Tag Archives #feb14

Abundant signs of a disintegrated, fractured Bahrain

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When one-time valued friends choose to become enemies and permeate mistrust in those they once held in high regard and trust, a reboot button might be the only way forward, because continuing like this, will turn the whole situation uglier than our darkest nightmares.

Twitter’s a place where you go to get your blood pressure up these days. It has become a longer a place where intelligent conversation seldom takes place, especially when engaged with the majority of people who flooded in after #feb14. I normally don’t partake in those conversations because I know why they’re there and what they want to achieve. I never thought; however, that I would be faced with a situation where one of those would be a person I sincerely thought be a good and valued friend. This now erstwhile friend seem to have inexplicably taken umbrage with my ideology and positions and wasted not another opportunity to pounce by levying baseless assumptions and accusations against me. I know that he’s not the first and won’t be the last. The tragedy of the situation is that I held him in very high regard and I liaised with him in cordial business for over three years and I had nothing but praise for him in front of everyone. Professional, educated, erudite and a general good guy is the impression that I’ve built of him over the years…. After an exchange over a period of few minutes last night though, it was quite evident to me that once again, I have been a bad judge of character.

It started simply enough with challenging a statement made in a tweet from @saqeralkhalifa in which he stated that:

I’ve been meeting numerous journalists who wrote untrue stories on #Bahrain. They were disappointed on opposition when I presented evidence
SaqerAlKhalifa
August 17, 2011

As the gentleman is an official in the our embassy in the US, I thought he should know better than to make such a statement without offering a semblance of proof or evidence to support his assertions. He’s at that position in the first place to probably monitor the media and “correct” some errant thoughts about our dear country – amongst other valued cultural activities of course. He should know; therefore, that making unfounded statements can and do hurt the country rather than help it.

So I asked:

@SaqerAlKhalifa care to share the names of those journalists?
mahmood
August 17, 2011

To date, there has been no response from the original author. There was; however, this shocking comment from my so called “friend” of several years:

@SaqerAlKhalifa don’t bother replying to @mahmood . He will probably just pass the names of the journalists for the opposition to target.
BuYasmeen
August 17, 2011
Talk about giving a friend the benefit of the doubt… I decided not to take offense at this statement and to politely ask him to mind his own business:
@BuYasmeen @saqeralkhalifa ooh, love you too! But I think the gent can make up his own mind.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
Unfortunately, the gentleman seems to be filled to the brim with either anger, or hatred, or may be both:
@mahmood @SaqerAlKhalifa can certainly make his own mind up, but it is my national duty to warn him of sneaky buggers like you.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011

National duty? How can this be construed as national duty in even a moronic and infantile mind?

However, once again, I tried to calm the mood and give him a hint to stay out of this as it most definitely does not concern him.

@BuYasmeen @saqeralkhalifa oooh behayve, I thought we was friends! What did I sneak up you?
mahmood
August 18, 2011
but unfortunately to no avail
@mahmood Friends we can always be, but if you sneak up on my country, then you sneak up on me. I’m just sharing the love.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
What? So I’m an enemy who sneaks up on the country? ME? I’m not sure what Mohammed was smoking to have reached that conclusion, so maybe offering a reset might be advisable. Once again.
@BuYasmeen moe we shared teas and meetings for over 3 years. I never saw the hate in you like this. What happened? What did u c in me 4 this
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen sorry, if this is your attitude, I don’t want your friendship. So disappointed in one that at one time I held in high regard.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen and if this is your true self, and I thought once that you were intelligent enough to rise above this, then Bahrain has problems
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood don’t put words in my mouth that I never said. I would gladly have teas and meetings with you for years to come.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen explain this: “national duty to warn him of sneaky buggers like you”
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen and this “but if you sneak up on my country, then you sneak up on me”
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood my attitude has always been open minded. It is your attitude that is in question, pointing north one day, and south the other.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
THIS is his interpretation of an open mind?
@mahmood I don’t need to explain myself as my stance has always been clear. It is your comments since Feb that need explaining.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen another baseless allegation mohammed. if you have any examples, offer them. else, I suggest that it’s you who have changed 180d
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen mohammed, find a mirror, look into it, and tell me in a moment of honesty if you like what you see. truly disappointed.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood I don’t need a mirror as I weigh my deeds everyday. Did you weigh ur self before publishing Bahrain’s Shame?
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen oooh, so that’s what pressed your button? I’m glad to contribute to your deep thinking. I stand by every single word.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood and do u stand by the words of AJalilKhalil regarding al jazeera English documentary on bahrain?
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen you’re going all over the place but no escape huh? That’s a question for him not me. Awaiting an apology. Man enough?
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood no it is a question for you. Don’t run away from it and answer. And if you answer correctly, I will apologize.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen apology accepted. Good night.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood I have followed ur blog 4 yrs and now ur tweets.I sincerely believed BH needed more ppl like you. Until u showed ur true colors.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
Four years or reading my thoughts which he implies that he copiously agreed with, and now, all of a sudden, overnight, I’m a “bad guy”, a traitor who’s colors are “finally” exposed!

The mind boggles.
@mahmood u have regrettably shown that ur not man enough to answer a simple question. Good night friend.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen hilarious. obfuscating facts and seeing what you WANT to see exclusively is a trait in some. apples and trees and all that.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@BuYasmeen mohammed, with friends like you, who needs enemies? certainly not this torn county, and with people like you, we know why. shame.
mahmood
August 18, 2011
@mahmood u of all ppl know that I listen even when what is being said might offend me. But today u r not man enough to admit it. Sad.
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011
@mahmood I am only enemies with those who have chosen to be enemies of the country I call home. Are u one of them?
BuYasmeen
August 18, 2011

What a staggering turn of events. This country is so damaged right now that if people like this gentleman has such hatred impregnated in him that those feelings have started to gush out and paint their views and horizons. I’m therefore no longer surprised by the stories of discrimination, hostility and mistrust that pervades the whole atmosphere here. It will not get any better, when all of this is aided and spread throughout by the high and low.

Is it a coincidence then that for the first time in my life I was pointedly asked in a recent business meeting as to where I was from for the sole purpose of pinning my confessionalism, and hence by infantile inference, my political allegiance?
The majority of people here – and even now the foreigners in this pitiful land – are using a very broad brush to paint their own fears and apprehensions on whomever they perceive to be against them, and they take it upon their sloping shoulders that it is their national duty to defend this country from the ills harbored against it by the likes of me!
Is holding a political opinion now tantamount to treason? Must those who dare to demand universal human rights be expunged and eliminated? Is the demand for these rights – any of them – are for the exclusive benefit of one part of society and not the other? Of course not. When human rights are inculcated it will benefit everyone, universally, without any distinction, even those who have taken it upon themselves to arbitrarily put themselves in a position of defenders when their defense is nothing but misaligned and misdirected. What they’re really doing though is delaying the certain moment when everyone will benefit from those very demands now put forward by not one, but the multiple political societies and the majority of activists the combined representatives of whom easily constitute a comfortable majority in this country.
I say it again: is the demand to live with dignity so foreign to @BuYasmeen? I should think not. At least, I hope not. I still wish him the best in his endeavors, but he and those who have driven such a schism in this society should know that even when they bear more than half of the indigenous population ill, they shall benefit from the wrongly spilt blood of those who fell at Pearl and elsewhere in this great country.
Sectarianism will not get us there. Religious and ideological extremism will not. Fear of the other won’t and the baseless, blind and sycophantic accusations and actions won’t either. So step back and re-evaluate your positions if you really want this country to go forward and give a chance to harmony to at least make an attempt at repairing this fractured society.

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Commission of Inquiry starts working

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Creating an independent commission to look into the killings, torture, dismissals, and prejudicial treatments and transparently report its findings and name and shame abusers is a huge, unprecedented and much awaited courageous step that can have far reaching impact on this country and its people if left to actually do its assigned work. I hope that they will be given the promised free access to all parties in order to ascertain the truth of the past few months. Only then will this country treat the path of much needed reconciliation.

So far, the various meetings and press releases emanating from the Commission are very encouraging. In order for them to have better communication with the public, the Commission launched their own website through which they will have the capability to receive complaints too. The site is available at http://bici.org.bh and according to the papers this morning, they’ve ensured that its database and administration is independent by hosting the site and its database outside of the country.

This is Good News™. I look forward to reading their report, but much more importantly, I’m looking forward to get those abusers, no matter how high they are, getting their just deserts. I must confess though, that I’m very skeptical of this ever happening as I – as do the rest of the country – know that some very high figures’ heads won’t roll, no matter how nefarious their deeds were through this whole fiasco.

But… let’s wait and see. Let’s give the Commission a chance.

Related: Reuters: Bahrain commission to investigate army, torture claims.

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Toward an equitable resolution

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courtesy of http://www.peacedialogue.am/In Bahrain’s recent history, no other date has been so keenly awaited than the 1st of June 2011, for on that day, the State of National Security ends, and a new era for Bahrain commences. The hope for that day is the return of the military forces to their barracks and the national dialogue resumes.

But, danger is in the offing. If people take it into their heads to confront the regime one more time, if they needlessly attempt to go out and re-occupy the erstwhile Pearl Roundabout, then in all probability they will once again be met with force which might result in loss of life, injury or at best incarceration. The indications from online forums and Facebook pages suggests that some are determined to tread that path, folly as it is. For the sake of Bahrain, I hope cooler minds prevail, and a very much restricted and proportional use of force is employed, if required to restore the peace.

What we need now are cool heads to get together, to listen and try to find ways to resolve the situation, to bring us back from the edge onto a plain on which grievances are aired and ameliorated and long lasting political solutions are sincerely sought and applied.

We do not need more violence. We currently have no need for any further demonstrations and we most certainly don’t need any fatalistic confrontations. Violence – on or by either side – will never resolve the situation, no matter how long that violence lasts.

I believe that the military’s deployment has achieved its objective of attaining enforced calm which should be used as a catalyst for positive change, for enabling the environment for dialogue. Wars have been fought throughout history in which millions perished only for bitter opponents to ultimately sit across a table to find common grounds and resolve their differences.

We should be under no illusion that things will magically get fixed. Nor should we fall into the trap of believing that our differences will be ameliorated in a matter of days, weeks, months or even years. The path ahead is littered with thorns and dead-ends; honest people must put Bahrain above their own personal, political and communal desires and work toward an inclusive and mutually beneficial outcome. Most of the demands are still legitimate and must be addressed for the country to move forward.

Political problems require political solutions; therefore, an honest and inclusive national dialogue is the only way forward. Let’s create the environment for that to succeed.


update [email protected]: related news: Bahrain King offers July reform talks

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Retributions

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What is happening in Bahrain now with the various retributive acts will damage this country a lot more than all the killings and demonstrations it has ever endured throughout its modern history. This must stop, for the sake of the country.

Bahrainis waging war on fellow Bahrainis because of political views is absolutely heinous and shameful.

Enough!

What we have are political problems that can only be solved politically through dialogue and compromise. How many more lives and livelihoods need to be lost before this fact is finally understood by both sides?

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Pyrrhic Victories

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The Pearl has been cleared.

A pseudo-martial law is in effect.

Ten more protestors were killed, along with two security personnel and three expatriate residents as far as I can tell, bringing the total lives lost so far to 23 since Feb 14.

Six opposition figures have been apprehended, five of whom were just released days ago after being incarcerated for some five months.

Fear pervades the atmosphere, turning the country into a virtual ghost town.

Yet, protestors and the opposition parties seem to be as determined as ever to continue with their struggle, and I fear just as I predicted, this is going to be a long term struggle should the real issues not be expeditiously and amicably resolved. The alternative is far too ugly to consider; if people were inconvenienced by the burning of tyres before, they’d better get prepared for a lot more in the future. I doubt if there will be a limit to the acts of violence on both sides as desperate people do resort to desperate means, and wronged people do hold a grudge for generations. Do we really want this country to tread those paths?

I say again that this situation can never be resolved by the use of violence. A purposeful dialog with clear prerequisites, scope and vision conducted through agreed upon representatives is one way forward, but the regime does not need to await the start of these talks. They would do well by emulating Oman to demonstrate their seriousness and sincerity in seeking a long term resolution. Taking this initiative right now is very much mandated, and would have the added advantage of unmistakably sending signals to the world of their intentions and go some way to repair the badly bruised and tattered image of this country.

Demonstrations and protests are legitimate methods to voice demands and ensure that demands reach those in power. Intelligent people can then evaluate them and change, amend or create new policies to address them.

In Oman, much more tepid demonstrations that we have had resulted in a much needed wake-up call; and once that was recognised, the Sultan didn’t wait much to introduce deep reforms to his country, yet, as human nature would have it, they too want even more:

A few days after demonstrations in Sohar surprised everyone, Sultan Qaboos made modest changes, replacing several ministers and undersecretaries, advisers, and Majlis Al Dawla members. Against a wave of protests, and instead of delaying, he dismissed key aides, espoused freedom of speech by tolerating dissent, supported calls for accountability, and agreed to share power.

The sum total of these incredible transformations shook the political establishment even if they reaffirmed the ruler’s bold outlook.

Still, what surprised most was Muscat’s unabashed honesty in tackling what many assumed would never change. The first wave of seven decrees was proclaimed on February 28, addressing various concerns of the business community along with a Supreme Court and an ambassadorial appointment.

On March 1, two decrees set up a Consumer Protection Authority as well as an administratively and financially autonomous Public Prosecution Department.

Two days later, Sultan Qaboos amended the State Audit Institution and expanded its prerogatives and on March 6, named replacements for his long-time ministers of the diwan, royal office, as well as secretary-general of the royal court.

His most dramatic announcements came on March 7, in what one observer referred to as ‘the night of the long Khanjars’, when eight royal decrees restructured the Council of Ministers, appointed a new secretary-general for the Council of Ministers, selected a chairman for the State Audit and Administrative Institution, chose a chairman of the Tender Board, designated an adviser at the Diwan of Royal Court, picked an adviser for the Finance Ministry, assigned two new undersecretaries for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries respectively and, lo and behold, cancelled outright the Ministry of National Economy.

On Sunday, Sultan Qaboos granted legislative and audit powers to the two chambers that make up the Majlis Oman, and promoted a respected military officer as the new inspector general of police and customs.

Acting fast literally meant that the Sultan listened, adapted, and applied many of the demands that were deemed to be in the country’s best interests. Yet, the Sultan’s sweeping shake-ups, which ushered in many new faces in the government along with pay rises as well as promises to help create over 50,000 new civil service posts, failed to satisfy protesters.

Gulf News

Can the demands put forth by the opposition societies be evaluated and enacted in Bahrain as well? Of course they could, and without delay.

The demands of the Bahraini people are quite simple and universal: we need more democracy, guaranteed human rights and freedoms all leading to the opportunity to live with dignity. Do we really need any dialogue to enact these points? Of course not. The King can enact them immediately and the sooner the better. The regime has already unequivocally accepted the need for a more encompassing constitution, so what’s the harm in his majesty immediately declaring steps to initiate the formation of an elected constitutional council to discuss, agree and formulate this new constitution?

Once this critical step is taken, talks about all other matters can start and peace and calmness can truly be restored, and this time, for the long term, rather than the current intractable situation resulted in nothing but Pyrrhic victories.

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Martial law, or low-grade civil war?

My mind is in absolute turmoil. Sitting in Vancouver airport awaiting my interminable flights to get back home, I can’t prevent myself from repeatedly asking: What am I going back to? A country on the prcipesce of civil war where one is marked by the sect he or she was born into. No longer people, but containers of hate the likes of which I have never witnessed, fueled blindly and criminally by so called men of the cloth on one side, and by those who think they have the most to lose.

Regardless, I choose to come back to continue to espouse sanity and tolerance. To continue to try to show people that regardless of their beliefs, status or wealth, our destinies as Bahrainis are intertwined and it behoves us to find equitable ways to live together and ameliorate our differences.

I don’t want to point fingers nor am interested in apportioning further blame. I favor the recognition of the root causes of this strife in order to move on, no matter how painful that exercise may be.

What we need now is to restore calm, work at restoring trust and work together to establish an equitable constitution and system of governance. We need to have a truth and reconciliation commission with powers to bring wrong doers to face their victims and apologize for their crimes in order to turn the page over and start afresh. We need wise and courageous leadership from both sides of the divide to publicly start the process and I hope through these difficult compromises, we shall regain or life, security and stability while guiding the ship of our nation to a better and more tolerant future in which social justice and the respect for human rights rule supreme.

The horrific stories I have heard over the last four weeks, the advent of shameless vigilantes and the seeming complete breakdown of safety and security are worrying, but while I do not support the imposition of martial law completely, I recognize that at this time, it might be a good temporary step to regain control of the situation. I fervently hope; however, that this will not morph into another state security law which will extend decades to the detriment of the people of Bahrain and at the expense of humane rights and freedom of expression. We don’t want to live through that again.

I wish every single Bahraini and resident peace and security. And hope that together we shall get out of this situation much stronger that we ever were before.

[note: in view of the current situation, I shall delete any comment deemed to be sectarian, inciting or promoting hate and shall block its author. This is the time to coallesce together as one to rise above this situation and seek resolution, not fan the flames.]

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شرارة واحدة قد تكفي

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كما بدأت الحرب العظمى برصاصة يتيمة، فالبحرين أيضاً معرضة للإنزلاق في فوضى حقيقية بسبب حادثة غبية واحدة لا معنى لها، فلم تصبح الأرضية لدينا مهيأة لمثل هذا الانزلاق في هاوية الجحيم كما هي مهيئة اليوم.

 

لا أريد أن أنزلق إلى الاسهاب في تفاصيل الحوادث التي افتعلها المتطرفون من الطرفين، فما يدعو للارتياح حتى الآن أن هذهالحوادث لم تجد لها صدى لا في أوساط قوى الأمن التي يجدر الثناء بمن لايزل يمسك بعقالها، و لا في أوساط قوى المعارضة التي أخذت بزمام المبادرة لاحتواء التصعيد و تهدئة المشاعر الفائرة.

 

و لكن إلى متى نستطيع أن نمنع الإنفجار؟

 

على مدى التاريخ لم ينتصر أحد في حرب بالعنف وحده. كل الحروب تنتهي إلى مفاوضات، يجلس فيها مختلف الأطراف على طاولة واحدة ليعالجوا اختلافاتهم المعقدة ويصلوا إلى توافق بدل إزهاق المزيد من الأرواح. و في اعتقادي أن الاتفاقيات التي صمدت لأوقات أطول على مدى التاريخ كانت تلك التي بنيت على توافقات مشتركة، و تم إبرمها بعد تنازلات عملية من قبل كل الأطراف من أجل نزع فتيل العداء المستحكم بينها، و خلق أرضية مشتركة تمهد الطريق للمضي إلى الأمام، لا لإعادة بناء تلك الأمم التي مزقتها الحروب فقط، بل أيضاً لإعادة ترميم الثقة التي حطمتها بشاعة الحرب. إن إنجاز التوافق هو أكثر صعوبة ويتطلب شجاعة أكبر من إطلاق الرصاص أو رمي القنابل على الطرف الآخر مما يحدث أضراراً قد يستغرق اصلاحها أجيالاً قادمة من عمر الأمة.

 

لقد بدأت الجمعيات السياسية في الحديث مع بعضها البعض، وهذه خطوة أولى طيبة. لقد رأينا ممثلي تيار الوحدة الوطنية بقيادة الشيخ عبداللطيف المحمود يجلسون على طاولة واحدة مع ممثلي الجمعيات السبع المعارضة ليناقشوا رؤاهم و تطلعاتهم المختلفة للبلاد. ليس لدي أدنى شك أن كل واحد منهم يحمل هم البحرين ومستقبلها في قلبه، وأنا على يقين أنه بامكانهم التوصل فيما بينهم إلى حل دائم للوضع. و لكن لسوء الحظ، لم يكن بينهم ممثلين عن معتصمي دوار اللؤلوة الذين لابد في رأيي من بذل جهود متضافرة من أجل إشراكهم في عملية الحوار هذه أيضاً، ولا بد لمطالبهم من أن توخذ في الاعتبار وأن تضم إلى أجندة الحوار. و يستحسن أيضاً لو بدأت المعارضة في التفاوض معهم الآن وإسداء النصح لهم بشأن نوعية المطالب وتوقيتها.

 

مع بدء هذا الحوار فإنني أصبحت أكثر تفاؤلاً وزادت ثقتي نسبياً في أن الحل أصبح قريب المنال. لكن ما يمكن أن يأخذ كل هذا منا في لحظة واحدة هو أي تصعيد يسببه تصرف طائش، سواءً أتى على شكل دعوات للتصعيد الطائفي التي يرتكبها بعض من يسمون أنفسهم شيوخ دين، أو تصلب غير مبرر من قبل المتظاهرين.

 

ولابد أن يعي المتظاهرون أن الحرية التي يتمتعون بها الآن في التظاهر و التعبير عن أنفسهم تزيد بالضرورة من حجم المسؤولية الملقاة على عاتقهم أكثر من أي وقت مضى، فأي عنف قد يصدر حتى لو من فرد واحد منهم سيؤدي إلى تدمير مصداقيتهم و يشوه مطالبهم. فآخر ما نريده هو أن تستمر بلا داع تعطيل حركة المرور كما حدث في المرفأ المالي أمس، أو أن يهاجم أجانب أو مواطنين آخرين قد يجدون أنفسهم وسط المتظاهرين بالصدفة أو عمداً، إو أن يتم إتلاف الممتلكات العامة أو السيارات. كما أن تصعيداً أخطر سيتمثل في السعي وراء مواجهات مؤكدة عبر التظاهر أمام الديوان الملكي أو في مواقع حساسة أخرى، و مثل هذه الخطوة غير ضرورية وعواقبها غير محسوبة، فليس من العقل أن يستنفذ المتظاهرون كل أوراقهم بدون انتظار التوقيت المناسب. ما يحتاجونه الآن هو التركيز على مطالبهم الأساسية، وهي مطالب جوهرية تحتاجها البلاد، مع عدم نسيان أنهم ليسوا وحدهم في هذا الوطن، فهناك آخرون لديهم مطالبهم الشرعية هم أيضاً و لديهم مخاوفهم التي لابد من الالتفات إليها و التعامل معها.

 

إن نصيحتي المتواضعة لكل البحرينيين أخوتي في الوطن و لكل الذين يتعاطفون معنا كبحرينيين أن يعملوا جاهداً على عدم تحويل أصدقاء الأمس إلى أعداء اليوم. لا نريد أن نفقد أصدقاءنا الآن بل نريد الحفاظ عليهم ونعتز بهم. صحيح أنهم قد يختلفون معنا كلياً في النظر إلى الأمور و لكن أليس الاختلاف هو ما يعطي للحياة نكهتها؟ أرجو أن نتعلم فن الحوار وأن نتذكر أن أعلى الأصوات ليست دائماً هي الأحق، و لكن الأحق هي تلك الأصوات التي يدعمها المنطق و العقل. حتى لو لم نتمكن من التوصل إلى إتفاق فيما بيننا، فلا بد لنا أن نقبل على الأقل بأن نكون مختلفين، و أن نحترم حق كل منا في الاختلاف. إذا كان كنت عصياً على التراجع عن رأيك، فتعلم على الأقل أن تقبل الاختلاف، و ضع الأسئلة التالية في مخيلتك دائماً: ما هو الأفضل للبحرين و لمستقبلها؟ ما هي تلك البحرين التي أريد لأبنائي ولأبناء أبنائي أن يرثوها؟

 

سنكون هنا معاً عندما تنتهي كل هذه الأحداث بغض النظر عن النتيجة التي ستنتهي إليها. سنحتاج أن نعيد بناء بحرين تتسع للجميع، ومن أجل هذا نحتاج إلى أصدقاء وليس إلى تجميع أعداء لم يستعدهم علينا إلا تصريحات غير مسؤولة أو أفعال متهورة.

 

لدي حلم.

 

وحلمي أن يعم العدل الإجتماعي على هذه الأرض، و أن يعيش كل مواطن ومقيم فيها بكرامة، و أن تحترم فيها حقوق الإنسان، و أن يسود فيها التعايش السلمي بين الجميع.

 

Ùˆ أخيراً، وبغض النظر عن المصير الذي ستأخذنا إليه هذه الأحداث، فإنني أريد أن أقول لكل البحرينيين أنني أحبكم – أخوتي في الوطن – فرداً فرداً.

 

محمود اليوسف
ترجمة: محمد المبارك
القال الأصلي على الرابط التالي: http://wp.me/p4tgu-1TG

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All it takes, is a spark.

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Like the Great War which started with a single bullet, Bahrain too can descend into real chaos by just a single, stupid, miscalculated, and unwarranted incident. The ground has never been as fertile as it is today to transform a spark into an inferno.

Let’s not dwell on the various incidents sponsored by extremists on both sides. Thankfully they have not yet found their resonance due mostly to the new and very laudable patience and understanding exhibited through the curtailed security forces, and the many opposition parties who have behaved in an exemplary and proactive fashion to contain further escalation and ameliorate inflammable passions.

But can the situation continue in such a manner for much longer?

None of the wars fought in history got resolved purely through violence. All ended through negotiations by sitting across tables on which highly complex issues were discussed and agreements reached; thus, saving countless lives in the process. I suspect that the treaties which endured were always a mutually acceptable and practical compromises in which the conditions for ending the hostilities were clearly defined, established common grounds and plotted the way forward to rebuilt not only the nation, but the shattered trust through atrocious acts of war. This is a much more difficult and courageous act than firing a gun or dropping a bomb, and this, unfortunately takes generations to repair.

The political societies have started talking with each other now. This is an excellent first step. We see that the leaders of the Unity Movement represented by Shaikh Abdullatif Almahmood and the seven core opposition parties sat across from each other for three hours yesterday to set up their vision and aspirations for the country. There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that every single person sitting at that table had the best interest of Bahrain at heart, and I know that through them a lasting solution to the situation shall be found. Unfortunately, those at the Pearl Roundabout were missing from that meeting and a concerted effort must be mounted soon in order to engage them in the process too. Their demands must be considered and integrated into the agenda. If the opposition now starts negotiating with them to advise them of the efficacy of their demands and timings, that would be even better.

With this development, I am more optimistic and am relatively confident that a resolution is within grasp. What can push that condition away; however, is any escalation in irresponsible behaviour, be that calls for more sectarian strife and differentiation perpetrated by so called religious leaders, or the intransigence of the protestors.

The protestors specifically must also realise that with the great freedom they are currently enjoying in expressing themselves and their freedom to assemble at will, their responsibilities by definition are now greater than ever. They must realise that any violence perpetrated by any single person within them now has the power to damage their credibility and that of their demands.

The last thing we need from them is to continue to unnecessarily block the movement of traffic, as they have at the Financial Harbour yesterday, or attack foreigners and locals who find themselves caught up in their midst by design or accident, or vandalise property and cars.

A more dangerous escalation would be to actively seek guaranteed confrontation, be that protesting in front of the Royal Court or any of the other sensitive vicinities. That’s an act that is unneeded and unwarranted at this particular time. It is foolish to expend all the good cards in their possession with complete disregard to timing. They need to continuously keep the plain objectives in their minds, which are the intrinsic reforms needed in this country while also remembering that they are not alone here. There are others who have just as legitimate demands and fears which must be addressed.

My humble advice to my fellow Bahrainis and our many sympathisers is to tirelessly work at not converting erstwhile friends to enemies. Don’t lose friends now, but cherish them. Their views might be completely divergent from your own, true, but this is the spice of life. Learn the art of dialogue and remember – please – that it’s not the loudest voice that is always right, but that which is backed by logic and reason. Even if an agreement cannot be reached, let us at least accept differing views, or at minimum respect their right to have them. If the opinion is intractable, learn to agree to disagree, but keep this question always at the forefront of your mind: What’s better for Bahrain and its future? What kind of Bahrain would I want my children and their children to inherit?

We will need to live with each other after all of this is over, regardless of the outcome. We need to rebuild a better and more encompassing Bahrain for all. For that, we will need friends much more than the a collection of enemies who were created because of an ill-judged comment or an impatient act.

I have a dream.

My dream is one where social justice pervades this land, where every single person lives with dignity, where there is respect for human rights and where peaceful coexistence is the norm.

Regardless of where fate might take us, I love you, my fellow Bahraini.

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Why no dialogue? The opposition’s answer

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The political societies released a statement this afternoon explaining their position regarding the national dialogue called for by the Crown Prince almost two weeks ago.

Here are their reasons, and my translation (errors in translation are mine alone and done in good faith):

Press Conference of the Assemblies of political opposition societies on the reasons for its call to overthrow the government

The seven opposition political societies invites you to join the Bahraini masses to attend the grand march on Friday, March 4, 2011, entitled “Down with the government.” The association believes the opposition to the current government to depart, for the following reasons:

1. The need for a transitional government of officers with integrity whose hands have not been contaminated with the blood of martyrs to pave the way for the transition to real reform.

2. The professional and ethical responsibility of the Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman for the government’s mistakes and excesses and failures and violations of the law for over 40 years.

3. Repeated and serious human rights violations since the seventies and which led to the deaths of dozens of martyrs shot dead by security forces or who died in the dungeons of torture and the wounding and arresting of thousands of protesters since the seventies of the last century.

4. The responsibility of the Ministers of Interior and Defense for the killings which occurred since February 14, 2011 and that led to the fall of seven martyrs and resulted in hundreds of wounded, and the responsibility of the Head of the National Security Service for the resurgence of torture over the last few years.

5. The government’s failure to achieve a minimum of decent living for citizens, despite the huge oil money flowing by the height of more than 5 times in ten years.

6. The government’s failure to solve the housing problem, leading to the exacerbation of the number of people on the waiting list within ten years from 32 to 54 thousand.

7. Senior government officials enriching themselves at the expense of the people through commissions on tenders and the seizure of State lands and seas.

8. The Finance Minister’s obfuscating the government’s expenditure figures in order to fund the expenses of the Royal Court and the Royal Family Council as well as hiding information on the fate of budget surpluses.

9. The government’s contribution to the destruction of the social fabric through political naturalization and its effects on economic and social issues, where the political naturalization of nearly sixty thousand between 2001 and 2007, notwithstanding the political naturalization which occurred both before and after that period.

10. The control of half of the cabinet seats by one family, especially the sovereign portfolios of defense, interior and foreign affairs in addition to the post of prime minister and his two deputies.

11. Its contribution to the discrimination between citizens and the increase of sectarianism and the exclusion of competent national talent and strengthening the system of tribal and royal family privileges during recruitment and promotions in the different branches of government.

المؤتمر الصحفي للجمعيات السياسية المعارضة حول أسباب دعوتها إسقاط الحكومة

دعت الجمعيات السياسية السبع المعارضة الجماهير البحرينية لحضور المسيرة الكبرى عصر الجمعة 4 مارس 2011 بعنوان “فلتسقط الحكومة”. وترى الجمعيات المعارضة أن على الحكومة الحالية أن ترحل، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

١. الحاجة لحكومة انتقالية من أصحاب الكفاءة والنزاهة ممن لم تتلوث أياديهم بدماء الشهداء لتمهد للانتقال لمرحلة إصلاح حقيقي.

٢. المسؤولية المهنية والأخلاقية لرئيس الحكومة الشيخ خليفة بن سلمان عن أخطاء الحكومة وتجاوزاتها وإخفاقاتها وانتهاكاتها وخروجها عن القانون على مدى 40 عاما.

٣. الانتهاكات المتكررة والخطيرة لحقوق الإنسان منذ السبعينيات والتي أدت إلى سقوط عشرات الشهداء برصاص قوات الأمن أو في أقبية التعذيب وإصابة واعتقال آلاف المحتجين منذ سبعينيات القرن الماضي.

٤. مسؤولية وزيري الداخلية والدفاع عن أعمال القتل التي وقعت منذ 14 فبراير 2011 وأدت إلى سقوط 7 شهداء ومئات الجرحى، ومسؤولية رئيس جهاز الأمن الوطني عن انبعاث التعذيب من جديد خلال السنوات الماضية.

٥. إخفاق الحكومة في تحقيق حد أدنى من العيش الكريم للمواطنين رغم أموال النفط الضخمة المتدفقة جراء ارتفاعه أكثر من 5 مرات خلال عشر سنوات.

٦. أخفاق الحكومة في حل مشكلة الإسكان، بل وتفاقمها حيث ارتفع عدد المواطنين في قائمة الانتظار خلال عشر سنوات من 32 لفا إلى 54 ألفا.

٧. قيام كبار المسؤولين في الحكومة بالإثراء على حساب الشعب من خلال عمولات المناقصات والاستيلاء عل أراضي الدولة وبحارها.

٨. إخفاء وزير المالية والحكومة أرقام المصروفات السرية التي تذهب لتمويل نفقات الديوان الملكي ومجلس العائلة الحاكمة وغيرها وإخفائهم معلومات حول مصير فوائض الميزانية.

٩. إسهام الحكومة في تخريب النسيج الاجتماعي من خلال عمليات التجنيس السياسي الواسعة ذات الآثار الاقتصادية والاجتماعية المدمرة حيث قامت بتجنيس ما يقارب 60 ألفا في الفترة ما بين 2001 و 2007 عدا التجنيس السياسي الذي تم قبل وبعد هذه الفترة.

١٠. سيطرة عائلة واحدة على نصف مقاعد الحكومة، خاصة الحقائب السيادية من دفاع وداخلية وخارجية إضافة لمنصب رئيس الوزراء واثنين من نوابه.

١١. مساهمتها في التمييز بين المواطنين وإذكاء الطائفية وإقصاء الكفاءات الوطنية وتعزيز نظام الامتيازات القبلية والعائلية من خلال عمليات التعيين والترقي في أجهزة الحكومة المختلفة.

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Is there any better time than this to talk?

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I honestly don’t think so. The invitation to dialogue is about two weeks old and all what we’ve had so far – at least as far as I can see – are unilateral monologues fueled by wild speculation and rumours. The opposition seems to be biding its time in order to extract more concessions, while a sizable percentage of people in Bahrain are getting battle weary and tired of just waiting. And everyone is asking a simple question: When?

When is a good time to engage in dialogue?

Men stand atop a car at the Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain with a flag that says "PEACE" in Arabic and English
The regime has put forth its hand and has removed all barriers to enter into that dialogue. And it has asserted time and again that there no longer are any red lines and any and all subjects can and shall be discussed. I have not heard of any pre-conditions on the part of the regime to engage in such dialog. Yet, none of the opposition groups seem to be motivated enough to take up that engagement offer and put forth their demands at the table of national dialogue.

The opposition needs to seize this opportunity and not delay any further. The whole world’s eyes are on Bahrain at the moment; however, it will not continue to be so as there are other events taking place which are much larger and probably more important on the world stage, those might force those eyes to veer away from us very soon. We’re still currently in the spot-light which affords the opposition specifically excellent international backing against the regime, thus strengthening their back and giving them a huge advantage. It is therefore the opposition’s responsibility not to let Bahrain down and take up the opportunity by the horn and at least start the dialogue and put the people’s demands forward. Throw everything including the kitchen sink at the table, but at least start talking!

To delay, is inviting a very dangerous double edge-sword into play. Frustrations on both sides will escalate which might lead to very unfortunately instances in both camps, and God forbid that hot-heads taking it into their minds that they will do the Lord’s bidding by attacking the other side, or egg them into an unfortunate situation will drag this country backward even further, regardless of who perpetrates those acts.

Talk. I encourage both parties to talk. The opposition might want to continue to encourage the street to continue in their peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins. Those – no matter how ugly or uncouth one might think they are – are legitimate and legal methods to show grievances by which political pressure is sustained on the regime. The regime themselves aren’t naive to this tool, and as we’ve all witnessed, they made effective use of the support it too enjoys.

It’s been exactly two weeks since #feb14. Seven people gave their life in order for the rest of Bahrain to have the possibility of a better one. We owe it to them to find an expeditious resolution to this problem. Just waiting won’t do. Start the talks. Regardless of how long they might take, at least start now in order to initiate the long and difficult healing process which is much needed for this country.

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