Tag Archives Society

Kudos Batelco

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Batelco donate donates millions of dinars each year to a variety of community causes.

Since the beginning of the year, it has contributed over BD3m to various projects which include BD100,000 to Al Rahma Centre, BD450,000 to Al Noor Charity Association, BD800,000 to support Batelco Care Centre for Family Violence Cases and BD700,000 to complete its commitment, totaling BD1.5m, to the King Hamad Schools of the Future project.

“Batelco is more than pleased to continue offering support to the community we live in and work in; it is our way of saying thank you for their loyalty to us over the years,” said Shaikh Hamad
GDN – 18 July, ’07

Well done Batelco. That is 3/52.3 = 5.7% of your half-year profit or 3/136.4 = 2.2% of your gross revenue. Appreciable figures regardless of which metric and most definitely amplified by the projects it has financed and it is those people who will immediately see the contribution’s benefits.

I hope more companies follow this lead.

I hope too that these revenues prove that the lower the price of a good service, the more people will flock to you to buy that service, so it’s time once again for your to reduce the ADSL tariffs, increase speeds and scrap that bandwidth limitation. You can do it!

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Overreacting

This is just getting ludicrous, but I fear might be symptomatic of the sectarian and racial tensions between some in Bahrain and Iran. If this is not put in perspective (read as: tell people not to overreact) then this could very well escalate into things we just do not need.

Bahrainis should know that throwing stone at a civilized country like Iran would backfire and pose a danger to their own glassy house, a prominent Iranian lawmaker said after recent insults to Iran by certain Bahraini officials.
Fars News Agency

This probably came in response to the following utter stupidity:

Bahrainis protest against Iran

Following traditional Friday prayers, protesters chanting anti-Iranian slogans and waving Bahraini flags gathered in front of the heavily-fortified Iranian embassy compound in Manama, calling for the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador if the Iranian government failed to present a formal apology. Some protesters also called for the liberation of Ahwaz, an Iranian city with a large Arab population.
Kuwait Times

Formal apology for what exactly? Iran, as a nation, did not wrong us. Who did is an official acting – by all measures we have seen so far – individually.

So shut the hell up and don’t blow things out of proportion, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to go racial on us all like this.

Let me state that the morons who printed that slogan above do not represent me and are not speaking in my name, nor for that matter the vast majority of Bahrainis from whichever religious persuasion. They are sullying their own name by once again exposing their racial and sectarian intentions.

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أثلجت صدري يا شيخ

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Bahraini thinker Sayed Kamel Al-Hashimi

Sayed Kamel Al-Hashimi ripped the religious turbaned lot a huge new one in a debate in Al-Wasat published this morning, I agree with what he says and wish that we had many more like him. Maybe if the other religous “leaders” were to loosen their turban a little bit, maybe blood will reach their dormant and solidified brains to enable them to evaluation positions and thoughts like Al-Hashimi:

«تفغيص» القوى الفاعلة في الساحة

– الهاشمي: هناك مشكلة كبيرة، وهي الموازاة بين الذوات والحقائق يا شيخ صنقور، وهذا خطأ فضيع يحصل عند العلمانيين والمتدينين، فذاك يقول «أنا الدولة والدولة أنا» وذاك يقول «أنا العلمانية والعلمانية أنا» وذاك يقول «أنا الشريعة والشريعة أنا» وآخر يقول «أنا الدين والدين أنا»، كلا شيخ صنقور، أنت لست الدين ولا أنا الدين، ولست أنت الشريعة ولا أنا الشريعة.

– صنقور(مقاطعاً): نحن لم ندعِ ذلك، ونرفض هذه المغالطة، ونحن لم نقل إننا نمثل الدين ولا يستطيع أحد أن يقول انه يمثل الدين، وإنما نقول هذا هو الدين، وليس للعباءة أية قداسة ولكن عندما يتوجه الإقصاء لأصل الدين فهذا ما نرفضه إطلاقاً.

– الهاشمي: شيخنا العزيز، دعني أكمل كلامي…المشكلة الأخرى هو انغماسنا لتبرير الأخطاء حينما يخطأ رجل دين، وأنا لست منهمكاً في تبرير الأخطاء، فما حدث هو زلة وجل من لا يخطأ، ووجهة نظري معروفة في العلمانية، ولكن يجب أن نوجه نقدناً للمتدينين، والله سبحانه وتعالى في القرآن الكريم لديه تعبيران، وعلى المتدينين أن ينتبهوا إلى التعبير الثاني الذي يخصهم حينما يقول عزوجل: «يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تتخذوا الذين اتخذوا دينكم هزواً ولعبا» (المائدة:57)ØŒ والذين هم بحسب فرضكم العلمانيون الذين اتخذوا دين الإسلام هزواً ولعباً.

– صنقور (مقاطعاً): وأنت ماذا تقول في مصداق الآية…

-الهاشمي: شيخنا تدبر آيات الله عزوجل والتفت إليها، وان الآية أعابت على مجموعة من الناس اتخذوا دينكم، وهذا أمر طبيعي، لان كل إنسان يعتقد بصحة دينه، ويقول الإمام الصادق(ع): «ثلاثة لا يقول امرؤ منها إنه على خطأ: دينه الذي يعتقده وعمله الذي يفعله ورأيه الذي يراه»، وهذا أمر طبيعي، فكل إنسان يتخذ دين الآخرين هزواً ولعباً، لأنه يؤمن بصحة دينه.

ولكن في الوقت ذاته لدينا تعبيرٌ إلهي آخر يقول فيه الله سبحانه وتعالى للنبي الكريم(ص): «وذر الذين اتخذوا دينهم لعباً ولهواً» (الأنعام: 70)ØŒ وأنا اعتقد أنّنا نلعب بالدين أيضاً ونلهو به حينما لا نقيمه على أساس صحيح. وأنا اسأل المتدينين قبل أن اسأل العلمانيين: هل انتم تؤصلون أم تعطلون الحالة الدينية بتصرفاتكم وسلوكياتكم مع الناس والرأي العام، وربما مبدأ نواياكم هو تأصيل الدين ولكن النتيجة هي تعطيل الدين والرواية عن الرسول الأكرم(ص) تقول: «إن هذا الدين متين، فأوغلوا فيه برفق، ولا تكرهوا عبادة الله إلى عباد الله»، وكم من عباد الله كرهوا الدين بسبب المتدينين، وأنا اعتقد أن هذه مسألة لا أحتاج النقاش فيها بعد بروز القاعدة والتيار السلفي التكفيري، فقد صار الناس – بسبب هؤلاء – يخرجون من دين الله أفواجاً كما كانوا يدخلونه أفواجاًَ، فنتمنى ألا نكون «كالراكب المنبث، فلا ظهر أبقى ولا سفر قطع».

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Al-Buainain is against demographic change

MP Ghanim Fadhl Al-buainain, leader of the Asala Salafi bloc in the Bahraini parliament

I note, with pleasure and interest, that the leader of the Salafi movement and its Asala parliamentary bloc in Bahrain Mr. Ghanim Al-Buainain is unequivocally against the rule of force and demographic change:

وقد وصف رئيس جمعية الأصالة الإسلامية النائب غانم البوعينين الادعاءات التي ساقها مداري أنها ‘’محض كذب وافتراء وطمس للحقائق وتعدي على حقوق الآخرين، فأما الحديث عن الجزر الإماراتية فإيران استخدمت منطق القوة كما يحدث في شريعة الغاب، واعتمدت على تغيير البنية الديمغرافية فيها ونتذكر جيداً كيفية طرد السكان الأصليين للبر الإماراتي’
الوقت – ١١ يوليو ٢٠٠٧

He’s of course condemning the Iranian leadership’s advisor Shariatmadari’s claim on Bahrain and that on three Emirati islands occupied by Iran during the Shah’s period, but as the statement above displays Al-Buainain’s ardent convictions, maybe he will apply them to the demographic change happening in this country when parliament reconvenes?

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Young Bahraini Entrepreneurs

Guys, can you suggest some names of young Bahraini entrepreneurs that I might interview? I would appreciate it if you would provide me their contact details if you don’t mind too, if you don’t, then a name and why you would nominate a person should be enough for me to start my research.

The targets whom I require should be between 18 – 40 and own their own successful businesses, both young men and women are required.

This is partly for my work within the Young Businessmen Committee at the Chamber and partly personal as I would interview and publish their interviews here or on Bahraini.TV and possibly syndicate them elsewhere too.

Much appreciate your help, thanks.

Update [email protected]: I just added a forum at Mahmood Talk billed as Entrepreneurial Pursuits — The business of finding solutions to problems, and profiting from it at the same time! Share your war stories and business ideas here.

Please visit and contribute if you would.

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Interdependencies

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I found this really sad:

An Indian man, who had life-saving brain surgery at the Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC), has gone missing, it was revealed yesterday.

The guy most probably needs further medical attention but because his stay in Bahrain has become illegal and he obviously continues to want to live and work here (maybe doesn’t have a choice but to do so) and as he knew that the hospital administration is required to hand over illegal aliens to the authorities, he chose to escape, even in his condition.

This is just sad and demonstrates the desperation that migrant workers get to in this country. Look at the current vehemently opposed law which requires outdoors workers to down tools for several hours at mid-day, although the construction barons oppose this law because they are looking after their bottom lines, it appears that some of the workers themselves are against this law because they will lose on the opportunity to earn some overtime pay.

These labourers generally cost contractors around BD1 (US$2.65) per day – this includes their pay, accommodation, sustenance, clothing and even end of service annuities and travel back to their countries. A large contractor I know – who employes some 6,000 of these labourers (the figure above was from him) – suggested that the forced siesta in July and August translates into additional costs which would lead to “huge losses for the country”. I think that statement is a gross over-exageration, but I agree with his suggestion that the forced break should have been based on the apparent temperatures rather than specific months in the year; otherwise, he argues, that all outdoors workers should have been included in the ban, including the police, drivers, etc.

That is just one example of the migrant workers’ suffering. The government has stepped in to protect them and naturally it found some resistance. I am not sure whether the government also considered the lost earning opportunities to the very people they are trying to protect, though.

On the positive side, this situation actually sets a long needed precedent, inadvertently – I grant you, but a good precedent – in that if laws were left to the business owners, they generally will take care of themselves first and foremost and some will do whatever is required to ensure a fatter bottom line at the expense of his or her employees. Therefore, standards must be set by governments which should encourage businesses to rise to a new level, then move the bar still higher and get them to catch up once again. This, if managed correctly, can improve our country’s competitive and efficiency standards which will be good for everyone.

What pushes government to put up these standards is either the community or a requirement to abide by international treaties and external pressures. Evidence of this is present aplenty, especially in the last few years. Look at the public outcry in the various environmental and political issues it have faced, in each one of those situations the government has had to respond by generally bending to the pressure and making good moves to respond to the demands.

The government now should continue to raise the bar and encourage businesses and the community to rise to the challenge. How it does that must be through complete transparency and accountability and the insurance that it will only select contractors based on non-traditional metrics like employee care, environmental and social responsibility. This will of course mean that the government itself will cease to base its contract award decisions on the lowest bidder principle and will accept that the cost of its contracts will necessarily be increased. That increase will only be justified (and encouraged!) if the company invests some of its profits back into its employees benefit programs as well as within the community.

The knock on effect of these programs are manifold; one of their benefits is situations like Mr. Arumugam’s would start to disappear.

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The caravan is in motion and the dogs are barking

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Sometimes, privilege given goes to the head and unfortunately the meandering brainfarts get believed by their perpetrators to be gems of wisdom. They even convince themselves that they are the only people – the chosen ones – who heard the person in authority right and everyone else is wrong. Given the benefit of the doubt, that position could just be a case of mistaken interpretation; however, if that person or group then take it upon themselves to not only steadfastly refuse to believe reality but change it forcefully into what they believe their superiors actually require of them, then they have lost the compass completely and are just wandering listlessly in their own private thought-inhibiting deserts.

The shame of course is that those people have been placed in the highest chamber in the land to do good for and by the people. But what they actually do is just contribute to the noxious gases in that chamber. Gases which seem to have addled their brains but never touched their conscience. Like others before them in history, the pain of survivors is not their concern.

They might be masochists and enjoy such conditions, which is fine, it is their right to choose the manner in which they will be ultimately remembered, but when those people deter a whole country and people from finding the path to salvation, the path to ameliorate feelings of pain, destitution, subjugation and torture and incarceration and gross disregards for human dignity and rights, then it is plain that they are part of the continuing problem.

So out of 38 they get one representative, copiously living in privilege unashamedly uncaring of an adopted society which welcomed them with open arms, perpetuating a private dream that the translation of a leader’s perceived wishes is what constitutes the modus operandi of human rights work; while an other, a co-conspirator, transcribes uninformed and idiotic plans to derail the efforts of those who choose to protect the sanctity and honour of this society and heal its wounds.

They get rewarded, of course, by seats they could never fulfill, yet think that they will never vacate. Hence, they have never had the reason to put forward any germane idea or wish to better the society which embraced them, but continue to solely pad their nests by ascribing to their own perception of a noble goal: that of subservience to a master on which their fervent hopes and aspirations is to be noticed in order to bask in his largess.

All for a handful of silver.

As if that shiny metal is going to rub away the tattooed numbers, the missing fathers, the raped mothers and daughters, the tortured and wronged.

My dear cousin, this is our holocaust. We need to deal with it so we can move forward.

Will you be kind enough to move aside so the caravan can pass, or would you rather be trampled and thrown to the rubbish heaps of history as you so richly deserve?

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Why is ‘Sorry’ such a difficult word?

I’m not sure why this is the case, and am not sure why is it so difficult to understand that in order to move forward as a society some truths must be recognised and reparations made.

Iman Shwaiter at the Truth and Reconciliation workshop at Waad

Iman Shwaiter crying in memory of her husband (Hashim Al-Alawi) who was kidnapped, tortured and killed by Bahraini security forces in the 90s this was during a workshop on Truth and Reconciliation by 11 political societies, human rights organisations and activists in Wa’ad’s premises on 23 June ’07

Sayid Alawi Sayid Hassan at the Truth and Reconciliation workshop at Waad

Sayid Alawi Sayid Hassan with his nephew Mohammed Al-Nasheet (left) assisting him to speak of his suffering at the hands of State Security’s apprehension, imprisonment and torture.

It is an inescapable fact that every single on of us Bahrainis knows of the torture stories which were prevalent in the 70s through the 90s. Every one of us probably has a relative who suffered at the hands of torturers resulting in either deep psychological scarring or in more than 40 cases, death.

We also recognise that some violence perpetrated by citizens resulted in unfortunate ends, be that causing the death of individuals or damage done to property.

In either case, why shouldn’t an independent commission be convened to open those festering wounds, clean them up and restitch them again so that they can heal properly and we can move forward with our lives? In almost all cases a word of recognition and apology is all that is required. Even if monetary reparation is to be done to the people who suffered, that compensation should be paid in order to invest in a better future.

These feelings are one major source of strife in Bahrain and I am surprised that they are not ameliorated by the inaction of proper programs to relieve that pain.

Yes, some would argue, as has already been done, that the National Charter and the General Amnesty Law are enough. I contend that they are not as they came from one side only. They most definitely provide the basic framework from which redress and reconciliation could be started; however, truth should be sought and facts broadcast in order to recognise the depth of the problem and work toward resolving them.

We have ample examples in the world which we can emulate. South Africa is the most successful attempt at proper truth and reconciliation and so is the Moroccan commission to a large extent. We should learn from them and not just hide our head in the sand by stating that those are “foreign experiments” that we should simply ignore. If we accept that attitude, we might as well forget about all the planned reforms as they all depend on foreign experience to ensure their success!

So come on, for the sake of Bahrain, let us just get this much needed commission inaugurated and give them all the tools that they require to out truths and seek reparations in order to insure a better, fuller and more cohesive Bahrain.

Please.

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Wot? No Rubber Bullets?

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Rubber bullets don’t inflict enough pain, it seems, so now riot control police in Bahrain have started using live ammunition instead. Much more effective of course, especially if the intent is to kill rather than merely control:

«الأهالي سمعوا صوتا لإطلاق النار فاتصلوا بي وبعد حضوري إلى المنطقة أكد لي رجال الأمن أنهم اطلقوا 3 رصاصات حية بعد قيام ملثمين مجهولين برمي 3 عبوات حارقة (مولوتوف) على سيارة الأمن اصاب اثنين منها السيارة بينما أصاب الثالث مكيفا لأحد المنازل»

The citizens heard the sound of live bullets so they called me. After I arrived in the area the security forces confirmed to me that they fired three live shots after unknown balaclavad persons have thrown three Molotov cocktails at the police car of which two contacted the car and one an air conditioning unit in one of the houses [nearby].

There surely is a better way to apprehend criminals who endanger the lives of law enforcers, but using live ammunition in crowded neighbourhood is not one of them I don’t think.

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