It looks like some neighbourly sorts took umbrage [Arabic] with the display of some murals and traditional black flags in some of Bahrain’s villages [example], took matters in their own hands by removing said flags in Sanad. In Busaiteen, a sleepy village in the Kingdom of Muharraq, they went a step further and torched a couple of houses which had the temerity of displaying their heritage by way of a couple of black flags on their houses.
These acts did not go without a reaction – thankfully – so Sanad villagers took to the street in an authorised protest:
While it’s not clear yet who the perpetrators are, it is relatively safe to say that it is people who aren’t happy about “having that sort of thing” in their neighbourhoods. Put bluntly, they don’t like the Shi’a to be in their neighbourhoods. The Shi’a being there from time immemorial is beside the point. Now that they’re living there, hell, it’s their patch! I guess that the thought of living comfortably and peacefully with each other doesn’t cross their mind.
Unfortunately Bahrain is getting to be like this with more incidents which escalate the canton-like existence. People, from both sides of the divide, demonstrate against “foreigners” coming to live in government developed housing estates in the vicinity of their village. The “foreigners” in some cases are none other than indigenous Bahrainis who lived just a few kilometres away. No, only sons of their own village would be welcomed. Parliament seem to have gotten in this particular sectarian dance, with some standing with those villagers, while MPs from the other sect taking up an opposing view.
Integration is key to bringing the Bahrain of old and the only way for us to prosper in the future. We have always lived together regardless of our religious differences and backgrounds and we should be actively encouraged to do so even more, rather than what the current situation has become, little closed villages virtually surrounded by high walls to keep the others out. If “infiltrated” and one dares to show some sort of personal belief differing from those in the area, daggers – or kerosene – come out.
These situations should be brought under control by applying the law and by encouraging community activities. This is probably a good start which leaders within the community themselves should undertake without government interference. Elders within the community can and should bring their communities together to ensure that this sort of strife does not happen again.
However, judging by how seemingly systemic these incidents have become; that is, politicising every event befalling the country or community, the issue could be much larger than that. The general feeling is that people suffer from social injustice, discrimination and marginalisation. Even if these feeling are just perceptions, they must be addressed at the state level and addressed immediately.