Wait oh Saar fire….

16 Dec, '11

A local saying immediately popped into my mind as I read these words in today’s Al-Wasat:

وطالبت لجنة الحقوق الدينية في وزارة الخارجية الأميركية بـ «تقديم أي من المسئولين في الحكومة البحرينية الذين ثبت تورطهم في انتهاكات صارخة للحرية الدينية إلى العدالة ومعاقبتهم بموجب القانون، ويجب على الحكومة البحرينية إصدار اعتذار رسمي لتدمير العشرات من دور العبادة، وهو الأمر الذي وجدت اللجنة البحرينية المستقلة لتقصي أنه ينتهك بوضوح القانون البحريني والدولي»


and represented in this official statement from USCIRF:


Soon after the release of the BICI report, King Hamad al-Khalifa appointed a committee to review how to implement the report’s recommendations. The committee is expected to report back to the King in February.

USCIRF urges the committee to address the following concerns during its review of the BICI’s recommendations:

  • The report recommends the government of Bahrain should “consider rebuilding, at its expense, some of the demolished religious structures in accordance with administrative regulations.” USCIRF is concerned that the government may rebuild only a few of the religious structures with legal permits and decrees, and not many of the other structures. In consultation with the Shi’a community, the government of Bahrain should restore or rebuild all the structures that were illegally destroyed;
  • The report does not address the loss and destruction of religious materials in some of the demolished structures. The Bahraini government should restore, replace, or compensate the local Shi’a community for the loss of these materials;
  • The report’s findings do not address allegations by multiple human rights groups that some individual members of the Shi’a community were harassed, interrogated, and arrested for returning to some of the destroyed sites to pray or retrieve religious materials. These allegations should be addressed and officials responsible should be reprimanded and held to account;
  • Any Bahraini government officials found to have committed severe religious freedom abuses should be brought to justice and punished under the law; and
  • The Bahraini government should issue a formal apology to the Shi’a community for destroying dozens of religious structures that the BICI found clearly violates Bahraini and international law.

“USCIRF welcomes the King’s decision to establish the BICI, as well as his public announcement that the government intends to rebuild Shi’a places of worship. It is important that these structures be rebuilt in close consultation with the local Shi’a community and not unilaterally,” said Leo.

The emphasis is mine and the cause of my raised eyebrows and that idiom popping into my mind. To represent it fully, the idiom goes:

Wait oh Saar fire for water from Hnainia

Saar being a village in the north of the island while Hnainia is in the south. We use that expression to represent the improbability (or even impossibility) of an event ever happening…

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  1. nobody says:

    Mahmood, are you familiar with the 80s British comedy programme, Yes Minister (later Yes Prime Minister)? Its two main characters are Jim Hacker, an MP and minister (later prime minister) in the British government; and Sir Humphrey Appleby, a senior civil servant and later cabinet secretary (played by the incomparable Nigel Hawthorne).

    The show is far too good for me to do it justice here, but the.recurring theme throughout is that Hacker is an idealist who wants to implement genuine change, whereas Sir Humphrey simply wants to maintain the cosy status quo for himself and his upper-class chums.

    Naturally, Britain being a democracy, Sir Humphrey has to create the impression that he is carrying out Hacker’s wishes, while in fact running rings round him. I recall one episode in which Hacker tries to pin him down on the progress of a particular measure, and SH replies something along the lines that he has “initiated a preliminary commission, allied to a rigorous feasibility analysis, leading into a consultative document for all interested parties, comments from which will form the basis of a more detailed inquiry as to the potential of further individual studies which will provide the background for a more detailed examination of how the proposal may or may not be taken to the next stage.” Hacker, blinking with confusion, asks when this all might happen. “In the fullness of time, minister,” replies Sir Humphrey with a smile (translation: never).

    So far, since February, we’ve had a “dialogue”, a “commission of inquiry”, and now a “committee”. What are the odds that, at the end of it all, in the fullness of time, the same Sir Humphries will still have all the power and all the money?

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