Abundant signs of a disintegrated, fractured Bahrain

19 Aug, '11

When one-time valued friends choose to become enemies and permeate mistrust in those they once held in high regard and trust, a reboot button might be the only way forward, because continuing like this, will turn the whole situation uglier than our darkest nightmares.

Twitter’s a place where you go to get your blood pressure up these days. It has become a longer a place where intelligent conversation seldom takes place, especially when engaged with the majority of people who flooded in after #feb14. I normally don’t partake in those conversations because I know why they’re there and what they want to achieve. I never thought; however, that I would be faced with a situation where one of those would be a person I sincerely thought be a good and valued friend. This now erstwhile friend seem to have inexplicably taken umbrage with my ideology and positions and wasted not another opportunity to pounce by levying baseless assumptions and accusations against me. I know that he’s not the first and won’t be the last. The tragedy of the situation is that I held him in very high regard and I liaised with him in cordial business for over three years and I had nothing but praise for him in front of everyone. Professional, educated, erudite and a general good guy is the impression that I’ve built of him over the years…. After an exchange over a period of few minutes last night though, it was quite evident to me that once again, I have been a bad judge of character.

It started simply enough with challenging a statement made in a tweet from @saqeralkhalifa in which he stated that:

I’ve been meeting numerous journalists who wrote untrue stories on #Bahrain. They were disappointed on opposition when I presented evidence
SaqerAlKhalifa
August 17, 2011

As the gentleman is an official in the our embassy in the US, I thought he should know better than to make such a statement without offering a semblance of proof or evidence to support his assertions. He’s at that position in the first place to probably monitor the media and “correct” some errant thoughts about our dear country – amongst other valued cultural activities of course. He should know; therefore, that making unfounded statements can and do hurt the country rather than help it.

So I asked:

@SaqerAlKhalifa care to share the names of those journalists?
mahmood
August 17, 2011

To date, there has been no response from the original author. There was; however, this shocking comment from my so called “friend” of several years:

@SaqerAlKhalifa don’t bother replying to @mahmood . He will probably just pass the names of the journalists for the opposition to target.
BuYasmeen
August 17, 2011
Talk about giving a friend the benefit of the doubt… I decided not to take offense at this statement and to politely ask him to mind his own business:
@BuYasmeen @saqeralkhalifa ooh, love you too! But I think the gent can make up his own mind.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
Unfortunately, the gentleman seems to be filled to the brim with either anger, or hatred, or may be both:
@mahmood @SaqerAlKhalifa can certainly make his own mind up, but it is my national duty to warn him of sneaky buggers like you.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011

National duty? How can this be construed as national duty in even a moronic and infantile mind?

However, once again, I tried to calm the mood and give him a hint to stay out of this as it most definitely does not concern him.

@BuYasmeen @saqeralkhalifa oooh behayve, I thought we was friends! What did I sneak up you?
mahmood
August 18, 2011
but unfortunately to no avail
@mahmood Friends we can always be, but if you sneak up on my country, then you sneak up on me. I’m just sharing the love.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
What? So I’m an enemy who sneaks up on the country? ME? I’m not sure what Mohammed was smoking to have reached that conclusion, so maybe offering a reset might be advisable. Once again.
@BuYasmeen moe we shared teas and meetings for over 3 years. I never saw the hate in you like this. What happened? What did u c in me 4 this
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen sorry, if this is your attitude, I don’t want your friendship. So disappointed in one that at one time I held in high regard.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen and if this is your true self, and I thought once that you were intelligent enough to rise above this, then Bahrain has problems
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood don’t put words in my mouth that I never said. I would gladly have teas and meetings with you for years to come.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen explain this: “national duty to warn him of sneaky buggers like you”
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen and this “but if you sneak up on my country, then you sneak up on me”
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood my attitude has always been open minded. It is your attitude that is in question, pointing north one day, and south the other.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
THIS is his interpretation of an open mind?
@mahmood I don’t need to explain myself as my stance has always been clear. It is your comments since Feb that need explaining.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen another baseless allegation mohammed. if you have any examples, offer them. else, I suggest that it’s you who have changed 180d
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen mohammed, find a mirror, look into it, and tell me in a moment of honesty if you like what you see. truly disappointed.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood I don’t need a mirror as I weigh my deeds everyday. Did you weigh ur self before publishing Bahrain’s Shame?
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen oooh, so that’s what pressed your button? I’m glad to contribute to your deep thinking. I stand by every single word.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood and do u stand by the words of AJalilKhalil regarding al jazeera English documentary on bahrain?
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen you’re going all over the place but no escape huh? That’s a question for him not me. Awaiting an apology. Man enough?
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood no it is a question for you. Don’t run away from it and answer. And if you answer correctly, I will apologize.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen apology accepted. Good night.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood I have followed ur blog 4 yrs and now ur tweets.I sincerely believed BH needed more ppl like you. Until u showed ur true colors.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
Four years or reading my thoughts which he implies that he copiously agreed with, and now, all of a sudden, overnight, I’m a “bad guy”, a traitor who’s colors are “finally” exposed!

The mind boggles.
@mahmood u have regrettably shown that ur not man enough to answer a simple question. Good night friend.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen hilarious. obfuscating facts and seeing what you WANT to see exclusively is a trait in some. apples and trees and all that.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen mohammed, with friends like you, who needs enemies? certainly not this torn county, and with people like you, we know why. shame.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood u of all ppl know that I listen even when what is being said might offend me. But today u r not man enough to admit it. Sad.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@mahmood I am only enemies with those who have chosen to be enemies of the country I call home. Are u one of them?
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011

What a staggering turn of events. This country is so damaged right now that if people like this gentleman has such hatred impregnated in him that those feelings have started to gush out and paint their views and horizons. I’m therefore no longer surprised by the stories of discrimination, hostility and mistrust that pervades the whole atmosphere here. It will not get any better, when all of this is aided and spread throughout by the high and low.

Is it a coincidence then that for the first time in my life I was pointedly asked in a recent business meeting as to where I was from for the sole purpose of pinning my confessionalism, and hence by infantile inference, my political allegiance?
The majority of people here – and even now the foreigners in this pitiful land – are using a very broad brush to paint their own fears and apprehensions on whomever they perceive to be against them, and they take it upon their sloping shoulders that it is their national duty to defend this country from the ills harbored against it by the likes of me!
Is holding a political opinion now tantamount to treason? Must those who dare to demand universal human rights be expunged and eliminated? Is the demand for these rights – any of them – are for the exclusive benefit of one part of society and not the other? Of course not. When human rights are inculcated it will benefit everyone, universally, without any distinction, even those who have taken it upon themselves to arbitrarily put themselves in a position of defenders when their defense is nothing but misaligned and misdirected. What they’re really doing though is delaying the certain moment when everyone will benefit from those very demands now put forward by not one, but the multiple political societies and the majority of activists the combined representatives of whom easily constitute a comfortable majority in this country.
I say it again: is the demand to live with dignity so foreign to @BuYasmeen? I should think not. At least, I hope not. I still wish him the best in his endeavors, but he and those who have driven such a schism in this society should know that even when they bear more than half of the indigenous population ill, they shall benefit from the wrongly spilt blood of those who fell at Pearl and elsewhere in this great country.
Sectarianism will not get us there. Religious and ideological extremism will not. Fear of the other won’t and the baseless, blind and sycophantic accusations and actions won’t either. So step back and re-evaluate your positions if you really want this country to go forward and give a chance to harmony to at least make an attempt at repairing this fractured society.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Emile says:

    Seems your friend needs an emotional intelligence course.

  2. Saqer Al-Khalifa says:

    Dear Mahmood,
    Even though I strongly object your views and perceptions on what constitutes good governance, I am sincerely upset that you and other citizens of this great nation are going through unstable moments with close friends. I shouldn’t have tweeted the journalists tweet in the first place. I’m not a businessman, but I do have a vision that all Bahrainis somehow try to find a way to use their skills to the collective benefit of Bahrain and Bahrainis as a whole. We all have it in us, time to put our hands together and aknowledge where we swayed from the true path so we can get back to it. Good luck.

    • mahmood says:

      Thank you Saqer. It doesn’t matter whether we agree with each other, what matters is that we respect each other’s views and try – through dialogue – to attempt to get the other to see our point of view. If that cannot be done or an agreement cannot be reached, then break off and come back and revisit at another time. It is also important in these situations that the good of the country to be paramount in our minds. My hand, as I know that of many many good people in this country continue to reach out and extend their hands in friendship. Like you, I just hope that they do connect.

  3. MishMish says:

    Mahmood – twitter should not replace face to face communication. After 3 years of tea and friendship, I think you and this gentleman owe it to each other to at least share one more cup of tea and discuss the issues in person.

    Hopefully the outcome of that will be that you both at least understand where the other one is coming from in terms of thought process and, even though you may agree to disagree, you can still remain friends.

    If not, then at least you have tried.

    I think, while facebook, twitter et al certainly have their uses and are great in their immediacy and reach, they do not replace face to face dialogue.

    If you put all the people who these days fight ( and You are not one of them – I am talking about those on both sides who are deeply entrenched in bitterness and sometimes hared, into a room 1;1and got each to tell their story, calmly, human to human, perhaps there would be a little less ‘war’ and a little more unity in Bahrain…

    Bahrain needs this – and yes, in part it’s utopian that it’ll happen on a larger scale ( for now…), but at least if individuals keep reaching out and aiming for understanding and dialogue, it’s a start.

    I hope you are able to reach out – and hope the three years count for something – they should at least count for the chance to have a couple of hours over a good cup of tea or two…

  4. Just Bahraini says:

    Dear Mahmood, Unfortunately your experience echoes that of several people that I know, including myself. When people use words like “when you attack my country , you attack me” they are personalizing this crisis and linking it to their ego. This seems to stem from the official policy from top-down (excluding a certain moderate-minded reasonable prince).

    I agree with MishMish that Twitter does not replace a good old-fashioned cup of tea. There is something about social media communication that appears to by-pass the emotional intelligence ability, particularly compassion and humanity. It is painful to discover that friendship and respect is skin deep, but it is also self-defeating if we allow these experiences to define how we conduct ourselves. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” You may lose some friends, yes, but you will gain some too.

  5. Emile says:

    I’m away on a business trip, missing Bahrain. Reading all the positive comments, has given me the feeling that in the mess we are in, there is still a glimmer of hope, and still lots of folks out there who look out and think of the best for Bahrain way beyond their big fat ego and personal gain. May Allah bless Bahrain in this holy month and bring us all together just like the good ‘ole days.

  6. Sadly, Bahrain is turning into some sort of soap opera. So many people are polarised and cannot fathom that someone has a view that is different from theirs. As Bu Aref said, we have to learn to respect each others’ opinions, only then can we move forward.

    I find that I agree with some of what Saqer says, but not all. And I agree with some of what Mahmood says, but not all. But what really matters is that we all love this wonderful country and work hard to help it heal.

    God bless.

    And Bu Aref, call the guy and ask him out for tea. God willing you’ll patch things up 🙂

  7. Yaqoob's Dome says:

    Mahmood my friend, عندنا وعندك خير

    From my personal experience, I’ve been likened to “Yazeed” and that “I dance on the graves of the martyrs” and will be thrown into “History’s garbage” for my views and support of F1.

    These attacks were, like you, from friends over Twitter, but in my case they were unfortunately behind nicknames and monickers. I only realized who they were after discovering that sent me friendly DM messages way back. What’s even more saddening was that these people are considered to be the cream of the crop in Bahrain’s youth and it’s just heartbreaking how daft we’ve become.

    In an attempt to keep my sanity, I’ve shyed away from speaking Feb14 with friends and co-workers as not to create unneccessary tensions and so far it has done me well. I feel more comfortable arguing/discussing/cussing with random people online lol.

    Speaking of going out for tea, we should get together some time post-Eid inshalla

  8. Alia says:

    Sad conversation to read..
    You’ve already given him too much attention by putting him on your blog.
    I hope you encounter more of the moderate Bahrainis who can listen to both sides with respect – they do exist you know 🙂

  9. Ahmed says:

    This is sadly the situation that’s prevailing in Bahrain. Many people I know lost close friends, myself included for holding a particular point of view, as well as threats and dirty name calling. To try and reconcile views and discuss these views is the only way forward, but people have become so polarized that even suggesting it gets people in trouble.

    Problem is actually worse because 6 months ago, most of these people barely could distinguish what system this country is run on or what’s going on politically. Overnight, we got a bunch of heroic defenders and warriors..

    Hopefully your friend comes to his senses and you discuss this like adults sometime soon, since friends disagreeing on something shouldn’t be reason to lose close ones over. Tea is always a good catalyst for reconciliation 🙂

  10. Don Cox says:

    I think the problem is that Bahrain is caught in the middle of a much larger conflict, or conflicts.

  11. FYI says:

    Mahmood I have been reading your blog for many many years, and I honestly can’t say that your support for the government or opposition is black and white. Why do arabs consider themselves sheep? Blind loyalty to a person or group no matter what actions they take. I for one didn’t expect much from the opposition or al wefaq as I always rated them a notch above junk; on the other hand I never expected an institution such as our government to stoop to this level acting as a gang without laws or rules and absolutely no accountability. The opposition is naive and the government is reckless.

  12. exclamation mark says:

    Well gentlemen,

    While reading the conversation, I’ve been asking myself, are we on the same boat? or is every one hanging on to any floating piece of wood for himself?

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