Tag Archives democracy

Hands off our throats!

Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Bahraini crown prince

واعرب سمو ولي‮ ‬العهد في‮ ‬حديث لرئيس التحرير على متن الطائرة الملكية،‮ ‬عن آسفه لموقف الوزراء الذي‮ ‬وصفه بانه‮ ‬غير مسؤول من‮ »‬ربيع الثقافة‮«‬،‮ ‬وقال‮ »‬ان لا أحد قال كلمة طيبة وانا مستاء جدا وموقفي‮ ‬هذا نابع من حرصي‮ ‬على المستقبل‮«.‬

وحذر سمو ولي‮ ‬العهد من ان فكرا‮ ‬غير مسؤول وسياسات ضيقة تخدم فئة معينة،‮ ‬تهدد المواطنين والأجانب العاملين في‮ ‬القطاع المصرفي‮ ‬الذي‮ ‬يوفر نحو ‮٥.١ ‬مليار دينار لاقتصاد البحرين،‮ ‬مشيرا سموه إلى أن هذه التصرفات‮ »‬تهدد مستقبل أبنائنا وتفرح منافسينا‮«. ‬

ووجه سمو ولي‮ ‬العهد‮ »‬نداء شخصيا لكل مواطن أيا كان،‮ ‬حتى وإن كان قد عمل ضدنا في‮ ‬السابق أن‮ ‬ينتمي‮ ‬إلى حركة جديدة اصلاحية تريد الازدهار والتنمية وأن‮ ‬يتركوا عنهم الأمور التي‮ ‬تشغلنا عن الهدف الرئيسي‮«‬،‮ ‬مشددا سموه على أن ما‮ ‬يحدث في‮ ‬البحرين من مشاغبات واضطرابات لم‮ ‬يؤثر على ايمانه بالديمقراطية التي‮ ‬تحتاج فقط إلى الحوار المستمر والمشاركة والشجاعة‮.

Al-Ayam :: 2 April 2007

Finally, someone came out and unequivocally slapped those moronic Islamist MPs and put them in their place. And that someone is the crown prince, so we can expect our effervescent MPs to now dither and dodge and try diligently to look and act like headless chickens caught in heavy traffic to “revise” their positions.

Thanks your highness, you’ve set the required standard and showed not only our dear beloved elected MPs but the cowardly ministers who didn’t enough backbone to stand up to the dimwits and ensure that they protect the constitution by simply defending the guaranteed freedoms that taking a moderate line and abiding by the constitution they swore to uphold is no longer just talk but a basic requirement of their jobs.

Well done! It’s about time.

Update 4/4/07: English translation of the interview is available here

related: Gulf News coverage.

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Another ‘Bahraini Tale’

One that is MUCH more odious than the plot and discord in Bassam Al-Thawadi’s movie. This one, is also infinitely more dangerous and if no stop is put to it, this country should have a “flush now” lever attached to it, because that is where we are headed.

Over the last few days, 15 prospective candidates gave up the fight and hung their swords. Some I am sure discovered that there was now way for them to compete in the fray and they did good by cutting their losses early and bailing out, others just entered the elections in the first place to probably just get the “key money” they would be offered to get out of the way, while others have been pushed, harassed, cajoled to do so by various “non”-political sources, at least, that’s what they want to call themselves and we know that they are anything but.

So what’s happened then? The religious clerics put the kabbash on some candidates to get out of the way in favour of other turbans or beards! How about that for a good party trick? How do they do it? Well, think of the nod that a mafia boss does in those movies and you probably will get the picture.

Once that signal is given, the “apparatus” goes into overdrive: mosque preachers bleat the virtues of the selected one, while nefariously besmirches the opposition. So they bray out things like: “Only elect the believers!

Of course, as they alone hold the exclusive keys to Heaven, it is only their sanctioned form of believers who are meant by this; why don’t you give us a CPR number and name why don’t you? Anyway, the content of the message of course is to tell people that the marked person is a non-believer! They have summarily excommunicated him politically, and of course their followers, being the true sheep they are, would just acquiesce to their demands unquestioningly. Ma’atems (on the other side of the spectrum) are just as bad using the same tactic more or less, and the result? Good people who have proven their mettle and who actually did attempt make a difference in the last parliament are chased out of the loop!

withdraw instructions given in favour of turbans

Now is this legal? Ah, who gives a damn? When the people who have ALLEGEDLY paid good money to incumbent candidates and ALLEGEDLY have also paid for tents and chairs and ALLEGEDLY put members of parliament on a stipend for services rendered and to be rendered and ALLEGEDLY paid even members of the appointed Shura council for hand written reports and recommendations are all still in their cushy government enclaves, untouched and unmolested! (did I forget an ALLEGEDLY anywhere in this paragraph? Please put it where it should go would ya?)

Look at all the papers over the last couple of weeks, and today’s in particular, we see two more candidates specifically giving up seats for turbans. I called one of them (Jassim Abdul’aal) and viciously complained that he is doing away with the trust placed on him by the whole of Bahrain if he does in fact give up the fight. He complained that there is really no point as regardless of his good history in the last parliament and within his community, a turban will always be selected over and above him.

And there goes the liberal stream in the 2006 parliament… I just hope that we will get at least a couple in there to shout loud enough to be heard above the din and shouts of “Allahu Akbar” the various Ayatollahs and Binladens would utter unbidden between brainfarts, because this is what the forthcoming chamber is looking like at the moment.

If you guys have any influence on liberals, please do write to them and/or talk to them to convince them to stand their ground. Bahrain desperately needs them. It doesn’t really need too many turbans and beards in there… what the hell will they do all day in parliament, take various breaks for prayer, even further restrict our personal freedoms and our freedoms of speech because they interpret those as against their version or Islam?

And may Allah have mercy on our souls. But before he does, let’s kick the liberals’ joint ass to elevate their game by at least staying in the running for Bahrain’s sake!

My vote, as if you needed told, would most definitely go to Wa’ad (sorry, can’t provide a link, their site is still blocked) or the new National Unity group.

Al-Wefaq and the others need not bother knock on my door.

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Brainfarting season has started, officially

This site’s blocking order notwithstanding, it is quite apparent that the official brainfarting season has started in earnest. Take a look at this gem for instance:

jalalalsharqi-salahali.jpgشن الشيخ جلال الشرقي يوم أمس (السبت) حملة ضد من أسماهم ‘’الليبراليين والعلمانيين واللادينيين’’ من جانب، وعلى الصحافيين الذين يهاجمون رجال الدين والإسلاميين من جانب آخر، أثناء حديثه في الخيمة المشتركة لكل من مترشحي المنبر الإسلامي في ‘’ثالثة الوسطى’’ إبراهيم الحادي للمجلس النيابي وعدنان المالكي للمجلس البلدي. إذ طالب الحاضرين ‘’لا تضعوا أيديكم في يد من هم على غير التيار الإسلامي، فأنتم محاسبون أمام الله إن نال صوتكم أولئك، فكل منكم يحمل أمانة والله عز وجل يحذرنا من خيانة هذه الأمانة، ولن تجدوا أفضل ممن قرر الوحدة في قائمة واحدة بين الأصالة والمنبر لنصرتكم ونصرتنا’’. وأكد ‘’أقسم بالله، أنهم الصادقون، عند الشدائد، وهم من يتمسك بسنة الله ورسوله، وكل من يرشح غير من يعمل لوجه الله فهو آثم’’. وتابع ‘’هناك عدد من الصحافيين الدخلاء، الذين لا يكلون ولا يملون من اتهام الشرفاء، والترويج للعلمانيين والليبراليين، ويعملون ضد الإسلام والمسلمين ومن ينصرهم، ولكن لن نترك المجال للفاسدين وليقولوا ما يريدون ويا (جبل ما هزك ريح)’’. أما النائب المترشح رئيس كتلة المنبر الإسلامي صلاح علي فدعا إلى ‘’التصويت لمن يؤمن بالقرآن ويدافع عنه، فإذا كان من ضمن جمعية أو كتلة فذلك يزيد من حظوظه وليصل صوتكم المبارك إليه’’.

That big fellow is Jalal Al-Sharqi, he’s supposed to be a “shaikh”, a religious clergyman, seems to be well fed for someone who’s supposed to be in the service of God and his creations, looking after them and giving alms to the poor and favouring others over himself, etc etc.

That other guy to his left – who seems to be rather enjoying a juicy, fresh, loogy, is ex-MP Salah Ali, he’s supposed to be a doctor of some sort, so maybe he knows what we don’t and there are nutritious benefits to picking one’s nose and eating its produce. Hey, what do I know.. the picture is indeed worth thousands of words.

The words emanating from the respected scholar; however, leave a lot to be desired. Let me clue you in:

This auspicious gathering of birds of a feature is in one of the elections campaign headquarters, a tent put up for the purpose in a transitory fashion maybe to show the voters that they too will only be required temporarily only to submit their tick mark on a ballot, and then forgotten forthwith by those people who seem to be all of a sudden to be the champions of the Bahraini citizen (and otherwise), and the poor and destitute. So come hither, friends, come and partake of Salah Ali’s bounty!

I didn’t read the election law, but I am fairly sure based on logic – if that quality is indeed used in forming laws in Bahrain – that you shouldn’t use religion, religious speeches to further your chances of winning, nor should you use or allow your venue to be used by 3rd parties to do so.

This is the proof of one of countless other transgressions hopeful MPs are utilising. The 3rd party here, the right honourable scholar is lambasting the people and ordering them NOT to vote for anyone HE and his ilk deem to be un-Islamic, heretic, liberal and westernised in any form whatsoever, and he also added to that illustrious list journalists who “habitually transgress on Islam” etc, promising those who do his version of hellfire in which they will ever last.

Oh, and did I not also mention that the connoisseur of jellyfied phlegm is also one of the heroes of bandargate? How utterly irresponsible of me. Sorry.

So these are the kind of people who are shamelessly putting themselves forward to represent us in this great country… the dregs of society.

They’re using threats, coercion, religious extremism, false promises, cajoling, negative publicity, accusing their competitors of treason… hey! hang on a minute! That really sounds like we arrived at real democracy! Yippee! I am thrilled to bits.

So carry on spreading your poison, and continue to classify this great society and you might as well print labels or buttons which simple have one word each on them: “For” and “Against” and distribute those so that you can actually filter out the whole society to your liking. To hell with anti-sectarianism and anti-discrimination, because those concepts just have no place in your sick minds.

Something else Bahrain can be proud of 😉

Incidentally, this is the very FIRST post post-Mahmood’s Den-blocking era!

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One more site blocked in Bahrain

It used to be just 9 that were blocked:

and now, it appears that someone who is really shaking in his boots and deems it very necessary to protect us from ourselves and protect the country from those nefarious people hell bent on toppling the government has done the right thing™ and blocked…

Well done! I am sure the blocking of these sites will contribute greatly to the country’s standing in the Freedom of the Press index, the Human Rights index (which Bahrain actually is on that council in the UN!!) and will also assist Shaikha Haya bint Rashed Al-Khalifa in her role as the PRESIDENT of the United Nations and gain her and Bahrain even more respect and credibility to continue to be in that role.

Of course, that brainfartist probably doesn’t know that it is becoming easier every day to unblock sites, no matter what their contents are.

Welllll done!

But then one must ask the question… who’s next?

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Dhahrani’s Posse

Yesterday, Khalifa Al-Dhahrani reneged on his decision not to run for the 2nd term of parliament, by not only registering his candidature, but acted as the protagonist in a cheap play by having a posse of 20 people behind him; most notable tails were a bevy of MPs including: Abdulaziz Al-Mousa, Ahmed Behzad (independents, they call themselves, Behzad is the architect and approver of the most restrictive laws which eminated from his committee in the last parliament); Hamad Al-Muhannadi (Asala, Wahabi) and Salah Ali (of Bandargate fame, on the receiving end apparantly) and Abdullatif Al-Shaikh (Muslim Brotherhood, Minbar) as well as our favourite brain-fartist Jassim Al-Saidi (newly formed Wahabi Morons, Inc. membership forms available by doing an Ahmed Attiyatallah and paying Saidi a non-refundable BD3,000 cheque for services rendered to raise the sectarian temperature in the island, he’ll even sign the receipt, no problem.)

The last minute entrance, although he would like to think is being dramatic, the fact of the matter Harry is much better at it. Nevertheless, his excuse is that he was in conference with God, as he does every Ramadhan in the last 10 days. Don’t know what they were talking about (I think it really was just a single-sided conversation if you ask me, and Dhahrani has the hammer) but I guess he interpreted the conversation that he has to do his public duty and place his posterior on an already reserved Speaker of the House leather seat.

All that doesn’t concern me really, it’s politics after all. What really got my goat is the report (arabic) that said that not only was he accompanied by the aforementioned well trained MPs, but within his posse were quite a number of the Chamber’s workers! Sure, they’re citizens and they have every right to support a candidate of their choice, but in my book this is a conflict of interest to say the very least. And as he keeps patting his own shoulders saying that he has had a very long experience in politics and parliaments (hah!) he should have told at least those workers to bugger off as what they are doing is a conflict of interest, and that they are working for the people rather than Dhahrani Est.

So to those who actually work in the illustrious and hushed (normally) halls of abrogated power, could you please tell your colleagues that this is not a “good thing™” to have done, as it shows that they are directly employed by Dhahrani, rather than employed by the people. What they should have done is distance themselves from him until (not if unfortunately) their boss returns to his roost.

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Woman wins parliament seat by default

The candidate applications are in for the 40 constituencies which make up Bahrain last night, and the surprise/non-surprise is that the constituency 6 of the Southern Governate had only one candidate running, and it happened to be the same lady who ran in the Riffa constituency in 2002 against our beloved Deputy Dawg. She took him to the second round, but then the voters there allowed DD to win by a narrow margin.

Latifa Al-Gaoud, first woman MP in the GCC, Southern governate, 6th district, hawar islandsShe somehow changed her residence to the islands of Hawar, those strips of land rich in bird life (it’s supposed to be a natural reserve with even osprey nesting there habitually) and very rich sea life around it too with the dugong making their home in the deep water channels around the islands. But in that constituency there are only 1,000 voters, and I’m not sure if the dugong and the shags are actually counted too, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say she won fair and square. However, before doing that completely, I must confess my confusion that in an election that every single seat is fought and every single constituency fielding at least 2 candidates, how come the political societies didn’t wake up to the fact that Hawar was up for the taking? Weird. Ah, I know, the very credible CIO refused to give the candidates the voter rolls! I smell shenanigans, but I’ll shut up for now for the sake of making history, and the seat went to someone who I hope will be making not only history (she’s the first in Bahrain and the Gulf to go to an elected parliament, of course saying the Gulf here is pretty generous as only Bahrain and Kuwait have elected chambers, but if count Iran in it then they’ve had women in their parliament for a while now, and so does Iraq. Okay, let me rephrase that to the GCC then.)

So she won now, and I am very happy for her as she an able lady, with a host of credentials and experience to make a difference especially in the Financial Affairs Committee as she held a position within the Ministry of Finance prior to her winning the seat by default. The “Ministry of Finance” bit worries me too… with all due respect to the lady, I do hope that she will be impartial to her previous employers when the time comes for her to scrutinize the budget and be partial to questioning her erstwhile masters with courage and alacrity.

Onward we go to the “proper” elections where we await the welcoming of 39 persons into the chamber, and I do sincerely hope that that dickhead Dhahrani doesn’t get in again, but rather than Salman bin Sager there instead. The former proved his complete and utter uselessness not only in the past parliament, but in the full 16 years he has been with the Shura council previously.

Nov 25th, pray what will you give us?

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One down, several to go to regain confidence

e-Voting has been shelved until 2010, where the same arguments will take place unless voter confidence is regained in the wake of Bandargate. The government has been keeping mum about the situation, probably praying that it too will be forgotten. After all, other scandals have. Do you still remember what happened with the Social Insurance? And that has been “investigated” by parliament no less, yet, no criminal charges or charges of any kind have been levied at those in the wrong, and they haven’t even been relieved of their positions yet.

So can we expect that Bandargate will result in anything concrete? Of course not. It’s been three weeks now since that report has been released and all we got is continued bluster and the people named and shamed in that report still report to work quite diligently, completely secure in the knowledge that someone is protecting their backs. In fact the only hilarious thing that has happened – in the way of a response if you will – is the release of another Bandar report last week, but that one stunk quite badly.. “someone” decided in their (hasty) and (finite) wisdom that they should release another version and list some opposition names so that they can muddy the waters a bit. More proof that whoever did that should have been drowned at birth and thus save Bahrainis a further humiliation. That brainfartist included illustrious and much respected names like Dr. Abdulaziz Abul, Ibrahim Sharif, Muneera Fakhro, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, et al.

Bahrain's smart cardThe CIO, that much beloved organisation at the centre of Bandargate, held a press conference yesterday morning to tell the press and political societies their amended view on electronic voting. They initially said that they will limit the voting percentage wise and use Internet voting to a certain number of Bahraini expatriates. Incredulous? Perfectly so, but being an Arab I knew that was nothing more than a face saving gesture.. if they actually have any face left to save that is. Well, the first thing is that 8 political societies boycotted that meeting! Then, when the news came out of this “face saving gesture” activists hit the roof.. much more importantly; however, it seems that the king has too! So, he slapped Shaikh Ahmed down, the result of which he (or some of his minions) called the national press around 9pm last night and told them that

“We have referred a recommendation following the meeting to the executive director of the elections process not to use the e-voting system in the 2006 elections and rely on the mechanism used in the 2002 elections,” Shaikh Ahmed said.

“We will work together in the next four years to prepare the community and the political societies on the e-voting system and we hope that it will be welcomed by all.”

Yeah sure.. the other one plays Jingle Bells quite nicely when pulled!

So it’s dead and buried. That’s one thing that the king has graciously taken care of finally, thank you your majesty. Please do not stop there; though, your citizens require a few more steps to get them to re-believe in the country and your government. The least of which is sending Shaikh Ahmed on an extended holiday somewhere nice, and as he will be on sabbatical after the long and arduous work he has thanklessly done – especially through signing so many documents of the half-A5 size – he deserves the break. And while we’re at it, why not cancel that smart card thing? Okay okay, you’ve spent far too much money on that thing so far, but at least it’s a lot less than what Shaikh Ahmed has buying prospective members of parliament (yes, including the illustrious and very cheap Jamal Dawood who once wanted all websites to register at his department at the Ministry of Disinformation) and their likes. Or at least reduce the amount of information stored on it to the minimum until proper laws protecting the privacy of information are coded.

Much more important than all of this of course is the formation of a investigative committee into Bandargate and ensure that they get access to whatever and whoever they need and publish their findings transparently and bring charges to all those involved in such a heinous and evil plan.

Please?

I think the time is very right to re-establish the trust of Bahrainis in their government; as everybody I spoke to, and judging by most of the articles in the national papers, that trust has all but disappeared and it requires YOUR radical intervention to allow us all to turn a new page before the elections come about.

Because if reparations are not made before then, you will probably find that people just couldn’t care less about the elections.

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Elections coming up!

Finally, we have some movement. Of course there is no guarantee that the anticipated movement will be good, as there are no guarantees for it being the opposite, but as the local idiom goes: “الحركة بركة” – loosely translated: “in movement there is a blessing

So the king invited the heads of the political societies to an audience (arabic) with his majesty tomorrow. No one knows what the agenda is as none has been announced, but I can feel tingles in the air…

It is expected that he will announce the election date tomorrow.

That would be the good thing™ of course, as that decrepit parliament has been dissolved now for 55 days, and no announcement has been forthcoming since then.

What has, however, and plenty of it, has been:

    1. The EX-members of parliament still believe that they are part of the democratic institution!
    2. Most have been actually more active in these 55 days than they have for the 4 years they’ve used in parliament to perfect their brainfarts.
    3. Bahrain has become much more sectarian under their watch.
    4. The parliament giving the right of dividing municipal districts to the government (can you smell it?) the government reduced the number of municipal areas by re-designation and amalgamation.
    5. oh, and another small thing which might have prompted this movement…

    6. A high-up consultant was deported in haste (arabic) charged with “an attempt to overthrow the government”!

That last point seems to be the bombshell. The guy apparently was quite liberal with the photocopy machines or with his printer as he printed several copies of his 220 page report and liberally distributed it to every paper as well as choice embassies and most political societies.

Don’t expect any (news)paper to publish it though, they’d rather publish something about “immoral acts” or entice the public to attack foreign workers because they are bachelors and hail from Asia and that sort of thing… but when it comes to something as substantial as “bandargate”, forget it, they’ll toe the line thank you very much! Who needs the press law when you get self censorship of this scale?

Other countries would have stopped the presses and ran with it… not here though, uh uh. They’re good boys!

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Very quickly

Over the last few days three things were brought to the fore in the local press after people continued to point fingers and talk about the situations in their majlises etc: one thing that has been talked about for years in Bahrain is the issue of naturalization, which is a very emotive subject with the opposition (read the majority of Bahrain) believing that the process is adopted purely to strengthen the hand of government by bringing in new naturalized citizens and use them to skew the electoral outcome and change the country’s demographic; the government on the other hand say that there are no such motives and they are granting citizenship only to those who qualify.

My say: we’re tired of this shit. It’s high time to establish an independent commission of enquiry with free access to all records and persons and then publish a report. If the government is found at fault, then amend/change the laws to ensure that it does not transgress it in the future. If on the other hand it finds that the public’s fears are unfounded, then the public should just shut up and let us get on with our lives.

the prime minister visiting needy families in MuharraqSecond thing: Muharraq, that island which defines Bahraini culture, politics and opposition throughout its ages, has once again rocked the boat.

It’s various “majlises” – community halls presided over by luminaries of neighbourhoods and used as simple devices to while away the time, plan political movements, and strengthen the community spirit and good neighbourliness – have decided that they have had enough with sectarian-motivated political movements and told all political societies in Muharraq that they couldn’t give a shit about them, especially the Asalah (Wahabi) and Minbar (Muslim Brotherhood) that they will not support them any more as their programs in the 2002 elections were far too sectarian and government-allied. The majlises will front and support their own candidates in opposition to these Islamist movements.

Then a tonne of bricks came tumbling on them, by way of our prime minister who defines their roles as:

Addressing the majlis owners, he stressed their role in diagnosing the citizens’ needs and referring them to government officials.

Mainly relegating their ancient role to that of triage rooms in hospitals; just conduits to the “real thing.” He also had this nugget of wisdom to dispense:

he warned against misusing the parliament to raise controversial issues which could only smear the legislative luster.

Sorry sir, I wholeheartedly disagree with your premises. I would rather our parliament raise these contentious issues and solve them, rather than leave them to fester and ultimately explode in our communities.

As to the majlises, they are regarded by the community as localised mini-parliaments to inculcate the spirit of democracy and solve local issues locally, rather than be a conduit to the government, which they certainly can do should they so wish. Majlises are excellent at fostering and enhancing the community spirit, as such, their activities should not be curtailed. And if you believe that you can, then allow me to tell you sir, that you are ill informed. Some of these majlises have been going since 1957, some might even have been established before that, so leave them alone, they’re doing a good job throughout the kingdom.

Third and final thing (I’ve got to get work done, after a wonderful 2-day weekend!): The dogs are out once again attacking “Haq’s” right to petition the UN to get involved in Bahrain’s political scene by sponsoring or aiding in correcting the 2002 constitution. They have collected 82,000 signatures in a petition calling for the restoration of the 1973 constitution, or proper amendment of the 2002 constitution. Faisal Foulath, famous Shura Council specialist in brainfarts, is calling the Haq movement liars and basically is being used to start another smear campaign against them.

The prime minister also obliquely mentioned them and lambasted them for their efforts in his visit to Muharraq (he was rather busy wasn’t he? Attacking 3 subjects in one, THIS is what I call efficient damage control!) in which he stated:

The Premier yesterday warned against raising controversial issues which may drive wedges in the community and serve narrow personal interests. “Democracy, openness and freedom of opinion should not be used as a pretext to violate the law, sow sectarian sedition, or falsify truths in international arenas, claiming internal liberties are curbed,”

Alrighty then… so he too found it distasteful that Haq went whining to the UN. But then, if the Royal Court would accept receiving popular petitions, they might not have resorted to such a measure.

Things are hotting up my friends! Elections must be really really close now. And my fellow Bahrainis would recognise this flurry of activities of promising more reforms, building more houses, visiting the poor and making them promises, and cleaning the roads and painting the curb-stones and the outpouring of wisdom by the tanker-load by senior officials in and out of government are just signs that we have gotten used to.

These cleanups remind me of the preparation for the GCC conference before they hit the island for a day or two, the whole island gets a face lift. Maybe having the elections every four years will now be regarded as a good thing if they’re going to clean up the place more often than the GCC shindigs.

Have an excellent Sunday my friends, the very first first day of the week in the history of Bahrain!

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100 Days

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Let’s assume that we actually do have only 100 days left to elect a new parliament in Bahrain; yes, I know that as the talk at the moment is toward the combined session of the Shura Council (appointed) and Chamber of Representatives (elected) around the end of the month might be a signal that the king has finally made up his mind to tell the people when the 2nd full elections in our fledgeling democracy is going to be, and that date might well be before Ramadhan, then it might be that we have a lot less than those 100 days I initially imagined. In fact, as Ramadhan is about to roll over once again on around the 24th of September, and as the law states that elections must be announced 45 days prior to people going to the polls, then the announcement should be no later than the 10th of August. That means we only have 35 days to go for that fateful day!

That, my friends, is “good news” for us. I think I can speak for the whole of Bahrain when I say that we are waiting for it with baited breath. We are totally fed up with this bastardised parliament, one born illegitimately when a large section of the population decided to boycott the inaugural elections 4 years ago due to their belief that the constitution is not the one they signed up for, and broken promises. With so many good people deciding not to stand for elections, the minnows took that once in a lifetime chance, beat their vacant chests, made some noises and were installed in parliament, not for those who elected them then believing in their capabilities; rather, they were the only ones standing! So they gave voice to the local adage: ‘the only man in the village!’

I don’t think I need to recount their “accomplishments” in this first term; everyone knows them by heart, from that effete acquiescing chairman to those sectarian moguls Mohammed Khalid and Jassim Saidi, and everyone in between who ensured that whatever freedoms we had before parliament are almost completely taken away for good: laws of public assembly, peaceful demonstration, press law, terrorism law, law 56, the budgets which have easily passed through and hundreds of other things which they rubber stamped with alacrity by yes-men not worthy to be even valets at the parliament. I am sure that if one takes away the global meteoric rise of the price of oil from calculations, we would have seen the real adverse effect this parliament has had on our quality of life as a nation.

Quality of life? Not their concern and it never was. It is their own quality of life they are concerned with, rather than their electorate’s. Probably the only thing they can take to their graves as an accomplishment is the receipt of pensions ad infinitum because of the single term they have gotten completely by chance.

I know that there are no guarantees that the forthcoming members will be any better, but I hope that with a bigger gene-pool to choose from contesting, we will fair no worse.

We can wait a little longer, it looks like no more than 80 days…..

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