Very quickly

Over the last few days three things were brought to the fore in the local press after people continued to point fingers and talk about the situations in their majlises etc: one thing that has been talked about for years in Bahrain is the issue of naturalization, which is a very emotive subject with the opposition (read the majority of Bahrain) believing that the process is adopted purely to strengthen the hand of government by bringing in new naturalized citizens and use them to skew the electoral outcome and change the country’s demographic; the government on the other hand say that there are no such motives and they are granting citizenship only to those who qualify.

My say: we’re tired of this shit. It’s high time to establish an independent commission of enquiry with free access to all records and persons and then publish a report. If the government is found at fault, then amend/change the laws to ensure that it does not transgress it in the future. If on the other hand it finds that the public’s fears are unfounded, then the public should just shut up and let us get on with our lives.

the prime minister visiting needy families in MuharraqSecond thing: Muharraq, that island which defines Bahraini culture, politics and opposition throughout its ages, has once again rocked the boat.

It’s various “majlises” – community halls presided over by luminaries of neighbourhoods and used as simple devices to while away the time, plan political movements, and strengthen the community spirit and good neighbourliness – have decided that they have had enough with sectarian-motivated political movements and told all political societies in Muharraq that they couldn’t give a shit about them, especially the Asalah (Wahabi) and Minbar (Muslim Brotherhood) that they will not support them any more as their programs in the 2002 elections were far too sectarian and government-allied. The majlises will front and support their own candidates in opposition to these Islamist movements.

Then a tonne of bricks came tumbling on them, by way of our prime minister who defines their roles as:

Addressing the majlis owners, he stressed their role in diagnosing the citizens’ needs and referring them to government officials.

Mainly relegating their ancient role to that of triage rooms in hospitals; just conduits to the “real thing.” He also had this nugget of wisdom to dispense:

he warned against misusing the parliament to raise controversial issues which could only smear the legislative luster.

Sorry sir, I wholeheartedly disagree with your premises. I would rather our parliament raise these contentious issues and solve them, rather than leave them to fester and ultimately explode in our communities.

As to the majlises, they are regarded by the community as localised mini-parliaments to inculcate the spirit of democracy and solve local issues locally, rather than be a conduit to the government, which they certainly can do should they so wish. Majlises are excellent at fostering and enhancing the community spirit, as such, their activities should not be curtailed. And if you believe that you can, then allow me to tell you sir, that you are ill informed. Some of these majlises have been going since 1957, some might even have been established before that, so leave them alone, they’re doing a good job throughout the kingdom.

Third and final thing (I’ve got to get work done, after a wonderful 2-day weekend!): The dogs are out once again attacking “Haq’s” right to petition the UN to get involved in Bahrain’s political scene by sponsoring or aiding in correcting the 2002 constitution. They have collected 82,000 signatures in a petition calling for the restoration of the 1973 constitution, or proper amendment of the 2002 constitution. Faisal Foulath, famous Shura Council specialist in brainfarts, is calling the Haq movement liars and basically is being used to start another smear campaign against them.

The prime minister also obliquely mentioned them and lambasted them for their efforts in his visit to Muharraq (he was rather busy wasn’t he? Attacking 3 subjects in one, THIS is what I call efficient damage control!) in which he stated:

The Premier yesterday warned against raising controversial issues which may drive wedges in the community and serve narrow personal interests. “Democracy, openness and freedom of opinion should not be used as a pretext to violate the law, sow sectarian sedition, or falsify truths in international arenas, claiming internal liberties are curbed,”

Alrighty then… so he too found it distasteful that Haq went whining to the UN. But then, if the Royal Court would accept receiving popular petitions, they might not have resorted to such a measure.

Things are hotting up my friends! Elections must be really really close now. And my fellow Bahrainis would recognise this flurry of activities of promising more reforms, building more houses, visiting the poor and making them promises, and cleaning the roads and painting the curb-stones and the outpouring of wisdom by the tanker-load by senior officials in and out of government are just signs that we have gotten used to.

These cleanups remind me of the preparation for the GCC conference before they hit the island for a day or two, the whole island gets a face lift. Maybe having the elections every four years will now be regarded as a good thing if they’re going to clean up the place more often than the GCC shindigs.

Have an excellent Sunday my friends, the very first first day of the week in the history of Bahrain!

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8 Comments
  • tooners
    3 September 2006

    construction, construction and more construction…..

    it does remind ya of when the F1 is coming. it’s a good thing but ridiculous that it’s all done before the elections just to make all nicey nicey… in the hopes of getting re-elected.

  • jasra jedi
    3 September 2006

    i love muharraq!

  • Anonymous
    3 September 2006

    “The dogs are out once again attacking” “Haq’s” right to petition the UN:
    It is shameful and wrong use of these words, especially as we pretend we Hadarin and accept the opinion and the other opinion, and why stigmatize rights dogs and knowing that I acquired a dog, but he and Secretary Sadiq better than many individuals nihilistic respect and humanity .

    Allen Nelson
    Kingdom of Bahrain
    3/9/2006

  • Anonymous
    3 September 2006

    Mr. Allen
    We agree with you in your refusal to nominate individuals dogs and the language that belies the author does not respect others .

    Jean

  • milter
    4 September 2006

    Mahmood,

    I’ve been trying for several years to figure out the motives and aims behind various political parties and movements in Bahrain.

    A lot of them seem to be using terms like “democratic”, “justice”, “human rights”, “equality”, etc. at random. Once you try to find out what really lies behind the fancy names of their organizations, you usually realize that they all have some kind of religious mission or are founded on socialist ideologies that have been abandoned long ago by most of the rest of the world.

    I can’t see any political parties or groups that can be called truly “liberal democrats”. In my opinion the existance of such parties is the only way forward towards a better life for the majority of the people.

    That may also mean the old majlises may have to be abondened to be replaced by an institution that is more in line with modern thinking. It doesn’t necessarily mean the leaders of them won’t have any influence in the future. It just means their influence will be of a different nature.

    Whatever happens after the next election in Bahrain, I just hope it won’t be as violent as it was in the Balkans after the fall of USSR.

  • The Joker
    4 September 2006

    The good old quattro-popular poor. They suddenly remember they’re there and decide to check on them every four years.

  • Anonymous
    5 September 2006

    Khaleefa promoting Sectarianism

    Published: 09/05/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)
    Iran’s plan to buy land in Bahrain city ‘foiled’
    By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief

    Manama: An alleged ploy by Iran to purchase land and property for its supporters in Bahrain’s second largest city has been foiled by the local authorities, Al Ayam newspaper has reported.

    “The real estate registration office has been instructed not to approve land or property transactions in certain areas in Muharraq,” the paper said.

    The instructions came after an investigation ordered by local officials concluded that Iran-linked people were buying property for new residents to alter the demographic make-up of some neighbourhoods in the old city.

    The probe was prompted by an unusual surge in real estate transactions that caused concern among the authorities, the paper said, quoting “well-informed sources” that it did not name.

    Visiting Muharraq for the second time in a month, Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa on Saturday urged the inhabitants not to sell their properties, pledging further government facilities and support for their neighbourhoods.

    According to the alleged ploy, the Iranians planned to buy several plots of land and properties in various parts of Bahrain as well as to ensure the presence of supporters in all areas of the kingdom.

    Traditionally, Shiites have inhabited towns and villages in the northern, eastern and western parts of Bahrain while Sunnis tend to concentrate on the island of Muharraq and the central and southern areas.

    New state-built towns, such as Eisa Town and Hamad Town, have a mixed sectarian population.

    Residence concentration, often ruled by sectarian affiliations, is a crucial issue in Bahrain’s politics as demonstrated in the 2002 municipal and parliamentary polls when most representatives were elected according to their sects.

  • mahmood
    6 September 2006

    unbelievable….

    kettles and pots come to mind really.

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