I was happy to learn of the King’s speech on Aug 28th, 2011. As has become his custom, he addressed the nation at the end of Ramadhan. In his much awaited speech, he addressed several issues, but did not offer any new political concessions, probably leaving those to the enactment of the National Dialogue demands.
In his speech, he ordered:
- pardoning all those who insulted him during a month of pro-democracy protests
- civilians that were being tried in military courts for their participation in the protest will eventually be handled by civil courts
- those employees who were dismissed from their jobs will be reinstated
- dismissed students shall be reinstated
- those who had been mistreated in custody in the aftermath of the crackdown should file a complaint as that the law allows compensation for them
I wonder how long those responsible in government will take to enact these orders. Recent history suggests; however, that they will either be ignored, or some excuses will be created to slow down their implementation to the degree that frustration will continue to rise in the country.
The king also stated:
“The recent period was painful to all of us. Although we live in one country, some have forgotten the inevitability of coexistence. Therefore, we should not abandon our belief in having the same and common future, and should not lose trust in each other as brothers, colleagues and citizens.”
King Hamad once again reminded us that our common denominator should be our Bahraininess, rather than our personal religious beliefs. These thoughts are nobel, of course; however, I’m afraid for them to be implemented in reality much more is needed. You do not inculcate this sense of belonging and unity via slogans and banners on the streets. What is needed is action and lead by example in order to restore faith. Courageous unconventional steps must be shown in practice to show that the regime is absolutely serious about wanting the issues which beleaguered the country resolved, and of course, the opposition must now help in this by allowing the benefit of the doubt to be given and received. Also, the continuous deluge of filth and sectarianism pouring out of the mouths of known so called clerics and MPs like Mohammed Khalid, Jassim Alsaidi and others of the same ilk without any public censure by the regime. The same should be applied to the filth being broadcast on the official media channels and sectarian newspapers and so called journalists, rather than celebrating them by seeing their pictures being greeted by very highly placed officials in the country. The message these actions promote is the diametric opposite of what the king is espousing publicly.
Like many of my compatriots, I am rather tired of the duplicity happening in our country. I am convinced that nothing will fix this situation and bring Bahrain back to the normality we all desire than actual determined and unambiguous actions by the country’s top officials to fight this disparity with absolute and unwavering resolve.
Let’s hope that this speech is a harbinger of better things to come. Eid Mubarak Bahrain.