Gratitudes and the Duraz Siege

27 Aug, '16

Every day, I endeavor to be grateful for at least five things.  I write them down as early as I can every morning to remind me to stay humble and be thankful for what I have. This practice has allowed me to stay positive in the face of difficulties and reminded me to see things in context and put them into perspective. Today is my 105th day of doing this, thanks to the Facebook Group 90 Days of Gratitude.

Today, I choose to reflect on our village Duraz’s siege from my own perspective. We are having to suffer long queues of cars to report to a police checkpoint – one of only two for a village and an area that hosts over 20,000 residents – to get home. Every other entrance into the village has been closed off by police. And I mean this literally. The ancient village of Duraz has many routes in and out of it, as you might imagine for a very old habitat, but every single one of them has been closed and is being guarded by police. The word inconvenience doesn’t even start to describe what residents are going through. Every day. At least twice a day. For the last two and a half months.

The situation as I personally see it is better described as collective punishment. This of course has to stop. It is the decent thing to do.

Backgrounder:

Picture courtesy of Alwasat newspaper. Checkpoint at Duraz entrance on the Budaiya highway

Picture courtesy of Alwasat newspaper. Checkpoint at the Budaiya highway entrance to Duraz.

On 20 June, Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior revoked the nationality of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shia community, rendering him stateless. In response, hundreds of demonstrators began a peaceful sit-in around Sheikh Qassim’s home in the village of Duraz, where he also preaches. Since then, the authorities have subjected Duraz to an unprecedented lockdown, in what is a form of collective punishment against the entire village. The government’s action violates the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, and movement for all the residents of Duraz and their families.

Duraz is located in the north west of the main island. To its west is Budaiya and to its east is Barbar. Its south side faces onto the major Budaiya Highway, and on the other side are the villages of Bani Jamra and Saar. Duraz has an estimated population of 20-30,000 people.

…more at ECDHR

Here are my gratitudes of this morning, for the 105th day.

I am grateful for:

  1. The internet for keeping me entertained, inspired and informed for the calculated delays at the Duraz checkpoint to get home. Twice a day at least. Every day. For the last two and a half months.
  2. The inconsiderate dimwits who choose to ignore the patience of everyone at the Duraz checkpoint. Although they are many, my trust in humanity, patience and respect of others is strengthened by noting that those patiently queueing are considerably more than the inconsiderate unmannered uncultured dimwits. I’m reminded of this at least twice a day. Every day. For the last two and a half months.
  3. For my fervent belief that security measures are never a final solution, but a tool wisely used to get opposing sides to the dialogue and peace table. Sieges are so 12th century not the 21st. I’m reminded of this at least twice a day. Every day. For the last two and a half months.
  4. The comfort that my car provides. Makes waiting to go through the checkpoint at Duraz actually a tolerable experience. Other than my and thousands of others daily loss of at least two hours having to tolerate this siege every day. At least twice a day. For the last two and half months.
  5. The realization that dialogue, compromise and outcomes that respect international human rights codes are the intelligent solutions going forward. The Duraz siege manifests the failure of the realization of these certain facts. Every day. All day. For the last 2,025 days.

Regardless of the reason why the government has imposed this siege, this is collective punishment for a population through no fault of its own.

160829: Thank you Alwasat Newspaper for featuring this post.

Filed in: Human RightsThoughts
Tagged with:

Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. AbuRasool says:

    Great read. The Duraz siege provides yet another example of what Gene Sharp calls ‘political jiu jitsu’, i.e. when a regime’s unchallenged and overpowering strength works against it. I have discussed this in my book on civil resistance.*

    Our experiences in Bahrain from the days of the NUC in 1954-6 show that agitation by the opposition is secondary in mobilizing people to the regime’ s own paranoia and repressive measures, including collective punishment.
    Since 2001, the Bahraini regime has excelled in the-not-so-gentle-art-of-making-new-enemies. The nearly two months seige of Duraz provide ample evidence of that.

    *This artticle in foreign policy is more accessable
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/03/03/the-secret-of-political-jiu-jitsu/

    • mahmood says:

      This is common sense AbuRasool. And scientific too. “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. How can anyone think that a spring won’t spring higher the more you compress it? It just boggles the mind as to why a lasting solution is not actively sought, unless the future and its generations are not regarded to be consequential.

  2. arie says:

    Very sad indeed, airco working?.
    i am grateful that you are able to write this.
    Perhaps you could construct a officeworking place above the seat next to you. I did in my old VWT2 camper, works fine.

  3. Yaser Al-Saig says:

    After more than two months of siege and demonstrations, if anything it proves how brutal the Bahraini regime is and how peaceful the demonstrators are.

    Citizenship is not a gift from anyone and it is not for anyone to take.

    It is time for prince Salman to take action, otherwise he will be seen as in agreement with what is happening, at least he has a modern vision, let us if this vision is only an illusion. Time will tell.

  4. jay kactuz says:

    Regarding the “rights to freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, and movement”, are these in the legal system? Being an Islamic society, I have serious doubts as to these being allowed, without major reservations.
    Any way, you stay safe! long time occasional reader. Jay

    • mahmood says:

      Thank you Jay. They’re in the legal system alright. They’re even in the constitution. The fault is in the application though. That is very much curtailed with sometimes unconstitutional legislation. This, as you have alluded to, is a problem throughout the Islamic world.

  5. Paul Anthony says:

    I used to live in Bahrain but the ability to do my work and execute a good job was constantly hindered whenever access was required over a “village area”. For all the exceptional progress that Bahrain made in the last century, the current hyperbolic hysteria over imaginary security concerns seems to be setting the country far back into medieval times. Thank goodness that you and your fellow residents are able to deal with this deplorable situation in such a wise and commendable way.

Back to Top