Lost & Disgusted

14 Jun, '11

I have been thoroughly depressed over the last few weeks. Everywhere around me bad news persists; people dancing over dead bodies and urging for more killings, people whom I thought to be friends started to regard me as a mortal enemy, people throw about choice terms like “traitor” and “unpatriotic” with vitriol and not much thought. What I previously heard as hesitant questions, whispered normally, enquiring whether a person was from “us” or “them” are now loud shouts of “he’s shi’i” and “she’s sunni” with pointed rigid fingers, blood-soaked eyes and wide open saber lined mouths not caring for the future of this country or its people.

Reason, it appears, has disappeared. The benefit of the doubt has no place.

Will a dialogue ameliorate these feelings? Will it put the country back on a reconciliatory track? Will we ever think of an inclusive “us” rather than solidify an already created and maintained cantons of rage?

I don’t know any more.

I’m just a simple Bahraini who’s now lost, and thoroughly disgusted.

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Comments (48)

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  1. eden says:

    I truly understand your feelings as a Loyal Bahraini, I myself not a Bahraini, felt bad and depressed hearing all negative news abt your country and honestly i am feud up not even 1 journalist at least to report both side of the story. God help you Sir and the people of Bahrain.

  2. FYI says:

    The day the decision was made to use the army is the day that cracked the country. It was no longer an opposition asking for more power/rights. Since the majority of the BDF is made up of sunni the government basically waged war and dragged all the sunnis to its corner and forced every Bahraini to choose sides. In the long-term we will realize that loyalty cannot be force fed.

  3. anonny says:

    As an Ingleezi who gave almost 2 decades of his life and work to Bahrain before leaving, I have been deeply upset by the past few months of strife in Bahrain. I always hoped that if problems arose in Bahrain, I would be there and be able to help in some way.

    I am and I cannot. I have never felt so useless in my life as I do now.

  4. Just Bahraini says:

    Mahmood, thank you for saying what so many of us are feeling. I too am depressed and disheartened by the apparent unending commitment to unravelling our country and society. In a strange way though, I feel better knowing I am not alone in this feeling. Not that I want you to be depressed, but your acknowledgement of it gives me hope that there are people out there who care deeply at what is still happening.

    Keep writing: you help by doing so.
    And know that true friends never really leave you. If possible, don’t write off those that need a break for awhile -reconciliation requires an open heart. If we are eventually to reconcile, we need each one of us to keep doing whatever little we can to keep the spirit of the Bahrain that we love alive

  5. anonny says:

    There’s always this dream one has that one can solve problems by getting people to talk to each other, by letting people know that you value them and appreciate their diverse viewpoints and concerns, whatever ‘side’ they are on. But the reality is never that easy and it’s also something for which outsiders such as myself don’t have answers.

    But don’t give up. This is the opportunity for the good to show the meaning of good and be identified (by people and by any watching deity) as a positive influence. In any society, it is the summons to cooperate that identifies a healer.

  6. Lizardo says:

    I feel the same. many feel the same. maybe the majority of Bahrainis feel the same!

    But as Bahrainis, we know that the current situation is just a temporary situation. Bahrainis know the real Bahrain and Bahrainis, so unless something change Bahrainis (i.e. kicking Bahrainis out and replacing them with others); Bahrain for sure will be back to its normal lovely condition, maybe better if more democracy was implemented!

  7. Robert says:

    I am not Bahraini but have lived here for 15 years. Like many people I am deeply troubled by what is going on in this wonderful country. I have a lot vested here and therefore feel a little entitled to express an opinion.

    1. The use of live ammunition against unarmed and relatively peaceful demonstrators was and is completely unacceptable. There simply has to be a recognition of this and an admission that this was wrong. An apology should be forthcoming and, if necessary and possible, someone should be punished.
    2. The anarchistic behaviour of some demonstrators induced a state of deep paranoia in the Ruling Family. In some sense they were right to be paranoid as several individuals were openly calling for their removal. In most countries around the world this is treasonous and can often result in execution or long prison sentences.
    3. The behaviour of many so-called “opposition” individuals during the period of unrest was also unacceptable. Many of these are thankfully behind bars and will be punished for their part in events.
    4. There will be no progress without an acceptance that both sides were wrong, that both sides have not acted in the best interests of Bahrain and that everyone needs a way to express their opinion.

    And before everyone jumps in with what about this and what about that there will be no progress without reconciliation, no reconciliation without dialogue and no meaningful dialogue without an acceptance of wrongs done.

    The politics of the current situation need to be put to one side, vested interests should be shelved and a maturity shown that has been sadly absent for a few months now.

    Good Luck to you all.

  8. DM says:

    Robert, of course as a long term expat you have a right to a view, but the depressing aspects of what Mahmood talks about is this cycle of finger-pointing and calling for punishment. If even an expat is judging the opposition and thanking that people are behind bars, frankly it looks like we still have a way to go. I do agree that the best way forward is for dialog to start with apologies. Let’s hope this is possible.

    • Robert says:

      DM you are correct and I should not have made the behind bars comment – my apologies. I was not judging the opposition in general just some anarchistic elements.

  9. exclamation mark says:

    Well Mahmood,

    I am totally surprised that you’ve not be called a “Safawi” or a person working for an “Iranian Agenda” yet.

  10. anonny says:

    Typo: I am not and I cannot.

    • Anonny says:

      Why did you red-button me? I was just correcting a mistake. People are _very_ touchy these days, aren’t they?

  11. anonny says:

    It’s time for dialogue. It really is. There will always be malcontents who cannot be reached, and there will always be issue with who is chosen to chair the dialogue, and the situation is far from perfect, but for goodness’s sake I implore those who lead, those whose voices are heard, those who have influence over any given group in Bahrain’s society .. please take your place at the table.

    And that includes you, Isa Qassim, you stubborn old goat. Safe at home exhorting your youth out onto the street to mess up their lives for things you don’t have the power to give them. Have a heart!

    • Sky says:

      I agree it’s time for dialogue and compromise. To give the dialogue the best chance of success it must be inclusive however. I hope that dialogue will include Ibrahim Al Sharif & Matar Matar and other prisoners of concience.

      Out of interest, please could you post links to any speeches/sermons in which Sh Isa Qassim has exhorted shia youths onto the street or advocated violence? His Friday sermons are available online, transcrips, audio & video. I haven’t yet seen a single sermon in which he has advocated taking to the streets in illegal protests as the state media is suggesting. He has also stated clearly he has no desire to speak for the people. Maybe I have missed something and if you have evidence, please do share it.

    • exclamation mark says:

      anonny,

      Isa Qassim, Al Wefaq and other parties are calling for a dialogue and reform, and I feel that there is some communication between them and the Govt. some how at this time. Otherwise, the King announcing a dialogue after a month of lifting the state of emergency would mean nothing.

      But to start a dialogue both parties need to do their best to make the political sphere in Bahrain suitable for such a thing, otherwise it would be a waste of time. And it is very clear that Al Wefaq and the other five parties are doing there best to absorb the people’s anger and getting their support, but the otherside seems to care less. Plus, you can’t solve a problem by something that is part of it. People’s lives depend on it.

      Very nervous, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel

      • Anonny says:

        @Exclamation Mark. Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your patience. I hadn’t heard of Isa Qassim’s latest utterances. Thanks for bringing me up to speed.

        It disturbs me how the religious figures have so much influence in Bahrain. I’ve spent 28 years trying to get used to it. I guess I owe it to all Bahrainis to keep trying 🙂

        After years of watching your parliament, I still feel the present govt of Bahrain is the best option. I’ve seen turbans reject a family status law that would have helped give rights to women – and I’ve seen beards call for a banning of mannequins and blocking of apartment windows. If that’s democracy it’s not one that the Bahraini nor the expat members of my family could live in comfortably.

        I hope that the dialogue yields results and that the government gets down to working with all the people and enacting some long-awaited reforms. I’m sitting here across the water hoping and hoping and hoping that it gets better.

        • Anonny says:

          More of the dislike clicks, huh?

          There’s no pleasing some people.

          • exclamation mark says:

            I hope things turn out much more positive, but things are very much frustrating at this time

          • anonny says:

            Again, I appreciate your patience. It must be frustrating to read me, an ex-expat, as I express support for the government when your own community is suffering from the present policing policy. May all your hurts heal quickly.

  12. Marianne says:

    Dear Mahmood,

    I am so sad to read that things have taken such a bad turn in your beautiful country, between its wonderful people!

    I sincerely hope that circumstances change and understanding of common values soon prevails.

    Marianne

  13. Dan says:

    Until I think of something better to post, when it gets like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3ZOKDmorj0

    maybe a little Pink Floyd “Us and Them” will be soothing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbGyNtKKK5I

    Please hang in there and keep posting, Mahmood!

    Oh by the way…What are “friends?” It seems I used to know what that word means but I haven’t said or written it in so long that I can’t remember what friends were.

  14. Not being a Bahraini, I can’t claim to understand your specific feelings, but being a fellow human, who also happens to have many Bahraini friends, including you, I feel sad about the way things deteriorated. I still remember your lecture at Princeton when you proudly presented the button not suni not shii just bahraini. Change requires courage and leadership and leaders must lead by example.

    • mahmood says:

      Thank you my friend. Resolute leadership is missing at the moment here, what we have instead is unending accusations and a vicious cycle of revenge perpetrated by one part of the population against the other aided and abetted by the so called religious leaders. Of course, leadership to them too is a foreign concept, but still a convenient excuse to continue to spread poisons which will last for generations.

  15. Juli says:

    Mahmood
    Did you happen to see Robert Fisk’s latest post re Bahrain which appeared in The Independent a day or two ago….
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-i-saw-these-brave-doctors-trying-to-save-lives-ndash-these-charges-are-a-pack-of-lies-2297100.html

    Keep up the voice of moderation.

  16. MishMish says:

    Mahmood, to say it with Churchill’s words: ‘never, never, never give up !

    Better days will come. Keep on writing, keep on trying – you inspire others and your words are needed.

    I just saw a lovely post via Chanad’s blog of a girl who was expelled from Polytechnic – she went out and baked a batch of cupcakes which she dressed up as crying graduates – calling it ‘ Expulsion’ instead of graduation celebration…now that is countering a dire situation with a sense of humour – perhaps we can all learn a lesson there… try to find a bit of humour when the going gets tough.
    ( her letter to the dean was pretty good too. Smart, humble, proud…)

    You’ll rise again too, and we look forward to a good mix of opinions, random stuff, Filibert, Friday views from the garden and all those posts that have ensured you have a keen audience in Bahrain and beyond.

    Chin up, keep calm & carry on.

    MishMish

  17. Sayed Yacouby says:

    Why are the protestors harming Indians and Pakistanis? No one is interested in protecting the rights of these expatatriates. The Indians and Pakistanis in the United States are model minorities. They are doctors, engineers and are the creme de la creme of society. However the Bahrainis don’t value people from the subcontinent. Stand up for the rights of expats that have sacrificed their lives for the infrastructure of countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia? Please defend the rights of the innocent. This a basic foundation of Islam. However most Bahrainis treat expats from countries like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Ethopia, China, Thailand like slaves. Please speak against injustices towards foreign workers.

    • mahmood says:

      We do. But there is a long way to go on that front.

      The Indian sub-continent and the Gulf in general and Bahrain in particular are completely intertwined with shared history, commerce, education and even food. We are inseparable and have a lot in common. With all of that, I don’t think that we can generally say that we are “harming Indians and Pakistanis”. Individuals, maybe – for whatever reason and it works the other way too – but as a country and people, no.

  18. Steve the American says:

    Mahmood, go find a book on the French Revolution and read up. You’ll find many parallels between it and your current situation, though, thankfully, it has not degenerated yet into Paris 1794.

  19. Sayed Yacouby says:

    I cannot sympathize with the protestors. I saw some video footage of Shiite teenagers preventing Indian nurses from going to going to work at the American Mission Hospital. Freedom movements in South Africa, India and the Untied States were based on nonviolence. People in Bahrain need to intrinsically change their attitudes of how people from other countries are treated. I can’t Indians and Pakistanis harming Bahrainis.

    • Steve the American says:

      Nonviolent tactics only work against an opponent who is fundamentally moral.

      While civil rights was helped along by nonviolent campaigns in the US, slavery was ended by a civil war.

  20. Dan says:

    It looks like World War III is starting and you are right in the middle of it, Mahmood.

    The District of Semiramis is the culprit and “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” are the bad guys.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOhzRZOOMiU&feature=player_embedded#at=13

    Peace be with you, Mahmood!

    • ajax says:

      oh great

      now when your freedom is going to land over my head *KIA*

      • Dan says:

        WHAT “freedom?” There is NO freedom in the United States.

        Also, it ain’t MY “freedom” as I have done everything I can to help RESTORE freedom in Amerika and I have been arrested a number of times and ostracized by my “friends” for my PEACEFUL and persuasive efforts.

        If the rest of the world follows Amerikan suit and continues to pretend that all anybody needs to do is to bend over and turn the other cheek then they get what they invite.

  21. Dan says:

    Well said. The UNITED STATES is little more than a war-making corporation now, albeit a democratic one and therefore an oligarchy ruling over slaves and NOT the Constitutional Republic that America was conceived as.

    Benjamin Franklin, one of the American Founding Fathers, had this to say when asked on his way out of the Constitutional Convention hall “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”:

    “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

    SOURCE: http://www.bartleby.com/73/1593.html

    Well, those people were unable to keep it.

    In 1871, in the aftermath of the War of Federal Aggression, often referred to as “The Civil War,” the United States government enacted the “District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871.”

    PDF: http://www.teamlaw.org/DCOA-1871.pdf

    This set up a corporation called UNITED STATES whose officers are democratically elected by its members, citizens with a small ‘c.’ This corporation is what is now referred to as “the American government.”

    There is no republic in America anymore. There is only a war making corporation that has prostituted itself to the international banksters and the military-industrial complex.

    Tyranny is rapidly expanding here and war is being exported directly to North Africa and the Middle East via Amerikan arms under the (Orwellian) guise of “humanitarian assistance,” and any other blather that can be concocted.

    Hopefully, things will NOT go nuclear. As I live in Oklahoma City, and Tinker Air Force base nearby is the main Air Force base for AWACS, I am in one of the prime target areas for an ICBM.

    Ya’ think I ought to head for the hills?

    • ajax says:

      too late for that meisgh , meanwhile thank your god for not getting death sentence for high treason.

  22. Crowe says:

    Dear Mahmood, please don’t despair. We in the West are fortunate enough to enjoy the results of our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents fighting their way through the same struggles for freedom and justice. Less than 80 years ago, thousands died in Spain’s civil war and decades of dictatorship followed. Seventy years ago, Italy was under the jackboot of Mussolini and Germany under Hitler. It took a World War, in which my grandfather fought and millions died, to put an end to that. More recently, and in my own lifetime. Eastern European countries were at last able to escape the tyranny of Communist rule.

    My point is that the light may be a long way off, and only future generations may reach it, but it’s there. What you are going through now will, I hope, make your country a better place for your children and grandchildren.

  23. 8 Bahraini activists sentenced to life in prison.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/22/bahrain-8-prominent.html

    One of them, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, is in fact a compatriot of mine, since he is a Danish citizen. Apart from that, I know little about him. But his daughter Zainab comes across as very dedicated and strong.

  24. Dan says:

    I strongly suspect that if I were in Saudi Arabia that I might be flogged to death or beheaded.

    If I were in Bahrain I most likely would be doing a lengthy prison sentence because I abhor monarchies.

    Here in the United States, all I have to do is to have my genitals groped by the TSA if I choose to go anywhere.

    XOXOXOXOXXOXOX:

    http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&biw=1120&bih=863&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=bush+kissing+arab&btnG=Search&oq=bush+kissing+arab&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=95280l96367l0l2l2l0l0l0l0l166l256l1.1l2

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