Traitors abound, or it least this is how the story goes

21 Aug, '11

There is no margin of difference any more in Bahrain, it seems, for the most preferred epithet for one who differs in opinion from one’s own is – must be – a traitor! Who decides what a traitor is and who it might be is left to personal fervor in one’s own hazy state of “the nation’s defense”.

Over a period of Friday morning (20 Aug 2011), I was thrilled to have had a polite conversation with Adnan Al-Shaikh, a good friend and professional communicator, about this particular topic.
It started with me taking offense at one of his tweets this morning:

لنكون منصفين الى المخلصين يتوجب علينا كشف الخائنين.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
In this tweet, Adnan stresses the need to be equitable to the sincere by exposing traitors.

Needless to say, I didn’t expect this from Adnan, so I took him up on it and started the conversation:
@adnanalshaikh وش هالمنطق يا صديقي؟ فإن نجح هذا المنطق فالخاسر هي الوطن بكل مكوناته. فلدع الكراهية و لنتكلم بالتي هي أحسن.
mahmood
August 20, 2011

Mahmood: “What’s this logic my friend? If it succeeds then the loser is the Nation with all of its constituents. Let’s leave hate and grant the benefit of the doubt.”

@mahmood عزيزي محمود هل ترضى أن أتستر على من يخونك؟
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
Adnan: “My dear Mahmood, would you condone me covering up who betrays you?”
@mahmood فكما نؤشر الى المخلص يجب علينا أن نؤشر الى الخائن. من حق الناس معرفة ذلك.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
Adnan: “So as we point out the sincere we should also point out the traitor. It’s the people’s right to know that.”
@mahmood إنما الذي لا يجب علينا فعله هو تخوين المخلص وإن شككنا في إخلاصه حتى تثبت خيانته.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011

Adnan: “But what we should not do is accuse the sincere with treason even if we suspect this sincerity until his treason is proven”

@adnanalshaikh اذا من الذي يقوم بتصنيف هذا من ذاك و ما المعايير المستخدمة؟ يا اخي الناس غير مؤهلين لذلك عدا القضاء النزيه فابتعد جزاك الله.
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “Then who categorized this from that and what are the used metrics? My brother, normal people aren’t qualified for that except for the fair judiciary so please desist for God’s reward.”
@adnanalshaikh انت – كما أنا – لسنا في موضع ان نشير لهذا و ذاك بتهم قد تؤدي للقتل او اسواء. لنترك هذه النعوت و نعمل لتهدئة الوضع.
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “You, as I am, aren’t in a position to accuse this or that with accusations which could lead to death or worse. Let us leave those descriptions and work to calm the situation.”
@adnanalshaikh و ان خونا شخص ما، فما هي مصلحتك و ما هي مصلحة الوطن الكبرى؟ التناحر و سوؤ العاقبة؟ اترك عنك يا صديقي فخبرتك اكبر من هذا.
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “And if we accuse someone with treason, what is your benefit and what is the larger nation’s benefit? Rivalry leading to bad consequences? Leave this my friend, for I thought you to be much higher than this.”
@mahmood لم أذكر معايير وﻻ من المؤهل لتصنيف هذا وذاك،إنما أتحدث عن قاعدة.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
@mahmood مرة أخرى أنا أتحدث عن قاعدة.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
Adnan: “Again, I speak of a principle.”
@adnanalshaikh القاعدة تحتاج براهين ثابتة و غير قابلة للتأويل. فما براهين أولائك المتلذذين بالتخوين يا أستاذي الكريم؟
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “A principle needs solid and unshakable evidence. So what evidence to those who revel in describing people with treason offer my learned teacher?”
@mahmood اذا لنحذف كلمة خائن من القاموس وليكن من أحياها كمن قتلها!
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
Adnan: “So let us omit the word ‘traitor’ from the dictionary and let the one who makes something lives as the one who killed it.”

(sorry, don’t know how to properly translate that idiom)
@adnanalshaikh ليس هذا المطلوب، حبذا لو نترك هذه الوصفات لقضاء نزيه و نعطي الآخر برائة الشك.
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “This isn’t what is needed, it’s preferred to leave these categorizations to the fair judiciary and give the other the benefit of the doubt.”
@mahmood محمود .. القاعدة هنا بمعنى مبدأ وهو ليس معني بتحديد معايير وبراهين فكل ثقافة لها معاييرها وادلتها لتحقيق هذا المبدأ.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011

Adnan: “Mahmood.. the principle here means a standard and it’s not the meaning of defining the standards of evidence and every culture has its standards and its evidence for this principle

@adnanalshaikh والمبدأ كذلك مبني على قواعد والقاعدة تحتاج لبراهين كما سلفت. فبأي مبدأ تتكلم لم توصف الناس بالخونة؟ أليس بهذا المبدأ العكس صح
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “And the principle here is based on foundations and foundations require evidence as I’ve said before. So what principle are you using when you accuse people with treason? Isn’t this principle also applies to those who throw those accusations?”
@mahmood علينا حسن النية بالآخر دائما الى أن يثبت لنا هو عكس ذلك فنحكم عليه كما أثبت لنا بنفسه ولكن يجب ترك التعامل معه للقضاء في كل الأحوال
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
Adnan: “We have to always apply the benefit of the doubt until the opposite is proven so we can judge him as has been ascertained by himself but we have to allow the judiciary to take care of this in all cases.”
@adnanalshaikh اذا اتفقنا! مبدأ حسن النية يتطلب منا عدم تخوين الآخر عدا ان ثبتت عليه جريمة الخيانة من القضاء المستقل والنزيه. فكف يرحمك الله
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “Therefor we agree! The principle of the benefit of the doubt demands that we do not accuse others of treason unless that crime is proven against him by the fair and independent judiciary. So stop may God be benevolent with you.”
@mahmood المبدأ هو قاعدة مستخلصة من دلالات وشواهد تنطبق على الأعمال التي تتوافق نتائجها مع تلك الدلالات والشواهد.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
Adnan: “The principle is a rule derived from the indications and evidence applicable to the deeds that are compatible with those indications and evidence.”
@mahmood يخون الخائن فقط ما أن رجع وتاب في أي مكان في العالم. وحسن النية تجب حتى في قضائنا فلا داعي أن نقول نريد قضاء مستقلا ونزيها.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
Adnan: “The traitor is negated only when he repents (? Adnan help me with this translation! don’t understand the first part of the sentence) but benefit of the doubt should also be applied to our own judiciary so there is no reason for [your] statement that we want an independent and fair judiciary.”
@adnanalshaikh او ليه التشكيك بئه؟ متى شككت أنا في القضاء البحريني؟ تكلمنا في المبادئ فإذا كلامي ينطبق عاما و ليس حصريا على وضع البحرين!
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “Why this supposition? When did I question the Bahraini judiciary? We’re talking about principles therefore my statements applies generally and not exclusively to Bahrain’s situation.”
@mahmood جميل. اتفقنا.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
Adnan: “Beautiful, we agree.”
@adnanalshaikh اكسلينت ماي فريند!!
mahmood
August 20, 2011
Mahmood: “Excellent my friend.”
A few hours later, Adnan posted a beautiful tweet in which he stated:
You could be courageous by saying a word of truth, but can be more courageous and even a hero if you regret, retreat and admit your mistake.
adnanalshaikh
August 20, 2011
This is what I call a constructive and polite exchange that is sorely missing from Twitter, as we have seen just a day before.

Thank you Adnan for being a gentleman who cares deeply about his country, without losing sight of civilly discussing its situation and coming to a pragmatic conclusion.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Jon of Arabia says:

    Thank you Mahmood for showing how beautiful civilized discourse can be.

    The “traitor” fad that started in March reminds one of the McCarthyism craze in the 1950s and the inquisition before that.

    What’s ironic is that our beloved “patriots” welcomed the foreign tanks into the island and would love nothing more than for them to stay indefinitely.

    • Ajax says:

      our Co-patriot are not ‘foreigner’

      unlike you American , get the hell out!!

  2. DM says:

    Great to see civilized discourse, but it does presume that the definition of treason and traitors would be done by fair-minded people. Based on the judicial standards of the past few months, this seems unlikely.

    The concept of people judging others as traitors is not new – Stalin’s Russia had it, Nazi Germany had it, etc etc. History shows us that these definitions and the people “qualified” to make such accusations change over time. The sad thing about Bahrain – this conversation notwithstanding – is that ordinary people feel that they have the self righteousness to judge an extremely complex issue based on simplistic basis. Maybe studying history should become a more central pat of education. At least then we could learn from the past of others rather than risk the deterioration of our society.

  3. Emile says:

    A civilised conversation, started at odds and eventually met in the middle. One sentence comes to mind.. You are a gentleman and Scholar. Guess you’ll be sharing a cup of tea with Adnan 🙂

  4. exclamation mark says:

    Its hard to reach to a resolution when such a mentality is present… One of Al Wefaq’s members just hit the score when he said – in meaning – :

    that the people are demanding what the constitution just stressed on i.e. “the public is the source of authorities”
    And for demanding for what the constitution itself had called for, you’re a traitor…

    I ask myself: so who is not the traitor???

  5. milter says:

    I’m sorry, but for outsiders the revelation of this kind af debate in the so-called Arab Spring does not give much hope for the foreseeable future.

    Yes, there may be signs of hope, but, words like that just reinforce our impression that this is not the first signs of Spring, rather it’s the beginning of the end of Winter.

    • DM says:

      I agree, and I think its a shame that no-one is really doing anything to redress some of the poisonous accusations before it gets too late. Bahrain used to be viewed as a tolerant, educated country. Its only hope for the future is to consciously choose to rehabilitate this sense again.

  6. AGA says:

    The fruit of integrity and a genuine desire for the good and well being of others, with, of course, an uncommon measure of respect, for oneself and the other, in equal parts. Well done to you both.

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