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Unhone paisa kyon diya?

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I’ve started learning Urdu.

Which seems to have become the Official Primary Language of this country.

Why else would allegedly murdering policemen employed by our Ministry of Interior who have direct access to my fellow Arab-speaking citizens need a translator in our courts when giving testimony and denying any wrongdoing for the murders of two of my compatriots under torture? Torture which has been documented to have been perpetrated – allegedly, mind – by two of them while their other three Urdu-speaking brothers-in-arms were standing by probably watching them with glee lay into the wrongly imprisoned and now murdered Bahrainis?

Policemen deny role in deaths

By NOOR ZAHRA , Posted on » Thursday, January 12, 2012

FIVE policemen have denied causing the deaths of two anti-government protesters who were being held in custody during the unrest.

Two of the suspects, aged 43 and 31, have been accused of beating them to death with a plastic pipe on April 8, according to court documents.

Three other policemen have been charged with failing to report the alleged crime.

The suspects, all Pakistanis, appeared at the High Criminal Court for the first time yesterday.

Relatives of the victims, journalists and lawyers attended.

The men, who do not speak Arabic, denied the charges when asked by a translator if they were guilty.

They also claimed to have been beaten up, but did not specify who attacked them.

The trial was adjourned until January 30 to appoint lawyers for the suspects, who were not held in custody.

The policemen had earlier been charged by a military court with similar offenses. [GDN – 12 Jan 12]

They will probably claim innocence (wait, they have!) maybe because they didn’t understand the Bloody Bahrainis shouting “I didn’t do it” and “I’m innocent”. Maybe they should’ve bothered to learn Urdo in the first place which could’ve saved their skin. Literally.

Therefore, I humbly propose that our illustrious Ministry of Education should replace Arabic altogether with a curriculum of the beautiful (and life saving) language of Urdu. And the sooner they do that, the better, for all of us.

Woh sev khaa rahein hai woh raat bhar soteh rahein?


Discoveries in my desk

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Now that I moved the furniture around – and I’m still login’ the new layout – I dug into various recesses of my desk which I have not even looked at for years and found some real gems hidden in there, and crap that I can’t believe I kept – like 3.5″ floppy disk labels, old tie-wraps and other junk. But a great find I did find and am so happy that I did are these beauties:

Old Bahraini coins of 10 fils, 25 fils, 50 fils and 100 fils - no longer in circulation

Isn’t that a find? 🙂

I don’t think that these coins are still in circulation. Note the 10 fils, 25 fils (used to love that one), 50 fils and 100 fils coins. The grime on them is authentic too!


2012, come ON already!

There is no doubt in my mind that 2011 will be remembered for a very long time. In it, I have grown a lot through the tumultuous times I’ve lived through, as has hundreds of thousands of my compatriots. Like thousands of others too, I have been wrongly imprisoned. Dragged from my home by a gang of masked and heavily armed mixture of uniformed and out of uniform members of the what I suppose were security forces, without any regard to due process.

My home was invaded at 3 am, my family terrorized, several items taken from my home without authority or record: computer, camera, memory cards, hard disks, cds, DVDs, and most importantly over 50 video tapes holding precious memories collected over the lifetime of my children. What they would do with videos of a personal nature like birthday parties and schools concerts is beyond me. None of those items to date have been returned, and it’s been nine months. If the government is that much deficient in compute power and digital imaging, then I don’t mind them keeping the hardware, but I would appreciate them returning the memories! I’ve tried, several times to retrieve them but all I got was the infinite runaround.

2011. I’d say that the absolute and most tragic thing of that year were the glaring missed chances for reconciliation. Opportunities continue to present themselves  since the very first movement of Feb 14, 2011 to the minute that I’m typing these words; however, they are willingly being squandered and missed by the ruling regime primarily as they hold the keys almost exclusively to resolve this situation. However, there are other agendas at play it seems which usurp the basic human requirements of living with dignity and peace.

Enough. For goodness’ sake enough!

2012. I’m not naive enough to hope that the new year will be any better. In fact, it’s shaping up to be even worse than ’11.

People have had it. They’ve had it with the heavy handedness and unwarranted use of force for the slightest infraction. This has turned even the moderates and politically uninterested against the regime and they – the regime – are not doing itself any favours whatsoever by continuing with this policy. Obfuscation won’t do either. What is required is real political will to resolve this situation which includes the acceptance of relaxing their grip on power for the better of the country, and ironically, the serve the sustainability of their reign too.

If you can, have a wonderful 2012.

I know I shall give it a proper go.


IAA dreaming?

Here’s a bit of news which does not add up:

Bahrain has been picked to host the headquarters for Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s new international Arabic news network despite months of unrest, according to the tiny Gulf kingdom’s media oversight authority.

Alwaleed’s channel, dubbed Alarab, will be based in the Bahraini capital Manama’s new Media City office complex, Sheik Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini royal family and head of the country’s Information Affairs Authority, said in a statement late Tuesday.

The channel aims to focus “on the important shifts taking place across the Arab world, with an emphasis on freedom of speech and freedom of press,” Alwaleed said in September.[source]

The first huge question mark is that the IAA and the Ministry of Information have been a complete and utter failure at retaining such huge investments. They have chased out every single television channel which either have or wanted to establish itself in Bahrain. They have been instrumental in stifling freedoms of speech and have elevated that activity to an art form to be envied in the third world and beyond. None of the newspapers are free here and don’t get me started on the huge number of websites which have been blocked by their direct action, or if it’s not them – to give them their fair due – then it’s another arm of the government which has ordered the websites’ ban mostly through extra-judicial means. Even a service which can directly elevate the level of education in this country has been banned; try accessing the Google translation engine for instance. The end result is that this government has proven itself to be extremely hostile to any free speech.

So how can a supposed erudite, intelligent, iconic, uber-businessman who has been known to pick the right horse at the right time plonck potentially more than half a billion dollars to get such a news channel started? And how is he going to entrust the administration of his Rotana media empire to be run from a country which is and continuously has been at war with free speech?

Ok, leave that, how will the unfettered turbaned and bearded lot take to the parties, concerts and festivals which MUST be part of the deal in marketing Rotana and its products? Parliament – in its present form – and the nouvelles politiques a’la Almahmood an co will go ape-shit, and that’s putting it mildly.

Will the government actually allow such news and entertainment channels to exist and be free? I suspect that the news entity will be so curtailed that it will ultimately make the present Bahrain TV shine, and the black screens of censorship will make the other channels in the bouquet completely and utterly unwatchable. In fact, they will make test-bar screens more interesting.

The only reason I could fathom for Al-Waleed entrusting his millions to Bahrain without having iron-clad constitutional guarantees for hands-off non-molestation is that he’s in the game of losing money… and although a gambler he may be, stupid he most definitely is not.

So what gives?


Courage and resolve needed to push ideas

Here’s something to think about:

“Steve, I’ve been reading all about premature scaling and making sure everything is right before I go for it. I want to be sure I get all of this right. I’m afraid I’ll run out of money.” [source]

I’ve always wanted to pursue new ideas and make them into products or stand-alone companies; however, I would be the first to admit that I either got lazy and forgot about them, or even worse, I didn’t have the guts to put in the required amount of work to actually push them through to take shape amongst other excuses which, with enough passion and vision, could be overcome.

I’m glad to say that I feel that I’m finally turning that corner. I now have solid plans in action to start two new companies in 2012. I won’t divulge any information now other than to say that they’re complementary to my flagship business. To make these ideas successful, I intend to partner with or hire excellent talent to realize my ambitions.

Roll on 2012!


Police brutality as an art form in Bahrain

Diabolical of course, but as it has become the norm now, especially AFTER the BICI report’s come out, the government might well think that they could field the worst offenders (and there doesn’t seem to be any good ones there who could exercise their conscience once in a while) to the Olympics of depravity.

Here’s just one example or many:

The lesson here is what exactly?

Well, let’s see:

1. apprehend a demonstrator
2. don’t bother immobilizing him, that’s a secondary thing, just drag and kick him to hell
3. don’t be a scrooge, invite your comrades to the party! drag the senseless citizen along closer to where those comrades are, it’s not good to get them to run too much,
4. But, running generates good momentum for a good kick or two, so give those who do so extra brownie points
5. don’t forget to have a point guard with a shotgun looking about to ensure that no one is videoing the process
6. delegate to the gun toting gentlemen the authority to fire at will against those bastards who dare to gather mementos of the incident.

Brilliant. Well done. Encore encore!

Human rights my bloody foot!


Crowdsourcing BICI’s report

Commission's Chair Professor Mahmood Sharif Bassiouni

Overall, from the various tweets I’ve seen and the snippets I’ve already read from the report, there are inconsistencies in incidents I attended personally but notwithstanding that, I believe – so far – that it’s balanced enough and can serve as a catalyst for real change in this country if it is adopted immediately and transparently. Heads MUST roll, the first of which is the Minister of the Interior for him and his ministry botching the whole affair and holding the country in terror for all this time. As the cabinet did not take any meaningful action, I believe they should do the honorable thing and summarily resign. If they don’t the king should fire them all without delay.

Thank you Professor Bassiouni and the other commissioners for taking our affairs seriously.

Now with 501 pages, the BICI Report takes a lot of reading. I propose that we start posting interesting snippets or facts drawn from it here to create our own executive summary. Click here to download it, read it and I look forward to your comments.


Waiting, with bated breath

Bahrain pro-democracy demo in the capital Manama

I think every person in Bahrain is awaiting the release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry scheduled for Nov 23rd after a delay of a full month from the originally declared date of release. To remind us of what their task is:

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry was established on 29th June 2011 in the Kingdom of Bahrain pursuant to Royal Order No. 28 by His Majesty, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The Commission has been tasked with investigating and reporting on the events that took place in Bahrain from February 2011, and the consequences of those events.

The Commission has been asked to determine whether the events of February and March 2011 (and thereafter) involved violations of international human rights law and norms, and to make the recommendations that it deems appropriate. The Commission has been asked to provide a complete narrative of the events and the context for these events; to describe any acts of violence that occurred, as well as the actors involved in such acts; and to investigate instances of alleged police brutality and violence by protestors and demonstrators against others. The Commission has been asked to explore the circumstances and appropriateness of arrests and detentions; to examine allegations of disappearances and torture; to probe allegations of media harassment and other pressure tactics used against participants in demonstrations and public protests; to discuss the alleged unlawful demolition of religious structures; and to describe the alleged involvement of foreign forces and actors. [source]

I hope that the report is truly independent and unbiased, and that its recommendations are enacted with alacrity by his Majesty to get this country out of the proverbial bottle-neck. Doing anything else would be a betrayal of those who have given their lives to this country and its people, the last of whom will be buried in the next hour or so. May Allah rest their souls and may their sacrifice never be forgotten, and let their names guide this country into a better more equitable future.