No politics?

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despairI wonder what life would be in this little dot of an island of ours if we had to live without having to worry about politics; in as much as actually living in a modern democracy where human rights are not only protected, but cherished, and where people would feel free to write and voice their opinions without fear of persecution. I’m 50 now, and reflecting back, I can’t remember a time where these conditions existed here. Nor do I remember a time where in my lifetime that this region, for that matter, has enjoyed relative peace either. I find that I’m holding myself back from writing, for standing up for what I believe should be the norm and when I do write, I censor myself. All because I know – through personal experience – the terror of that 3am banging on the door, the hood, the tight wire-wraps around my wrists, the shoves and insults, the incarceration and the shear terror of realising that all that you’ve stood for, all that you’ve fought for, and all that the moderation you espoused all your life are worth nothing to your jailers and their masters. Their agenda is completely different from yours and they have the tools, all the tools, to ensure that theirs is paramount. So the question remains, why bother? I know I can’t be bothered any more. Not exclusively due to the real fear of the real possibility of incarceration once more, no, but much more importantly because I know that I won’t make a difference and that if I do attempt to do so, then the rest of the country will just continue to trudge along and inexorably and actively try to ignore what’s happening right in front of their eyes just to carry on with their miserable and mundane lives. Future generations shouldn’t be subjected to this. Enough! A solution is required if sustainability is a consideration, and it must be, it should be. A solution is staring everyone in the eye; however, it cannot be enacted without real and courageous political will, both of which are in very short supply at the moment. Realistically, that will has been patently absent for decades, so much so that it has become a de facto standard religiously followed by those in power. Struggles will continue by sincere people in this country and unfortunately some will pay for it with their incarceration while others still will ultimately give their very lives all as a sacrifice to exerting more pressure to wrench those basic rights for everyone to enjoy, and through which future generations can thrive. Some have already realised; however, that life is short and this fight ain’t worth fighting; as such they’ve made exit plans to install themselves in other countries where they feel they might be welcome and in order to allow their children a chance at growing normally. I can’t say I blame them. That’s not an answer for the vast majority of the population though. To them, the only option is to push and continue to push until their demands are met. While they’re doing that, they will continue to eek out a living from the jaws of despair. The end-game can’t be that far ahead. The Bahraini struggle will soon commemorate its hundredth year. To put this in context, the Bahraini story is older than the Palestinian issue.

  • Emile
    17 August 2012

    If one voice can change a room, it can change a town, it can change a city, it can change a country, and no doubt it can also possibly change the world.
    Don’t give up on what you believe in, with all the voices put together, change will come sooner rather than later. Like you said the Bahraini issue is older than the Palestinian issue, why??? It’s voices like yours that kept it going. Stay strong for the future generations.

  • forthwrite
    17 August 2012

    You DO make a difference–by continuing to share with us your thoughts, hopes, and, yes, even despair. When my father was hounded out of his profession during McCarthy’s Red scare (U.S.), it cast a long shadow over our family. So I understand your fear.

    In the Christian New Testament it is written that Jesus admonished his followers to be “wise as serpents, gentle as doves.” This was at the time of Rome’s brutal occupation of Palestine. Here’s another New Testament idea: to live “as if” the Kingdom of God–that promised era of spiritual and social liberation–had arrived, even while knowing its time was “not yet.”

    Words to live by in a time of struggle: We can live as free people, as if our time had come, but wisely, carefully, knowing “not yet.” Because oppressors won’t give us freedom; we have to declare it.

    I offer these words of encouragement humbly, aware that as a US citizen I can’t really know what life in police state is like.

  • Joe Da Soap
    17 August 2012

    Mahmood, you have to be congratulated for your tenacity and perseverance over the past years. I have no doubt you will continue your work in the style that we have become accustomed to. So many good people have suffered and continue to suffer. I feel sure that the tide will turn, but I don’t know when that will be. There is a great deal those outwith the borders of the tiny island can do to help the good people of Bahrain e.g. lobbying their politicians and spreading the message on the abuses which are taking place, I feel it is more in their hands now rather than from within. I for one will be doing my best to put pressure on those in Bahrain who think that their Arab Spring is over!

  • Just Bahraini
    17 August 2012

    Dear Mahmood,

    You giving up is one of the most depressing things I have read in awhile. Please dont. You were a source of light and voice of reason through much of the last 18 months. I understand of you feel, and your freedom is not worth sacrificing while the nation isnt ready, but this fight is worth fighting for. Take a rest, stay quiet for awhile if you must, but please please dont give up. Bahrain needs you.

  • mahmood
    17 August 2012

    Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I truly appreciate it.

    I don’t think I can give up if my life depended on it. I didn’t mean that at all. After blogging in one form or another since 1986 this has become more of a way of life for me. The intention of course is to effect change and channel my energies where I think I can make a difference. In the current state of affairs, I am very unsure that I can do that without subjecting myself or my family to persecution. After all, if the most celebrated human right defender is imprisoned on what could be thought of as trumped up charges for his opinions, then what can we expect for our troubles?

    It’s a difficult situation. But the staggering thing in all of this is that I believe that those who did imprison Nabeel Rajab, have committed a strategic mistake that plays directly into the hands of the opposition. It’s up to them to utilise it the best they could to further their cause in establishing democracy in this country.

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