Tag Archives human-rights

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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Women have a right to pray in the Grand Mosque

And any other mosque for that matter and the right to lead prayers as far as I am concerned.

So here’s another petition that is looking for your support, especially if you are Muslim as this will affect your wife, your mother, your sisters and daughters if you do not take action now.

Grand Mosque Equal Access for Women petition

Update 060914: The petition has now been closed by the author, I suspect as a ruling has now been issued by the authorities that they will not close off the area in question for women worshipers.

Thanks to Tariq and Publia for the heads up.

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Is our culture so weak?

New Bahraini National Flag UnveiledWhat possible service does blocking access to information, any type of information, do to a community? The only effect that these restrictions can bring to is the a continued regression into an information black hole which ultimately leads to the regression of a whole nation in its development and competitive chances in a very fast changing world.

Some would say that certain kind of information must be censored due to the community sensibilities; however, I contend that if the only way to defend those sensibilities is by banning access to competing views, then those sensibilities are by definition too weak to withstand the challenge and should be discarded. Hence, the recent decision by the Ministry of Information to block some sites it purports contain material “alien to our culture” – which has become its trademarked cry for imposing its ill-conceived Big Brotherly restrictions – then the question is: is our culture and moral fiber so weak that they cannot withstand the challenge posed by these websites and the ideas contained within them?

If the Ministry claims that a site has been blocked because it contains irreligious material, is our great religion that weak that it cannot withstand questions and doubts? Questions which some might perceive as genuine, and by seeking their answer one might grow closer to the Creator? What if that question, in a person’s own mind at the very worst case renders an answer opposite to the desired effect and the person forsakes Allah’s embrace, who are we – mere mortals – to judge that character? Isn’t judgment is the sole domain of Allah and it is up to him to decide what he wants to do with that person? That responsibility most certainly does not fall on the Ministry of Information’s shoulders.

Then who outsourced the task of adjudicating what is right and what is wrong to the Ministry of Information? I most certainly have not and I have a God given right to decide for myself what I deem to be right or wrong. It is I who shall be challenged on the Day of Judgment. No one else is going to take my place then.

We now come to the current fiasco of the Ministry of Information deciding to act once again to block access to information; this time it is Google Earth, a free global service of geographic and satellite imaging information that anyone in the world today is familiar with, wether by direct interaction through its supplied application, or by watching various television stations using that very service in order to lend credence to their news reports by showing their viewers the locations they are reporting about.

There is even a big community of users of Google Earth who have documented every attack, every bomb and almost every fatality in Lebanon and Israel, yet, the Ministry of Information deems this service unnecessary and should be restricted.

One would question the rationale behind such a decision. I myself cannot find a reason other than the Ministry wanting us Bahrainis to collectively put and keep our heads in the sand and be unknowledgeable about our country, a country which is constituted of some 33 islands and the vast majority of its citizens do not know more than 5 or 6 island names, let alone their locations. They maybe do not want us to see how the sea has been blocked from access? Or maybe marvel at the architectural and landscaping splendour of some houses and islands? Or not follow up on our investments in mega projects like Amwaj, Durrat Al-Bahrain and others and just believe the developers when they say that the islands are 99% completed than what the satellite pictures show?

I concede that some of these images are dated, and I also agree that some military sensitive areas have been obliterated (see various areas in Israel for example and the United States and possibly others) but they do show at least something that we can refer to in our geographic interest. If Google did block sensitive areas in other countries, isn’t it the Ministry of Information’s responsibility to actually find the mechanism to get Google to block some sensitive areas in Bahrain too, rather than opt for the cheapest shot and banning us, everyone in Bahrain, from seeing our own country from space?

I am completely opposed to the restriction of access to information, any information, and I demand to be treated as an adult who knows what is right and wrong by myself without having to seek permission from anyone, especially a government agency which has time and again demonstrated its complete disconnect with the very essence of its mandate. Nor do I need any false protection that this Ministry offers. I have my upbringing and my religious and ethical beliefs to thank for my moral guide, rather than having the Ministry’s skewed moral interpretations be imposed on me which I should regard as better than mine.

It is high time that this Ministry is dissolved just as other countries in the region have done. In this day and age, the only thing that this kind of government agency provides is blatant and exposed propaganda, thanks to the various free media outlets available all around us, and not just through the Internet.

By using Google Earth I came to know more about my beloved country than the Ministry has provided throughout its existence. Google Earth helped me become even more patriotic to these islands, than the Ministry has caused any citizen to be by spending untold amounts of badly needed money which could have been employed in various avenues to better the lives of the good residents of this country.

Remove blocks to information. Let us be the judge of what is good and bad. The only damage these blocks do is to ourselves and the development of this country.

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Wafa Sultan

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Thanks Doug, I’ve been looking for this video for a while now. Nothing makes me happier than seeing that brainless demagogue Ibrahim Al-Khouli being put in his place!

However, much more important than that is that the calls for the reform of Islam has been increasing substantially over the last few decades and it should be done. The version of Islam being bandied about today depends on nothing but “showing off” how one person is “more Muslim” than the other, rather than treating a great religion as an individually spiritual experience; a connection between one and his or her god, rather than a tool to spread abhorrent ideologies represented by severing heads and blowing up everything that does not fall within the envelope of the intellect of a “true believer.”

Islam should not be an exclusive religion, certainly not one exclusively interpreted by a single uber-group and whoever does not agree with them is relegated to the spheres of kufr and apostasy.

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TERRORISM, definition of

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Let’s see… the UN says that terrorism is defined as:

criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them”. (GA Res. 51/210 Measures to eliminate international terrorism)

and says that the academic definition is:

“Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought” (Schmid, 1988).

UN ODC

While the CIA defines it as:

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
CIA Terrorism FAQ

And terrorism according to ONE Muslim source, is:

If we consider the meaning of the word “terrorism” on the one hand, and its fallout and traces left on human life on the other, we note that terrorism may be carried out on different levels. There is a terrorism which threatens security, honour, property and the like; there is a cultural terrorism which tears human identity apart, and leads to the abyss of perdition and aimlessness; there is an information terrorism which deprives man of his freedom to breathe in an unpolluted atmosphere. We can cite other types of terrorism such as economic terrorism, scientific terrorism, diplomatic terrorism, military terrorism, etc.

BUT (yes, there is always a but):

There exists, however, a division based on the type of perpetrators, which must be taken into account. It is the division into official and unofficial terrorism. Official terrorism – which is the more dangerous – consists of all acts that are supported by an internationally recognized quarter or State, whether by the army of that State or individual elements or in the form of an operation for the benefit of the said quarter. Opposing this type of terrorism is unofficial terrorism.
Fifth Islamic Summit

In Wikipedia, it’s defined as:

Terrorism refers to a strategy of using violence, or threat of violence to generate fear, cause disruption, and ultimately, to bring about compliance with specific political, religious, ideological, or personal demands[1]. The targets of terrorist attacks typically are not the individuals who are killed, injured, or taken hostage, but rather the societies to which these individuals belong. Terrorism is a type of unconventional warfare designed to weaken or supplant existing political landscapes through capitulation or acquiescence, as opposed to subversion or direct military action. The broader influence of terrorism in the modern world is often attributed to the dramatic focus of mass media in amplifying feelings of intense fear and anger.
Wikipedia

See how disparate these definitions are? Is it any wonder that our own parliamentarians, bless their effervescent souls, should find it quite difficult to agree what it should be defined as? Well, in that case, as is usual to that malleable body, they lump everything together – like taking a pot-shot with a cannon at a tied and trussed bird – and call it intelligent:

According to the law, people who deal with foreign terrorist organisations receive a life sentence and if they carry out operations with their backing get the death penalty.

MPs also disagreed on the government’s definition of terrorism, which stipulates that anyone who uses violence or threatens others, whatever the reason or objective, to execute an act, whether alone or for a group, to terrorise people, or scare them, is considered a terrorist.

It also says that any threat to people’s lives, property, freedom, rights or security, or damage to the environment, public or private utilities or national resources and international facilities, is considered as a terrorist act.

The definition of a terrorist act also includes threats to regional stability and safety or the countries’ leaderships and politicians.

Some MPs are calling for the adoption of the definition of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to Combat International Terrorism, which was used in the money laundering law passed by parliament.

The definition specifically exclude armed struggle for liberation and self-determination.

Others believe that the foreign affairs, defence and national security committee, which studied the proposed law, did not cover all terrorist activities in its amendments.

Meanwhile, Al Wefaq National Islamic Society expressed its concern that the law was being pushed by the government.
GDN :: 12 July, ’06

Which, naturally, by utilising this froufrou definition includes anyone who farts in my presence, let alone someone who vociferously advocates sending the Bahrain Defence Forces to jihad to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters against a country which we accepted to have the right to exist!

And this hurts: that last call was done by someone whom I have heretofore regarded as a “good” force in parliament, and one whom I had held in high regard. What’s this brain fart then? It must have been released whilst thinking of re-election, at least I hope that is the case.

No matter. The essence is, if the Bahrain government definition is actually taken to be true and laws are based on that definition, then with my writings, and that of everyone else on the island, we are died in the wool terrorists and don’t be surprised too much if we are summarily executed while our brain-dead MPs stuff their faces with crisps while giving aiming instructions to our executioners!

The Bahrain parliament is capable of defining terrorism, while they still can’t decide whether to install “efrenji” or eastern “hole-in-the-ground” toilets in parliament! Hah!

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Learning to keep mouths shut is difficult!

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pictures of morons on the looseIf these guys had half a brain cell between them they would be even more dangerous than they actually are. Have a look at these snippets, you might want to read it in full in today’s GDN for a bellyful of laughter!

The story is that a restaurant’s female employees claimed to have been locked up and used as sex slaves for quite a while, then yesterday they simply disappeared and dropped their case against their erstwhile employers. The employers in turn – to defend their honour – held a press conference yesterday to “clear things up”, here’s what the manager had to say:

“We were treating the three women very well and tried to keep them happy at all times,” said Mr Kumar, who is also Indian.

“All their allegations are completely baseless and we strongly believe that they staged the whole drama to be given ‘freedom’.

Ok.. notice how the word freedom is put between quote marks. That’s like saying “pah! freedom, hah!” flippantly. The guy obviously doesn’t believe in it.

“The women started building personal relationships with our male customers, which if we did not put a stop to would ruin our business.”

Come again? How the hell does that compute? Wouldn’t a happy employee be more productive? Isn’t creating relationships a right rather than a privilege? Who put this dickhead as a moral guardian on these women? But there’s more…

Mr Kumar said the women were locked in their flat and allowed out only under supervision to keep them safe and out of trouble.

Ah, I understand now. Saving them from themselves, the poor children. Children? How old are these ladies anyway?

Sai Chandrababu, 24, Biji Chacko, 25, and Jalaja Nair, 35

Quite right, they’re not old enough to know any better.

He said new recruits being brought in to replace them would live under the same rule.

And he’s quite sure that the Ministry of Labour are going to issue them new licenses to recruit more slaves? I sure hope not. But then… it’s the Misery of Labour, so what could be any different. The gourmet restauranteur will surely get his visas. Tourism you know.

But the guy is quite humane actually, full of good tidings and cares deeply about his employees:

“They are allowed to go out shopping or for simply leisure, but only if they are escorted by our female supervisor, who stays with them,” said Mr Kumar.

“Only she is allowed to keep the key to their apartment and the three women could not leave unless accompanied.

Of course.. saving them from themselves again.

“We were doing this to prevent the women going out with our customers, because if they were caught somewhere in a compromising or morally unacceptable situation, the authorities would come searching for me first, as I am responsible for them.

Ah, now we get it. That’s called “preventative maintenance”, or covering his ass.

“We would not term it ‘locking up’, but simply security or precaution and the supervisor will be the only one with the key.”

Here’s your definition of the day. It’s NOT called “locking up” you stupid doofuses!

“The women were always given the best food and they wouldn’t eat unless they were served meat,” he said.

Get yourselves OFF the floor, quit your laughing and pay attention dammit! HE SERVES THEM GOOD MEAT! What else does he have to to? Provide them with bloody hot showers in winter? What the hell have YOU been smoking? Remember the guy is quite humane.

Ok, I’ve had it now, I need to know who is to blame really for all of this, and I need to know it now, because Mr. Kumar of course cannot be blamed for anything. He is a responsible human being, and excellent manager who Bill Gates continuously consults with on how to run Microsoft, and it was Mr. Kumar who convinced Warren Buffet to donate most of his fortune for the Gates Foundation. Without Mr. Kumar, the whole world will collapse. Fortunately for us, he also consults with our parliamentary chairman Mr. Al-Dhahrani who heeds his advice to the letter. Mr. Gates is stupid for firing Mr. Kumar and not believing in him. See what has befallen him? He will definitely be fired by June 2008 – purportedly just to take care of the charity organisation he fronts with his wife… but that is just a face saving thing.

Anyway, who is to blame?

Mr Kumar said the women made the allegations out of spite, after being put up to it by their customers.

AH! I knew it! The very people who keep Mr. Kumar in business are to blame! Brilliant, brilliant! But why?

“We know for sure that it is our customers who provoked them to protest, so that they could take them out and also they were annoyed at me for not letting them do so,” he said.

Sex. What can I say. Has driven them mad! And they are rightly angry at the defender of honour for not letting them get some. There must be more to it though… isn’t there?

“Many customers were also not happy with us because we wouldn’t let them drink liquor unless they also ate from our restaurant.”

Is there not end to Mr. Kumar’s righteousness? He does NOT allow anyone to drink alcohol “unless they also ate from our restaurant” Quite right too. For any licensed restaurant. What’s the betting that they’re not licensed to serve alcohol?

Okay, it’s over now.. the women have left and they must have been taken to the airport in police vans, they are criminals aren’t they? Perjury and all that good stuff?

Mr Kumar said that on the night the women left, the airport was crowded with admirers who went to see them off and were showering them money and gifts.

“I even saw a man giving one of the women a gold ring,” he said.

Admirers? What? Film stars-like admirers? Crowds? No way.. Mr. Kumar you should have demanded and apology from these twits.

“Before leaving, the women even apologised to us for causing so much trouble, but now the damage is done.

Incredulous.

But where is the restaurant owner then in all of this? Does he have nothing to say?

Mr Hassan said he would be taking legal action against the women.

“We will be filing a case against the women for ruining our name and creating a bad reputation for our restaurant and we need compensation for this,” he said.

“Their withdrawal of the case proves that they were guilty of accusing us for the wrong things and that they would never win the case.

“Two of the women borrowed BD700 each from me for sending to her family and nothing has been repaid, so I have written it off as bad debt.”

These people are all so nice. I wish I could get a job with them, in fact I think I should apply for a position immediately. Being taken care of morally, chaperoned, given money in loans which get written off, and fed MEAT! What else should I ever want in life? Nothing. After their treatment absolutely nothing..

I actually want to give the women a call right now to learn more about how excellent my future bosses Mr. Kumar whom I shall adore and build a shrine to in my house, Mr. Hassan who will write off my generous loans from him, and of course the excellent supervisor who is the only one who needs to have a key and who will always be around to unlock the door in case of a fire or any other disaster, Ms. Shakeela Bhanu.

I wonder if the poor things have any sex slaves waitresses to help them out in this hour of need now?

Two of the women came to Bahrain to work at the restaurant eight months ago and one of them had been there for almost two years.

Ah that’s good. At least their maths skills are good. I’m not sure if the above is attributed to the reporter of this story or Mr. Kumar, but it fits very well into Mr. Kumar’s half brain-cell he didn’t fry so far.

So my friends, based on just this article and its demonstration of the superior intellect the management have been gifted by their creator, I wonder how long it would take our public prosecutor to come up with the real goods. Especially as Mr. Kumar and Co. have done an excellent job of implicating themselves so completely!

What utter morons.

And of course if the Misery of Labour actually issues them with more visas, then they would have demonstrated once again their superfluousity.

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Irrepressible

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Here’s a pledge that I would – and have – taken quite readily:

I believe the Internet should be a force for political freedom, not repression. People have the right to seek and receive information and to express their peaceful beliefs online without fear or interference.

I call on governments to stop the unwarranted restriction of freedom of expression on the Internet – and on companies to stop helping them do it.

Irrepressible.Info

Sounds good? Of course it does.
Sounds fair? Of course it does.

Today Amnesty International and The Observer collaborated again and launched another initiative that would ensure respect for and upholds the freedoms of speech in the digital age. They’re asking us to do something very simple, just abide by the pledge represented above.

If you would like to lend your support, before you head over to Irrepressible.Info, think deeply within yourself how YOU could uphold this right and help everyone in the digital domain to speak their minds without the fear of persecution, vilification, imprisonment and other state sponsored terrorism against the individual’s right to express him or herself.

For instance, the Ministry of Information in Bahrain has still NOT rescinded the requirement to register websites, even though the penalties in that administrative order are not applied now, doesn’t mean – in the continued presence of that order – that it won’t be applied at any time or against any webmaster or owner in the future. One wishes of course that the Ministry of Information would unequivocally come out and say that this order is not longer valid and has been cancelled…

Of course we shouldn’t also forget that despicable Press Law 47 (arabic) which every journalist is living under…

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Reminder: Batelco Broadband Open Discussion TONIGHT.

I would like to remind you all of the event tonight in which the BIS and Batelco leadership will discuss the new Batelco offerings in broadband which we object to.

It is important that you are present, please. The more there are the more we will demonstrate to the powers that be that we are serious about our consumer rights. We have to make our voice heard, but in a civilised manner.

So let me beseech you all to please respect the occasion, do not go into personal attacks, do not get too emotional, and be very subjective and be on time! I am sorry if I sound condescending here, I do not intend it and I do not presume that I speak with your voice collectively. I would be honoured to of course.

Above all please remember that courtesy is contagious! We are going to be present at the meeting tonight to show everyone that we care, not for selfish reasons only but for the good of the country.

If I may suggest, it would be a good idea to coordinate our efforts so a quick meeting would be a good idea. I know all the points have already been raised amply in this site as well as the two main boycotting sites: boycottbatelco.com and batelco.info, I shall spend some time summarising them and shall print out leaflets with the summaries to be distributed at the event tonight. I need your help and your support. If you wish to raise points tonight at the discussion and you are more than welcome and highly encouraged to, please call me on xxxxemail me so that we can arrange a meeting at my office at 4PM this afternoon before we go to the Open Discussion. To be effective, we must coordinate our efforts, acting singly will not achieve much.

Please be there: The Crowne Plaza Conference Centre at 7PM.

update 10 Jun, ’06: please don’t call me in this regard but feel free to email me. I did not public my phone number for anything BUT the meeting mentioned in this article. Thank you.

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Heh… Bahrain, Saudi elected to UN Human Rights body!

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Bahrain, I can barely understand. We’re on the cusp of change which could go either way. We’ve had some strides with reparation and held international rapprochement conferences here, as well as those for transitional justice, so at least we’re going through the motions, hence our election into the Human Rights body of the United Nations is barely understandable…

But what the hell is the rationale of electing Saudi in there? Can someone please enlighten me, as I’m at a complete loss as to why the UN/international community consciously want to destroy what is left of the UN’s reputation in the word?

So is Saudi now going to allow some religious freedoms in the kingdom? And I’m talking about Muslim sects being able to perform their rights, let alone allowing Christians, Jews and Hindus have their own places of worship!

I wonder what the Relgious Policeman going to do with this one, it should be fun! 🙂

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