Tag Archives elections

The Assassination of Barack Obama

No he’s not. Yet. And I hope that he never falls as a victim of violence of any sort, as I wish the rest of humanity. This is just a hypothetical question as I have heard it repeated over the last few days as it seems people are flabbergasted at the possibility of a black man becoming the most powerful man in the world. Above all of that, is the hint that that person has a relationship to Islam, distant and tenuous I grant you, but a thin familial and cultural connection to the fastest growing religion in the world, or at least, the one that was supposedly responsible to the downing of the twin World Trade towers in New York and and countless other atrocities.

I don’t particularly care for Hilary as I do not have a shred of respect for Bush – both of them – as they both have stumbled into their position, the Bushes that is, yet, they were chosen by their people; hence, I have no qualms at all with that process.

Although I believe that Hilary would actually be better for the Middle East than Barack would – simply because I have a feeling that he would be “more royal than the king” in that he will have to go over-the-top in proving that he is distant from our culture and religion – I am opposed to Hilary taking the mantle because she would create a hereditary relationship so far absent from the United States but much prevalent on our shores. Bush – Clinton – Bush – Clinton will not be a good precedence for the nation which should be emulated for their respect of their citizens and which their enemies fear. Should she actually win the toss, America would become much closer to the ways of our beloved Arab world, and that is not something I look forward to.

So it’s a toss: I am more in favour of Obama than I am for Clinton? The other way around? I must confess that I am not very sure yet. Looking at my own selfish motives; I would have either rather than that foot-in-the-grave-not-committed-to-anything-whiny-voice McCain! But what if I think that all three are bad for the world?

I guess I would vote for Obama if I could. At least he is much more charismatic than Hilary could ever be. And I would not descend to the level of others who suggested that as she couldn’t satisfy her husband, how could she satisfy a nation?

Good luck America whoever you eventually choose. But for goodness’ sake choose wisely, the person you are choosing to lead will lead the whole world and not just your own patch.

Good luck.

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Time to roll the sleeves up

We held our elections at the Rotary during our last weekly meeting on Monday night for positions for both 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 offices.

These offices are not taken lightly, they carry good responsibilities which embody the Rotarian’s motto of “Service above self” and just a quick glance at what has already been achieved by the Rotary Club of Adliya is testament to the hard work already put in by passionate community aware and service-oriented good people.

We will continue that legacy and build on it to better serve the community and provide as many opportunities as we can to members of this great country.

I am honoured to serve as the PR Chair in the incoming 2008/9 year, and Club Secretary for 2009/10. I look forward to continuing to contribute to the community through any means possible; and through the Rotary Club of Adliya in particular, with the help and assistance of my fellow Rotarians.

If you wish to contribute some of your time and efforts to good causes. Joining the Rotary might be a good way to channel your efforts through. There are various programs you can get involved in, and you don’t even have to be a member. All you need is the intention and honesty to contribute in whatever capacity you can to the community. Let me know if you’re interested. I look forward to helping you unleash your community service efforts.

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It’s over, an islamist parliament is complete

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All but one of the liberal candidates have not made it into the new parliament, which has a distinct Islamist feel to it: 17 Wefaq (Shi’a), 8 Minbar (Muslim Brotherhood) and 5 Asala (Salafis). That’s 75% of the make-up of parliament, but when you look closely at the rest, only one is liberal, and the rest have distinct Islamist leaning, one of those actually (Jassim Al-Saidi) is so extreme, even the Asala bloc cannot afford to publicly state that he belongs to them!

So we are left with Aziz Abul to carry the flag of non-sectarianism and moderation.

But let’s give them all (again) the benefit of the doubt and see what the next four years have in store for us.

What makes me a bit more hopeful this time is that it looks like a proper parliament; the whole of Bahrain – virtually – entered the race and chose their representatives without a call for a boycott other than the Haq party, and they do not account for a big majority. What also makes me optimistic about this parliament is that Wefaq have gone with with a clear and declared agenda, and have chosen their people wisely with a good cross-section of technocrats too. Other than that and by virtue of them being run like a proper political party, they have a full back-office to support their efforts in parliament. That back office has access to political scientists through to businessmen to advise them on proposed legislation and budgetary discussions etc.

So, even though the liberals did not make it this time and hope that they will have a much better showing in the 2010 parliament, I am sure that this parliament will be a much more effective one than the one just finished.

I hope they do not destroy the little optimism there is by going into sectarian fights which will benefit no one.

The things they should concentrate on now is the cancellation of the restrictive plethora of laws their predecessors brought out like the unconstitutional gathering and assembly law, terrorism law and also redo the press and publications law to encourage and protect the freedom of expression as well as increase the level of personal freedoms.

Good luck Parliament of 2006. The people will be watching you.

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The Bahraini Knights

The Wa'ad Nights, the saviours of Bahrain

These four gentlemen have sacrificed more for this country and its people than the whole bunch of Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood candidates and MPs ever have, or ever will. To even start to list the good that the four gentlemen have done so far would fill volumes, while all the Islamists gave us is veiled drivers and bearded police and military personnel.

Without Wa’ad and their allies we would not have known of the transgressions of government and influential people; therefore, we would have never been able to put a stop to those transgressions and start to demand what is our right as full citizens of this country.

Who exposed hidden chapters in the national budget?

Who exposed the the GOSI fiasco?

Who exposed the illegal appropriation of land?

Who exposed grafters, cheaters, thieves and the bribe-takers?

Who continues to fight for ALL of Bahrain?

Who is fighting tooth and nail for Bahrain to live a non-sectarian life?

Who are loyal to the people of Bahrain first and foremost?

Who are the forces of darkness – the Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood – terrified of?

Who are the moderates?

Who are the ones who will act as buffers against sectarianism in the forthcoming parliament?

Who are going to ensure that parliament does not descend into a sectarian pit?

Who else but the four gentlemen above?

Do you really think that the Islamists will protect you? Didn’t you have enough of their restrictive and draconian laws? Didn’t you already suffer at their hands? Didn’t they already rob you of your own freedoms? Didn’t they inculcate Orwellian practices at every facet of our lives?

Do you really think that Islamists will allow you to live the life you dream of in Bahrain, in peace and tranquility away from sectarian strife?

Only these four gentlemen can save us now, all of us, and ensure that our freedoms are protected and increased. Only they will force parliament to put the Bahraini citizen at the forefront of any laws? Only they will continue to expose corruption and deal with it.

Not the Salafis nor the Muslim Brotherhood, the forces of darkness.

This Saturday, go out and vote for Bahrain. Vote for Wa’ad. Vote for the Promise of a better life.

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Most unpopular candidate

Isa Jassim Ibrahim Al-Harbi - VERY unsuccessful candidate for Bahrain's 2006 parliamentary elections

There must be winners and losers in any competition, otherwise what’s the point of calling it a race. But if you lose against a strong opponent, that actually makes you stronger and hopefully you will gain a few lessons so that next time around you will have a chance to whip his beehind.

Not this guy though. The only thing that this guy got out of the race is how actually unpopular he is. Why do I say this? Well, he ran for the 2nd constituency in the Southern governate, yes the very one that bred illustrious persons of note like the effervescent Jassim Al-Saidi, Hamad Al-Mohannadi (whom this guy ran against) and of course that provided us with the very first female member of parliament in the whole wide Arabian Gulf. Not that that is an achievement of course, women only got the in the last few months in Kuwait and Ms. Al-Gaoud got into the Bahraini parliament by tactically being the only candidate to run in that constituency.

Getting back to Mr. Al-Harbi, I checked his credentials, and if his CV is anything to go by, he can’t have even bothered to even think of his campaign! A total of 8 lines of credentials, the most notable of which is that he was born in 1967. Not even bothering to list the actual date so that his supporters would note it in their diaries and diligently send him birthday cards, but just the year would suffice. Attention to details, you see.

So how much of a failure is this guy you ask? Well, of the total 2,371 acceptable votes cast, he got all of 4. Yes four! As the normal size of a Bahraini family is 6, this guy can’t have had a good relationship with even his siblings or his parents to get two of them voting against him!

What the hell was this guy doing getting into the elections? Other than not having any concept whatsoever to evaluate his chances of success, he just demonstrated his complete and utter stupidity in entering in the first place. And you know what the kicker is, he actually ran for a municipal seat in 2002 and he failed that one too. He’s not letting it go either, he filed a case against the Elections Committee to force a re-count at the Court of Cassation “to defend his honour”, only to get his case thrown out too!

Who knows, maybe he’ll be lucky the third time around!

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Spinning it already?

Alarm at Shia gains in Bahrain’s elections

By Kim Sengupta
Belfast Telegraph
28 November 2006

A radical Shia Islamist group has made significant gains in Bahrain’s national elections, raising serious concern among neighbouring conservative Sunni monarchies in the region.

Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society has won 16 of the 40 seats in parliament and the party declares that its gains are even more significant than the figures suggest, because it had won all but one of the seats it had contested.

The outcome of the polls has had international reverberations. Bahrain is the base of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and one of the clutch of pro-Western states in the area. Developments here have been watched with trepidation in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Bahraini officials accuse Iran of interfering in the elections by bankrolling Shia parties and even giving some factions arms training – claims strongly denied by Tehran.

Shias, who make up 60 per cent of the population of the kingdom, protest that they are economically underprivileged and have long been sidelined from the political process.

Government officials pointed out that the Shia party had targeted just the constituencies where it had a power base and had run a sectarian campaign. The opposition gains, they insisted, showed that the electoral process has been fair. Liberal candidates got a poor share of the votes.

I looked up the author on Google, and found a link with all of her (or his?) articles on a site called WorldSecurityNetwork and just the titles she uses stopped me from going further. It seems that it is someone who fancies themselves as “an expert”, and of course they are, their “analysis” in the article posted above vouches for their expertise.

That really doesn’t concern me at all. What does concern me is – if indeed the quotes from our government officials is true – that we are in for a very rocky four years, and based just on the spirit of this article, I would be extremely shocked if this parliament actually goes the full term. Of course if this parliament is cut short (again), then chaos will ensue and we all would lose Bahrain. Maybe for ever.

What is to be done now?

Turn a blind eye and hope for the best? Continue to stoke the fires of sectarianism? Throw hurdles in the path of a parliament that hasn’t even convened and hope for it to flounder? Or should we fight this fire intelligently and put our hands together and look forward to a good life, a good Bahrain, and good social cohesion completely away from sectarian tensions?

I think the answer is quite apparent.

However, the parliament as it stands at this very moment is composed of traditional foes, not because of the presence of Shi’a in this parliament who cannot be defined – by any stretch of the imagination – as “extreme” as our good writer above suggests, but by those who have already demonstrated their extremism the world over, not just by actions in the previous assembly. So far we have nine of those gentlemen gracing our yet-to-be inaugurated parliament.

The scary thing is that there is no buffer between the two groups and without that buffer, I’m afraid tension will ensue and all it will take is a stupid remark to set the course of animosity for at least four years in parliament, and much more importantly, throughout the society. This benefits no one.

One would think even without the astonishing report above and its extremely fragile and fear mongering conclusions that the powers that be in this country would have evaluated that situation; scratch that, let us forget about the powers that be for a moment, The people themselves should have thought of this conclusion while they were electing these new politicians and strived to provide that buffer. That buffer of course by definition cannot be anything but liberals and independents who will act not only as a bridge between the two camps, but as importantly, provide the voice of reason and allow the agenda to be set to serve the country and its people, concentrate on the real issues of business, economy, education, tourism, services, industry and the myriad of factors which are the main concerns of a modern country.

Not having that centrist liberal influence might well give rise to nothing but sectarian tensions and we all know, from very close examples, where that could take this country to.

It is time, my friends, to tell the whole world that we are Just Bahraini. It is time to put our hands together and forget our differences and work very hard, much harder than we imagined, at ensuring that we do not fall into the pit of sectarianism. It behooves us to ensure that this parliament does not descend into chaos and fist fights.

To make this effective, we need to translate this unity into practical terms and I think the best way of doing so is to continue to monitor parliament’s performance, to ensure that our MPs are held accountable and that if their veer from the right path then we should be ready and willing to show our concern by writing and talking to them to tell them that we are watching them and that we will not stand for this country to be used as a scapegoat in lieu of closed or very narrow minds.

We cannot afford to fail. And we cannot afford to allow the forces of darkness and doubt take over.

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Bahraini Elections Math: 2+2 = 8,091

Does anyone have any idea why, and this is the third day after the elections, that the exalted Elections Committee has not released the elections stats? You know, those mundane things that would tell us, the citizens and interested parties around the world how many people actually voted, how many ballots were accepted as good, how many rejected and how many posted without a mark on them at all?

Is it that they’re still massaging the numbers in order for everything “to fall in place” considering the fiasco of Munira Fakhro’s district with Salah Ali where the latter got a windfall 1,191 votes from out-of-constituency voting stations?

intekhabatcom.com has been trying to figure out the numbers, and they’re scary; they just considered the votes received by “loyalist” candidates through the out-of-constituency voting centres only, alluding of course to directed voting by military and police personnel, the vast majority of whom have been bussed to more than one out-of-constituency voting centres, possibly to spread their votes a bit. Unfounded allegations of course, but here are the numbers for your observation:

[TABLE=2]

Does anyone see the acute similarity of what bin Sager has been warning about when he claimed that there are around “8,000 floating votes” which the government can utilise as and when it sees fit? And that warning coming from a candidate who happens to be from the royal family too?

Free and fair?

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Transparency’s notes

More shenanigans it looks like:

– خلت الدائرة الرابعة في المحافظة الوسطى من بطاقات التصويت قبل منتصف النهار ونتج عن ذلك توقف لعملية التصويت.
..
– في الدائرة الثامنة في المحافظة الوسطى لم يتم فحص هوية المنقبات وفق الآلية الجاري العمل بها.

Al-Wasat :: 27 Nov, ’06

The Bahrain Human Rights Society and the Transparency Society have published their findings regarding the elections, I’ve highlighted two points from several they have noted which are of interest, all their points raised are interesting of course and should be taken seriously by the government to implement for the run-offs and for future elections and referenda.

Why did I highlight these specifically? Because the first instance has a direct impact on the results of the contentious results of Dr. Munira Fakhro’s constituency where the report says that the voting centre ran out of ballots by mid-day! I’m sure they got more ultimately, but if the number of voters in a constituency are already known, wouldn’t you think that they will provide the exact number of ballots required?

The second instance is even more damaging, they allowed fully covered women to vote without ascertaining their true identity by matching their faces with that of the picture in their passports. That raises several questions, the most important of which is that there is no way for us to know that the person voting is the actual person who is supposed to vote, hence that gives rise to stories of buying votes by collecting passports, donning a ninja outfit, and repeatedly go and cast your vote using different passports all the time for the candidate that has paid the highest.

Are these infringements serious enough to re-call the elections in those districts?

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The woman who shook the throne

Dr. Munira Fakhro

So now it seems official. The throne has used its whiles to ensure that Dr. Munira Fakhro does not get elected to parliament.

Up to the initial vote count last night, she had 2,853 votes to the bought and paid for royal puppet Salah Ali’s 2,867. A mere 14 votes difference which ensured that there will be a second round between the two in the run offs on Dec 2nd.

Then came the foreign votes (by Bahrainis outside of Bahrain) which increased her share by 41 votes to a mere 8. Then, the big guns came out in the “general voting stations” where, surprise surprise, the puppet gets 1,191 to Munira’s 332.

Look at the trend, does that make sense?

Is there anyone still questioning the fairness of these elections?

But wait.. there are 4 more protagonists to look after: Abdulrahman Al-No’aimi, Ibrahim Sharif, Sami Siyadi and Abdulaziz Abul, all of whom should win hands down… unless…

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Bahrain Democracy: New Naturalised Citizens

update 20:05: I wrongly thought that this video was showing newly naturalized citizens about to cast their ballots. That notion was corrected by Ehsan, hence I have corrected the main heading of the piece (removed “casting their ballots”). Thanks Ehsan.

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