Tag Archives Society

Just how long will “Silmiyya” last?

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Not very long, I think.

After close to 60 people giving their lives up for their country in under a year, with this number set to rise, by all indications, with thousands dismissed for their jobs for no good reason, for hundreds still in prison just for expressing their opinions and for untold police brutality and daily reports of various levels of abuse levied on unarmed men, women and children, people will start to retaliate if for nothing but to defend themselves.

Zainab Al-Khawaja being bodily dragged by policewomanAnd now, they’ve received the approbation to do so… and to crush anyone who abuses or perpetrates violence against women.

This, my friends, is not just an angry Friday sermon by the leading religious cleric here, this is an indication of the impasse that this country has reached. Patience, has run out. The rhetoric from both sides has been ratcheted up and with the first anniversary of the “Bahraini Revolution” on Feb 14 approaching, things will only get uglier if sane men and women don’t halt this probable descent into the abyss of civil war. Then, no winner shall be declared and it will be too late for even sincere efforts to repair a shattered society.

What is needed now, right now, is an honest look at the root causes of discontent and effect real change without the drag of personal, tribal, sectarian or any other biases to cloud actions to redress the balance and put this country back on to its rightful path.

Time, though, won’t wait for half-hearted measures or more placatory gestures.

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Civil War is in the offing

Civil War is in the offing

If you’re not afraid of what and where Bahrain is going, then this clip should give you a good indication. In it, a bunch of ignoramuses are taking the mic in front of a government building in Muharraq inciting not only hatred, but openly calling for the killing of the Shia in Bahrain, and threatening that Muharraq will be the Shia graveyard. Muharraq, that lovely island we’ve always associated as being the model of tolerance, understanding and multi-cultural living seems to be now degenerating at the hands of murderers, torturers and thugs.

All this in front of a government building.

In addition to that, the nefarious convicted torturer Adel Flaifel is calling for the formation of armed gangs with the help of the Muharraq Municipal Council and the Ministry of Interior to “deal” with the Shia – whom he calls traitors – and protect Muharraq from their advance!

I don’t care for these people nor their message of intolerance. What I care about is that by virtue of them being in front of a government building, using the building’s PA system it seems, preaching hatred to the crowd and not a single person is stopping them and to date, I haven’t heart of any official condemnation of that gathering and not a single legal channel has been moved to curtail them when they are clearly breaking the law. If my memory serves, a police station is directly opposite of that location too, so why the police didn’t intervene is mind boggling too. Unless of course the police there don’t understand Arabic and the gathering was deemed authorised and legal?

Enjoy the clip, and pack your bags while you’re at it. Bahrain – with these morons openly operating in it with the full aid and knowledge of the government – is not a place that I want to spend my future in.

Disgusting.

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Castration is not enough for some…

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I just couldn’t believe how people can descend to these kind of depths:

إرجاء قضية المتهم بالاعتداء على عرض ابنته القاصر

أرجأت المحكمة الكبرى الجنائية قضية بحريني متهم بالاعتداء على عرض ابنته القاصر والبالغة 13 عاماً حتى 21 سبتمبر/ أيلول.
وكانت زوجة المتهم تقدمت ببلاغ ضد زوجها بأنه اعتدى على عرض ابنتهما جنسيّاً، في حين أكدت المجني عليها (13 عاماً) أنها ومنذ شهر كان والدها يتصل بها عندما يكون في العمل مساءً وطلب منها ذات يوم عدم مناداته بـ»بابا» بل مناداته بـ «حبيبي»، كما كان يطلب منها النوم معها في غرفتها، إلا أنها لم تكن تعرف قصد والدها، وكان والدها قد تمادى في اتصالاته فطلبت منه التوقف عن مضايقتها، وأمر قاضي تجديد الحبس حبس أب لمدة 45 يوماً بعدما تم توجيه تهمة الاعتداء على عرض ابنته القاصر (13 عاماً).
وفي أحد الأيام كانت تستحم فتفاجأت بدخول والدها عليها وهي عارية وقام بتصويرها في دورة المياه، وفي اليوم التالي قام بالدخول عليها في غرفة نومها وحاول خلع بنطالها، إلا أنها منعته، وفي أحد الأيام أعاد كرته وتمكن من فتح بنطالها وقام بتحسس أماكن العفة في جسدها، كما كان يقوم بحضنها بطريقة غريبة عند مشاهدتها.
وأضافت المجني عليها أن والدها كان يهددها بإخبار والدتها ويهددها بالضرب، كما قام والدها بتصويرها وهي عارية بعدما قام برفع قميصها عند نومها.
ولفتت المجني عليها إلى أن والدها كان يعرض عليها ممارسة الجنس، وفي أحد الأيام قام بوضع قناة إباحية لها وقت جلوسها في صالة المنزل، كما قام بنزع قميصه أمامها.
وأفادت المجني عليها بأنها كانت تمنعه وتغضب على والدها الذي لم يكترث وعندما شعرت بتمادي والدها قامت بإبلاغ والدتها التي تقدمت ببلاغ إلى مركز الشرطة.

صحيفة الوسط البحرينية – العدد 2875 – الأربعاء 21 يوليو 2010Ù… الموافق 08 شعبان 1431Ù‡

My translation:

The High Criminal Court deferred the case of a Bahraini man accused of assaulting his 13-year-old daughter to 21 September.

The accused’s wife filed a complaint against her husband as he attacked their daughter sexually, while the 13-year-old victim confirmed that a month before the complaint, her father kept telephoning her during his night shift and asked her not to call him “dad” but “lover”, and asked to sleep in her room. Something that she did not understand initially due to her innocence. The father persisted in his telephone calls which prompted the child to ask him to cease harassment, the judge ordered the renewal of solitary confinement father for 45 days after he was charged with assault to the daughter’s honour.

The girl was shocked one day by him barging into the bathroom and filming her while she was showering. This incident was followed up the next day by him entering her room and attempting to remove her clothes but she resisted. He again attempted to remove her clothes on another day and was successful in touching her private parts. He had also hugged her inappropriately on several occasions.

The victim stated that her father threatened to tell her mother and to also beat her. He had photographed her naked during her sleep by lifting her dress.

The father offered to have sex with the victim and that he exhibited a pornographic film to her when she was in the hall at home and had removed his clothes in front of her.

The girl continuously fought off her father’s advances and got angry with him on several occasions, but he was not deterred, which finally prompted her to tell her mother about the incidents who in turn lodged a complaint at the police station.

Al-Wasat 21 July, 2010

I don’t particularly care about the so called “father” and I hope he rots in jail. But knowing how the system works here, he’ll be walking free to assault and harass others in a very short time indeed. What I do care about is the daughter who should immediately be removed from that “home” and put in care.

This is not the first, and sadly won’t be the last of these kind of cases. All the local papers carry such news on a daily basis and the trend is increasing. I’m not sure if they’re just reporting these now as opposed to the past, but at least if we know of such cases, then we can – hopefully – be intelligent enough to seek workable solutions. It’s quite evident that the frequency and repetitive nature of these crimes – especially against minors – that the solutions in place now are completely impotent and need a substantial overhaul.

The government should have a task force in place with enough power to intervene and rescue children from predators. They should also have the power to remove affected children from such homes and put them in care, at least until the situation is fully investigated and the justice system has had its say. Carrying on as we are will just continue to exasperate the situation and allow monsters to walk amongst us with impunity.

As to the pedophiles and sex predators, I think that castration is really too good for them, though I’d settle for chopping their danglies off, I think putting them in prison and throwing away the key – literally – is probably the most appropriate way to go, with no recourse ever be given to them to get away with their crimes by marrying the poor person they’ve attacked, or even if the family or the victim drop the case against them, then a criminal prosecution must be allowed to go ahead in the interest of the public.

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Ooooof!

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I know, I know, I’m a news junky. Sue me.

But for hilarity, I always turn to our local rag, the illustrious GDN, aided and abetted by our Parliament or honorable parliamentarians.

Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty King Hamad:

It is the duty of the young to stand up and vote women into parliament, to ensure the country’s political, social and economic progress, said Princess Sabeeka, who chairs the Supreme Council for Women.

She was speaking as she opened and led a three-hour debate at Bahrain University’s Sakhir campus on the role of women and young people in politics.

Khalifa Al-Dhahrani Chairman of the Council of Representatives (2002-2010):

BAHRAIN is not ready for women in politics, says parliament chairman Khalifa Al Dhahrani.

He spoke out after Princess Sabeeka asked the students if they would vote for a well-qualified woman in parliament.

The majority in the room raised their hands, while others said they had yet to see women prove their capabilities in the political arena.

This prompted Mr Al Dhahrani to say that Bahraini society is not ready for women in politics.

“We have to look at our society in a realistic way and I don’t believe that it is ready for women in politics.

“Our parliament is run by religious factions and blocs, which all support women but I don’t think that as a society we are ready for this.”

But Princess Sabeeka and other panel members interjected, saying Bahrain was not completely run by religious factions.

Can you smell it?

Do we really want the right honorable MP Khalifa Al-Dhahrani and his like for yet another term?

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The Handouts Culture intensifies

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I think I am like a lot of people who cringe every time I feel that people are just getting handouts; regardless if those handouts are actually deserved, the act itself is demeaning, especially in an area of the world which is supposed to be rich. Alas, it seems that I am in a minority in this feeling as it has not only become the norm, but government, parliament, and society regularly just dish out money as the panacea to all poverty ills. Not many of those giving stop for a while and consider that it probably is best if they at least got the people receiving the largess could at least be made to feel that they earned it.

Yes, I know that to the poor, ego might take a backseat to the normal drudge of existence, but the government and parliament have become so blazé, even blatantly so, in their “giving”.

Two headlines made me cringe in today’s papers; the first is the intention of MPs to open “supermarkets for the poor” in which subsidised foodstuff will be sold and the second is MPs again want to give the Ministry of Social Development BD5 million ($13.2m) to help it cover paying the extra 3,000 needy families whom were added to its rolls of the poor over the last two years, although the minister only asked for BD3.5m ($9.25m), I guess they want to demonstrate their generosity.

The reasons for my cringing in the first instance is that there are proven methods in which the poor are assisted in various societies around the world, one of those methods is a food stamps program in which the needy are given stamps or cards which they can use in any market to help them buy their foods. The vendors then redeem those stamps with a government agency. That program obviously is not free of criticism, but the fact remains that it negates the need for the establishment of “poor shops” which could very well be abused (as could the stamps program, I know) and also allows for the provision of unified prices for foodstuffs which are subsidised only to those deserving that subsidy. I have no idea why our MPs and the Ministry of Social Development ignored this tried and tested method of helping those in need.

The other instance of course is the seemingly willy-nilly way in which parliament is handling the national budget. Here, a party asks for a specific studied budget for one of its programs and we find that for inexplicable practical reasons the parliament – whose one of its main roles is the protection of public funds – gives out additional 30% for no reason whatsoever! What guardianship of public funds is this?

Further, in the report referred above, no one seems to have asked the very important question of why in this age of economic boom do we have 3,000 families descending into poverty?

Maybe I should send them a link to explain to them in simple terms what their agenda should be to combat poverty:

5 factors of povertyThe simple transfer of funds, even if it is to the victims of poverty, will not eradicate or reduce poverty. It will merely alleviate the symptoms of poverty in the short run. It is not a durable solution. Poverty as a social problem calls for a social solution. That solution is the clear, conscious and deliberate removal of the big five factors of poverty.

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Descending into chaos

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Who benefits from violence? Who benefits from this?

A police jeep set ablaze by Molotov cocktail bomb

The above is a very unfortunate escalation of violence in Bahrain by people who think that this sort of criminal activity will help our democracy movement! And the thing that beggars belief is that we find people condoning this activity or are in complete and utter denial. Putting “their side” on a pedestal and who can do no wrong whatsoever; while on the other hand, they blame the government for all ills without recognising a single positive aspect of its creation.

Yes, we do have problems, but the line must be drawn in our own psyche to ensure that we actually do recognise wrong when we see it, regardless of who perpetrates it. And we should also drop those continuous conspiracy theories which some use to justify wrongs. In this particular instance; can anyone come up with a valid scenario in which we see elements in our government would actually sponsor people to throw Molotov cocktails on their own occupied police vehicles and sacrifice a human life while putting others in jeopardy simply to score a point?

What insanity is this?

Does anyone reading this imagine for a second that if the government wanted to really clamp down on society, or even re-introduce the now defunct State Security Law that it can’t? Or that it has to escalate the security situation so much by sacrificing human beings in order to justify imposing it again?

I have no illusion whatsoever about the machinations our government can and does enter into to protect its interests, as do every single government and ruling system on God’s green Earth, but descending to this level – by our government – is not one of those methods. At least I hope not.

Getting back to the original question I posed, who benefits from this descent into chaos? I propose that no one does. There is no way that anyone can benefit from continuous violence, tyre burning, molotov throwing, vehicle burning, tear gas inhaling, rubber bullets, or any other the other subjugation and criminal methods. Violence only begets violence, and if no criminal law in imposed on the perpetrators, then people might very well escalate the situation even further. So far it has been tyres and police cars, tomorrow it would be houses and taking of lives which will destroy the country and any progress opportunities for this country.

I fervently hope that the criminals who did this act be caught, squarely tried in a court of law, and sentenced for the remainder of their miserable lives.

Enough is enough. On both sides. We want to live with a semblance of harmony for goodness’ sake. These vandalism and criminal acts are not helping one little bit. Everybody, even who are called the opposition should come out and unambiguously condemn these criminal acts.

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Equitable solutions

Name any country that does not recognise the sacrifices of its citizens, and I’ll guarantee that its government has no real legitimacy in the eyes of their own constituents.

Sure they rule, but that is most probably due to the use of oppression to perpetuate their authority. Their tenuous hold on power promotes the culture of fear. Theirs is the law of force, rather than the force of law. That government will not last too long, but even if it did, it would do so on a bed of unrest and strife rather than stability.

This is not the situation which we have signed up for when 98.4% of us voted for the new charter, whose central tenets are human rights and modern institutions of governance. How different we are today – a mere 6 years hence – of those days of hope. What we are now left with is confusion and mistrust which feeds the continuous skirmishes we suffer from at almost any occasion.

There seems to be no end in sight. Each side is steadfast in their refusal to listen. Theirs is the view of “not giving in”, as if this is a battle in which an exclusive winner is declared. They fail to realise that the only losing side in this equation are the normal people who have grown tired of this predictably contentious state of affairs.

The resolution of this condition couldn’t be simpler – to me at least. All must recognise those who fell in the defence of this country and its people’s aspirations by at least anointing a single convenient and mutually agreeable date at which their memory is commemorated. That would be a celebration of national pride and will go a long way at inculcating the missing feeling of true patriotism.

The country’s National Day would lend itself completely to this cause. Isn’t it the day that nations all over the world lay wreaths at their martyrs’ graves and at symbolic locations? This act draws the whole nation together, further cementing their sense of belonging to their land. It is by no coincidence that some countries also observe a minute of silence. One in which remembrance is a natural result of contemplation.

What’s so different with us that we cannot fathom a route to that goal? The disparity in positions suggests that there is something intrinsic to this impasse. Could that difference be a disagreement on the definition of the word martyr?

The dictionary’s definition is rather bland, it does not taken into account the cultural aspects of this word. But although the difference in interpretation is wide – one’s martyr is another’s terrorist – the common denominator is rather static: it is the sacrifice of one’s life for one’s belief.

Taken in this context, it is easy to understand the somberly lavish commemorations in laying wreaths at the foot of the Unidentified Soldier to remember the dead in a bygone wars and other calamities. They are all in the past, though.

Our situation is different. Ours is the commemoration of lives lost during a current reign. Having the rulers to agree to this is akin to their acknowledgment of their own culpability in the demise of those we are paying tribute to. This, I feel, is the crux of the problem. It is why laws like the General Amnesty for Crimes Affecting National Security have been promulgated and tremendous efforts exercised to brush these issues under perennial carpets.

As the various conflicts at every martyrs commemoration activity since 2001 attest, this is not a wise resolution. Much needed closure is missing.

A new way of thinking is required to resolve this issue. Another set of sacrifices is needed by the disparate parties to achieve the status of equitable equilibrium. All need to honour the memory of those who laid their lives to provide the foundation for this country. Their memories should be made into a recognised beacon guiding current and forthcoming generations not to take things for granted.

Thirteen civil societies intimately and correctly recognise this condition and its dire need for closure. They proposed a program through which truth and reconciliation is pursued. We know that this works from experience gained from countries which have trodden this path before us. Their enacting such commissions took great courage that paved that difficult road with further necessary sacrifices. The end result; however, was their ability – finally – to turn over a brand new page. It allowed them to go forth into their futures with an assurance that they made peace with their past. From those hard lessons they gained tremendous strength that proved to be a bedrock of their stability.

Isn’t it high time that we consigned tired and empty platitudes to the rubbish heap and boldly trod the courageous road to an equitable future?

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