agree with the alternative (protesting), but I can’t blame people for not trusting the gov’t and not moving forward with dialogue.

        Everyone I’ve talked to about dialogue is sceptical about whether it will have fruits or not, since in the past years all it produced was masked blessings, and what the gov’t is doing right now does not help in clearing that image or re-establishing trust with its people.

      • Fysth says:

        The Minister of Justice said in his interview with Alarabiya that there are no political prisoners in Bahrain and that all those in prison were arrested for crimes that they had committed. On another note, Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights wrote today on Twitter that Ayat Alqormazi, the 20 year old girl who was arrested for reading a poem, told her family today that she was spat on in her mouth and that, among other things, brushes used to clean toilets were wiped on her face.

        I don’t wish to be cynical about the government’s intentions, but it’s hard not to be so.

      • ajax says:

        we dont have political prisoners

        depend if you mean by political prisoners ,you mean those how spread hate and incited violence against other for a lame excuse sluming them “بلطجيه!”

  9. NK says:

    Mahmood, I applaud your efforts to always look for a positive solution and I hope that this is a beginning of a new era. Bahrain needs more people like you, free to write and help develop opinions. As you said, the original demands were legitimate and the biggest source of good faith would be that the dialogue proceeds based on this attitude.

    You refer to “equitable” : but equity is not possible while many people have lost their jobs and liberty. While it is said that there should be no preconditions, the fact is that preconditions have already been created by the incarceration of many who believe in a better, brighter Bahrain.

    As an act of creating an environment where equity seems posible, do you think this should be addressed?

    • mahmood says:

      Equity can (and should) be regained.

      There isn’t any doubt in my mind that the political prisoners will be released, students will return to their schools and universities and those who have been unfairly dismissed will return to their work or be compensated. Continuing on with the knee-jerk and belligerent reactions won’t help anyone, including the regime.

  10. Robert says:

    Look guys it is really simple.

    For a proper constitutional monarchy with a representative government to be installed the King has to give up power.

    You can either persuade (allow?) him to give it up in a peaceful, adult and mature way or you can try and take it.

    There is no point wringing your hands and looking back at what has happened – decide how do you get to grips with what is to come?

    Clearly the second option is a non-starter.

  11. Leo says:

    Peaceful, adult and mature are not the words I would use to describe the past three months of national safety in Bahrain.

    So rather than “hand wringing” perhaps all that people need is to see that maturity is possible from those that actually hold the power. Let’s hope that this is possibe and reciprocal.

  12. Ahmed Mohammed says:

    1- The case here is not 2 sides fighting each others “i.e. regime vs citizens”, rather multiple sides exist, some support the regime and some are not, if the regime to fall … a civil war will break and no one want that.

    2- There is no “black” side nor 1″white” side, all side made mistakes and allowed extremist to take over, “gray” is the color here

    3- from my point of view the only way to resolver the issue in hand is real dialog followed by real reforms.

    4- Sunni side got legitimize fear of extremist shia “Wilayat al Faqih” and shia should address that. the reverse case can be made also.

    5- Any one not aiming for modern civil state should not be part of the dialog.

    • Fysth says:

      Ahmed, please, for the love of all that is holy, help me understand this: How many times do the Shia have to say “Guys, we DON’T WANT a theocracy like Iran” for the Sunnis to realize that…the Shia “don’t want a theocracy like Iran”.

      There is a clip on YouTube where Ibrahim Sharif (a Sunni) is in the Pearl Roundabout and he point-blank asks the protestors: “Does anyone here want a system like that in Iran?” And everyone says “No”, with one person adding “Not even our leaders want that”.

      Ali Salman, the leader of the biggest opposition party in Bahrain has said the same on countless occasions and has emphasized that their one and only goal is a “civil” form of government where people are treated as Bahrainis. Period.

      The “Alliance for a Republic” clearly said: “We call for a democractic republic…” How on Earth that was misconstrued to mean “Islamic Republic” is truly beyond me. Nowhere in Hasan Mushaima or A.Wahab’s speeches and writings in the past 10 years has there ever been a mention of their desire to form an Islamic government in Bahrain.

      The idea of a religious state is dead. Even the religious parties in Bahrain know that. So please, my friend, let’s stop beating this dead horse.

      • Ahmed Mohammed says:

        I saw these YouTube clips before, but there is a case of mistrust here which need to be addressed, let’s see:

        1- Will guess what ..in Iranian Revolution
        the opposition included liberals because the plan for clerical rule was hidden, quoting “Iranian Revolution” Wikipedia article:
        “Khomeini worked to unite this opposition behind him (with the exception of the unwanted `atheistic Marxists`),[57][58] focusing on the socio-economic problems of the Shah’s regime (corruption and unequal income and development),[57][59] while avoiding specifics among the general public that might divide the factions,[60] — particularly his plan for clerical rule which he believed most Iranians had become prejudiced against as a result of propaganda campaign by Western imperialists.[61][62]
        In the post-Shah era, some revolutionaries who clashed with his theocracy and were suppressed by his movement complained of deception,[63] but in the meantime anti-Shah unity was maintained.[64]

        2- We all know that Ali salman and Alwafaq theologically linked to Shiite cleric sheikh Isa Qassim , the founding chairman of the Ulama council. and Isa Qassim is clergymen (evidence by his opposition to Family/Personal Status Law for example)

        3- Iran interference was clear , “We recognize that Iran has tried to take advantage of the turmoil there, and that the Bahraini government has a legitimate interest in the rule of law. ” Obama words not mine.

        4- “Alliance for a Republic” = Wafa Islamic party + Haq movement + Bahrain Ahrar movement (all of which come from a theological background)

        5- *OK i am sleepy, i will write point 5 tomorrow”

        • Isa says:

          Lessons form Iran.

          Key to Iran turning into a theocracy was the clerics ability to control the military which was mostly a cohesive group ethnically & religiously. Bahrain’s security and military apparatus is of a different sect from the opposition leaders of a theological background that you fear, so the idea that Bahrain would turn into Iran-style theocracy ignores this reality.

          Furthermore, even if we got rid of the racist security & military policy of not employing Shia, our security and military forces would become multi-ethnic and multi-religious, meaning that even if a strong right-wing religious party came into power in the future, they wouldn’t be able to transform our society by force into a theocracy.

          Separation of powers (executive, legislature & judiciary) and enshrining the human and civil rights of citizens as individuals constitutionally is the way we protect ourselves from theocracy. Inherent in this is respect for free press, freedom of expression and freedom to assemble or to organise (i.e. civil society and civic movements).

          Right now, the government/royal family co-opt or control nearly all civic institutions apart form the political societies, opposition groups and part of the labour movement. Anything that isn’t protected by either an already large base of members (e.g. labour organisations) and/or religious protection (e.g. Wefaq) is either co-opted or crushed (Wa’ad).

          More democracy is the solution, not repression. The more we repress people and shut down civil society’s ability to oppose the government then we effectively push people to seek refuge and to organise along ethnic & religious lines.

          Its interesting to note that the reason Iran had a revolution in 1979 was because they were oppressed by an USA backed monarch, who incidentally was put back in power earlier after a CIA backed coup got rid of the democratically elected PM (this is not a conspiracy theory, even mainstream USA academics acknowledge this). Let’s not make the same mistake by oppressing people further.

          Let’s also remember Iran’s earlier revolution, decades before the 1979 revolution, i.e. the Persian constitutional revolution that led to a establishment of a parliament and more democracy.

          • Steve the American says:

            If Iran was oppressed by a US-backed monarchy, what is their state of affairs now? Liberty?

            There is a passage from Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago” where he compares the feeble oppression of the Tsar’s Cheka to the robust oppression of the Bolshevik’s NKVD. Your complaints againt the Shah compared to the ayatolluhs sounds much the same.

            One of the reasons the Iranians could revolt is that the Shah did not have the mechanisms of repression in place that the mullahs have. History shows us that liberal revolutions replace the casual repression of monarchs with reigns of terror by the revolutionaries.

            I might also point out that the minute that Iran rejected its alliance with the US, its Muslim brothers in Iraq immediately attacked it with the loss of a million lives.

            Without America to keep the peace, you’d kill each other for nothing.

          • Isa says:

            Just to make it clear. Iran’s current regime is oppressive. I’m not an apologist for them. The point of highlighting that lesson is to show that they were on the track of modernising and becoming more democratic with the election of a PM “Mosaddeq” when the CIA engineered a coup to back the Monarch, the Shah of Iran. That Shah was oppressed any political dissent for 25 years with USA backing which ended in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The lesson is not to stand against democratic uprisings, because you will make the opposition much more extreme & radical.

            The parallels to Bahrain are that Saudi and the USA are still standing by their ally the AlKhalifa family against real democracy (constitutional rights, separation of powers & an elected government). The leader of the main secular opposition party is in prison and the party has been shut down.

            The other reason I mentioned Iran was to show that the power-bases (military ‘s composition, loyalty & societal structure of Bahrain) and the nature of the current opposition movement in Bahrain are very different from the conditions that turned Iran from an oppressive Monarchy to an oppressive theocracy. It simply could not happen in Bahrain even if it was wanted. For more on the attitudes of Bahrainis towards the role of religion in politics I suggest you read Justin Gengler’s recent article in foreign affairs. It has a lot of figures from his primary research on this every topic and is part of his PhD on the same.

            According to Freedom House, 1 out of every 2 revolutions that use primarily non-violent resistance (including civil disobedience where appropriate) are successful and result in more democratic regimes. Which isn’t a much better rate than military coups. Bahrain has all the conditions for a successful transition to democracy, a history of political party participation (a decade), a history of an open & liberal society, etc…

            As for your discussion about Iraq & Iran war, well the USA and Russia’s role in the geopolitics of that are clear. Again, I don’t see the parallels between that and Bahrain? Are you suggesting Bahrain would go to war with one of its neighbours? Ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous an idea as that other country’s would attack one another because of a democratically elected government in Bahrain. Bahrain is not war torn Iraq. It is a small Island of 600,000 nationals who, for the most part, want to organise their affairs democratically. Reality check.

          • Isa says:

            Please Note Edit/Error/Typo in my post above. Military coup’s have a much WORSE record of transition to democracy than civilian uprisings. Note change as follows:

            According to Freedom House, 1 out of every 2 revolutions that use primarily non-violent resistance (including civil disobedience where appropriate) are successful and result in more democratic regimes. Which is a much better rate than military coups. Bahrain has all the conditions for a successful transition to democracy, a history of political party participation (a decade), a history of an open & liberal society, etc…

  13. Dan says:

    Do NOT be distracted while two faithist (as opposed to reason) factions squabble over whose myth is to be the societal standard in Bahrain.

    [offensive content deleted]

    Until he AND them are run out of town, Bahrain will face the same fate as the rest of planet Earth: slavery in ever increasing degradation.

    There will be periods of easing up, to be sure, but the trend will continue until all the Earth is nothing but a living Hell and most of humanity is finally exterminated.

    “When you tell the truth, you piss EVERYONE off.”

    —William Cooper

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy4EyBstOsA

    Ed: Dan, please abide by the comment policy on this site. I shall not tolerate such offensive comments. You can portray your views quite adequately without resorting to such methods.

    • Dan says:

      Here is your Comment Policy posted at http://mahmood.tv/policies/comments-policy/

      “1. If you use profane language, that comment will be held in moderation or deleted. If you can’t see it within a few hours of posting it (if I’m awake that is) that means I most probably deleted it, you are more than welcome to re-enter your comment using respectful language.
      2. If you have used more than 3 links (currently) then that comment will be held in moderation, as the system thinks that it might be spam, and we all love that meat, so I have to have a look at it first before releasing it. In most cases that happens pretty quick, if you still can’t see it, you’re more than welcome to contact me to alert me of the possibility that your comment is lost in the moderation queue.
      3. If you’ve entered a comment that is irrelevant to the topic you are commented on, then expect it to be deleted. At my sole discretion. This is not a traditional forum but a weblog, if you wish to bring something to my attention, please use the Contact Form and I will choose whether to pursue the matter, but thank you very much for your contribution though, I do appreciate you making the effort in notifying me.
      4. You’ve been a bad boy and you have been banned from Mahmood’s Den, and you are tagged as such, then there is no way in hell that your comment would be approved. Save yourself the effort and go into your own world, this place is not for you. Even IF your comment sneaks through the cracks, I will make sure that I will hunt and delete it promptly. Begging for my forgiveness sometimes – but very rarely – works.

      Obviously all of these are subject to change at any time without any notice totally and solely at my discretion.”

      My deleted description of your monarch does comply with this published comment policy. Perhaps you have changed your comment policy without notice. If so then it would be honorable of you to publish this change so that those of us who comment on Mahmood’s Den will do so fully informed of the criteria we are expected to comply with.

      Personally, as an American, I think that monarchies are medieval forms of government and should be allocated to the trash heap of history and that is where they belong.

      As you, Mahmood, obviously disagree then I offer you the following quote from Samuel Adams, American Founding Father:

      “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say “what should be the reward of such sacrifices?”

      Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plow, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth?

      If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animated contest of freedom — go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms.

      Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”

      If my opinions and my words are unwelcome here, Mahmood, then just let me know and I will go away and cease commenting on your blog.

    • Steve the American says:

      Dan,

      Here’s an essay on how not to look crazy on the Internet. Learn it, love it, live it:

      http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/tips-for-not-appearing-crazy-on-the-internet/?singlepage=true

  14. Louis says:

    “The regime’s reform agenda, despite the rhetoric, will not encompass anything resembling a meaningful reduction in the power of the Khalifa [family] or a notable empowerment of Bahrain’s Shiite majority in particular,” said Wayne White, an expert at the Middle East Institute in Washington

  15. Bahraini girl me says:

    Hi

    I have been following your blog for quite some time –even before things started going crazy here in Bahrain and I would like to say Thank you for everything you have shared or discussed..

    I am a Bahraini living in this land for 26 years and maybe my letter is the least important I have not been directly hit by police, nor had a relative killed, I have not lost my job and thanks to Allah for All of his blessing…

    At first I kept saying 14 Feb! Just a game nothing would ever happen and I even laughed a lot about it! The day came and people started falling!! It shocked me to the core and I decided to go and see what is it all about.. I have not uttered a single word against any particular individual, even started making excuses for the government and for the people of Bahrain until I have had it! All parties made mistakes and there is no doubt about that!!!

    But what kills me is all the broken promises all the words that makes no meaning now, the king himself asked for investigation in the first 2 cases were Ali and Fadhel passed away! Actually killed! But we have not seen anything yet!! And magically those who supposedly killed police are arrested (if they did it they need to be punished but I am not so sure they did!)..

    Now, I always supported the dialogue, it is the only way forward but there is no guarantees from both parties!.. 30 lives or so are lost more and more people are leaving Bahrain- Many are jobless! And the list continues! People hate each other Sunni against Shiite! And no one has the right to cancel one another! I mean let’s be realistic we are all Muslims! Even the most sectarian and discussing forum that is the Bahrain forum is still open and widely used for people to spread the hate even more! I am just ashamed it carry the name of my beloved country!

    People acted in despicable ways! Reporting on people and colleagues, calling each other names, publishing stolen photos! Horrible stuff! Which is not ending!..

    Bahrain needs change, from all parties even the opposition! But government must lead the way! So that we can have some faith in them! I used to respect and had faith on the CP- him being the person I knew most but not I am losing faith and I hate it!

    How do you mend the broken hearts? How would you heal the people! How would you restore trust? A lot of questions which no one can answer.. I see the hate everywhere and it’s just a negative energy that kills me!!!

    As I said it might be the least important post but I needed to air my voice – besides I am not entitled to in real life! As Sunni will look at me as Shiite kafer and for some reason Irani! and Shiite will think I don’t hear and see the pain – which I do..

    Regards,

    Bahraini girl

  16. Fysth says:

    If you did that kind of analysis in grad school, you would certainly get an F 🙂

    We will agree to disagree (I don’t really have the stamina to get into a pissing match), but let me say this: To say that all the opposition in Bahrain are lying when they say they want a civil state and not a theocracy and that they in fact have a hidden agenda __just because__ some Iranian mullas ended up with a theocracy 30 years ago (as the result of a refendum, by the way – a minor point you forgot to mention) is simply ludicrous.

    They may be lying, I cannot read people’s minds (a talent perfected by the Bahraini government it seems), but your way of proving implication is somewhat nonsensical, my friend.

    • Ahmed Mohammed says:

      1. Will if i got an F, i will fix my shortcomings and try again, i am not perfect you know, but i am sure i am logical 🙂

      2. My comments are purely made to discuss and exchange ideas not to piss someone, in fact i try to understand the other side as much as i can. yes sometime i make sarcastic comments , but sarcasm when used correctly is a good tool.

      3. No where did i say “all the opposition in Bahrain are lying” all i said is tat there is a case of mistrust … which is rally there and need to be addressed.

      4. As i said before the fear is from extremist and not all the opposition .

      5. I tried to give some causes of this mistrust albeit not a scientific ones but the best ones i can come up with.

      6. I can’t read people’s mind either ( I wish i can)

      7. finally my friend i respect your opinion , and i expect the other side to do the same.

      8. one more thing: i am not in the government, but i am not in the mainstream opposition side either, i truly believe in dialog and reforms as the solution to the issue.

      9. There is no point 9 , yes I am trying to be funny but failing miserably 🙂 تلطيف جو

  17. Steve the American says:

    The revolution is over in Bahrain: The monarchy won and democracy lost. Bahrain is not your country, never was, and never will be. You just happen to live there. The monarchy owns it and can do whatever it likes, even kill you if it amuses them. The Saudis back them and nothing the Saudis do makes the world a better place.

    I see an uneasy peace ahead. The government will make a show of listening to its people and the people will make a show of speaking. Some of you may be so naive as to believe it is authentic, not a shadow play that means nothing. It will be much more comforting to believe the fiction rather than face the reality.

    The government may throw you a bone in the form of punishing some perpetrators of atrocities, which will be people they didn’t like anyway and were trying to get rid of. They’ll spank them and send them on their way. We have discovered and punished the guilty parties who were responsible for all of this unpleasantness, they’ll tell you.

    And then things will go back to exactly the way they were before.

    You could flee, but Arab Muslims have made themselves pariahs in most of the sweet spots of the world. Europe is closing the door to Arab Muslim immigrants and here in America we certainly don’t want you. We have enough home-grown Muslims plotting to kill us. A new Muslim terror plot is uncovered about once every two weeks here. Few here want Muslim neighbors.

    You might try India or Indonesia. They don’t offer the dream life of the West but then they won’t shoot you down in your own streets for having a thought in your head that begs to be said.

    But there is no future for you in Bahrain.

    • Fysth says:

      Wow, never have a read a piece that I wholeheartedly agreed with after the first half and then wholeheartedly disagreed with after the second half. That’s some talent you’ve got there.

      The West certainly doesn’t offer a “dream” life; if so, expats from the West wouldn’t be flocking eastward, lured by fat paychecks, 0% income tax and dirt-cheap gas.

      I’ll have your academic institutions, Nobel laureates, philosophers, scientists, freedom, transparency, accountability any day; your questionable moral codes, deluded politicians, bad weather and TV evangelists, you can keep for yourself thank you very much.

      • Steve the American says:

        Fysth,

        If you don’t think you can live your life’s dream in the West, particularly America, I’m happy to let you convince yourself otherwise and let you stay where you are.

        Meanwhile, I can scribble a sign that says Obama screws goats, walk up to the White House fence, and wave it while the Secret Service looks on and yawns. I invite you to do the same for your king in Bahrain.

  18. Dan says:

    “Steve The-CIA-Web-Bot:” I started to agree with you as I read the first four paragraphs above. Then I realized that you were only tossing a grain of truth into your response in order to build a pedestal for your lies in paragraph five.

    Here in America there are MANY Muslims and they are ALL welcome. I count several Muslims among my friends. I have worked with Muslims and I have found them no different than anyone else. (For what it is worth, I also count some Hindus among my friends.)

    There has NEVER been ANY Muslim plot to perform ANY kind of terror or insurrection in America. While the American government, via the FBI, the CIA, and other more shadowy and nefarious “protectors of the public good” have allegedly thwarted some such plots, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM HAS PROVEN BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT TO HAVE BEEN GOVERNMENT PROVOCATEURED. I can list the proof here if anyone can’t find it on the internet for themselves.

    Among these is the government demonstrated complicity in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building here in Oklahoma City in 1995 (April 19th no less; the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord which started the American Revolution.)

    And as for the frequency of such occurances, it is certainly NOT “about once every two weeks” but more like every couple of years.

    Besides, Mahmood knows very well that he is WELCOME here in Oklahoma City because he used to fly airliners in and out of here. The only difference now, thanks to government provocateured “terror” incidents, Mahmood would have his privates groped by the TSA at the airport both coming and going.

    And I would say that there is certainly a future for Mahmood not only in Bahrain but anywhere Mahmood might go…which is pretty much all over the planet. Mahmood is an upstanding individual and a fine character.

    • Steve the American says:

      Dan,

      Seek psychiatric help for your delusions.

      • Dan says:

        For the record, Steve, I have NO delusions.

        • Steve the American says:

          Your delusions are well documented if you think anyone other than Muslims is perpetrating the Islamic jihad around the world.

  19. Steve the American says:

    The Dubai-based Gulf News has had a revelation and proclaimed that Arab dictators are worse than Zionists:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/06/05/arab-newspaper-why-arab-dictators-are-worse-than-the-zionists/

    Evidently, it takes thousands of murdered Arabs in the streets by their own government before Arab journalists give up their religious bigotry and start to tell the truth: Your own governments are your main enemy.

  20. Dan says:

    Direct from the District of Semiramus (Columbia)…

    Were you at the Dance, Steve?

  21. exclamation mark says:

    Well before any dialogue to start, trust is to be restored first, otherwise things will blow up again. And something is also to be taken into consideration, that the political environment had changed, people now are more aware and more able to understand things.

    Those events in the last few months, had proven alot of things that were sceptical, and falsified alot of things too, the thouhgts of the people had changed. Thats why, both the opposition and especially the government need to be very careful in dealing with the situation because of its delicacy.

    It is time to restore trust and credibility amongst the people. You can’t call for a dialogue without any prerequisites to start such a thing. You can’t call for a dialogue with people still suffering and not feeling safe.

    • Steve the American says:

      Once you’ve shot protestors down in the street, trust is gone, never to return. Bahrain is run on pure coercion now, if that wasn’t always the case.

      You can’t have honest dialogue with anyone who reserves the right to kill you if you disagree.

      • exclamation mark says:

        Steve,

        If you’re looking for a dialogue, if there is no trust, there should some sort of assurances or solid ground to start on.

        • Steve the American says:

          What kind of assurance would you find credible from somebody who is killing people like you?

          • exclamation mark says:

            Well before starting, everyone other than the people calling for a republic, are looking forward for a dialogue, and for that you need a basis to start on, don’t you?

            Only if you’re going to mark this as a failure even before anything starts…

  22. exclamation mark says:

    Steve,

    What you’ve mentioned in your long reply, is very much true, but for alot of people here, this just might spark anger again, and won’t be the end of the story as you thought.

  23. unJane says:

    It is the responsibility of government to listen to its people and respond to their needs. Additionally, during a crisis the government should be able to step in and diffuse the situation and arrange for all parties to sit together and work toward a peaceful solution. It seems to me that the Bahraini govt. has done nothing but add fuel to the fire and I fear this will continue to drag on for a very long time. Bahrain and her people deserve a better future.

  24. unJane says:

    @ Mahmood – are you pleased or disappointed by F1’s decision to skip Bahrain this year?

  25. Jared in NYC says:

    A plea from Nicholas Kristof to King Hamad

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/09/opinion/09kristof.html?_r=1&hp

  26. Dan says:

    ‘West involved in Bahrain’s oppression’

    PressTV: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/184103.html

    • Robert says:

      The British government revoked all export licences for tear gas, stun grenades and all other crowd suppression materials immediately after the Feb 14th troubles.

  27. Steve the American says:

    Salim Mansur argues that the reason Arab nations remain stuck on stupid is their culture, to wit their inability to recognize the Other and their fear of freedom:

    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/10/arab-world-a-relic-of-history

    In the case of Bahrain, the government regards its own people as the Other.

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