Tag Archives bahrain

Oy! Yates! Still feel safe here?

Oy! Yates! Still feel safe here?

He might. I and hundreds of thousands of Bahrainis certainly feel anything but.

And no, this is not a feeling that actually is due to the following video, in which police are seen aiding, abetting and participating in the wanton destruction, thieving and ransacking of a Bahraini business. We’ve actually felt that for quite some time, but people, bless them, always thought that we were just being dramatic! The events of the last fourteen months, the death of some 88 fellow Bahrainis due to police and state action, have certainly augmented that reality for us, and we’re now officially fed up!

Here’s the close-circuit camera security video of the Jawad Business Group owned 24-hour Market near the village of Nuwaidrat by the ALBA roundabout recorded on April 10th, 2012:

Will there now be an honest investigation and will there be any consequences to the culprits this time? Considering that this is apparently the 58th (yes, fifty-eightth) attack on Jawad’s enterprises since March last year. And if there is an investigation, what will be the outcome? Well, I’m willing to bet that the police officers involved in this will not be penalized. The thieving policeman who helped himself to water will not even be asked to pay its price. The vandals will be let go, or maybe suffer the indignity of a slapped wrist. But the real penalty will land – once again – on the victim. Jawad Business Group will be made to suffer even more for having the temerity of making such a video available to the public by allowing it to be released.

Really!

How dare Jawad do that? Don’t they know that by their action they will have deepened the schism of social hatred? Don’t they know that they have now contributed to the complete breakdown of social cohesion? Didn’t they think that they would have broken down the national unity? And above all else, they have intentionally besmirched the honor and dignity of our illustrious bawasil!

The police and the officers involved there need to be rewarded for their admirable self constraint. And as far as the thugs, thieves and vandals – sorry, the honorable Bahraini citizens who are only doing their duty – well, they’ll probably sleep off their exertions in their barracks for a while, before they’re goaded once again to do God’s work.

Welcome, to another safe day in Bahrain.

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Hmmm… I smell even worse civil strife coming up!

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I’m just disenchanted with the whole stupid situation in this country. I’m not that interested in the internal politics any more because the version of politics we currently have is built on a win-lose strategy rather than exercising the art of mediation and arriving at a common ground to resolve this country’s problems. What we have now is not only posturing from both sides, but a ratcheting up of the useless rhetoric which got an already polarized population be even further entrenched in diametrically opposing camps.

The result?

Is a real danger of violence and absence of safety and security for all. This is just a sample of what happened last night near the village of Nuwaidrat, at the ALBA roundabout, were a group of Sunni vigilantes armed with planks of wood, swords and other assorted weapons in full sight of the security forces, taking the law into their own hands and attacking peaceful people who happen to be in the area… and who happen to be determined as Shia.


The film is entitled “اشاوس الرفاع عند مدخل قرية النويدرات الشيعيه” – “The Riffa braves at the entrance of the Shia Nuwaidrat village” and starts with one of the thugs calling “وينكم يا عيال المتعة؟” “Where are you o children of pleasure” while another shouts “وينكم يا جبناء” “where are you, you cowards” and yet another calls out “وينكم يالروافظ” “where are you o ‘rawafudh'” a derogatory term used against Shia Muslims, and it goes on the same ilk. All in the presence of security forces who seem to have been quite contained and exercised excellent self-restraint. Both qualities appear to be completely dispensed with when they put down any demonstration in any Shia environs.

It didn’t stop there. They went further and once again attacked the 24 Hour Market, an enterprise owned by Jawad Business Group, simply because its owners are Shia. This is not the first – and the in the absence of measures to stop the very much known and recorded perpetrators of those attacks – it won’t be the last either. Targeting Jawad as well as other Shi’a merchants is the norm now.

Why is this happening?

Good question.

The immediate explanation on last night’s incident seemed to have been prompted with an attack on the police around Al-Ekr village near Sitra in which a homemade pipe-bomb was used against the police. Official reports confirm seven policemen injured, three of them seriously. According to the press this morning, four suspects have been apprehended so far. While the escalation of violence and the first time usage of such lethal devices are extremely concerning and in no way condoned, it is as equally worrying having vigilantes and mobs taking the law in their own hands and wreaking havoc across the land.

How do they hope to reconcile violence with violence? How can they tie the attempted murder of policemen with overturning two cars for just the suspicion of its occupants being from the other sect? How do they equate their actions with demonstrating support to the ruling regime and the police? If anything, they immeasurably weaken the whole country, and give fuel to the rising voices wanting to cancel the Bahrain F1, an event which has the potential of doing good and bringing even temporary joy to this country.

Now, the other side is going to retaliate. There is no question of that. This weekend, we’ll see pyres of smoke across the horizon by the further burning of tyres, blocking highways, the nightly skirmishes with the police will intensify and goodness knows how many will fall injured and how many will succumb to those injuries.

The solution, once again, is quite simple. Nothing is going to fix this situation other than a comprehensive and honest dialogue in which the opposition is truly represented and attended by decision makers from the regime. Face-to-face.

Thrash the issues out for the sake of the country and its people. We’re quite sick and tired of your childish and utterly naive politicking. You both know what the bones of contention are, so get them resolved and take a position in which Bahrain is considered first, rather than your own myopic and completely unwarranted vision.

Otherwise, the situation will be as that thug who shouted at the end of the clip will happen. His invitation was: “Now let’s go to Ma’ameer and Sitra”. The sad truth is that it won’t stop there… the strife will definitely spread, but its spread will be like a wild fire in dry brush. Nothing will stop it until the whole country is burnt to a crisp, and no one – regardless of orientation – will have survive it.

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Bahrain, a year on

I don’t have much to add about the situation in Bahrain with the first anniversary of the Bahraini Spring just three days away other than to reiterate that there still is no honest attempt to find a solution and get us on the path of reconciliation.

The general “wisdom” seems to be to crush the spirit of protests and demands for a better and more equitable future. Well, that ain’t gonna happen. So better take that fact on board, comprehend it, understand it, embrace it and think of what’s best for this country, rather than just a few individuals.

Like everyone else, I’m fed up of this situation too, but I’ll be damned if I would simply give up my rights for a better future and to be treated as an equal human being.

Deal with it.

On the 14th of February 2012, I shall be remembering and honoring the martyrs of this country who sacrificed their very lives in order for us all to have a better life.

They shall never be forgotten.

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Toward understanding Bahrain’s events

Dr Mansoor Al-Jamri is interviewed by Al-Hurra TV in which he reflects on the events in Bahrain over the past year, discusses the Bassiouni report and the political and social situation which contributed to these events. He also suggests ways in which this situation could be resolved.

Well worth watching to give you a real perspective in 44 minutes and 53 seconds.

Dr Mansoor Al-Jamri's interview with Al-Hurra TV about the events in Bahrain

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LIES LIES LIES! Really?

Nick Kristof was once again in Bahrain recently and as any good reporter, delved right into the events he came to investigate, talked to both sides of the conflict and came to the conclusions that most of the Bahraini people have been laboriously living through and breathing over the last ten months.

Others who choose to keep the blinkers permanently affixed to their conscience – and expectedly – cry foul whenever someone attempts to remove them. They do so not in providing evidence to contradict what has been reported, of course, but by blaming someone for the effort. This time, ironically, the government:

That’s right. Advise an erring government to further push its head in the sand. And here, my friends, is the crux of the problem. “Loyalists” if they could actually be called that, are doing immense damage to the country and its people by naively believing that the best way to deal with real problems is to hide from the truth and through their actions condone the government’s straying from the correct path. They also assume that international observers are like the sheep they’re used to, are very easily misled and will also believe their versions of the “truth”, though the truth is staring them in the eye.

So what did Nick do this time? What kind of “untruths” did he tell?

Well, spend a few minutes with this:

And here’s the article that goes with this video.

We ain’t goin’ nowhere fast if we continue to bury our heads in the good stuff.

So what are the things that will get us out of this mess? Well, they are what every human being on earth is and should be aspiring to:

    1. A new constitution forged by a constituent assembly elected to establish a constitutional monarchy and an elected Government.
    2. The adoption of an equitable electoral system to achieve representation of all of our society.
    3. Dismiss the government and the formation of a transitional government whose mission is to achieve political and security breakthroughs so as to create a suitable ground for a serious and fruitful national dialogue. We reject the reduction of this important requirement through a limited cabinet reshuffle which is a repetition of the previous attempts which did not provide a real alternative to our people.
    4. Release of the remaining prisoners of conscience and political prisoners and the abolition of their trials.
    5. The formation of an independent and impartial commission of inquiry in the killings that took place since 14 February, and to bring those responsible to trial.
    6. Neutralization of the state’s official media in order for it to be nationally representative of all components of the society and their views.
    7. To provide the necessary safeguards to achieve the government’s commitment to agreements it undertakes.

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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.

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The Source of Instability

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Secretary Clinton encouraged both Bahrain and Saudi to embrace the Arab Spring. I do hope that they do because it IS in their best interest t do so. What we actually see on the ground now; however, is abstinence and a deep sense of denial. It’s almost as if some in both countries’ administration are refusing to believe that the Arab Spring has arrived at their shores and that it could never happen to them. For those still in disbelief, she had these wise words:

“The greatest single source of instability in today’s Middle East is not the demand for change,” she said, “It is the refusal to change.”

ArabianBusiness.com

These words should have jerked them awake to the fact that the US administration (and the democratic world) recognizes that they are the biggest rocks in the path to democratic change. To me, what’s veiled within them as well is the somewhat diplomatic warning that if they don’t embrace such change and acquiesce to their public’s legitimate demands, the US might well not stand by them but for once actually stand on the “right side of history” and gladly watch them fall.

The whole Arab world, not just Bahrain, needs to embrace change and use the positive energy within change to forge forth with a better more inclusive and democratic future in which institutions rule, rather than the whims of individuals.

Clinton continued:

Clinton said the United States would continue to have “frank conversations” with long-time allies such as Bahrain, where the Sunni ruling family brought in troops from Sunni allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help crush a protest movement earlier this year.

“Mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away,” Clinton said, saying the tiny Gulf country’s monarchy had made public promises to begin political dialogue and investigate abuses.

“We intend to hold the Bahraini government to these commitments and to encourage the opposition to respond constructively to secure lasting reform,” she said.

Reuters

Good. I know that intrinsically everyone wants to be on the right side of history, ultimately, but some need to be judiciously encouraged to tread a path in that direction. This pressure by a major power which has a vested interest in this region as well as the local political opposition groups are good manifestations of the much required pressure. The momentum of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya will gain strength and the laws of motion will take root. Whether the remaining Arab countries will use that momentum for their benefit, or get rolled over and discarded in the process remains to be seen.

Eid Mubarak!

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Civil War is in the offing

Civil War is in the offing

If you’re not afraid of what and where Bahrain is going, then this clip should give you a good indication. In it, a bunch of ignoramuses are taking the mic in front of a government building in Muharraq inciting not only hatred, but openly calling for the killing of the Shia in Bahrain, and threatening that Muharraq will be the Shia graveyard. Muharraq, that lovely island we’ve always associated as being the model of tolerance, understanding and multi-cultural living seems to be now degenerating at the hands of murderers, torturers and thugs.

All this in front of a government building.

In addition to that, the nefarious convicted torturer Adel Flaifel is calling for the formation of armed gangs with the help of the Muharraq Municipal Council and the Ministry of Interior to “deal” with the Shia – whom he calls traitors – and protect Muharraq from their advance!

I don’t care for these people nor their message of intolerance. What I care about is that by virtue of them being in front of a government building, using the building’s PA system it seems, preaching hatred to the crowd and not a single person is stopping them and to date, I haven’t heart of any official condemnation of that gathering and not a single legal channel has been moved to curtail them when they are clearly breaking the law. If my memory serves, a police station is directly opposite of that location too, so why the police didn’t intervene is mind boggling too. Unless of course the police there don’t understand Arabic and the gathering was deemed authorised and legal?

Enjoy the clip, and pack your bags while you’re at it. Bahrain – with these morons openly operating in it with the full aid and knowledge of the government – is not a place that I want to spend my future in.

Disgusting.

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Free Ebrahim Sharif

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One Bahraini politician whom I really respect is Ebrahim Sharif.

Ebrahim Sharif is the secretary general of the secular National Action Democratic Society, acronymed Wa’ad – which translates from Arabic to “promise”. I believe with his tenacity and steadfastness to the truth and his passion to get this country to a better plane on which all are equal under the law and everyone is held responsible for their actions is the salvation that this country is in dire need of.

Unfortunately, he currently languishes in prison with a bevy of his compatriots for what some have determined to be politically motivated charges.

I also admire Ali Salman, the general secretary of Al-Wefaq1 and some of his colleagues like Khalil Al-Marzooq for I believe that they too are sincere in their efforts to achieve the same ends that Sharif aspires to. I know that this concept might be very difficult for those who’ve put on the sectarian shades on and see Wefaq as being necessarily beholden to the Iranian Ogre – due to Wefaq’s membership being overwhelmingly Shi’a. I on the other hand don’t have those preset views to encumber my deductions and do see beyond a person’s chosen confessional beliefs and evaluate positions exclusively with what is good for Bahrain metric.

Ebrahim Sharif is spending his first of five years in prison for his beliefs amongst others of his compatriots who have been accused of similar offenses and have had sentences levied against them from five to life. I can’t do much about those sentences other than to hope that they know that they will for ever be remembered for their sacrifices, and hope too that they continue to stay true and strong. There is every chance that they will be exonerated soon.

Until then, please show your support by visiting a blog that has been especially created to support Ebrahim Sharif at http://freesharif.wordpress.com.

Stay well Bahrain.

Ed: typo corrected, was Wa’ad, now Wefaq – 11:52
“Bahrain demonstrates in solidarity with Egypt – Feb 4th, 2011 – with a quick interview with Ebrahim Sharif added at 17:22

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