I honestly don’t think so. The invitation to dialogue is about two weeks old and all what we’ve had so far – at least as far as I can see – are unilateral monologues fueled by wild speculation and rumours. The opposition seems to be biding its time in order to extract more concessions, while a sizable percentage of people in Bahrain are getting battle weary and tired of just waiting. And everyone is asking a simple question: When?
When is a good time to engage in dialogue?
The regime has put forth its hand and has removed all barriers to enter into that dialogue. And it has asserted time and again that there no longer are any red lines and any and all subjects can and shall be discussed. I have not heard of any pre-conditions on the part of the regime to engage in such dialog. Yet, none of the opposition groups seem to be motivated enough to take up that engagement offer and put forth their demands at the table of national dialogue.
The opposition needs to seize this opportunity and not delay any further. The whole world’s eyes are on Bahrain at the moment; however, it will not continue to be so as there are other events taking place which are much larger and probably more important on the world stage, those might force those eyes to veer away from us very soon. We’re still currently in the spot-light which affords the opposition specifically excellent international backing against the regime, thus strengthening their back and giving them a huge advantage. It is therefore the opposition’s responsibility not to let Bahrain down and take up the opportunity by the horn and at least start the dialogue and put the people’s demands forward. Throw everything including the kitchen sink at the table, but at least start talking!
To delay, is inviting a very dangerous double edge-sword into play. Frustrations on both sides will escalate which might lead to very unfortunately instances in both camps, and God forbid that hot-heads taking it into their minds that they will do the Lord’s bidding by attacking the other side, or egg them into an unfortunate situation will drag this country backward even further, regardless of who perpetrates those acts.
Talk. I encourage both parties to talk. The opposition might want to continue to encourage the street to continue in their peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins. Those – no matter how ugly or uncouth one might think they are – are legitimate and legal methods to show grievances by which political pressure is sustained on the regime. The regime themselves aren’t naive to this tool, and as we’ve all witnessed, they made effective use of the support it too enjoys.
It’s been exactly two weeks since #feb14. Seven people gave their life in order for the rest of Bahrain to have the possibility of a better one. We owe it to them to find an expeditious resolution to this problem. Just waiting won’t do. Start the talks. Regardless of how long they might take, at least start now in order to initiate the long and difficult healing process which is much needed for this country.