Not a lot of people valued Fawzi Julaid‘s input into the shaping of Bahrain’s fledgeling democracy nor understood his efforts until he was practically deported off the island, treated like one of the thousands of illegal and run-away workers, rather than a valued person who has worked tirelessly to inculcate democracy’s mechanisms in Bahrain.
Even his country’s ambassador seemed hesitant to give him a hand; at least this is what one understands from Liz Campbell’s comments when he says that the previous American ambassador to Bahrain and the Administration are going to be unhappy to see Mr. Julaid treated in this heinous manner.
I keep asking myself the question “why”? I really do not understand what prompted the government to behave in this way. Why would it want to replace an institute which has wide public acceptance with a quixotic entity that is more bluster than actual experience.
And how can the newly formed Bahrain Institute for Political Development even come close to the vast experience of the NDI, and institute born off a working democracy? Ulterior motives must have been the only factor which was considered when they attempted to chase the NDI out of Bahrain, without any thought given to modern communication infrastructure which ensures that anyone can work and deliver timely opinions and help remotely, across countries and time-zones. That, demonstrates to me yet another disconnect that this current government is nothing short of dinosaurs employing ancient techniques to subvert the path of reforms and democracy drawn and implemented by his majesty the king.
Why now? I have expressed an opinion previously that this move might be directly related to the NDI requesting a monitor status for the forthcoming municipal and parliamentary elections scheduled to happen any day now, as the government through its Ministry of Social Affairs have done the very same thing to the Transparency Society, another entity which requested the very same action.
They obviously have failed in both attempts; the Transparency Society has recently elected its board so there is no reason for it not to resume its mandate, and the NDI have clearly said that the office in Bahrain will not be closed, and that they will continue to operate in Bahrain via Mr. Julaid regularly physically visiting the island, but more importantly keeping in contact with all political societies in the island, and if a seminar or workshop need to be done, then those could easily be done in another country if physical presence is required, or virtually through the internet and telephones.
So what does the current government gain from all of this?
My very simplistic reading of the situation suggests that:
1. Put the breaks on democracy at any cost, even utilising somewhat respected persons to do the dirty work; all they achieved there is the complete discrediting of those people who might have really contributed to this country’s progress.
2. Besmirch this country’s reputation; as an Arab and a Bahraini I am mortified that a guest of this country, formally invited by his majesty the king no less, to have been treated in such a discourteous manner. This is bad form at its worst and I hope that Bahrainis are not going to be looked at by fellow Arabs and the rest of the world as simply are rude and oafish.
3. Discredit the democracy that we have been fighting to build since 2001.
4. Fast-track the return of the State Security Law with all that entails (that would make the recent events in Cairo look like a picnic!)
Someone please put me right if I have misread the clues here.
Mr. Julaid, you have been a credit to this country and I, as a Bahraini, profusely apologise for your rude treatment. Rest assured that virtually the whole country, all those who value democracy, are completely with you and would welcome you back with open hearts and arms.