What’s the future like for our children in Bahrain when 95% of the land are in private hands. How did a country as tiny as Bahrain end up in a situation where a few individuals own the vast majority of the land mass? How did that happen?
How it happened is quite well known to us Bahrainis who have heard horror stories since we were toddlers of some “higher ups” touring the country in a pickup truck with a few Indians at the back and rolls of barbed wire. When that person spies a parcel of land which takes his fancy, he instructs the his Indians to hop off and start surrounding that plot of barbed wire.
There are also the other stories of another one of those higher ups colloquially called Mr. 3 bricks, because he’s a bit more advanced than the pickup guy where he builds a three brick high fence around the plots he “takes.”
This is mostly how Bahrain was divided into an almost medieval landscape; large plots of land which have been apportioned unfairly, then goes through some sort of sectioning and offered up for sale, hence the seller – who doesn’t legally own that land in the first place – becomes upwards of tens of millions of Dinars richer. And off they move to another “unclaimed” land.
How else did Tubli Bay get raped? It was at some point over 25 square kilometers of the most fertile fish and prawn grounds. Now its filled with sewage AND its reduced in size to between 11 – 13 square kilometers, and other than supporting a few stray flamingos, I doubt that any other fish than the hardiest (and uneatable) could survive there. How did it reduce in size though? The same “technique” as the ones described above. This time however, they dredge, fill-in, section and sell. Disregarding the hundreds of families’ livelihood gained from fishing, or the rich environment of that area.
A few weeks ago, the press reported that one of the “big hamours*” had sold THE SEA to the North of the main island, an area of several tens of kilometers to private investors. The figure gained? The rumour has it pegged at upwards of US$ TWO BILLION.
Is it then strange that we see another “up and coming hamour” trying a fast one on Malkiya’s coast? One that doesn’t give a shit about direct and repeated orders from the municipality and the ministry to stop building a wall that would cut off a whole village from the sea on which they depend for their daily lives and entertainment?