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Domino effect continues… who’s after Egypt?

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With the collapse of dictatorial rule in Tunis and the running demonstrations in Egypt since 25 Jan with Friday the 28th culminating in the biggest series of demonstrations for decades, which other country could follow this popular domino effect?

The regular culprits and the most shaky governments seem to be Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and Yemen, most of which witnessed significant demonstrations since the Tunisian popular uprising. Whether those demonstrations would be sustainable is anyone’s guess. The Egyptian situation certainly seems to have taken the officials there by utter surprise. I’m not sure why; with 30% illiteracy and some 50% of its population living with under the equivalent of two US Dollars per day, the massive amount of human rights variations visited upon them, they should’ve really expected it.

As I watch Al-Jazeera at the moment with it declaring the government issuing a curfew from 6PM – 7AM Cairo time, it seems that they now got the message, but they certainly didn’t read the situation on the ground very well.

With Egypt taking the opportunity of the first celebrated date after the Tunisian uprising to start their demonstrations, I can’t but postulate that others might use the same technique to illicit support for their causes and start the process of toppling their particular domino piece. A quick search of possible “flash dates” in the Arab world resulted in one very close to us; the commemoration of the declaration of these very islands of Bahrain to be a Kingdom. That date of course is Feb 14, just a couple of weeks away.

A smart government would tone down its celebrations at this particular time. A smarter government of course would immediately engage its populace and show them that the long promised reforms are immediately introduced in tangible forms in order not only to momentarily ameliorate their citizens’ senses, but to simply make good on its promises.

What do Bahraini citizens want? Live in dignity and have their basic human rights, and intellect, respected. Translating that into practical terms, I personally think the very first thing that should be enacted is the declaration of an impartial truth and reconciliation committee with all relevant powers, the rescinding of contentious laws, particularly 56/2002 and the enacting free press and respect for freedoms of association and speech.

Will the government be cognizant of these feelings and acquiesce to these reasonable requests? Especially when you consider that these very factors will strengthen their position and perpetuate their rule?

I don’t know. After ten years of promises, I feel its high time that those promises are enacted.

The last thing we need is even more strife in this country. We’ve had enough.

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From one extreme…

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Whenever something gets banned, people will find a way around it. Simple human nature. This is even more so if the entity doing the banning is a government. Tunis – yes, the laundry is being well and truly aired about that oh-so-stable country aplenty now – has not only banned the call to prayer on their official TV channels, but has also banned all religious programming on them too. Guess what happened immediately after their dictator was thrown out:

Tunisian TV channel resumes Adhan broadcasting

January 17th, 2011 – 11:17 UTC by Andy Sennitt.

A Tunisian TV channel has reportedly resumed broadcasting the Adhan [Call to Prayer] after the ousted president Zine El Abidin Ben Ali fled the country amid widespread anti-government protests. Ben Ali ended his 23-year rule on Friday after weeks of street protests all over the North African country.

The Arabic language Al-Mofakirat Al-Islam website said in a report that Tunisia’s Channel 7 TV resumed broadcasting Adhan five times a day. “He (Ben Ali) was against broadcasting Adhan, holding Friday prayers in mosques during his rule,” the website said. The ousted president was also “bitterly opposed to hijab (Islamic dress code) and imposed a ban on many veiled Muslim women,” Al-Mofakirat Al-Islam added.

Ben Ali ruled Tunisia for more than two decades. His era was marred by repeated human rights violations and torture. On Sunday, acting leaders in Tunisia discussed the composition of a unity government as post-revolution unrest continues to grip the North African country.

Source: Press TV via Media Network

I’m willing to bet that the pendulum now will swing from the one extreme of robbing the Tunisian people of one important element of their identity, religion – through to the other end and we’ll see the rise of Islamism and Islamist sentiments.

So who and what gets sacrificed at the alter of extremism? Common sense and moderation.

We have quite a lot to learn from the “Tunisian Experiment”, and the wise will benefit most if they take time to understand what transpired and why and try to enact those lessons in their own societies with the inculcation of the respect for human rights and their freedoms of faith, association, thought and speech, and not to shove one doctrine or another down people’s throats.

The next few months and years will be very interesting indeed for Tunis and the Arab world in general. I just hope that this transition, painful as it will be, will be beneficial with the minimum loss of life and hardships.

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Mixed messages

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This is on Al-Wasat‘s front page this morning:

On the right, the Crown Prince inaugurates the building of a low income community of 444 much needed houses in Malkiya, one of the Bahraini fishing villages. While on the left, a picture of two children of 12 years old sitting on a bench inside the court in which they were convicted of the crimes of possession of inflammable material, rioting and participating in an unlawful gathering.

Twelve years old criminals.

But they’re not the only ones. Apprehending, incarcerating and imprisoning children has become a legitimate exercise of our ever vigilant security apparatus. According to human rights organisations and the very same security apparatus, there are some 65 (yes, sixty-five) children in prison either awaiting trial or having been convicted due to various offences including participation in demonstrations and unauthorised protests, possession of illegal material, rioting, etc. The youngest of those is ten years old.

Do you not see the complete disconnect between the two pictures? The crown prince laying the foundation stone for the future of 444 Bahraini families who hope to be productive and secure now that the promise of an abode is near, while sixty-five whole families now being raised with a deep hatred for the regime, and whose future is at best suspect. Children in prison for doing what they cannot possibly comprehend, but paying dearly for their future. No education, no compassion, just hate generated from a deep sense of injustice levied against them.

Shame.

Shame on every Bahraini who condones such a un-compassionate and inconsiderate application of the law.

Instead of investing into changing these children’s and their environment’s prospects for the future, bringing them into a more equitable economic situation, we get the government entrenching their dire situation of poverty and ignorance. All under the guise of “teaching them a lesson”. The lesson that they’re “teaching” in this instance; however, is just hate. Hate that will traverse generations.

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An Arab Revolution! WTF!

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Tunisian Ex-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country

Bye bye dictator.

Good luck to Tunisia and Tunisians over the critical coming few weeks and months. Keep your head, for goodness sake and don’t turn it into a North African Iraq. You have an unbelievable chance to make things better and inculcate popular modern democracy. Don’t fall into the theocracy trap, it won’t do you good. One Iraq and one Iran is enough for our world.

Bonne chance Tunisie.

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Torture in plain daylight, and in front of a sitting MP

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While the US Ambassador was assuring us that human rights is very important to the political leadership in this country in an interview released today in Alwasat, it’s ironic that in the very same issue a news article confirms the torture of a citizen in front of a sitting MP!

قال رئيس كتلة الوفاق البرلمانية النائب عبدالجليل خليل إنه شهد تعذيب اثنين من الشباب الساعة السادسة مساء الخميس الماضي (6 يناير / كانون الثاني 2011)ØŒ وأن ضابطاً من قوات سافرة مع خمسة أفراد انهالوا بالضرب المبرح على المواطن سيدمحسن الشرخات في قاعة استقبال مركز شرطة المعارض بالسنابس، ولم يكتفوا بذلك بل سحبوا أخاه سيدصالح الشرخات (حوالي الأربعينات من العمر وعمره مقارب لأخيه) الذي كان قد حضر مع خليل لتقديم شكوى على أحد رجال الأمن بلباس مدني، واسمه (…)ØŒ تعود على إهانة وضرب المواطنين في السنابس والمناطق المحيطة، وهو يمارس دوره المشئوم بلباسه المدني متحدياً المواطنين بكلمات بذيئة وبإهانات متبوعة باعتقالات وتعذيب.

 

وقال خليل إنه عندما احتج على ذلك، قام ضابط قوات سافرة بالصراخ عليه، وتلفظ بألفاظ نابية، وقال الكثير من الكلام من بينه «إنت نائب على غيري، واذهب وأخبر من تشاء، لا يهمني من أنت ولا من تمثل».

The head of Al-Wefaq political bloc MP Abduljalil Khalil said that he witnessed the torture of two citizens at 6pm Thursday evening on the 6th of Jan 2011 in that an officer from the Safra forces together with five of his company have severely beaten citizen Sayed Muhsin Alsharkhat in the reception area or the Sanabis police station. They also dragged his brother Sayed Saleh Alsharkhat, who is around 40 years old and close to his brother in age, who accompanied MP Khalil to render a complaint against a plain-clothes policeman named (….) who is used to abuse and beat citizens in the Sanabis and the surrounding area while plain-clothed complete with threats of imprisonment and the like.

MP Khalil said that he objected to this and was faced with a shouting Safra officer who verbally abused him and said, among other things, that “you exercise your MP’s status on others and not me and go and complain to whomever you wish. You don’t concern me and neither whom you represent”

Fantastic isn’t it?

The name of this “respected gentleman” is not mentioned in the news piece unfortunately, but should be easy enough to find should the government wish to find out. Him being thrown in prison on his sorry ass for his despicable behaviour and his witnessed torture is the least that could be done. I won’t hold my breath though as I know that this will never happen.

To read the rest of the disgusting account of the incident, click here (Arabic).

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The Ambassador Speaketh

The Ambassador Speaketh

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Interesting interview in Al-Wasat this morning in which its editor-in-chief interviewed the departing American Ambassador to Bahrain Mr Adam Ereli. The interview had three axes: reflections on his tenure in Bahrain, Freedoms of Expression as exercised (or lack thereof) in Bahrain and the Internet in particular and lastly human rights. It’s surprising and refreshing to read some straight non-diplo talk once in a while, and this interview is largely that, though judging by some of the responses the article received, a lot of people found his responses are a direct interference in the internal issues of the country while others were vehement in their refusal of everything American painting them as the Great Big Satan wherever they landed.

left to right: Rachel Graff, US Cultural & Media Ataché, Ambassador J. Adam Ereli and Dr. Mansour Al-Jamri

I must confess that I’m pleasantly surprised by the responses and his uncloaked advice to the government and his comments on the Gulf Air / Wikileaks exposé:

ليس هناك ما أخجل منه أو أخفيه، وكوني سفير الولايات المتحدة يعني أنني يجب أن أدافع عن الشركات الأميركية، وأعتقد بأننا نريد للشركات الأميركية أن تأتي للبحرين وتستثمر وأن تكون جزءا من الحياة الاقتصادية في البحرين، وهذا أمر جيد أن يتحقق لكلا البلدين، لأنها توفر فرص عمل وتعمق العلاقات الاقتصادية بين البلدين. ولكن إذا كان هناك من يعتبر أن الصفقة فيها تدخل سياسي، فهذا أمر يعود للبحرين فيما تريد فعله، أما بالنسبة لي فأنا أتحدث باسم الشركات الأميركية، بينما من حق الحكومة البحرينية أن تقرر ما تريد القيام به بسيادة تامة على قراراتها.

 

There’s nothing for me to feel ashamed of or hide, being the ambassador of the United States means that I have to defend the interests of American companies. I believe that we want American companies to come to Bahrain and invest in it and for them to be a part of the economic life of Bahrain. This is a mutually beneficial facet for both countries, because it promotes job creation and entrenches the economic relationship between both countries. But if there is anything that suggests internal interference with this deal, then this is for the Bahraini government to deal with, as for me, I speak for the American companies; however, it is within the Bahraini government’s rights to determine what its response should be within its own sovereign dictates.

and

وفي اعتقادي أن آليات التعامل مع المواقع الإلكترونية يجب أن تتسم بالشفافية والإعلان بوضوح عما هو مقبول أو غير مقبول والعقوبات التي يمكن أن تنتج عن ذلك، حتى تكون العملية واضحة، مثلما هي واضحة في قانوني التجارة والعقوبات على سبيل المثال، وإذا كانت هناك مبررات عدم وجود قانون ينظم استخدام الإنترنت لأنه شيء حديث، ولكن حين نرى مواقع أو نشرات جمعيات سياسية تغلق قبل الانتخابات من دون سبب واضح، فلاشك أن الناس ستصل إلى تفسير خاطئ في هذا الشأن.

 

وحين تغلق المواقع الإلكترونية لأفراد من دون مبرر، سوى بحسب ما تدعيه الحكومة من أنها تروج للطائفية أو تحرض على الكراهية، من دون معايير واضحة، أو أنها كانت عبارة عن مجرد قرارات اتخذها مسئولون في يوم ما من دون مبرر، فإن ذلك يعيدنا إلى مسألة ضرورة الالتزام بالشفافية في التعامل مع هذه الأمور.

 

I believe that transparency must be the mechanism to be adopted for dealing with Internet websites and [the government] must declare what is and isn’t acceptable in a clear manner and the determine the legal repercussions in order for clarity to prevail, just as in the commercial and criminal laws for example. If there are excuses for not having such laws governing the Internet due to being new, but if we witness websites or political societies publications being banned before the elections without a clear reason, then people will arrive at the wrong conclusion in this matter.

 

And if personal websites are banned without cause – either by what the government’s claim that the website propagates sectarianism without clear guidelines, or it haphazardly applies officials’ individual order without cause, then this brings back the question of the importance of the application of transparency in dealing with these matters.

as to the human rights situation:

حقوق الإنسان شيء مهم للولايات المتحدة، وجميع الأحداث الأخيرة تتم متابعتها بدقة من الولايات المتحدة، وباعتقادي أن ردة الفعل الدولية لما حدث في شهري أغسطس/ آب، وسبتمبر/ أيلول الماضيين (2010) في البحرين، تعطي مؤشراً واضحاً على ما تعنيه البحرين للعالم. كما أرى أن الحكومة البحرينية مهتمة بحقوق الإنسان من أعلى هرم فيها إلى أسفله، فاحترام وحماية حقوق المواطنين هو أمر مهم وأولوية للقيادة السياسية في البحرين.

 

ولكني أؤكد أن السرية لا تنفع في إدارة مثل هذه الأمور والشفافية مهمة حتى يعلم الناس ما يحدث في واقع الأمر، لأنهم إذا لم يروا شيئا، فمن الصعب عليهم الفهم ولكن من السهل أن يفسروا ما هو أمر غير صحيح، وقرار الحكومة بالسماح للمجتمع المدني بحضور المحكمة هو أمر مهم.

 

Human rights is very important to the United States and all the recent events were closely monitored by the United States, and it is my view that the international community’s repercussions to what has happened in August and September of 2010 in Bahrain gives a clear indication as to the high regard given to Bahrain by the international community. I see that the Bahraini government is interested in human rights from the top of its pyramid to the bottom, as respect of the citizens and their security is a matter of high priority to the political leadership in Bahrain.

 

But I emphasise that secrecy does not work in managing these issues and transparency is important so that people know the reality of what is happening because if they do not see something, then it becomes very difficult for them to understand but becomes easy to be lead to the wrong conclusion. The government’s decision to allow civil observers to the [so called terrorism] trial is important.

Impressive! I can’t add any more to this as his views – surprisingly – tally with my own and I have expressed them as such over and over again in my various writings. I wonder how the government is going to deal with this one. We’ll see how the barometer lies tomorrow by the headlines in the other local papers. Should be fun!

How long does he have before leaving again, and will that be accelerated due to this piece?

Note: the above are my imperfect translations but are current best efforts. I’m sure that the American embassy will probably translate the transcript and make it available on their website or to whomever asks.

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“It’s a snafu, honest!”

BAHRAINI authorities yesterday claimed to have blocked a number of websites and blogs by mistake.

The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) claimed a technical error resulted in blocking of several sites, but said in a statement it was fixing the problem.

[…]

She said her site www.sillybahrainigirl.blogspot.com was blocked on Tuesday after being incorrectly categorised as pornographic, but she was told during a meeting at the IAA yesterday that it would soon be accessible.

GDN

Oh yes, we believe that. What’s worse I wonder, their ignorance of how the Internet filters work after spending tens if not hundreds of thousands of Dinars on them, leaving these systems to be configured and run remotely by a foreign power, or this blatant convoluted lie they’ve thrown into the press this morning quoted within the same article above that:

“The increasing number of blogs and websites indicates freedom of expression in the country,” it said.

Huh? There are almost no bloggers left! They’ve either migrated to Facebook or Twitter or evaluated the situation far too tenuous, fickle and dangerous to continue to expose their personal thoughts especially after the apprehension and alleged torture of our dear friend Ali Abdulemam?

If they did really respect freedom of expression, Ali Abdulemam would have never been apprehended, and the thousands of sites blocked at their whimsical behest would have been unblocked. So spare us the violins, we’ve heard this broken record over and over again.

But then wait… while the Information Authority (neé Ministry of Disinformation) is “doing us a favour” and unblocking Amira’s blog, their next door neighbour (by coincidence of course!) the information intelligence agency, which is imaginatively named the Central Informatics Organisation / CIO – has come out in a press conference reported in the very same paper today assuring us that it spending BD800,000 in creating a “single login architecture” for every citizen wishing to access the various government websites and services, will be presumably secure enough too, and hopefully not require too much remote tweaking by the Singaporean vendors.

BD800,000 – that’s 2.1 million greenbacks to the uninitiated – will solve a problem which has never existed! Talk about fixing something that ain’t broke.

I guess as the new new National Authentication Framework – aka, NAF (seriously? did they even look up this unfortunate acronym up?)’s going to:

“The whole purpose of this project is to unify e-services by providing a single authentication profile for users,” Cabinet Affairs Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatala Al Khalifa told a Press conference at the Mšvenpick Hotel yesterday.

I thought we had the much vaulted CPR number for that, didn’t we? Or is that old hat now and requires some re-engineering, maybe put in yet another uberspychip to make us feel even more secure? What’s wrong with us using our CPR numbers to access those so called services? Didn’t they spend a humengous amount with yet another foreign firm to bring out these new chipped CPR cards which were supposedly going to be the be-all and end-all for personal transactional processing, even – listen to this – using the card to log in to services using the very same chip introduced?

Whatever.

We’ll probably see these schemes mentioned in next year’s Audit Report… along with yet another brand new unneeded scheme dreamt up by the CIO (or a good salesman maybe) to the tune of hundreds of thousands of Dinars.

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The efficacy of Internet filtering

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If there ever was a reason not to trust Internet filters, even from a world authority like McAfee in this case, then the blocking of my friend Amira Al-Hussaini’s website is a case in point. For some reason, the “smart filter”, which is purportedly used by most telcos in the Gulf, has mistakenly categorised her site as pornographic! How utterly ludicrous.

What’s even more ridiculous is the government’s insistence on a big-brotherly attitude and its taking our place as human beings, parents, teachers and mentors and arbitrarily deciding on what is proper for us to view on the Internet and what is not. So it’s not too much of a surprise to see it using such software which is configured most probably to be have a free hand in controlling what a whole nation should be allowed to witness.

Is this not an embarrassment on their part? Will they ever learn and give us the option of choosing what we wish to view and what to ignore?

I’m afraid with their current method of thinking, there’s not much hope.

Someone, please manually remove http://sillybahrainigirl.blogspot.com from your infernal lists, and while you’re at it, fix that so called feedback form so that situations like this can get resolved in a civilised manner.

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Another site blocked in Bahrain

Another site blocked in Bahrain

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With the strange blocking of Silly Bahraini Girl, I can no longer speculate as to what the government’s policy, standards or strategy employed other than a heavy handed approach in stifling speech and them hoping – or actually believing – that such methods actually work in this day and age.

Amira Al-Hussaini’s blog’s content is varied but none of it threatens national security. Unless of course the escapades of Persian kittens are constituted as such!

Amira is one resounding voice in and of the Arab world. Being the Regional Editor for the Middle East and North Africa for Global Voices, a published Huffington Post contributor, she has a resolute finger on the pulse of the Arab world. Apart from her being previously a journalist for some 17 years with the Gulf Daily News, the English language national daily in Bahrain, one would be hard pressed to find a better person to represent Bahrain as well as the larger Arab world. As to her character, all one needs to do is read some of the comments her readers enter on her articles, or read what her peers think of her. Apart from her writing, she is frequently involved in international symposiums and workshops as a leading feminist, journalist and writer.

So one is put to task to think of a logical reason for such a move by the government. Is it a genuine mistake by a functionary who wrongly entered this particular blog into the burgeoning blocked sites list? Or is it another concerted effort at censorship? Or is this a message being sent to Amira: be careful! The problem is, when they block a site, they never tell the webmaster, blogger or author why the block has happened. And why should they? Legally, they do not have to explain their reasoning to anyone. All it takes is a ministerial order. There is no reason to use the legal framework that this country continues to do a big song and dance about. They don’t need to get authorisation from a public prosecutor nor do they need to submit reasons to a judge. The fallacy of a “state of laws and institutions” continues, and because of this oft-repeated statement, the lie is transformed into an abject truth. Freedom of expression be damned, and so are human rights.

However, assuming the best and giving the government the benefit of the doubt, again, I clicked on that link to submit a request for unblocking the site, and entered my reasons for doing so:

Hoping for the best, a clicked the “Unblock” button. But in a demonstration of misplaced trust and undeserved benefit of the doubt, I got this:

Due to the fact that I have been faced with the exact same result when requesting the unblocking of every site I visited which presented me with that asinine blocked screen since its inception a few years ago, I am left with no alternative but to think that the unblock link is just decoration and the requests will never be taken seriously. They are there for cheap eye-candy and to fool the simple.

But even the simple if faced with a hurdle thrown in the path of their destination will find a way to circumvent it, and it’s oh so easy to do now that the vast majority of Internet users in Bahrain already have various tools to circumvent these idiotic blocks.

So who benefits? Who benefits from the government spending millions of much needed currency on filtering technologies? Who benefits from the installation of filtered caches which attempt to create a block but the only thing they succeed in is the delayed access to stale information? Who benefits from the anger these blocks generate, and who benefits from the utter frustration that drives much needed investment – both local and foreign – away due to archaic application of blanket punishments? And who benefits from the uncertainty of censorship haphazardly and unnecessarily applied?

I’m certain it’s neither the government, nor the people of this great country.

It’s possibly a few misguided ancient megalomaniacs for whom the basic of redundant communication that is the Internet is all about.

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Confused about Human Rights Societies in Bahrain?

I was a bit confused reading the newspapers this morning regarding two human rights societies. You might’ve been too, so let me remove some of the confusion:

There is the National Human Rights Commission which is different from the Bahrain Human Rights Society. The first is a government organisation established by Royal Decree and the BHRS on the other hand, is a registered and independent and highly regarded civic society which has long been involved in the defence of human rights in Bahrain.

Salman Kamaleddin, assigned president by Royal Decree of the BHRC, resigned after just 4 months at the helm. Although he did not declare why he actually resigned his commission so far, it is presumed that the reasons are that he is at odds with receiving orders on what to condone and what to object to.

Soon thereafter another event took place in that the Bahrain Human Rights Society [BHRS] was accused of being sectarian, which got them to be quite understandably publicly angry at the accusation. The government organ in charge of all non-political societies in Bahrain, the Ministry of Social Development stepped in and ham-fistedly aggravated the situation by firing Al-Dirazi and replaced him just today with someone more amenable to the government’s view. The replacement is assigned to head the society for 8 months and is to prepare a supposedly comprehensive report about the society, its finances and work within 2 months of assuming office. The Ministerial order also specifies that a General Assembly is to be convened rather quickly, dissolve the board and elect a new board. Presumably under the new appointed chief. Thus, effectively hijacking human rights work in this country with not a single registered civic human rights society operating here.

The international community wasn’t pleased with the developments and various international organisations condemned the move and called on the Bahrain government to not interfere in civic societies and re-instate the highly respected Al-Dirazi who presided over the BHRS to his position.

Now, just today in the same paper that carried that news, the deputy prime minister is pictured not only meeting Kamaleddin – who has resigned the BHRC’s position – but commending him on a job well done and affirming the importance of Rights societies and their contribution to the health of the country… as if Kamaleddin never resigned and everything was hunky dory with the BHRC!

Didn’t anyone tell DPM that the BHRC’s been practically dissolved with Kamaleddin’s resignation? Or is it back as it was now and Kamaleddin’s changed his mind all of a sudden and has been brought back to lead the Society again?

نائب رئيس الوزراء يلتقي كمال الدين ويشيد بمؤسسة ‘حقوق الإنسان’
أكد نائب رئيس الوزراء سمو الشيخ محمد بن مبارك آل خليفة خلال لقائه أمس في مكتبه بقصر القضيبية رئيس المؤسسة الوطنية لحقوق الإنسان سلمان كمال الدين، أهمية الدور الذي تضطلع به المؤسسة ومؤسسات المجتمع المدني للعمل من أجل الارتقاء والنهوض بأوضاع حقوق الإنسان وتعزيز الحريات الأساسية ونشر وتعميم ثقافة حقوق الإنسان. وأعرب سموه عن ثقة الحكومة في المؤسسة رئيساً وأعضاء لتحقيق الأهداف والتطلعات المرجوة من إنشائها ومواصلة مسيرة الإنجازات في مجال تعزيز وحماية الحريات العامة وحقوق الإنسان.
ونوه سموه بالتطورات التي حققتها مملكة البحرين في ظل عهد جلالة الملك في مجال حقوق الإنسان التي حظيت بإشادة واسعة إقليمياً ودولياً.

Al-Wasat · 17 Sept 2010

His highness expressed the government’s confidence in the organisation’s [BHRC] president and members to achieve the desired goals and objectives of its creation and for it to continue the march of achievements in the promotion and protection of public freedoms and human rights.

translated the bold bits

With this confusion and the absence of some officially registered organisation to take care of human rights and guard against transgressions, I guess the only one which comes to the foreground now is the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights? Ah, sorry, although it’s the most active anyway with a proven track record in defending people from those Bahrainis in Guantanamo, to migrant workers through to political activists, it too has been dissolved by the MoSD and its site has been blocked for some time now. Oh, and both their current and previous presidents found their mugshots featured in a poster along with the “23 terrorists” who’ve been recently apprehended. Their pictures have since been removed in the online versions of the quite nicely designed poster for some reason.

So, you’re on your own.

I hope that clears things up a bit for you now and you can go back to your hopefully relaxing Friday.

Off to find something to continue to waste my time now. Ta taa.

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