Destroying a Revolution

25 Jan, '12

One of the most important ways to “win” a revolution in this day and age is the effective use of media tools and keeping your struggle peaceful. That wins you supporters both locally and internationally who can exert pressure on the ruling regime to elicit positive change. The minute that this struggle morphs into violence, that platform of support dissipates and the chances of a successful conclusion to the struggle for change evaporates.

Peace Dove written in Arabic CalligraphyThe recent escalation of violence which was undoubtedly translated form Isa Qassim’s last Friday prayer sermon is very worrying and most definitely does not serve the cause. What it does do is play into the hands of the hard-liners in the regime, giving them a gift they have all but lost hope of receiving.

A respected cleric like Isa Qassim should have known better than to allow his passions to boil over and he should have also known that his words will be taken to heart and each will interpret them to suit their own ends, all of which resolves into more violence which will rob the people’s struggles of their efficacy as well as sympathy.

I do hope that he will take the opportunity in his next Friday sermon to address these issues and urge the youth to return to their peaceful means of protesting. In the long run, violence of any kind will not serve any purpose. Peaceful protests and the effective use of media are key to winning not only a battle, but a whole war.

I do fervently hope, that Silmiyya will return, and along with it, a more urgent sense to get this country over its current climate of hate and mistrust.

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  1. Reader911 says:

    Mahmood

    People are tired, they have waited 11 months .

    Political pressure from Al-Wefaq on a weekly basis plus the pressure of the streets in the form of the 14-Feb Coalition had only showed us that the Government is either pretending to be blind and deaf or it is actually blind and deaf.

    I am sure you know what happened yesterday?

    Every single village have risen up against the oppression and brutality of the police.
    Every Man, woman and child was defending his village, home, honor and not to forget his freedom and dignity.

    How many deaths we need? Are we waiting for a massacre?

    Do not forget the revolution is not yesterday it is now One Year ( 12 months ) and I know Sheikh Isa Qassim knows this.

    • mahmood says:

      Yes I know of some of what happened yesterday in Duraz and it’s partly what prompted me to write. Violence is a losing man’s game. It won’t benefit anyone in the long run and I completely and unequivocally condemn it regardless of what side has chosen to use it.

      I understand the frustration. I’m part of this community. Let me explain one certain fact which might be missed by some; the events that Bahrain is living through is not a revolution per se, but rather an evolution of demands who’s roots go back to the 1920s. The advent of modern communication mediums, particularly Twitter and YouTube have given impetus to those demands in addition to courage and inspiration received from other countries which have had the Arab Spring.

      I agree with you that the government’s actions or inaction to me more exact is extremely frustrating. Like you – I suspect – I cannot fathom the reason for not doing things which could demonstrate good intentions and generate the start of the healing process immediately. Why not release the political prisoners? Especially the 21 opposition leaders? Why not pull the police from confrontation spots and replace them with community police? Why not release the restrictions on the freedoms of expression and why – most importantly – those who have been proven to be complicit in over-extending their mandates and committing heinous crimes of torture and humiliation against the Bahraini populace are still not tried is beyond me.

      Yes, I know “evolution” takes time, it’s been over 90 years. Like you, I think patience is wearing rather thin and the prospect of further violence from both sides is sickening.

      The solution remains political. I hope that the will will be found soon before we truly descend into chaos.

  2. DANA says:

    Mahmood, I am hoping with you.

    I still think the large majority of the protesters will stay peaceful. But of course, it takes just a few to enable some corners to label the protests ‘ riots’ and open the path to a much stronger show of force and increasinly, there are a lot more than just a few.

    I am not sure if what we are seeing emerge from a part of the youth can still be stopped. They ae young, they have seen too much for their young years, they have little to hope for in the present status quo, but they do not have the wisdom that someone a bit older might have, to look at a bigger picture of action/reaction and smart strategies. They’re angy and are charging ahead. And can you really blame them ? Apart from what they have seen in their villages, in their communities, look at what they were able to see on TV in countries from Libya to Syria – supported by Western governments. With the international community’s reaction being confusingly selective, can you blame young people for getting confused apart from very angry ?

    Breaks my heart, because I am sure these were regular teenagers/young men/women who could have a promising future ahead and contribute to the prosperity of society, given the right chances and support — but instead have been transformed by the last 11 months, and who will for sure sustain further damage in the coming weeks – whilst delivering the perfect excuse for a very severe crackdown, possibly a return of the ‘shield troops’ and deployment of much stronger force.

    In another corner, it seems to me the government is trying to come with some actions – yesterday saw the release of at least two people whose relatives are very active in the media/social media scene.
    Is there perhaps hope of much more action on the part of the government ? At this stage, it would have to be significant – and would need to be done very soon.

    The government must be sufficiently nervous and concerned about Feb 14 – are potential downsides strong enough to prompt some concerted action that shows there is a genuine drive for change and reform – Now ?

    And will the political societies and all level-headed individuals join forces, and in their individual actions, as in their public speeches, gatherings and marches set a clear sign for Peace and a peaceful approach ?

    And make the parents and relatives of the youngers sit up and exert whatever pressure they can on their sons and daughters to stay peaceful ?

    There is not much time left — it really is the 11th hour, of the 11th month…

    • mahmood says:

      I’m sure youth could be guided or at least impressed upon not to be violent or use violence as a means to an end. They have been known to follow religious edicts and are generally God-fearing folk. If their religious leaders clearly told them to remain peaceful, a large part of them will.

      • DANA says:

        Let’s hope so Mahmood – let’s hope someone who still has some ‘authority’ with them speaks up, loud and clear.

        Wondering though if their anger isn’t stronger ??

  3. Reader911 says:

    How about — Reviving a Revolution?

  4. Bahraini says:

    @mahmood ppl mix of what he said. He said if someone attack women. What happens 2day was easclation from #feb14 members “gabdat althaereen”

    • mahmood says:

      But he gave them the opportunity to.

      My contention is that although self defense is a sacred right, he should have specifically stated that and mentioned the parameters at which it should be used. Inviting people to defend their honor by “crushing” the perpetrators, is a ready invitation to violence regardless of how one interprets it. That was an unwise move, in my humble opinion. That’s why I hope he will take next Friday’s sermon as an opportunity to dampen passions and explain the parameters.

  5. Just Bahraini says:

    I wish people would do and speak because it’s the right/just/moral thing to do, instead of to win media wars. Violence against anyone is wrong, and (almost) all Bahrainis lose when we are dragged down to this level, no matter which side is doing it.

    The way to change is to reward positive behaviour.

  6. Fahad Abdulla says:

    The events of the last 24 hours are nothing short of an act of stupidity that has compounded our dear government’s inaction and passive stance on the whole mess. The so called Feb 14th movement and their friends have in fact emphasized one point and one point only with the escalation they have so passionately pursued, and that is that they are all CHILDREN. Children in the sense that they lack the political or logical maturity to conduct tactical and strategic calculations that would untimidly show that they have through this one act put their cause on the WRONG track. From the so called ‘gabthat althaereen’ they have become ‘gabthat altheeran’. Now we wait for National Safety Act part II, except this one will be focused specifically on the villages. Enjoy getting cosy with the BDF day and night in Duraz and other places. The fools played right into their hands. Wake up so called revolutionaries!!

    • Sardin says:

      >The so called Feb 14th movement and their friends have in fact emphasized one point and one point only with the escalation they have so passionately pursued, and that is that they are all CHILDREN

      That’s a very passionate post for someone whose head appears to be permanently parked at ass lane. Whenever I read posts like that, I always think: geez, I wonder if this guy’s stance would be the same if it was his brother or his parents or his children who were being killed (61 so far, 4 just today, and counting) and maimed by the regime, or his sister whose private photos were being splashed across the web or his family who was left in the cold because dad no longer has a job.

      From your name, it would appear that Motesim Alabbasi is one of your greats. Are you going to now condemn him for waging a battle in which hundreds perished in response to a common lady’s cry for help? There are tens of such ladies in Bahrain, some are family members, who have been sexually harassed, made to clean toilets and whose scarves were forcibly removed during their stay in Hamad’s prisons. Pray, tell me how the sons of Riffa think we should be responding to such degradations.

      I too am firmly against violence, but not because Bahrainis are ignorant, immature animals, as you point out, but because the battlefield is not a level one, and no sane person can expect to win a war against blood-thirsty Bedouins with Molotov cocktails.

      • Fahad Abdulla says:

        I believe that 4, 40 or 400 remains an unfortunate but small price to pay for preserving the status quo. Any movement led by a creature of religion (regardless of faith or sect) is not a worthy, believable or plausible cause. The world has seen all extremes whether it was Bin Laden and the Taliban, or Khameini and Hezbollah, or the IRA in Northern Ireland for that matter. What we have in Bahrain is suspect and tainted. This entire show is nothing more than a desperate grasp for power by religious fanatics. This is not a revolution it is a coup that failed and is now trying to put the pieces back together. Resorting to violence is the clearest and firmest indication of their desperation and their utter need to cling on to somethign that will render them remotely credible once this episode comes to an end. Because heres the kicker; it will come to an end!! Like it or not this entire street circus that you see day and night in the villages is a pure exercise in futility!! If the government of Bahrain doesnt crush them, all of them, then the Saudis would be delighted to do it, and since they own 25% of world oil, their human rights record is hardly a point of concern.

        The best chance for change is for change from within. Get off the streets, get back into the political system, and work from within the construct provided to you. Only then will you be able to cross confessional lines and gain the respect and credibility you seek. Remember the jungle is for animals.

        • Sardin says:

          >>Work from within the construct provided to you…

          Yes, indeed, let us lick the crumbs that Hamad and his ilk throw to us every so often, all the while being grateful for their generosity. Who wants a representative government that you can demand rights from when there’s a Soviet-style family passing out gifts as it pleases and when it pleases. Yeah, that’s one hell of a system to have faith in. But then again, you would since you’re probably in cahoots with it; it only sucks for those aren’t, which to borrow a phrase, is the other 99%…living outside Riffa.

          I’ve yet to see someone defending absolute monarchy without coming across as an arrogant twit.

          And yes, religious fanatics like Ibrahim Sharif, Muhammad Albuflasa, Abdulrahman Alnoaimi, Mohammed Bunafoor and most recently, artists like Anas Alshaikh, as well as a sizable number of secular parties and individuals are oh so fanatical. Did you hear their most fanatic demand? They want a secular representative government. I mean, for god’s sake, come on, what the hell…

          The family running Bahrain have so far sent congratulatory letters to three states that were overrun by violent, blood-soaked (to varying extents) revolutions: Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. So, per your definition, that endorsement makes Hamad an immature, ignorant, animal.

        • DANA says:

          Street circus, Fahad ? And,: ‘ crush them’ ?

          Nice outlook. Entirely civilized. I can just imagine Bahrain after some…30 or 40 percent of the native population has been crushed.

          I agree with you though: let the government set up a meaningful political process, elected government, one person one vote, and I am sure the street circus would be delighted to turn its attention in that direction.

          • Bahrainiguy says:

            What Dana said, after National Safety failed to crush this movement, the only thing that will would involve burning the country, destroying our already heavily-damaged social fabric, and permanently ruining the economy. Bahrain would become an isolated, impoverished failed state propped up by its richer allies, much like Bashar Al Assad’s Syria, hardly what I’d call “going back to the status quo”. Would you say that is an acceptable price to pay just to spite the religious figures in the opposition?

            Fact is, I’d say it’s the government that is desperately clinging on to this “status quo” you speak of. Fact is, there is no going back to pre-February 14. Either the government steps down, passes sweeping meaningful reforms and offers substantial repairs for all the damage it has done over the past year, or it enacts the above scenario. If it doesn’t escalate, positively or negatively, the opposition will, and there isn’t much positive that they hadn’t done already.

  7. Reader911 says:

    I do not know why still people talk about “Both Sides” ??

    People side = 59 deaths and counting (including two today 25-01-2012)
    Gov’t side = 5 deaths (very unreliable, since no real evidence we have seen of any)

    now tell me .. can you still talk about both sides?

  8. Bahraini says:

    It is a sad day when Bahraini’s reach for violence because a cleric orders them to. As if the people he is ordering violence against arent humans,actually Al Wefaq has been successful in its racism against police and Asians making their lives worthless. This is how Nazi got their way,all u need is a charismatic leader with followers and people will committ all kinds of atrocities. This is what caused the crusades and this is probably what will cause a civil war in Bahrain where everybody loses everthing before learning their lesson.

    I wonder what happens when the same cleric or another (from another sect) says the other people in this country are “Kafirs” and they should be crushed,annhialated?? WHat happens then?? Do we go on with his wisdom without using our God givin brains?????

    Some elements in Govt have been successful in making this a sectarian issue and everyone but those with some brain cells arent falling in line…Shame on all of us. I love you Bahrain but i hate both the tear gas and molotovs equally.

    • I haven’t witnessed any racism neither by Al-Wefaq or any other opposition society and bona fide human rights organisation in this country. Don’t do yourself a disservice by attesting to false rumors. You equating them with Nazis is also abhorrent.

      As to your contention that they would label those they do not agree with as Kafirs, I would direct your attention to any YouTube video in which Mohammed Khalid, Saidi or any of their ilk and you will hear with your own ears how they label a large swathe of the Bahraini population as Kafirs.

      You have some thinking to do my friend.

      • Bahraini says:

        It’s a shame you didn’t take the time to read my comment properly,perhaps blinded by the fact it critiques your stance. I said whomever calls the other kafir whether Sunni or Shia is equally bad,the fact that some clowns on one side have said it doesn’t mean that it’s ok for the others to do so. Mohammed Khalid can scream all he wants,he won’t be right and he doesn’t have the following Isa Qassim does. In my case,I stand against both, the question where will those blind followers of Qassim stand when he makes that call…I’m surprised though you would use that argument,one wrong shouldn’t justify the other now should it??

        As for the Nazi comment, I think you are smart enough to know I’m not equating the Nazi acts thank god.I’m equating the methods of how they got to that situation. How they mobilized the masses towards heinous acts or at least to be able to justify those acts.

        As for the racism part,what would you call someone claiming the police force murtazaqa? Not from this country and therefore they should be crushed? How about our Indian brethren who were kicked and kidnapped,from your argument it shows you know about YouTube,or do you just YouTube certain things over others. The kidnappers showed me that they value those Asians lives less than our own or others who are more western looking.if that’s not racism I don’t know what is….after all what did these Asians do other than come here to work for a better life.

        The way we treat the least fortunate reflects the way we are as a society,and i don’t want to be apart of a Bahrain that treats people the way we have seen from the 14 feb

  9. exclamation mark says:

    Mahmood,

    The question still stands, for how long would we expect the people to be patient on assaults that happen to women and children?

  10. Reader911 says:

    Three Bahrainis died today .. can Bahrainis bear this news today and for how long??

    -Abbas Al-Sheikh – Jidhafs – died of injuries he suffered weeks ago from police brutality
    -Saeed Al-Sakry – Aali – died from suffocation of tear gas
    -Muntather Saeed – died in prison

    total of 60 deaths in Bahrain .. thats a rate of 5 deaths a month less than a year !!

    • mahmood says:

      What did Muntathar Saeed die of in prison?

      May Allah have mercy on all of them. This has got to stop. I don’t think the country can take much more of this.

      • DANA says:

        I fear we’ll have to brace ourselves for quite a bit more…

      • Reader911 says:

        Muntather died due to torture when he was captured by riot police on the 24th
        he was 35 yrs old

        Also, new death, Mohammed Ibrahim, from Sitra, beaten and tortured to death when he was captured yesterday

        here is the video of the capturing of Mohammed

  11. Emile Almahdi says:

    Change does not come easy, or over-night. It takes years if not more, especially when both sides tend to pull and have no over-the table negiotiations. In my humble opion and in-light of the recent BICI report, the government should release the opposition figures as they are no-doubt the key to helping Bahrain raise up after this dreadful event. More police, tear-gas, violence, deaths (God forbid), and extra un-nesessary confusion will prevail if the Peeps in charge don’t discuss with full transparency with the concerned. I worry most about our children, it is their future that is in ruins (as we speak). Every person imprisoned, haressed, beaten, abused, or fired; has no doubt become politically active making any sense of what is happening even more confusing. Too late to play the blame game. Why can’t the government be more transparent and call for a cease-fire, let all the hot heads cool off… Unless, every Tom, Dick and Harry want to emerge as winners, then we all have a problem…

  12. Reader911 says:

    In less than 24 hours, four deaths in Bahrain.

    Yet, people here blame Sheikh Isa Qassim to defend women !!

    How blind can you get?

    • mahmood says:

      Don’t mix the two together as they are unrelated. What Isa Qassim said, as Abdullatif Almahmood has done before him in the context of self defense is a separate issue from the police targeting and killing protestors as the video and others like it show.

      My advice to you is that both Isa Qassim and Abdullatif Almahmood can take care of themselves and don’t need anyone to speak on their behalf, so leave it at that.

      An immediate end to the hostilities by both sides must be sought and a dialogue must be initiated without any conditions or prerequisites if this country is to be saved.

  13. Reader911 says:

    I like how you are “Now” putting Sh. Isa Qassim and Abdul Latif Mahmood in the same context.
    Both actions in the past year can not be compared. I am very dissappointed with you!

    I am not speaking on behalf of Sh. Qassim, his words are blunt enough for any dumb person to understand. Even Sh Ali Salman, explained it, it means to defend oneself even it causes ones death or the death of the assailant.

    Regarding the stop of violence, the govt apparently had done a good job. like killing 4 in one day!!

    • mahmood says:

      If Isa Qassim’s words are “easy enough for any dumb person to understand”, why did Ali Salman have to explain them?

      Regardless. I agree with you that the government is to blame for the excessive use of violence as the BICI confirmed and we continue to witness to this day, with four people dead in one day is completely reprehensible, even if that was a single person. As we move closer to Feb 14, I suspect that the fork which leads to peace will continue to be a distant destination and the “hawks” if you can call them that, will win if they are allowed to continue to drag the country over the abyss.

      I personally am losing hope.

  14. DANA says:

    Speaking of who said what: I just saw that Prof. Bassiouni gave an interview – and of course, one would guess that he follows developments quite closely.

    For sure he has his reasons for not speaking up himself and instead stating he would wish President Obama & Hillary Clinton would speak up . But why, if he realizes what is going on,and he is concerned for the country, does he only speak to his university news outlet?

    Why not give an interview somewhere prominent and at least do a bit to try and sway the right people to kick into action before it is too late?

    I don’t understand it. If you’ve taken on what for the country was a pivotal role in uncovering and describing mistreatment, torture and all that, how can you go away,see what is going on now and be so contained in your external reaction….especially if you have a clear view of what should be done to make things better…… and know that your voice could make a difference ?

    Very very frustrating – though that is too mild a word….

  15. Somebody says:

    If Bahrain was a regular country, whose security forces were drawn from its own population (as in Eastern Europe 1989, Egypt/Tunisia last year) I would agree entirely with your assertion that violence is utterly counterproductive. However, it has become clear that the Pakistani mercenaries who constitute the regime’s front line, have no compunction about attacking large, peaceful protests, including women and children. If the protesters were fellow Baluchis they would probably act differently, but it is clear they are perfectly willing to injure, torture and kill Bahraini civilians.

    As such, it may be that the thinking behind some of the new tactics is designed to increase the pressure and risk upon the mercenaries. It is very easy – even fun, for a certain type of savage – to beat, rape and kill people who accept their fate passively. It is rather less fun seeing the mercenary next to you go up in flames, and worrying if and when you will be next.

    I am not condoning violence. I will point out that there was an interesting article amongst the usual unintentionally hilarious dross in the GDN on Thursday, in which Pakistani mercenaries were reported to be petitioning their embassy to persuade the regime to allow them to carry firearms when attacking villages and protests.

    It is clear that they are becoming more concerned for their own safety, given recent events. I have heard from the grapevine that many have taken sick leave. The simple fact is that these people are foreigners, and this is not their home. While the protesters have no place else to go, if the risk to life and limb simply becomes too high for the mercenaries, many will simply return home.

    It may be that this has been taken into consideration by the protest movement?

  16. exclamation mark says:

    Looking at things going on the ground, all what I could say that things are going for the worse.
    Even after Bassiouni’s report, and the huge scandal of the security authorities (MOI) in Bahrain, being involved in torture, killings and excessive force, there had been no change on the ground. But what happened is, the continuation of violence from the riot police, and finding other ways to oppress and harm people. The events in Abu Saiba, the kidnapping of Yousuf Kudrat VP of Al Ekha’a political society, the group punishment on villages, and lately 3 people being killed in less than 24 Hrs, and the number of casualities totalling to 4 in just less than 48 Hrs !!! And police trying to over run protestors using their vehicles. All that adds up to how corrupt and “dirty” this institution is.

    Whats makes you disgusted until you vomit, is that the MOI denies alot of the crimes committed by its police, eventhough it had been captured by video! This is only a sample of how a section of the Govt. is being run, What do you think happens in other sections?

  17. DANA says:

    The question is: will it continue on and on ?

    For me, this is now entirely within the realm of possibilities. Clearly, nobody in the international community is doing anything, and, whether someone from the UN, or a William Hague say anything doesn’t seem to matter.

    The US administration has other fish to fry, an election to focus on, and so, why act when the voter focus is elswhere, when the world focus is elsewhere, and you can continue status quo.

    The government is not doing enough, and watching, if not ordering increased crackdown.

    The opposition in Bahrain seems to get more fragmented, lately on the violent/non-violent axis.

    It is not impossible to imagine this all going on for years. Look at Palestine…what has been happening there for decades…. a flawed comparison, but similar in terms of a seemingly endless cycle of struggle, repression and marginalization of a large group of people.

    With neither outside international interference, nor a big concerted effort by the opposition in the country which would make the government take them serious and seriously enter into dialogue with them that is meaningful, perhaps the only lever for change would be commercial/prestige based — ie loss of regional, international business opportunities, no F1, ratings agencies further downgrading status etc..

    But even then – money will be flowing in to prop up the economy.. So is it a true lever ?
    I think not really ?

    So, does this go on and on and on ? Will people just turn into cannon fodder ? A never-ending cycle of protest, crackdown, another person injured, another one dead..and on and on ?

    Will this be the Bahrain of the future ?

    A divided society, where daily unrest and crackdown are the order of the day. The sort of country that’s not really classed as a friendly, open, modern, affluent place to consider for business, leisure, tourism, development, just a place that’s there in the region where nothing much happens anymore, where the talent has moved out and gone elsewhere, where you’d never consider visiting, moving to, setting up business in, just a small dot on the world map, with a large naval base – you know it’s there, you know it’s not all pleasant over there, but beyond that, as a world citizen, it just simply isn’t really on your map…and if you’re a citizen, you’ve either moved elsewhere, or have adjusted yourself to a different world view, as far as your nation is concerned –the view of course differing on whether you’re on the repressed side, or the side that is doing its best to ignore the repression, or has convinced itself that it’s entirely neccessary and is by now, well, normal day to day stuff…

    • mahmood says:

      Well, the pink elephant is still the absence of political and human rights. No matter what happens, those will have to be addressed in order for the country and its people to move forward. If they’re not, then strife will continue.

  18. exclamation mark says:

    Hit and arrest?

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