In Bahrain’s recent history, no other date has been so keenly awaited than the 1st of June 2011, for on that day, the State of National Security ends, and a new era for Bahrain commences. The hope for that day is the return of the military forces to their barracks and the national dialogue resumes.
But, danger is in the offing. If people take it into their heads to confront the regime one more time, if they needlessly attempt to go out and re-occupy the erstwhile Pearl Roundabout, then in all probability they will once again be met with force which might result in loss of life, injury or at best incarceration. The indications from online forums and Facebook pages suggests that some are determined to tread that path, folly as it is. For the sake of Bahrain, I hope cooler minds prevail, and a very much restricted and proportional use of force is employed, if required to restore the peace.
What we need now are cool heads to get together, to listen and try to find ways to resolve the situation, to bring us back from the edge onto a plain on which grievances are aired and ameliorated and long lasting political solutions are sincerely sought and applied.
We do not need more violence. We currently have no need for any further demonstrations and we most certainly don’t need any fatalistic confrontations. Violence – on or by either side – will never resolve the situation, no matter how long that violence lasts.
I believe that the military’s deployment has achieved its objective of attaining enforced calm which should be used as a catalyst for positive change, for enabling the environment for dialogue. Wars have been fought throughout history in which millions perished only for bitter opponents to ultimately sit across a table to find common grounds and resolve their differences.
We should be under no illusion that things will magically get fixed. Nor should we fall into the trap of believing that our differences will be ameliorated in a matter of days, weeks, months or even years. The path ahead is littered with thorns and dead-ends; honest people must put Bahrain above their own personal, political and communal desires and work toward an inclusive and mutually beneficial outcome. Most of the demands are still legitimate and must be addressed for the country to move forward.
Political problems require political solutions; therefore, an honest and inclusive national dialogue is the only way forward. Let’s create the environment for that to succeed.