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 â€˜loyaltyâ€™ question.
I donâ€™t know if the horrible incident aroused some fatherly/patriarchal feelings in you but my question is:
shouldnâ€™t people be loyal to the other PEOPLE they are living in community and society with, rather than some â€œnationalâ€ 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 youâ€™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 etcetcâ€¦
That’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.