Bahrain is now on fire. Officially. The King has unambiguously unleashed the security apparatus’ hand in “dealing with saboteurs and terrorists”; those who burn tyres in the streets and lob molotov cocktails on all and sundry. Good, said many. “Deal with them with an iron fist” said others, and recently, we’ve had the usual posse declaring their support and loyalty by taking out press ads and even street hoardings such as these:
When this happens, as we have seen over the last few decades, you can rest assured that the ruling elite aren’t happy and they probably are doing something to appease some criticism, or when they’re possibly threatened that things might go out of hand, or even possibly do the traditional slight of hand to divert attention from something which is happening or about to happen. I’m not a clairvoyant so I wouldn’t know the motivations other than what is plain to see. Could it be to divert people’s attention to the gerrymandering as the elections approach? Where a single vote in a minuscule southern governate equates to 21 in others? Well, I’ll leave these factors to your deductions.
However, things this time – when compared with 2002 and 2006 – have taken a turn for the worse. This time, terrorism charges have been levied against a group of vociferous opposition persons, some of whom have participated in an annual House of Lords seminar in the UK, about human rights and political transgressions in this country. Their reward was to go directly to jail and never pass go.
Of course, when that happens and as they do enjoy tremendous support amongst the disenfranchised, the country goes into a spiral of violence. That is, our own kind of violence – you know, tyre burning, impromptu demonstrations, rock and the occasional Molotov cocktail hurling kind of violence. Nothing really that would lead generally to loss of life. Nothing like what happens in other countries like India for instance, where a minor transgression would result in hundreds dead. But in a supposed affluent country, this kind of “disruption” is a big deal. Some say that it leads to some sort of loss of face, something unacceptable in our culture…
So they get whacked across the head with charges under the Terrorism Law. And soon thereafter, the Public Prosecutor bars any discussion about their cases in the media (all forms of media), something we have witnessed before to be ineffective, but often employed resort.
So, I shall acquiesce to their request and shall quieten my gob.
But before doing that, please allow me to draw your attention to a parallel:
Canada, the lovely country which I’m visiting at the moment for a soon to end holiday, has been rocked over the last couple of days with an arrest of three suspected terrorists. Did you note that I emphasised the word “suspected”? Good. How might you say that they were suspected?
Well, an RCMP investigation lasting 18 months and gaining the required judicial instruments only after showing just cause, arrested three individuals so far and found bomb making material, remote control rigs, books and correspondence to facilitate terrorism acts and the manufacture of explosives. All three have now been presented in court after having lawyers appointed to them and given full access to their clients. Needless to say, as Canadian citizens, they will enjoy the full protection of the law and will be judged and either found guilty or released as innocents. There is of course no question that the media will be barred from reporting on the case, nor have they been held incommunicado.
My friends, we’re not doing ourselves any service by carrying on like this. Making a mountain of a mole hill all the time with and without cause. Sane people should speak to those in power and tell them that the path they have chosen is incorrect and at lease not commensurate with this day and age. That it will be much better for all concerned to release the grip on power a little and share the wealth. That for the sake of the country and the longevity of their rule it’s best to remove the tribal spectacles and include the citizens as true partners in progress. That those who are advising them now are spent and have lost credibility as they cannot integrate into a modern and interconnected world. That we love them and want them to continue. That the only way to do so is to share. That they need to reevaluate their strategy, mission and vision for the country and its inhabitants.
To continue as we have been doing is very trying and tiring and will lead us all into avenues we both won’t like. The chaos that will ensue is not something trivial and will last generations. All that will do is delay us once more from grabbing passing windows of opportunity and to rise to a higher level of responsibility borne out of good governance and accepted civic duties.
Every body I speak to now hardly even thinks of voting. Not only that, most are actually making plans to leave the country. Is this what we want? To live in an actual desert with ghosts? Oppressed and suppressed for ever?
Get things corrected for goodness sake before chaos really ensues. What’s happening now is nothing more than an appetiser of what could be in the offing and I’m sure that none of us looks forward to that.