Tag Archives asala

Collective punishments

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There are a few things that suggest that our society is in a desperate state. The indicators are probably best exemplified by the exclusionary standards our parliamentarians and their electorate take. Both are quick to condemn whole peoples, nations and even civilizations due to isolated incidents without taking one second to reflect on our own shortcomings and our non-exclusive ownership of basic human values.

Some might attribute this collective psyche as a result of the insular lifestyle attributed to island communities, but the irony is that people of these islands until very recently were an awful lot more tolerant and receptive to other cultures than its current breed is.

What happened? Why is it that the more open to the world they get the more insecure they become? What could explain this other than in terms of a severe inferiority complex?

If you talk to Bahrainis fortunate enough to have lived in the 70s and before, they will categorically tell you that they have never experienced anything like this, they will confirm that they didn’t give their neighbour’s race or religion much importance. They will further tell you that they habitually interacted with each other in various ways; they visited, conducted business and even fought the British occupation together by forming and maintaining a cohesive multi-cultural front that crossed confessional divides. The common denominator was their Bahraininess which surpassed every other consideration. They celebrated their differences, rather than diligently work at finding the chinks to exploit in each others’ armor.

The stark contrast between that era and now could not be more evident. What we now have is an acutely insular society with impenetrable walls propped up by suspicion and hatred of the other. This “us and them” atmosphere is condoned by the government – regardless of how many denials we hear from their higher echelons – evidenced by the selective employment policies, the conditional awards of constitutionally guaranteed citizen benefits and the disparity in economic circumstance.

It has unfortunately become our way of life. So much is this in evidence, it is no wonder to witness the parliamentarians’ reactions; whether it be the condoning of the use of chemical weapons against their own society simply because in the current state of affairs demonstrations are mounted by the opposing sect, or their continued theft of their electorate’s personal freedoms or even their demand to expel and ban whole countries’ nationals due to the isolated incidences of the few.

We are all shocked and saddened by the unfortunate and violent recent demise of Mr. Dossary, as we are of Mr. Abbas Alshakhoori and the others who have fallen victims of unusual circumstances, but those incidents, painful as they are, hardly illicit the demand for the application of the collective punishment demanded by a major political society. Identify and punish the criminals by all means and make examples of them by fairly and fully applying the law, but those incidents should never be allowed to colour our psyche to the extent that we allow our own elected representatives to exercise their myopic beliefs without even a smidgeon of objection. And it is even worse when the government itself acts in such an unwarranted and unstudied kneejerk reaction as to impose such a ban on its own recognizance without any regard for its international obligations or even basic diplomacy.

Let us remind them that their role is to ameliorate differences and protect the national unity, and not diligently and wantonly work at exacerbating them. The demand to expel and ban Bangladeshis because of the unfortunate result of a single person’s moment of anger is tantamount to our agreement to the entrenchment and even encoding xenophobia as our main Bahraini trait.


Al-Buainain is against demographic change

MP Ghanim Fadhl Al-buainain, leader of the Asala Salafi bloc in the Bahraini parliament

I note, with pleasure and interest, that the leader of the Salafi movement and its Asala parliamentary bloc in Bahrain Mr. Ghanim Al-Buainain is unequivocally against the rule of force and demographic change:

وقد وصف رئيس جمعية الأصالة الإسلامية النائب غانم البوعينين الادعاءات التي ساقها مداري أنها ‘’محض كذب وافتراء وطمس للحقائق وتعدي على حقوق الآخرين، فأما الحديث عن الجزر الإماراتية فإيران استخدمت منطق القوة كما يحدث في شريعة الغاب، واعتمدت على تغيير البنية الديمغرافية فيها ونتذكر جيداً كيفية طرد السكان الأصليين للبر الإماراتي’
الوقت – ١١ يوليو ٢٠٠٧

He’s of course condemning the Iranian leadership’s advisor Shariatmadari’s claim on Bahrain and that on three Emirati islands occupied by Iran during the Shah’s period, but as the statement above displays Al-Buainain’s ardent convictions, maybe he will apply them to the demographic change happening in this country when parliament reconvenes?


Asala pips Wefaq in Bylaws change demands

I’m impressed. The Asala bloc (Salafists) have tabled a motion to comprehensively amend the Parliamentary bylaws (amending 40 of the 220 articles) through which parliament will become a much stronger institution, leaving Al-Wefaq, the erstwhile boycotting society, to eat their dust and continue to bang on their chests that they are the harbingers of change.

What I have seen from Wefaq so far is their procrastinations and confusion. We were led to believe that they would be the cohesive and professional body through which parliamentary processes would be pushed to professionalism and public demands for constitutional amendments would be made on their entry into parliament. At least those were their electioneering promises.

It appears that we are sorely mistaken. Again.

Thanks Asala for taking the initiative. Now follow through please. You are unopposed (other than the insignificant Menber boys) and I think that Wefaq would now be begging to be included in your proposal.