The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

Dream homes in Duraz, Bahrain, Hell for neighbours

We seriously considered buying one of these lovely houses. It fits our needs perfectly: large plot, nice garden, swimming pool, 5 bedrooms, huge living room area, dining room, servants quarters, big garage, excellent finishing and design. A dream home that anyone would wish to live in for the rest of their natural.

It’s been on the market for more than a year now, and no takers. We didn’t get it because of two main reasons: 1. location, 2. over-budget.

1. The location is in Duraz, just outside the village. Throughout the 90’s in Bahrain Duraz was (in)famous for its resistance movement and it still is. The residents are quite religious, or at least this is what they want to be famed for, ultra-conservative, and led by a plethora of “mullahs” and various religious figures.

So we knew that had we bought the house, we would be right in the middle of “troubles.”

As I’ve documented here before, it has become the fashion in Duraz to gather after prayer and go out on a march or demonstration. The causes they’re championing? Take your pick: Palestine/Israel, morality issues in Bahrain, concerts, release of prisoners, cars back-firing as they’re driving past the village, alcohol availability, a goat that dropped her kid because of that car back-firing… basically, they’ll create a cause as they go. It has become their form of entertainment.

2. Budgetary constraints prevented us from buying it. The initial price quoted was BD 180,000 (US$478k). The whole row of houses apparently were sold to a Saudi investor (I’m not sure about this) and suddenly their quoted price jumped to BD 250,000 (US$ 663k).

The houses stood unoccupied for more than a year, except for one which was very recently rented to an English expatriate and his young family, hoping to enjoy the house and its various facilities.

That was until last night.

The family decided to throw a Halloween party for the children, so they prepared pretty well for the party, completely made over one of the rooms as a “haunted house”, hired a DJ, invited some 50 or so people, but also made sure that the music played in the garden wouldn’t be loud to respect their neighbours, the closest of whom was a compound some 500 meters away, and the village is about 1.5 – 2 kms far.

Being new on the island, he did ask some of his Muslim colleagues at work if they anticipate any problem with him throwing such a party, they collectively encouraged him to go ahead with it as it’s completely up to him. In order not to hurt his colleagues’ feelings, he discussed the issue with them and sought their understanding that he would not invite them as he is sensitive to their feelings as it is Ramadhan and they’re fasting. They gave him their full blessing and wished him well and for the children to enjoy themselves.

The party started, everyone was enjoying themselves until a crowd of villagers (about 50 or so) gathers in an area opposite the house and a leader was dispatched to the house to voice their demands: “cancel the party as it was Ramadhan, get everyone out of the house, else he will gather more than 1,000 people to ensure that their demands are met.” They gave him 15 minutes.

The leader of this gang is described to be in his 40’s, soft spoken, but a fanatic non-the-less for it is he who delivered the unveiled threats. Others in the crowd (they were from 6 years-old children to adults) were a bit more vociferous in their demands and gesticulations didn’t leave anything to the imagination should the demands not be promptly met and also delivered a sermon about Bahrain being an “Islamic State” and this is Ramadhan, the most holy of months to Muslims, etc.

Much to the guy’s credit, he kept his cool and did what this mob wanted him to do. He canceled the party much to the children’s and other guests displeasure and asked everyone to go home.

Just imagine the terror these people who are guests in our country must have felt. Imagine the surprise, the displeasure, the uncertainty and fear for their lives as well as for their children’s as they were leaving the house heading for their cars and the drive back to their homes.

all that remains to be done is throw the party prep in the bucket, thank you DurazImagine also what their response would be when the time comes to renew their contracts. Imagine what would happen to the property market when suddenly we wake up and find that supply has now become much more than demand. And when people stop building because there is nobody to house. Imagine the skilled and unskilled labour – most of whom are Bahraini – lose their jobs in the property market, and a lot of other industries because they can’t run. We now have estimates of some 30,000 unemployed in Bahrain. I expect that to quadruple in a few years thanks to the religious leaders and Islamist MPs.

The crowd grew to more than 100 at this time, and some people leaving the house reported that they were threatened that their cars would have been torched had demands not been met promptly.

Personal freedom in Bahrain? Not a chance. If something is not done to alleviate this situation pretty darned fast by the government, parliament and everyone else concerned, we know what the future will hold for these islands.

The question has to be asked though: why did this mob feel so empowered as to impose their will on a family and their home? Who instigated this mob to gather and harass a person doing nothing against the law of the land? Why didn’t the village leaders intervene and disperse the crowd and explain to them that it is not their right to terrorise law-abiding people regardless of their origin? Where are the leaders of the “Al-Wefaq Islamic Society” as it is their hot-bed of support in Duraz and every other village on the Budaiya road to educate these people in what’s right and what’s wrong as far as freedoms are concerned? Why didn’t the government’s security apparatus do anything about this?

It seems to me that as time goes by, personal freedoms, choice and now the sanctity of homes are completely transformed from known and agreed upon descriptions to those that what mobs make them as.

If nothing is done about this… there’s much more to come.

  • anonymous
    31 October 2003

    The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

    It sounds like a story straight out of the European Middle Ages! In fact, a lot of these incidents have that coloration!

  • mahmood
    1 November 2003

    Re: The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

    I just hope it doesn’t take us 500 years to understand that what is done here is completely wrong!

  • anonymous
    3 November 2003

    Re: The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

    I am very aware of this incident and it fills me with great concern. I am an expatriate owner of a business here in Bahrain, which employs thirty two people of which 53% are Bahraini.

    My employees and thier families all live in Bahrain be they Bahrain or other. I have a responsibility to my employees and also thier families, but let us not forget i am also a business man.

    I chose Bahrain for my company over Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi etc as i saw it as a safe and secure envoironment to run a business.

    With escalating problems such as these i am now giving serious consdieration to moving my business which is not dependent on Bahrain but is a contributor to the Bahrain economy.

    I have no desire to be responsible for my expatriate employees and thier families whilst they are living in a country where disparate element believe they can threaten any one just because they do not agree with how they live (albeit legally and with consideration for the country they live in).

    Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi all offer me a safe and secure envoirenment where i do not have to worry about the safety of my employees and we can get on with the business of commerce.

    It would be truly sad to make my Bahraini staff unemployed in the process, they are good, honest and loyal workers who progressing in the company and have a great future for them and thier families.

    Democracy brings a great responsibility to a country. The need to work for the people as a whole as well as an individual. To respect the law and champion your causes through a democratic process.

  • mahmood
    3 November 2003

    Re(1): The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

    That is exactly what I alluded to. These yobs obviously have nothing better to do other than being monkeys coerced and incited into standing in peoples way. And this is exactly what would happen. I am a Bahraini and have my own company as well and there is NOTHING that won’t allow me to carry on doing business from Dubai, Doha or any other country I choose simply by the nature of the business I am involved in. Unlike you though, if I move, only one family will suffer as a result of laying off my Bahraini guy, but that is one too many in any case.

    The parliament, government and the various mosques and ma’atems ARE responsible for the actions of these morons.

    Something drastic (no, not violence) has to be done to allay and aleviate this situation. What I suggest is a comprehensive education program and penalties that no one will over-turn or reduce because of royal pardons, Eids, or whatever!

  • mahmood
    3 November 2003

    The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

    here’s another take on the violent activities that the island experienced in the past. I was talking to a friend a few minutes ago and he says that most of these people that perpetrate these activities (from Sanabis, Duraz, Daih and other hotspots) are known criminals, drug/alcohol addict who have nother better to do!

    He also says that most mosques and ma’atems continuously preach against these activities saying that the only winner of these violent crimes is not the opposition movement, but the government and others and they encourage them that if they are to demonstrate, then keep it reasonable and peaceful.

    He might be at least partly right. But the violent demonstrators seem to dance to a different drum beat.

  • anonymous
    6 November 2003

    The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

    This is why sometimes this democratic bull**** and all those religious people in the parliment make my country look bad. Sorry people for this but its its very aggravating to me. Just because he enjoys a different social life whether it involves drinking, provocative women, etc. doesnt mean he cant celebrate even if it is during ramadan. Its in his home for god’s sake!! I think those villagers cant find anything better to do in their lives and just hate the fact that someone else wants to enjoy his time. All those mutawas are the first people that should go to hell for not encouraging people to make thier own decisions on what they want to do. Forcing people by using our religion as an excuse to justify whats right and wrong is just plain WRONG. Just look at Bin Laden he is the best example brainwashing all these small minded people into walking time bombs.

    And as far as the parliment goes, if they are planning to turn our country backwards then it should be dissolved. It seems to me the minor protests that they are having there is whats inspiring some of the people to demonstrate on silly issues. Just because those parliament members dont enjoy the social lives ‘normal’ human beings have doesnt mean they have to protest.

    I am not saying that I am a non-believer, I am a Muslim and do practice Islam. However we are people who must have our choices open to whatever we want to do. Making laws forbidding people to do what they enjoy is just going to turn the country backwards. Just look at Dubai and its openess. Imagine for example what would happen to its economy if alcohol was forbidden let alone all the other restrictive laws. Now look at all the countries with extreme religious laws and look at their economies, social life, and just about everything else.

    IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT ‘NORMAL’ PEOPLE DO, STAY AT HOME, CAUSE ITS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS AND ISN’T CAUSING ANY HARM TO YOU. I hope people understand what I am trying to get through, I am open to any of your comments.

  • mahmood
    7 November 2003

    The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

    And as far as the parliment goes, if they are planning to turn our country backwards then it should be dissolved

    I understand your anger and agree with you. Choice is the first tenet of democracy and Islam for that matter. What people in various walks of life have to understand that it is their sacred duty to promote and protect choice. Live and let live.

    I do not agree with you however on the notion of disolving the parliament. That would take us back to where we don’t want to go. I suggest we make our voices peacefully heard, and our argument given the freedom to reach the ears of the very people we’re castigating here in order for them to hopefully learn and realize that even if they disagree with our notions, we have the inaliable right to express and live it.

  • anonymous
    19 May 2004

    The rape of freedoms… by the people who demanded it for over 30 years!

    the problem is that the people who you are castigating feel that they are upholding divine law, and those who are doing the castigating are less than zero. how do you deal with people like that? i would also add that the attitude of many who want to uphold “freedom” is that those who are believe they are trying to uphold divine law are also less than zero. do you think there is a middle ground somewhere?

The Veiled Drivers redux