My friend Lucien Koch gave us a quick physical and informational tour of the German Parliament’s buildings in Berlin.
The GDN this morning carried a piece stating that 8 women will be contesting the parliamentary and municipal elections in Bahrain in 2010. I hope they all get in. I’m convinced that they will do a much better job than the current crop of MPs and councillors whose vision, for the most part, is to turn this country into another Afghanistan, Iran or another flavour of religious/sectarian extremism.
The question is, though, will my compatriots who chose these bozos actually change their minds now and select their representative based on criteria other than chauvinism and sectarianism?
I’m not too sure, people who elect to have someone like Saidi not only represent them, but allow him to actually dictate the country’s agenda – Yemen is only one example – will probably require a generational change to get them to alter their behaviour, precepts and allay their unreasonable fears.
However, being an eternal optimist, I am glad that a woman is contesting that seat. Ms. Amal Shereeda, according bahrain2010.com is a retired banker with 25 years of experience in banking and business management and apparently supported by the Supreme Council for Women. For parliament, she might be the ideal person to replace 8 years of sectarian under-dealing and the spread of hatred and strife throughout the community. We are much more in need of professionals to run for parliament and get engaged in actively helping our country progress, rather than someone who wears political religiosity as a vehicle for self aggrandisement and practical sedition.
I am just as glad that another lady is contesting the seat of Khalifa Al-Dhahrani the two-timer. Presided over parliament for two terms is frankly long enough. I think it’s time for him to also start walking, and it would be a sweet thing if Lateefa Al-Bunoatha – the manager of planning and projects in the Ministry of Education – helps him on his merry way.
Will all this be a pipe dream? Will the powers that be create seats in outlying islands to ensure that women are adequately represented in parliament? I don’t know. What I do know; however, is that there is a dire need for change in this country. People more than ever are pessimistic, and while that pessimism cannot exclusively be attributed to the parliament, their shenanigans certainly aid and abet that destructive feeling.
Yalla. It’s time for change. And change is in our hands!
MP Al-Saidi says he notices double standards in Britain’s foreign policy towards the Kingdom of Bahrain and its people. He pointed out: “At a time when the British Government says it is eager to reinforce the relations between Manama and London, we notice that it disregards the fact that those with whom it meets violate the law and the ancient Arab norms.”
Al-Saidi criticized the easy way in which London-based Bahraini political figures are granted British nationality, the right to political asylum, and financial aid.
Alsharq Alawsat 4 Aug 08
I really don’t know how this guy finds the time to mount his own chosen crusades which appear to be one a day and all of which have the veneer or propriety but all one has to do is scratch the surface to smell the stench of a conspiratorial mind filled with sectarian hatred.
In this case, the pretentious being trounces on yet another human right, that of freedom of expression, simply to continue to mount his personal vendetta against all those who dare to oppose his alternate reality. It is not strange at all then to reading this additional worthless issuance of his in yet another exposed attempt at further ingratiating himself to those who must regard him as nothing more than a useful fool.
Rock on “shaikh”. You are proof positive that a fool at 40 is a fool for ever.
There are a few things that suggest that our society is in a desperate state. The indicators are probably best exemplified by the exclusionary standards our parliamentarians and their electorate take. Both are quick to condemn whole peoples, nations and even civilizations due to isolated incidents without taking one second to reflect on our own shortcomings and our non-exclusive ownership of basic human values.
Some might attribute this collective psyche as a result of the insular lifestyle attributed to island communities, but the irony is that people of these islands until very recently were an awful lot more tolerant and receptive to other cultures than its current breed is.
What happened? Why is it that the more open to the world they get the more insecure they become? What could explain this other than in terms of a severe inferiority complex?
If you talk to Bahrainis fortunate enough to have lived in the 70s and before, they will categorically tell you that they have never experienced anything like this, they will confirm that they didn’t give their neighbour’s race or religion much importance. They will further tell you that they habitually interacted with each other in various ways; they visited, conducted business and even fought the British occupation together by forming and maintaining a cohesive multi-cultural front that crossed confessional divides. The common denominator was their Bahraininess which surpassed every other consideration. They celebrated their differences, rather than diligently work at finding the chinks to exploit in each others’ armor.
The stark contrast between that era and now could not be more evident. What we now have is an acutely insular society with impenetrable walls propped up by suspicion and hatred of the other. This “us and them” atmosphere is condoned by the government – regardless of how many denials we hear from their higher echelons – evidenced by the selective employment policies, the conditional awards of constitutionally guaranteed citizen benefits and the disparity in economic circumstance.
It has unfortunately become our way of life. So much is this in evidence, it is no wonder to witness the parliamentarians’ reactions; whether it be the condoning of the use of chemical weapons against their own society simply because in the current state of affairs demonstrations are mounted by the opposing sect, or their continued theft of their electorate’s personal freedoms or even their demand to expel and ban whole countries’ nationals due to the isolated incidences of the few.
We are all shocked and saddened by the unfortunate and violent recent demise of Mr. Dossary, as we are of Mr. Abbas Alshakhoori and the others who have fallen victims of unusual circumstances, but those incidents, painful as they are, hardly illicit the demand for the application of the collective punishment demanded by a major political society. Identify and punish the criminals by all means and make examples of them by fairly and fully applying the law, but those incidents should never be allowed to colour our psyche to the extent that we allow our own elected representatives to exercise their myopic beliefs without even a smidgeon of objection. And it is even worse when the government itself acts in such an unwarranted and unstudied kneejerk reaction as to impose such a ban on its own recognizance without any regard for its international obligations or even basic diplomacy.
Let us remind them that their role is to ameliorate differences and protect the national unity, and not diligently and wantonly work at exacerbating them. The demand to expel and ban Bangladeshis because of the unfortunate result of a single person’s moment of anger is tantamount to our agreement to the entrenchment and even encoding xenophobia as our main Bahraini trait.
The last session of parliament before they broke for a 5 month paid holiday didn’t disappoint. They went after each other’s throats and behaved as they usually do. Like monkeys, some would say.
Cabinet Affairs Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatala Al Khalifa had always denied keeping Bahrainâ€™s population explosion a secret.
However, he was let off the hook yesterday by a parliamentary committee, which decided no action should be taken against him.
Let’s forget the ministers’ alleged culpability and mismanagement for a second, both of them, and let us just consider the issues of how they were questioned, how MPs themselves – the supposed defenders of the masses who elected them and that thing called the constitution – have unashamedly sided and sidled to their chosen minister and how the questions were chosen and framed.
To me, the questions in both cases were oratorical more than they were seeking to probe and find truths on which a decision could be based, or even allow the minister in question to realise that he does have people watching over his ministry’s actions and that he will be held responsible for its performance. The “facts” gathered by MPs were second-hand hearsay rather than damning evidence; and over and above these considerations, MPs positions was premeditated based solely on the whether the minister belonged to their sect.
Should we really be surprised that the emperor was proven – once again – to actually be naked?
Carry on chums!
Brilliant performance, and to hell with the country.
Now where did I put that countdown script?
Is a bastardisation of the translation of an Arabic idiom which is better transcribed in English as “Cleaner than a white thobe” at least – thobe being the Arabian traditional male garment – which might have taken away the derogatory insinuation given by the use of the word “dress”. This Arabic proverb is akin to the English idiom “pure as the driven snow”, but for reasons not apparent to me, the GDN decided in its own lack of wisdom to translate it as such in relation to the Bahraini minister bin Rajab’s declaration of innocence. My suspicion is that they are taking sides, we do not see the same skew in reporting when they talk about the other minister under investigation by parliament.
Not that it would make any difference whatsoever of course; parliament itself is skewed in its current make up, which is sectarian to the core. Am I at all surprised then that Attiyatallah himself was declared innocent of misleading the country by a committee whose members already amply declared their position, even before he was greeted and led to his plush seat in the investigation committee by beaming members of the investigation panel? Of course not. This is a foregone conclusion.
As is the matter of convicting bin Rajab for his financial and administrative irregularities. In that committee, Al-Wefaq’s has the numbers.
The downside for the future of this country is once again the affirmation of the cloud of sectarianism; one in which a person votes for his tribe and sect regardless of the guilt and culpability of the person or issue in question.
Parliament’s session was actually halted yesterday due to our illustrious MPs entering into a heated argument with the Minister of Justice. Normal in parliamentary circles one might expect, yes I know, but in which parliament in the world worth its salt actually waste an already shortened term with discussing laws criminalising sorcery and witchcraft?
None, I am sure.
The minister rightly suggested that these things – if present – should be treated as fraud and as that was already covered in legislation, then no other specific amendments to the Penal Code is actually necessary. But they wouldn’t listen. To them, other than almost labelling the good minister as a heretic, this subject is of the highest importance and should not be trifled with.
Shaikh Khalid asked MPs what would judges do to solidify the sorcery or witchcraft crimes.
â€œDo they bring in leprechauns (actually he said ‘jinn‘ but the GDN used its poetic license) or ask them to testify that their assistance was asked by a sorcerer or witch?â€ he said.
Angered by the comments, Mr Busandal said that such acts were against Islamic Shariat and that the minister was not taking the issue seriously.
â€œSuch acts are serious Islamic violations, but the minister wants us to forget the law and throw it out,â€ he said.
Oh I don’t know.. I wouldn’t throw it out if I were them because I would never have brought such asinine, time wasting, ludicrous legislation to the floor, but that’s me. They, of course, fancy themselves as the true defenders of the faith; hence, these matters are of the utmost importance. I wonder if these morons actually put on specially designed blinkers every morning before leaving their houses along with their Rolex watches and Mont Blanc pens, because like the rest of Bahrain, I am still aghast at their one-track minds.
Some of them slander whole institutions without missing a beat, just to prove their absurd points. Take the effervescent Satanwala for instance, while they were approving yet another bill that would ban the sale and consumption of alcohol, this time in clubs and societies, he goes on:
MP Mohammed Khalid Mohammed said that not only expatriate clubs were serving and allowing alcohol, but also the Bahraini clubs.
â€œThe biggest example is the Alumni Club, whose members are always seen drinking inside and gambling, as if they were in a casino,â€ said Mr Mohammed.
I’m not sure how a ‘respected Muslim gentleman’ knows what a casino looks like, other than he might have frequented them on other occasions in his life, but to him, an august institution which contributed greatly to the development of Bahraini society is a degenerate space of drink and debauchery.
Another in parliament who actually owns an establishment which some classified as a boozing den and a brothel and rented that establishment out before taking his seat in parliament, now slanders whole countries!
MP Adel Al Asoomi said that the Ethiopian Club in his constituency in Hoora was a big example of premises being used for immoral and indecent acts.
â€œThey (club members) are renting a flat as a club premises, and they have a pool table inside, just as a cover for their prostitution activities,â€ he claimed.
â€œThe surrounding area around the club looks like Addis Ababa (Ethiopiaâ€™s capital) during their functions and most of the time people who are not Ethiopians are seen going to the club.â€
And being yet another defender of the faith (hah! hold your laughter!) of course he took it upon himself to “clean” his territory – sorry, constituency – from competition – ooops, sorry again, I mean “immoral and indecent acts” as he rode on the wave of (dishing out dosh while campaigning?) decency by going on a prostitute hunt which impressed the police themselves whom his posse outshone in the methods he chose to employ!
Well, this hilarity will unfortunately be suspended from next week for 5 months. Parliament is going on summer holidays. But who knows, maybe we will find some of our hard working MPs going on “discovery” and “fact finding” trips to some of the world’s casinos, bars and voodoo dens, not to partake of what would be on offer there, of course.
When is the next election again?
With our parliamentarians falling over each other to turn Bahrain into a theocratic state as they prepare for extended summer holidays, we will be left with a lot of heartache to contend with, while they enjoy 5 whole fully paid months of R&R.
Make no mistake my friends, the issues is NOT about banning alcohol. You would be sorely mistaken if you think it is simply about that issue, it is much bigger than that, it is the concerted effort by them to turn this country into Bahrainistan. One which is blindly and brutally kept in the dark ages while we continue to see countries we so far scoffed surpass us in every single facet of modern existence. The economy which has been nurtured over only the past few years with the billions of dollars of inward investment will dissipate virtually over-night, again, not because of the presence or lack of alcohol, but due to the realisation that this is the first step into the complete dissipation of what is left of personal freedoms by demagogues hell-bent onto robbing us of what God Himself has bestowed upon us.
Will YOU be willing to give up your personal freedoms to them? If you do nothing about this latest studied salvo, then you will have no one to blame but yourself when they take away the next freedom, one which you had taken for granted.
People to them are simple animals who should do as they are told, without reason and without thought. Are you one of those who will submit to their demands? Do you not want to remind them that they are there because of your vote?
Then don’t wait around. Do something to let them know that you object and that your personal freedoms and those of others are sacrosanct and are not available for them to trifle with. Tell them that you understand that if a freedom is taken away from your neighbour today, another might well be taken away from you tomorrow. These are your constitutional rights, not theirs to take away.
Your personal freedoms are guaranteed by the constitution. You give up those rights, then you will have no right to demand that they respect the constitution. Something they ALL swore to defend and protect.
It’s NOT about alcohol. Do something. NOW!
Maybe it was just as well that I was pessimistic about parliament ever being effective last night. Today’s news is proof, yet again, that I was right.