Tag Archives demonstrations

How to alienate sympathisers to your cause

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Like just about everybody in Bahrain, I’ve been caught in traffic due to roads being closed either by physical objects, oil spilled on the road or a combination of both. The end result of course is that the demonstrators want their message to be received by those in charge that they have legitimate demands and they will do whatever they can to disrupt daily life to get those demands addressed.

Fine. Ok.

But guys, why should you endanger the road users in this manner? What you’re doing is simply bolstering the position of those who oppose you and turn those who possibly sympathize with you into new enemies!

I completely understand that you have legitimate demands and those are being brought out in the open on a weekly basis in the various authorised and unauthorised demonstrations and gatherings, why do you have to resort to an activity that not only inconvenience road users, but put them in jeopardy as well?

There are other ways to get your message across in a peaceful manner without endangering others. I don’t mind you inconveniencing me to make me aware of your needs. I completely understand inconvenience, but when it comes to putting me in danger that’s a bit much.

So quit this please before you alienate many people who once were your supporters. Find other ways to make your voice and demands heard.

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Parallels between Bahrain and London?

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To the sad sad people who’re trying their utmost to compare what has happened in Bahrain to the UK’s current riots and come to the staggering realization that they’re one and the same: don’t. The twains do not and shall never meet.

Over there, it’s yobs, criminals and looters running rampant and they deserve nothing less then to be brought to justice. Here, the vast majority of demonstrators were peaceful and their demands were not DVD players, TVs and sneakers but to be able to live with dignity, have their human rights respected, get a representative government and inculcate social justice.

So get over yourself or stay in your padded hole. These things ain’t the same. Live with it.

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Domino effect continues… who’s after Egypt?

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With the collapse of dictatorial rule in Tunis and the running demonstrations in Egypt since 25 Jan with Friday the 28th culminating in the biggest series of demonstrations for decades, which other country could follow this popular domino effect?

The regular culprits and the most shaky governments seem to be Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and Yemen, most of which witnessed significant demonstrations since the Tunisian popular uprising. Whether those demonstrations would be sustainable is anyone’s guess. The Egyptian situation certainly seems to have taken the officials there by utter surprise. I’m not sure why; with 30% illiteracy and some 50% of its population living with under the equivalent of two US Dollars per day, the massive amount of human rights variations visited upon them, they should’ve really expected it.

As I watch Al-Jazeera at the moment with it declaring the government issuing a curfew from 6PM – 7AM Cairo time, it seems that they now got the message, but they certainly didn’t read the situation on the ground very well.

With Egypt taking the opportunity of the first celebrated date after the Tunisian uprising to start their demonstrations, I can’t but postulate that others might use the same technique to illicit support for their causes and start the process of toppling their particular domino piece. A quick search of possible “flash dates” in the Arab world resulted in one very close to us; the commemoration of the declaration of these very islands of Bahrain to be a Kingdom. That date of course is Feb 14, just a couple of weeks away.

A smart government would tone down its celebrations at this particular time. A smarter government of course would immediately engage its populace and show them that the long promised reforms are immediately introduced in tangible forms in order not only to momentarily ameliorate their citizens’ senses, but to simply make good on its promises.

What do Bahraini citizens want? Live in dignity and have their basic human rights, and intellect, respected. Translating that into practical terms, I personally think the very first thing that should be enacted is the declaration of an impartial truth and reconciliation committee with all relevant powers, the rescinding of contentious laws, particularly 56/2002 and the enacting free press and respect for freedoms of association and speech.

Will the government be cognizant of these feelings and acquiesce to these reasonable requests? Especially when you consider that these very factors will strengthen their position and perpetuate their rule?

I don’t know. After ten years of promises, I feel its high time that those promises are enacted.

The last thing we need is even more strife in this country. We’ve had enough.

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Detainees abuse

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Since December 17th, 2007, the unfortunate day in which Ali Jassim Mohammed died after a demonstration commemorating an unofficial Martyr’s Day, protests have not stopped in Bahrain. These protests resulted in further detentions, some of which have lasted for more than four months.

Those detained allege gross abuse of their human rights and have received support from national and international human rights organisations who demanded their release and for the authorities to stop abusing prisoners. Some prisoners’ health has deteriorated appreciably since incarceration, some say again due to ill treatment. One of those detained apparently lies in hospital at the moment due to kidney-related complications. Repeated calls for the government to allow doctors to see and examine the prisoners to see to their health and ascertain whether they have actually been subjected to torture has been resolutely refused by the ministry then, but only allowed months after the demands were made, observers suggest that doctors cannot determine whether detainees have been abused because all evidence of those allegations would have now disappeared.

This situation does not help us at all. Especially the fact that the accused’s long periods of detention on the premise of “continuing investigations”, a situation which seems to promote indefinite detentions without charging the accused with any criminal activities. This is unacceptable. A limit to how many hours or days a person could be detained should be set in law, and if prosecutors cannot or do not show concrete evidence of wrong-doing, that person must be presumed innocent and released from custody.

Allegations of torture destroy a country’s credibility, especially one which has been advertising itself rather vigorously as one that is embarking on reforms and trying very hard to attract international investment, both of which will simply not take place unless a clear and transparent effort is immediately made to investigate these allegations and put the perpetrators of this alleged torture – if found to be true – on public trial.

I firmly believe that criminals must be made to bear the consequences of their crimes. If a person turns violent and burns a police jeep, damages private property, or kills an innocent soul, that person must be made accountable for his crimes. Therefore, if those detained are independently judged to have committed the crime of burning a jeep and stealing weapons and ammunitions from that jeep, then they most definitely should serve time in prison, they cannot and should not be let go. But if the prosecution service cannot find evidence of them perpetrating that crime then of course they should be released.

Special consideration must be given to those who fall ill during incarceration; regardless of crime committed, as it is simply of human decency to make medical attention available to that person. Let alone one who has simply been accused of criminal activity without solid evidence being presented.

Therefore, I highly encourage our chief reformer, our crown prince Shaikh Salman, to add Judicial Reforms to his already brimming plate of reforms. I think that without people trusting the judicial system before anything else, no real reform can take place in this country.

I urge him to look into this situation; especially as people have now started to believe that those detained were not incarcerated for them being involved in the burning of the jeep, but were simply due to their political beliefs.

It might interest you to know that one of those detained, and whose health is very much in jeopardy at the moment, had been a blogger. His blog – in Arabic – is available at http://bahraineyes.blogspot.com/.

I hope that common sense will prevail.

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