Tag Archives crime

Descending into chaos

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Who benefits from violence? Who benefits from this?

A police jeep set ablaze by Molotov cocktail bomb

The above is a very unfortunate escalation of violence in Bahrain by people who think that this sort of criminal activity will help our democracy movement! And the thing that beggars belief is that we find people condoning this activity or are in complete and utter denial. Putting “their side” on a pedestal and who can do no wrong whatsoever; while on the other hand, they blame the government for all ills without recognising a single positive aspect of its creation.

Yes, we do have problems, but the line must be drawn in our own psyche to ensure that we actually do recognise wrong when we see it, regardless of who perpetrates it. And we should also drop those continuous conspiracy theories which some use to justify wrongs. In this particular instance; can anyone come up with a valid scenario in which we see elements in our government would actually sponsor people to throw Molotov cocktails on their own occupied police vehicles and sacrifice a human life while putting others in jeopardy simply to score a point?

What insanity is this?

Does anyone reading this imagine for a second that if the government wanted to really clamp down on society, or even re-introduce the now defunct State Security Law that it can’t? Or that it has to escalate the security situation so much by sacrificing human beings in order to justify imposing it again?

I have no illusion whatsoever about the machinations our government can and does enter into to protect its interests, as do every single government and ruling system on God’s green Earth, but descending to this level – by our government – is not one of those methods. At least I hope not.

Getting back to the original question I posed, who benefits from this descent into chaos? I propose that no one does. There is no way that anyone can benefit from continuous violence, tyre burning, molotov throwing, vehicle burning, tear gas inhaling, rubber bullets, or any other the other subjugation and criminal methods. Violence only begets violence, and if no criminal law in imposed on the perpetrators, then people might very well escalate the situation even further. So far it has been tyres and police cars, tomorrow it would be houses and taking of lives which will destroy the country and any progress opportunities for this country.

I fervently hope that the criminals who did this act be caught, squarely tried in a court of law, and sentenced for the remainder of their miserable lives.

Enough is enough. On both sides. We want to live with a semblance of harmony for goodness’ sake. These vandalism and criminal acts are not helping one little bit. Everybody, even who are called the opposition should come out and unambiguously condemn these criminal acts.

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Ridiculous notions

This country needs “a Gibbs”

This country needs “a Gibbs”. An act watchers of NCIS will be really familiar with. For others less fortunate, the act is best described as a swift whack on the back of a head the sharpness of which will bring that mind back to reason. Hopefully. But I fear in some cases it might require a shovel to effect the needed movement of neurons in solidified grey matter.

The shovel method is most certainly required to a head that belongs to a so called “educator” who mysteriously deduced that a young adult giving what is essentially monopoly money bought on a trip to Iran to friends at school as high treason in the form of “distributing counterfeit currency with the intent to shake the country’s economy.” A charge communicated to the Misery of Education which found it fit to escalate the matter to the Public Prosecutor who in turn – with a complete straight face and some might even think with collusion – imprisoned the girl for a few days “while investigating the matter” only to come out eventually with all charges dropped, most probably due to the ridicule heaped upon them by the press.

Although blame should most definitely be levied at the moronic principal who at best does not have any sense of humour, and at worst is riddled with dark and heinous sectarian intentions – a charge that school has been particularly riddled with and one might be excused to thing that this incident would not have received such attention had the Monopoly dosh come from the Emirates or Saudi or even Afghanistan – to be shared with full contempt for the Misery of Education as both have certainly put new meaning to educating our youth by terrorising them with the ever-present police ogre who are only too willing to acquiesce to their frivolity.

However, the blame in this case, as is in others, must squarely lay at the Public Prosecutor’s office who inexplicably dish out imprisonments “for investigations” as a matter of course and seem to emphatically dish that incarceration sentence out not to prevent people from fleeing or interfering with their “investigations”, but rather as a first phase of punishment in their heretofore unproven guilt; thus, over stepping their role from being an investigative service to that of jurists and executioners too.

both have certainly put new meaning to educating our youth by terrorising them with the ever-present police ogre who are only too willing to acquiesce to their frivolity

Is this the education reform spearheaded by our Crown Prince I wonder? Apart from building higher walls surmounted by iron-work spikes to prevent people from getting into schools now has terrorising students out of their wits by imprisoning young impressionable minds for a frivolous and a completely legal activity of giving gifts clearly marked as “having no commercial value” and clearly – even to the blind of sight but definitely not those with that affliction affecting their souls – nothing more than Monopoly money? What kind of impression do those champions of education; in this particular case the headmistress and her cohorts at the Misery of Education, leave with the young girl other than hating education and most probably detesting the establishment too? Or was it a concerted effort to reach such a zenith in the first place?

What a ridiculous situation this is. Utterly corrosive and criminal too.

That headmistress should be removed from her post forthwith, she has amply demonstrated that she does not have the presence of mind or the kindness of soul to be an educator nor a person who should be tasked with guiding impressionable youths into a more complex world. She is completely unfit for the job. The same must be done to her cohorts, the unthinking uncaring automatons at the Misery of Education for allowing such an issue to be escalated rather than holding their minion back from further grievous mistakes and utter public embarrassment.

His majesty might also want to ensure that an over-sight committee is put in place to look into infractions like these and provide redress for those who unnecessarily suffer by the misapplication of their power.

As to the Public Prosecutor, well, at the risk of getting pulled up by them again and unnecessarily imprisoned, I suggest that it is high time for their reform too. That shouldn’t be too difficult given the recent age of that organisation. The king might seriously consider giving them complete autonomy and independence to execute their jobs better after removing their current head who allowed his staff to use investigative imprisonment as yet another method of what could be conceived as state sponsored terror. His majesty might also want to ensure that an over-sight committee is put in place to look into infractions like these and provide redress for those who unnecessarily suffer by the misapplication of their power. At the very least, tell them, your majesty, that they should not dish out automagic incarcerations willy nilly like that but only if truly deserved when there is a genuine flight risk.

Failing that, let’s just declare Monopoly a tool of the devil and pay a readily bought cleric or two to haramize it.

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National Treasure Burnt

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Tree of Life

The Tree of Life symbolises Bahrain to me much more than any other symbol. It has been around for hundreds of years and has become known throughout the world, justifiably, as one of its wonders; a tree right in the middle of a desert with no water in sight not just living but flourishing in its harsh location.

So why would anyone wish to burn this national treasure?

This is totally inexcusable.

We should protect this national treasure, not just for us, but for the world’s future generations.

It would be nice to border the whole knoll it is on and not allow anyone to approach it and strict rules should be put in place to penalise vandals and litterbugs.

It shouldn’t take too much to establish an unobtrusive guard post in that location and provide a few guides to educate people about this natural wonder. Hopefully when people know its fantastic story and what it signifies to us, it will be respected and left it alone.

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Abbas Al-Shakhoori has passed away


Abbas’ funeral procession shot from my office’s balcony this evening (9 Apr ’07)

It saddens me to learn that the security guard Abbas Al-Shakhoori has passed away this morning after being in a coma and declared brain-dead over a week ago.

I join other Bahraini citizens and call on the Ministry of Interior to exert all efforts to apprehend the killer and ensure that they are fully transparent and present the criminal to justice no matter who he is.

As I look out of my office window, I see that a lot of people are walking toward Bani Jamra village which is where his funeral will start and mourners will carry his body to his village of Shakhoora a short distance away.

My condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace now.

Update 11 Apr 2007: The BNA reports that:

THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR WILL GRANT A BD 30,000 BOUNTY TO ANYONE WHO HELPS IDENTIFY THE PERPETRATOR OF THE MYSTERIOUS MURDER OF ABBAS AL SHAKHOURI, THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR ANNOUNCED IN A STATEMENT CARRIED BY BAHRAIN NEWS AGENCY (BNA) TODAY.

THE STATEMENT SAID THE MOVE CAME OUT OF THE GREAT CONCERN ACCORDED BY MINISTER OF INTERIOR, LT. GENERAL SHAIKH RASHID BIN ABDULLAH AL KHALIFA TO THE ISSUE.

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Bahraini security guard shot

In the early hours of this morning in Al-Bustan hotel in Manama a scuffle broke out between drunks, purportedly American, and hotel security guards. It is reported that one of the servicemen drew his pistol and shot the Bahraini night-shift guard Abbas Ali Salman Al-Shakhoori in the head.

Al-Shakhoori has been taken to Salmaniya Medical Centre where he has been declared brain-dead. He is said to be in a very critical condition and his doctors do not expect him to live beyond today. His family, friends and people from the village are now at Salmaniya hospital by his side and the situation is very tense.

I hope a full investigation is launched and the person responsible for the death of Al-Shakhoori – regardless of nationality or position – is apprehended and handed justice.

I hope too that this situation is handled calmly by the people and the government so that it doesn’t get politicised and blown out of proportion.

I wish to extend my deep condolences to the family and friends of Al-Shakhoori. May he rest in peace.

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Novel police methods

I’ve heard of this before happening in Bahrain, but on the 6th anniversary of The Charter which was the long awaited promise for Bahrain to forge ahead into modern democratic countries, I thought that this particular police method was history.

Apparently not, according to this report:

القبض على مواطن رهينة حتى يسلم أخوه نفسه
الوسط – محرر الشئون المحلية
أقدم رجال الشرطة عصر أمس على اعتقال أحد المواطنين في منطقة باربار بسبب تورط أخيه الأكبر في قضية اعتداء على شخص آخر.

وتشير التفاصيل بحسب رواية أحد أفراد أسرة المعتقل إلى أن أخاه الأكبر دخل في عراك مع أحد الأشخاص، فقام الأخير من جهته بالإبلاغ عنه في مركز الشرطة، وبعد فترة من الزمن تنازل المدعي عن القضية ولكن المحكمة أمرت بالقبض على أخيه كحق للمدعي العام.

وأشار إلى أن أخاه المتورط في النزاع رفع قضية استئناف عن طريق أحد المحامين ودفع إليه مبلغاً مقدماً لكي يستأنف القضية، ولكن الشرطة طالبوا بتنفيذ أمر المحكمة بالقبض عليه لكنه لم يمتثل لهذا الأمر. وعليه حضر رجال الأمن إلى المنزل فخرج إليهم شقيقه الأصغر الذي ليست له أي يد في الموضوع، فطلب منه الحضور إلى مركز شرطة البديع للاستماع إلى أقواله ومنذ ذلك الحين لم يعد إلى المنزل بعد أن تم القبض عليه حتى يسلم شقيقه الأكبر نفسه إليهم. وأكد المتحدث أن أفراد الأسرة طلبوا لقاء الضابط المناوب لكنه لم يكن في مركز الشرطة، مطالباً بالإفراج عن شقيقه الذي ليس له ذنب في كل ما جرى

A-Wasat :: 14 Feb, ’07

What is reported here is that the police wanted to apprehend a person, although the person supposedly had appealed the case and the appeal has been accepted by the court; however, the police presumably did not know about the appeal and and wanted to execute their job by apprehending the person.

Turning up at his home, they couldn’t find him. What they did find is his younger brother whom the report alleges that the police is using as a hostage to force the elder brother to present himself at the station!

Brilliant police work. Any human rights organisation around to look into this before it becomes (once again) the “done thing” and becomes a legitimate police method?

update 16 Feb, ’07: News released by the police state that the younger brother’s apprehension was due to him facilitating his brother’s escape and thus was charged with hindering the police from executing their duties. He was later presented to the public prosecutor charged as such. The report does not indicate whether the elder brother surrendered himself or was caught yet.

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How to screw up a conspiracy

1. document everything, just in case you need to save your ass.
2. continuously shout out “it wasn’t me” and practice making puppy eyes.
3. depend on morons, just like yourself, who too can’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.
4. spend a lot of money and keep receipts. see 1.
5. hire some mercenaries to write up a plan for you, because your two brain cells ceased to make a spark when rubbed together.
6. base that plan on purely sectarian motives.
7. depend on a bigoted zealot to write your justification to further marginalize the other side.
8. oh, and discard your main mercenary once the report is handed in… effectively turning that mercenary against you, but only after he collected every conceivable incriminating document against you first!

now excuse me for having to go and have another shower as I feel dirty after reading the filth… I’m pretty sure it will surface on several sites around the internet by tomorrow for you to read for yourselves, until then…

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Reflections on Patriotism

Reflections on Patriotism

Zara:

i feel angry at mahmood’s reaction. it surprises me to see him take this position. and it surprises me even more that people posting have not commented on it.

I feel angry at myself for jumping to this conclusion Zara. But follow my reasoning please: I’m a law abiding citizen who loves his country like the vast majority of my fellow Bahrainis. I am disgusted by the swathe of crimes we have had over the last few weeks, each one more horrific than the last. I am devestated that Mohammed and Sarah have lost their father in these circumstances.

I am disgusted by the continuous robberies and thefts which have become so common that they’re deemed unworthy of being reported.

I am disgusted by the muggings and violent crimes which appear to have risen to an alarming rate lately.

But that increase in crime cannot be blamed solely on the Ministry of Interior; however, the majority of the blame DOES fall at its doorsteps whether they like it or not. It is their mandate to ensure that people in this country are safe from harm. Unfortunately, they are remiss of that responsibility and the major gaping hole which people blame them for is non other than the complete loss of faith of the police.

Yes, the new minister has done wonders to the image, he brought some modern methods into the ministry, he has gotten rid of some of the expats who constituted the majority of its workforce, and in some sectors still do. He has started the Community Police initiative which people have come to like to see on the beat. He has even mounted some classes on human rights and the rights of people when apprehended to his own workforce. These are all good things which are much overdue.

But although these take away some of the bitterness of how people regard the police establishment in this country, it is not enough.

Would YOU for instance feel comfortable approaching a policeman or woman to ask for directions? I bet if you are over 30 you would not, as that generation has been conditioned from birth to fear these ogres. Even now, I would not feel comfortable talking to a policeman because the feeling in the back of my mind is that this guy, who probably didn’t even bother to finish his primary school has got so much power that he could throw me in prison and my family wouldn’t know that I was there for days if not weeks, now add to the fact that the guy couldn’t even speak my own language properly and you could not but feel aggrieved that the policing of this society has been abrogated and given to foreigners completely disconnected from our own ways and cultural nuances!

The same goes very true to those put in place not only in the police but also the military apparatus who lack education and modern outlook on the world, and who have a value system completely foreign to our own. What JJ mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg. I dare you, as a woman to go walk in one of their neighbourhoods in Riffa or any other of their congregation points.

And they are given guns too.

Yes, I realise that I am generalising here, and yes I recognise that some of them – probably a sizable portion of them – are good people and I am painting them with a broad brush. However look at the happenings concerning them in MY lifetime and you will realise my prejudices are shared by quite a lot of my generation.

Now let’s get back to the heinous crime of killing Mohammed, and let’s measure my reaction based on the facts above and the exigencies of the case:

1. Who in this country has free or easy access to guns?
2. Who in the past few years been involved in gun crimes in Bahrain?
3. What has been done to them?

The first I have already answered in the post. The second is clearly from the Ministry’s own statistics (don’t have a link) and what has been reported in the papers that they are of the military or security forces, and the third point is I don’t know! I didn’t see a clear conviction reported in the press of these people, and no example has been made of them as far as I can see.

Now leave all of these prejudices aside, and think of this: these people who are chosen to handle guns in a society where gun possession is illegal and foreign, MUST be submitted to psychological evaluation. And those who do not value human life as the rest of us should not be given the opportunity to have guns. I didn’t say that all new (or old) Bahrainis should be profiled. I didn’t even suggest it. My suggestion here is to all those people who have been given the responsibility to handle guns.

I am also completely against foreigners being given any position within the security instruments. If there is a foreigner to be employed as such, s/he should be employed on merit only, in the persuits of transfer of technology, training, bomb disposal training, and any of the available positions which the person’s experience could be benefitted from and used to educate Bahrainies. But as to the low- and medium-end of the scale, I am absolutely against. So those thousands of “natoors” and police and whatever there are at the ministries of interior and defence, ship them the hell OUT. When I stop a police or military guy in the street to ask for directions I WANT TO HEAR A BAHRAINI ACCENT, savvy? When I go into a police station to report something or ask for assistance I WANT TO HEAR A BAHRAINI ACCENT. Nothing less will do.

No one can look after something more than its owner, Bahrainis are better at policing and protecting Bahrain than foreign mercenaries.

i think it would be fair and rational to argue that different cultures have had profound impact on each other and particularly in this region are not so alien to each other as you are suggesting.

Of course most of those mercenaries are as far away from our culture as the moon is from Pluto for goodness sake! Where do you think those people come from culturally? The desert of the mountains. Go look at the crimes accepted in their countries, from honour killing to keeping boys as their playthings, abusing them until they grow up and abuse more and that is almost accepted in their cultures! It is also very apparent that they’re approach to human life is rather blaze, witness the head-cutting and summary killings that happen between their tribes. Look it up.

Finally, i really take issue with your whole ‘loyalty’ question.
I don’t know if the horrible incident aroused some fatherly/patriarchal feelings in you but my question is:
shouldn’t people be loyal to the other PEOPLE they are living in community and society with, rather than some “national” concept of being loyal to the geographical boundaries (which we did not draw up) and we are confined to, or the flag it has been given to wear?
Because unless its about loyalty to the people you’re living with then its just partiotism based on a very selective and exclusive idea of nationality – ie that you can only be bahraini if you are an arab, or a muslim etcetc…

A Gulf Air stewardess carrying the Bahrain Flag on the BIC race-track during an F1 eventThat’s worth considering. My idea of loyalty and patriotism is being at pains to do good for my country and countrymen, regardless of ethnic or religious background, and do my utmost to try to correct wrongs as I see them and defend those who deserve defending. One of the most encompassing definitions of patriotism I have ever read comes from Zainab Al-Khawajah‘s blog, in which she highlights the following Mark Twain interpretation:

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

Now I fully admit that where I went astray in my assumptions in the original article is that I didn’t even consider that smuggling arms into Bahrain is not unfeasible, and I immediately – because of my inherent prejudices – shot the accusation straight at the armed forces. That I apologise for even if the killer is proven to be from the armed forces. I should have given them a little more benefit of the doubt and considered things in a less passionate and prejudicial form.

Everything else i have said in the original post and this one I stand by.

There is an intrinsic mistrust between the people and those chosen to protect them that the country just cannot move forward without fixing this disconnect first and foremost.

Then we can work diligently at all the other mistrusts in our other structures, from the unfair and haphazard laws, the partial and non-independent judiciary, the skewed and blatant distribution of electoral districts, the dearth of government information and statistics, the unbalanced distribution of wealth, and various other things that is dragging this country and its people down.

The sad thing is that all of these things are so doable! We have the people to effect change, we have the leadership to direct them, we have the real love of the people to their land, we have all of the factors to make things happen… we just need someone brave enough to push the button and start the real age or reformation.

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Bahrain, Guns and Spin Machines

Police surround the crime sceneSometimes I am actually quite happy that in Bahrain only three types of people get guns: members of the ruling family, the police and the military. Everyone else, you just don’t get it.

So when you hear of gun crimes in Bahrain, you know with a good amount of certainty who the perpetrator might be, or at least it doesn’t tax the brain too much to narrow the circle of suspicion. I wouldn’t be too surprised either, owing to the controlling nature of the government regarding guns, that even bullets have serial numbers. There is virtually no chance that you would just brush such a crime aside and say it’s drug or gang related. It just doesn’t happen like that here.

Then I can categorically say that the first thought that went through my head as I browsed Al-Waqt newspaper this morning was: the police or the military did it. End of story.

Once I started reading the short article printed with the image, that certainty became even more certain. It’s an inside job.

According to information I heard from one of Mahdi Abdulrahman Mohammed’s colleagues is that he had an argument with a some policemen earlier in the day. He left the scene of the argument and drove away in his car, as he was driving he became aware of two unmarked police cars following him. Fearing for his safety, he headed to a crowded area of Muharraq, but the two cars obstructed his path, he stopped and got out of his car. Assailants then assaulted him and riddled him with bullets and left him to die. Mahdi was unarmed.

According to the report in the paper, he actually was able to stagger a little bit toward his home, which was in close proximity of the crime’s location, but passers-by picked him up and took him to the local health centre in Muharraq where he died on arrival.

I know from some sources that police have already identified the assailants, and have cordoned off the main perpetrator’s house, who is a policeman.

May Mahdi rest in peace.

The question now must be: what is the screening process does the Ministry of Information or the Ministry of Defence for that matter adopt to actually hire their personnel who are allowed to carry arms? Do they actually conduct psychological tests on those people? Or does it suffice that the “officer” has no real affinity and affiliation to Bahrain? To be absolutely plain here: do these ministries reserve their trust only to foreigners brought in to “protect” us? A bunch of mercenaries who have been brought up in completely foreign environments and cultures?

Look for instance at all incidents of armed crimes over the last few years; every single one of them was perpetrated by “new” Bahrainis who have been brought in to be inducted into the police and military forces!

If this is the case, and for the last 30 years of my life this is what I believed to be true, then I demand from the government to immediately loosen the gun ownership laws so that I can go out and immediately buy a gun to protect myself and my family from harm. After all, in this lawless state we have arrived at, what prevents anyone who carries a gun and has a grudge against me or any other member of my family, friends, or community to just come over and empty his revolver in one of us for the sake of appeasing his slighted feelings the only way he knows how?

The government here MUST be extremely transparent in investigating this crime, their findings must be made public and perpetrators put behind bars for the rest of their miserable lives.

Moreover, the Ministry of Interior MUST re-look at its employment policies. No one looks after their country better than a countryman, as no matter how much mercenaries get paid or no matter how much you try to integrate them into the community by force by granting them haphazzard citizenship that they do not value, at the end of the day they will just say “to hell with it” and they’re on the first place back to where they came from.

And we’re left to pick up the pieces.

Who is now going to take care of Mahdi’s 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter and wife?

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16 labourers perish in fire at labour camp

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My deepest condolences go to the victims and their families and friends who perished or got injured in a labour camp file last night in Gudaybiyah. It is reported that up to 300 workers lived in a single multistory building and up to 15 people were crammed into a single room.

The workers are employed with Royal Tower Construction Company. I hope that the authorities will look very seriously at the condition of their domicile and correct the situation using any legal means necessary.

It is unfortunate that these migrant workers, the very ones who build the country through the past decades and continue to do so today, are not treated fairly. That situation should be corrected and should never be just swept under the carpet.

It is a sad day all around.

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