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Learning to be a bit deaf…

Learning to be a bit deaf…

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s advice for success in marriage, the Supreme Court, and everything in between is based on two wisdoms she received from her in-laws. Here she is at Stanford Rathbun Lecture 2017 delivering those wisdoms:

Man do I need this advice, especially the first part.

I sometimes have ugly anger management issues that flare up for (what I subsequently realise) the most mundane and insignificant things. I always end up hating myself for those anger bursts which could have been negated had I just breathed, become a bit deaf and just simply walked away.

But no. I have to have the last word, and even if my intentions are good in that I want to inform, teach or impart wisdom, of course, all of that is flushed away because the delivery was in anger. And who would listen to advice shouted at them?

Ginsburg said: “Collegiality is crucial to the success of our mission,” Ginsburg said. “We could not do the job the Constitution assigns to us if we didn’t—to use one of Justice Scalia’s favorite expressions—‘get over it.’”

Amen!

Goodness. I do need to get over it. Get over myself. And just get on with life.

I just turned 55 a few days ago, and rather than enjoying that moment of happiness, I chose to lose my temper on yet another insignificant situation which I wrongly determined then as a slight on my character.

Now, a week later, and listening to Ginsberg’s address, I am yet again disgusted with myself.

Yes, I know I was right. However, rather than retaliating with anger, I would have served the issue better by just turning momentarily deaf, walking away, and then much later, trying to convey my point of view calmly. That, I feel now, would have delivered even a life lesson much better than shouting and stomping off in a temper.

Never again.

Does anyone have an experience with a good therapist I can borrow for a few weeks?

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A glimmer of light at the end of a rather dark tunnel

A group of Bahrainis gathered this morning at Al-Uruba Club, one of the oldest cultural clubs and apparently on their own initiative, to work out a plan to rescue this country from the various ills that has befallen this country. The meeting was led by the highly respected Dr Ali Fakhro, scholar, an ex-minister who held two of the most important portfolios of Education and Health who delivered the following opening speech which set the agenda and objectives of this gathering:

كلمة الدكتور علي فخرو في اجتماع اللقاء الوطني بنادي العروبة

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

ايها الاخوة والاخوات

اهلا بكم في هذا الاجتماع الوطني الجامع ، باسم الوطن كله ، ومن اجل كل شعبه ، بل من اجل كل فرد فيه ، دون منة ودون شروط ، واسمحوا لي ان اقدم خلفية ومقترحات ،ارجو ان تعيننا على اجراء مداولات ايجابية ناجحة هذا الصباح

اولا : لسنا بحزب ولا بجمعية سياسية ولا حتى تكتل سياسي وانما نحن مواطنون نحضر بصفتنا الشخصية البحتة ولا نمثل اي جهة قد ننتمي اليها ، لقد دفعنا الى هذا الاجتماع خوفنا على هذا الوطن الذي يعيش محنة الانقسام بكل انواعه ، ومشاعر التعصب الاعمى غير المنضبط بدين سمح او اخلاق انسانية رفيعة بكل انواعها وكذلك الممحاكات السياسية الت يؤججها اعداء البحرين وتغذيها جهات انتهازية او نفعية او جاهلة .
Dr Ali Fakhro
ثانيا : لقد تدارست مجموعة من اخوانكم واخواتكم المجتمعين معكم اليوم الاوضاع المأساوية التي ذكرتها اعلاه عبر اسابيع طويلة ، وقد ارتأوا ضرورة وجود صوت عاقل جامع ليقترح على اطراف المجتمع المختلفة فيما بينها ، وعلى الاخص السياسية منها ، يقترح عليهم الجلوس مع بعضهم البعض وبحضور ممثلين عنكم ان وافق جمعيهم على ذلك ، من اجل ان يتدارسوا امكانية الاتفاق على مطالب ومقترحات وطنية مشتركة في حدها الادنى المشترك على الاقل ولينقلوها بدورهم الى جهات السلطة المعنية في الدولة من اجل مناقشتها مع تلك الجهات والاتفاق ان امكن على حدود دينا يقبل بها الجميع ( المجتمع والدولة ) للخروج من الازمة الحالية الى رحاب استكمال المسيرة الاصلاحية الديموقراطية الدستورية البرلمانية الهادفة لخير الجميع العادلة مع الجميع ، الآخذة بعين الاعتبار مصالح الجميع

ثالثا : ولان هناك ضرورة لوجود ورقة ينطلق منها النقاش اثناء اجتماع القوى السياسية المجتمعية التي نرجو ان توافق على الاجتماع ØŒ فإننا رأينا ان نقترح عليكم ان توافقوا معنا – مع حريتكم التامة في الرفض او التعديل – ان ينطلق النقاش من النقاط السبع التي اطلقها سمو ولي العهد في فبراير 2011 ØŒ وبالطبع فإن المجتمعين سيكون لهم الحق التام في تعديل تلك المبادرة ،اضافة او انتقاصا او فهما مشتركا لمحتويات بنودها التفصيلية طالماان ذلك التعديل سيكون حصيلة مناقشات المجتمعين واتفاقهم

لقد اعتمد مقترحنا هذا على ان مبادرة سمو الشيخ سلمان هي ارضية معقولة ومقبولة من الكثير وصالحة للاخذ والعطاء وتعبر في مجملها عن قبول كثير من جهات اتخاذ القرار في الدولة على الاقل لغالب ما تقوله وتقترحه .

رابعا : اذا اتفق المجتمعون في ذلك القاء حول مطالب سياسية صالحة لهذه المرحلة من مسيرة البحرين الديموقراطية ، ولنتذكر ان الديموقراطية هس سرورة لها بداية وليس لها نهاية ، فإنهم يستطيعون تكوين وفد ليتقدم بتلك المطالب للجهات المعينة في نظامنا السياسي من اجل مناقشتها ومحاولة اقناعها بتبني تلك المطالب وتنفيذها ضمن جدول زمني وخطوات تراكمية لا تراجع عنها قط

خامسا : نقترح على الاخوة الحاضرين ان ينتخبوا عددا يتراح بين عشرين وثلاثين شخصا ليكونوا لجنة تنسيق ومتابعة تقوم بالاتصالات بكل القوى السياسية والجهات الوطنية المعنية من اجل اقناعها بكل ما ذكر سابقا ومن اجل حضور اعضائها كممثلين عنكم ان تمت الاجتماعات المشتركة

وستكون اللجنة مطالبة بأن تبقى على صلة وثيقة بكم كجمعية عمومية وان صحت التسمية بدعوتكم للاجتماع اذا لزم الامر لاعلامكم بنتائج ما تقوم به وللحصول على موافقتكم ان احتاجت الى وظائف جديدة تقوم بها باسمكم .

سادسا : ان لم نوفق في هذا المسعى فإن الامر سيرجع لكم : تغييرا للاهداف والوسائل او الاكتفاء بما تم وترك الامور للآخرين ،وعند ذاك نكون قد قمنا بواجبنا كمواطنين حتى لا يسجل التاريخ علينا اننا رأينا الوطن وهو يحترق دون ان نحاول ان نقوم بواجبنا لاخراجه من محنته

سابعا : واخيرا رجاء حار ان نبتعد هذا الصباح عن شتم او تحقير ايا كان واي جهة كانت وان نركز على الموضوع الذي جئنا من اجله ، اننا لسنا في مهرجان خطابة وانما في اجتماع لايجاد وسائل وحلول ، فاعينونا على ذلك ، ولنتذكر اننا يجب ان نرتفع فوق الانقسامات ونبتعد عن المهاترات ويكفي الوطن ما يفعهله به بعض المتورين والجهلة والانتهازيين .وبعبارة موجزة نحن معنيين في هذه المرحلة بالاتصال بكل الجمعيات المعنية لحثها على التواصل والاتفاق على مطالب مشتركة ولسنا معنييين حاليا بالاتصال بالجهات الرسمية فقد يأتي ذلك في وقت لاحق مع الآخرين ان امكن او بدونهم ان رغبتم في ذلك في اجتماعات قادمة

لكم التحية ، لكم محبة وطنكم وشعبكم ، والله ندعوه ان يجزيكم الف خير

والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
د . على محمد فخرو
اللقاء الوطني
نادي العروبة
28 / 1 / 2012

English translation by Dr Mike Diboll – with many thanks!

The Speech of Dr. Ali Fakhro at a Meeting of the “National Encounter” Group Held at the Al Uruba Club

In the name of God the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Oh Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to this comprehensive National Encounter, held in the name of the entire nation, for the sake of all its people, and for every individual without favour, without preconditions. Allow me present the background to this meeting and its recommendations. Kindly assist us by ensuring that our deliberations this morning proceed in a positive and successful manner.

Firstly, we are not a political party or association, nor are we even political grouping. Rather, we here purely as private citizens are preparing we do not represent any viewpoint to which we might have allegiance. What has motivated us to call this meeting is our fear for our nation which is suffering from every kind of tribulation, division, and fanatical sentiment and blind bigotry unmitigated by any consideration of tolerance or higher human ethics, and political intrigue promoted by the enemies of Bahrain, fed by opportunism and ignorant self-interest.

Secondly, the brothers and sisters gathered here today have carefully studied the tragic conditions mentioned over long and arduous weeks. They have perceived the necessity of a comprehensively acceptable Voice of Reason that can propose to parties from the various communities, in particular political groupings, to sit together in the presence of trusted representatives in order to frame a set of minimum national demands and proposals that are commonly agreed. These in turn can be presented to the relevant state authorities in order to discuss them with the parties concerned, and reach agreement on them if possible along lines acceptable to all stakeholders from both state and society. This is so we may find a way out of the current crisis, magnanimously completing the forward march of parliamentary democracy and constitutional reform aimed at the fair for the good of everyone in the interests of all.

Thirdly, we hope to call a meeting of political and community groups. There must therefore be a document upon which discussion can proceed. Accordingly, it is our suggestion — and you are fully free to agree with us on this suggestion, or reject or amend it — that the discussion commences with discussion of the seven proposals put forward by His Highness the Crown Prince in February 2011. Naturally, the meeting will have the absolute right to amend this initiative, or add to it or subtract from it, or to formulate a common understanding as to its contents, so that the detailed amendments would be the outcome of the discussions the two communities and subject to their agreement. The principles put forward by His Highness Sheikh Salman form the basis of our proposal as they are a reasonable ground for discussion, acceptable to many, and subject to some give and take should render most of what we propose acceptable to many of the state’s decision-makers.

Fourthly, should those gathered at that meeting reach agreement on a set of political demands that are appropriate to this stage in Bahrain’s progress toward democracy, we should remember that while democracy is blessed with a beginning it has in fact no final outcome. Therefore, those gathered should be able to form delegation to present those demands of the appropriate parts of our political system in order to discuss the demands with them and try to persuade them to adopt these demands, implementing them within an agreed timescale, according to a cumulative timeframe which is absolutely irreversible.

Fifthly, we suggest the brothers here present elect a number between twenty and thirty persons to be a coordinating committee following up contacts with all political forces and national stakeholders in order to convince them regarding all that has been mentioned above, and to ensure that its members, as your representatives, conduct joint meetings. It is demanded that the committee will need to remain in close association with you as a general grouping to arrange the public naming of the group, and to invite you to meetings as necessary and to inform you of the outcomes of our activities and to obtain your consent for new roles undertaken on your behalf.

Sixthly, should we be unable to reach any agreement this endeavor, the matter will return to you: this could mean a change of goals or methods, or leaving the matter to others. However, what is essential is that we do our duty as citizens, so that history cannot record against us that we saw our nation aflame, but did nothing to relieve our country from its tribulation.

Seventhly, and finally, it is our ardent hope this morning that we disregard slurs and insults from whatever any party they may arise, so that we may focus on the matter in hand. We are not attending a festival of rhetoric, but are meeting in order to find ways forward and solutions.

Let us fix our sight on that. Let us remember that we must rise above all that divides us, we must banish the vituperation, wrangling and bickering that are harming our nation, we must save our nation from what some hypocrites, ignoramuses and opportunists are putting it through.

In short, we are at this stage concerned to communicate with all groupings, urging them to communicate with one another and agree on common demands. We are not at this stage concerned with communicating with official parties, although this may come about at a later date, possibly involving others, or without them, according to you wishes at further meetings.
Greetings to you all, you are all patriotic and have love for your people. God reward you a thousand-fold.

May peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you.

Dr. Ali Mohammed Fakhro
The National Encounter
Al Uruba Club
28th January 2012

The essence of the action here is to define a route to get back to the negotiation table using the Crown Prince’s agreed principles of discussion which he announced in February last year which are:

    1. A fully representative parliament with exclusive legislative authority
    2. An elected and representative cabinet
    3. Equitable electoral districts
    4. Review of Naturalisation Laws
    5. Address administrative and financial corruption
    6. Review sovereign wealth
    7. Address the sectarian impasse

According to reports, some 200 people attended the Uruba Club gathering and 21 were elected to form a committee under the leadership of Dr Ali Fakhro who was elected as Chairman. The others who signed the founding document were Dr. Ali Fakhro, Jassim Murad, Hameed Ali Abdulla, Radhi Al-Mousawi, Ubaidly Alubaidly, Shawqi Alalawi, Mariam Alruai’ie, Abdulmonem Alshirawi, Yousif Zainal, Dr. Mohammed Isa Alkuwaiti, Jameel Alalawi, Ali Rabi’ea, Saeed Alasbool, Abdulla Mutawiee’, Esmat Almousawi, Dr. Wedad Kaiksow, Dr. Hasan Madan, Dr. Hasan Alaali, and Abdulhasan Alhasan. All of these people are luminaries of society and are known for their patriotic stances away from sectarianism which gives this particular committee credibility to try to bridge the chasm and hopefully find a solution.

I wish them all the best of luck. There is an awful lot of hard work to be done yet, and with the first anniversary of Feb 14 approaching fast, things will get very ugly if even a glimmer of resolution is not seen.

I hope that this is the genuine glimmer that everyone is hoping for.

Main sources for this article: Esmat Almousawi on Facebook and @HameedAlmulla‘s Twitter feed
Edit 30 Jan 2012 @ 19:58 to include English translation by Dr Mike Diboll

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What will it take, to effect change?

The Dalai Lama was asked by Mother Jones Magazine in 1997 what he thought it would take for China to change its policy toward Tibet.

He responded with:

It will take two things: first, a Chinese leadership that looks forward instead of backward, that looks toward integration with the world and cares about both world opinion and the will of [China’s] own democracy movement; second, a group of world leaders that listens to the concerns of their own people with regard to Tibet, and speak firmly to the Chinese about the urgent need of working out a solution based on truth and justice. We do not have these two things today, and so the process of bringing peace to Tibet is stalled.

But we must not lose our trust in the power of truth. Everything is always changing in the world. Look at South Africa, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East. They still have many problems, setbacks as well as breakthroughs, but basically changes have happened that were considered unthinkable a decade ago.

I think if we look at our own situation in Bahrain in this enlightened context, we might be looking at a tangible solution to our current problems.

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