Tag Archives Society

Two years for their troubles

Demonstrators against those detained.

Was it worth it? Young people distanced from their families, studies and jobs for two whole years?

The sentence is rather harsh. A few months would have been more appropriate and would have just as effectively demonstrated the government’s intention not to let riots like these go unpunished. And, had the sentence been shorter, I (like many others I think) would not have supported a call to the King to show some leniency and release them.. but now, I do hope that the King will step in and shorten the sentence to 6 months or so.

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ما في الديرة رجال؟

تأسيس لجنة للدفاع عن الرسول يرأسها السعيدي

أعلن مساء أمس في الرفاع الشرقي تأسيس لجنة شعبية، وذلك للتعبير عن سخط الاهالي من الاساءة الى النبي الكريم عبر الصحف الدنماركية ومن موقف حكومتها من صحافتها المحلية، وتم تشكيل اللجنة تحت مسمى «لجنة الرفاع للدفاع عن الرسول الكريم» وتم اختيار النائب جاسم السعيدي رئيسا لها، وناصر السندي أميناً للسر، وطه الشميري منسقاً عاماً لها، وستقوم اللجنة بجمع حملة من التوقيعات من أجل الاستنكار للاساءة والتطاول على الرسول الكريم، ولم تغفل اللجنة دور المرأة في الحملة إذ تم تعيين ام مصعب للاشراف على الجانب النسائي.Al-Wasat

الحين إنتوا ما حصلتو أحد يدافع عن نبينا الكريم إلا الي أساء و يسيء إلى أهل بيته؟ ليش يا ناس؟ ما في الديره رياييل؟

حسبي الله عليكم!

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Light at the end of the tunnel

Remember this? Well, leading businessmen had their inaugural meeting in which they announced the formation of their charity organisation and agreed on its objectives, which I am extremely happy to note is not just limited to traditional giving of alms, as the various charities and Islamist societies on the island have been doing for ages, but the businessmen’s version will include not only that but building of further education sponsorships, building of cultural calls, health and medical centres, sponsor cultural programs and above all fighting poverty by providing training and education to those in need.

رجال الأعمال يتفقون على أهداف وآليات جمعيتهم الخيرية

المنامة – عباس المغني
اتفق تجار ورجال أعمال على أهداف وآليات عمل الجمعية الخيرية التي تمثل دورهم في تنمية وتطوير المجتمع، في اجتماع لهم بمبنى غرفة تجارة وصناعة البحرين يوم أمس.

وقال رجل الأعمال المعروف فاروق المؤيد: »تم خلال الاجتماع إقرار أهداف الجمعية ووسائل تحقيقها وإقرار النظام الأساسي إلى جانب تكليف اللجنة التأسيسية بمتابعة إجراءات إشهار الجمعية مع وزارة التنمية الاجتماعية«. وتم اختيار 6 أعضاء للجنة التأسيسية وهم فاروق المؤيد، جمال فخرو، محمد الكوهجي، جواد يوسف الحواج، جمال الحسن، محمد بوزيزي. وأضاف »هناك اقتراحات لاختيار اسم للجمعية له دلالات واضحة تعبر عن دور واسهام التجار في المجتمع كاسم جمعية قطاع الأعمال للتنمية وغيرها من الاسماء، سيتم دراستها من قبل اللجنة«.

وأشار إلى ان الجمعية تهدف إلى تنفيذ برامج للتنمية الاجتماعية ومحاربة الفقر بما يساعد في تحقيق برامج التنمية المستدامة للمواطنين وتقديم جميع أشكال الدعم للمحتاجين من أبناء البحرين للمساهمة في النهوض بمستوى معيشتهم. وأوضح أن الجمعية ستقوم بتقديم المنح الدراسية والتدريبية للبحرينيين بهدف مساعدتهم في توفير فرص العمل لهم إلى جانب إنشاء المراكز الاجتماعية والصحية والثقافية لخدمة المواطنين البحرينيين في جميع أرجاء المملكة.

ومن جهته، قال رئيس غرفة تجارة وصناعة البحرين عصام فخرو: »إن الغرفة ترحب بتشكيل الجمعية وإنها لن تتوانى عن تقديم كل دعم ومساندة لجهود تأسيس الجمعية، وتحقيق أهدافها«. وأضاف »أن الغرفة مفتوحة لاجتماعات الجمعية متى ما دعت إلى اجتماع«.

وأشار إلى أن مشروع الجمعية يعكس رغبة قطاع مجتمع التجارة والأعمال في تطوير اسهاماتهم في خدمة المجتمع البحريني.

وأوضح أن الجمعية ستحظى بالتفاف ودعم مجتمع التجارة والأعمال، وتوقع أن تكون الجمعية من أبرز مؤسسات المجتمع المدني الفاعل في خدمة المجتمع البحريني
Al-Wasat Newspaper

The founding members of this new society are Farouq Al-Moayyed, Jamal Fakhro, Mohammed Kooheji, Jawad Al-Hawwaj, Jamal Al-Hassan and Mohammed Buzizi, all of whom well known on the island and I wish them luck in their new and worthy endeavor. I, as well as many on the island of course, remain at their disposal to grow this society and bring our community out of the pervasive poverty and into secure jobs and community wealth.

Good job.

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The Arab ‘A List’ has been published

ITP Business, following in Forbes footsteps, has just published a list of top 10 billionaires of the Arab world. Knowing how secretive these families and individuals are, as well as the fact that their finances are closely guarded secrets, the absence of tax (and hence tax records and returns), I would call into question how they got their figures and would not regard them as accurate with any certainty.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at the top 10 compiled by ITP Business:

1. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud
Saudi Arabia
US$26 billion (Last year: US$20.15 billion)

2. Nasser Al Kharafi
Kuwait
US$9.4billion (US$9.2 billion)

3. The Bin Laden family
Saudi Arabia
US$6.9 billion (US$6.5 billion)

4. The Olayan Family
Saudi Arabia
US$6.82 billion (US$6.8 billion)

5. The Hariri Family
Lebanon
US$5.4 billion ($5.2 billion)

6. Abdulaziz Al Ghurair
United Arab Emirates
US$5.2 billion (US$4 billion)

7. Sulaiman Bin Abdul Al Rajhi
Saudi Arabia
US$4.85 billion (US$3.35 billion)

8. The Kanoo Family
Bahrain
US$4.7 billion (US$4.5 billion)

9. Mahdi Al-Tajir
United Arab Emirates
US$4.3 billion (US$3.8 billion)

10. Abdullah Al Futtaim
United Arab Emirates
US$3.8 billion (US$2.2 billion)

Total wealth between the top 50 familias? US$139.4 billion!

A few more questions to ponder: (a) I would like to know what contribution to science and scientific discovery did these families contribute to? Almost all these families main revenue generating activity is property, and in the case of the Kanoo family which seems to be the exception, services.

(b) with all the wealth, do they contribute to charities and say sponsor their countrymen for scholarships etc? I know (again my experience is mostly Bahrain so I would appreciate input from the other countries mentioned above) the “big” families in Bahrain contribute quite a bit to the local charities, and in the case of the Kanoo, Al-Moay(y)ed and Al-A’ali families don’t limit their contribution to just giving cash, but manage their contribution so that the best good can come out of them. For instance both Kanoo and Al-Moay(y)ed have built hospitals and/or specialist hospital wings and schools while Al-A’ali has built whole villages giving away housing to needy families and offering full scholarships (I hear that scholarships have stopped now since the old man passed away?).

(c) Why is there only ONE royal in the list? I am sure that if a king or amir were considered he would eclipse the WHOLE list without lifting a finger!

Regardless, more power to them all. I wish them all the best of happiness with their wealth, and hope that they all would contribute some of that wealth to the good of their communities.

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Rights groups back activist

TWO international human rights organisations have condemned charges filed against women’s rights activist Ghada Jamsheer.

Ms Jamsheer, who heads the Women’s Petition Committee says she will go to jail rather than be silenced.

Human Rights Watch and the Arab Programme for Human Rights Activists (APHRA) have each called for all charges against her to be dropped.

Ms Jamsheer, who heads the Women’s Petition Committee, is accused of defaming three judges in three separate cases.

The judges claim that she libelled them in the Press and elsewhere when she questioned the judgements they passed.

One case begins tomorrow, a second on June 15 and a third on June 19.

“Ghada Jamsheer is being punished for exposing the injustice that women face in the courtroom,” said Human Rights Watch women’s rights director LaShawn R Jefferson.

“These lawsuits are a blatant attempt to silence her and undermine the reform efforts she spearheads.

“Rather than putting one of Bahrain’s most committed activists on trial, the government should work with Ghada Jamsheer to immediately address the issues that her organisation has brought to light.”

APHRA issued a statement denouncing the use of the judiciary to suppress human rights activities. “APHRA demands the nullification of the charges against Ms Jamsheer in conformity with the international commitments and reforms undertaken by Bahraini authorities to ensure citizens’ rights.”

The statement called on other regional and international human rights groups to support Ms Jamsheer.

Activists in the Women’s Petition Committee have been demanding the codification of Bahrain’s family laws and the reform of its family courts.

In April 2003, the organisation collected 1,700 signatures on a petition demanding legislative and judicial reform of these courts.

For the past four years, Ms Jamsheer has organised protests, vigils and a hunger strike, to draw attention to what campaigners say is the suffering of women in the family court system.

Two separate sharia (Islamic law) based family courts exist for Sunni and Shia Muslims in Bahrain.

These courts hear personal status cases, including marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance cases.

Ms Jamsheer says it is her right to publicly criticise something she sees as being harmful to society and women in particular. “I’m prepared to go to jail if I have to in order to fight for the rights of women,” she told the GDN. “I have nothing against the judges personally. I am only fighting for what I believe is right.”

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… إلا في بلادي!

كنت أشكو لأحد الزوار من مشكلاتنا مع الفساد والمفسدين، مشيرا إلى حديث جلالة الملك – حفظه الله – بشأن ذلك الأمر في خطابه عند افتتاحه دور الانعقاد السابق، فقال لي الزائر: “بوس إيدك مقلوبة”! فقلت له: لماذا؟ فقال: سأروي لك قليلا عما يجري في بلادي.

ورحبت بذلك، وسأنقل لكم جانبا مما قاله الزائر عن بلاده من عجائب الزمان التي لا تخطر على بال إنسان، فماذا قال عن بلاده؟ قال: في أي بلادي… إذا تم القبض على مجرم في حق الإنسانية ينال جزاءه العادل، إلا في بلادي فإنه توضع الحراسات Ùˆ”النبطشيات” لحماية هذا المجرم، بل ويتم التستر عليه وتسديد ديونه، وبدوره يقوم بتغيير “البزنس” الخاص به وبدلا من التفنن في إهانة الناس وتلفيق التهم لهم تراه في سوق العقارات يبيع ويشتري في أملاكهم!

وإذا قبض على اللص ينال جزاءه وعقوبته، إلا في بلادي إذا سرق أحدهم تم تهيئة الأجواء له ليتسنم مركزا أعلى في مقر عمله أو في مكان آخر!

إذا تم القبض على سارق للأراضي فإنها تسحب منه وتعاد إلى خزينة الدولة وملكيتها، إلا في بلادي فإنه يقوم بالتهديد بأنه سيفضح من هو أكثر منه لصوصية، وبالتالي يتم التستر عليه وتقديم أراض إضافية “مجانية” إليه!

إذا تم القبض على مسئول وهو يقامر بأموال الدولة، ولا يهم هنا أكان يلعب “الضمره أم النخال” فإنه يحاكم ويزج به إلى السجن، إلا في بلادي فإن شأنه يكون عظيما، بل ويرقى ويعطى منصبا أكبر!

إذا تقدم أحدهم باستجواب ضد وزير ثبت فساده، فإنه يقدم استقالته ويحال إلى النيابة إذا كان الموضوع متعلقا بالمال العام، إلا في بلادي فإن هؤلاء يصبحون شيئا آخر بعد الفساد “…”!

إذا قام أحدهم بزرع الفتن الطائفية ليل نهار معرضا السلم الاجتماعي/ الطوائفي إلى الخطر، ويقوم بترويج الفتنة عن طريق أشرطة صوتية فإنه يحال إلى المحاكمة، إلا في بلادي تفسح له الصحف صدرها للتصريح تلو التصريح، ويقرب من بعض الدوائر الرسمية!

إذا تم القبض على مسئول يسرق من المال العام فإنه يحاكم وينال جزاءه، إلا في بلادي فإن القوانين تحميه، واللائحة الداخلية للمجلس المنتخب من الشعب تحميه، والطائفة تحميه، أما إذا سرق أحدهم نعالا من مسجد فإنه يتم التشهير به في “الصحف”ØŒ وتدق الأجراس في الدكاكين السياسية تلويثا وتعريضا بسمعته.

إذا طالب أحدهم بحقوق المواطنة فإن الدولة تمنحه جائزة تقديرية، إلا في بلادي فإن من يكون أكثر طائفية وشديدا على أبناء الوطن من الطوائف الأخرى فإنه يمنح النياشين وتقام له الكرنفالات الاحتفائية.

في المراحل الانتقالية، وفي الدول التي تطمح للإصلاح، يتم القبض على الجواسيس والخونة وإعدامهم أو سجنهم مع التغليظ في العقوبات، إلا في بلادي فإنه تتم ترقيتهم والإغداق عليهم! وفي المراحل الانتقالية أيضا تصدر القوانين التي تنص على تعويض ضحايا الحقب المظلمة، إلا في بلادي فإنه يتم، بتلك القوانين، حماية المفسدين والمجرمين!

صدمني هول الكوارث في بلاد هذا الزائر الغريب، وسألته عن اسم بلده؟ فأجاب الزائر: إنني من بلد يمتد تاريخها إلى الألفية الثالثة قبل الميلاد، وينتسب أهلها إلى دين سماوي يدعو إلى العدل والتسامح، وشعبها له علاقة وطيدة مع النحاس والحديد. هنا استوقفته: هل تعني بالنحاس “نحاسة” الحظ؟ وتعني بالحديد علب البيبسي كولا “القواطي” فأجاب: نعم. فعرفت بلاده فهي قريبة من فؤادي!

Al-Wasat :: Mohammed Al-Othman :: 12 May 2005

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Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

Allow me to be objective please – all of you, particularly the Muslim readers: Steve is posing some very relevant questions. I personally have no way to answer them because I agree with him! Yes, you read it right, I do agree with him. There are serious issues with the INTERPRETATION of Islam which landed us in this hot water. I suggest that there has always been that problem.

The Hadiths for instance were collected in 9 huge volumes, 100 years after the death of the prophet. While I won’t for a second say that in the collection of the Quran – which also happened after the death of the prophet – errors crept into it, there is nothing stopping even some scholars putting in doubt some of the Hadiths. Now we all know that the Hadiths are part and parcel of Islam, but isn’t it possible that some things attributed to the prophet through the collected works might have never actually happened? Shouldn’t these Hadiths be scrutinised once again and evaluated? I bet if and when that happens a lot of questions are going to be answered, and we will find that Islam is nothing as these terrorists proclaim.

There has also been quite a number of discussions, articles written and seminars going on of late – after 9/11, which examined the applicability or interpretation of the Quran itself. Some scholars go as far as saying that the Quran should actually be split in two. One part containing the Suras which descended in Mecca, while the other should contain the ones which descended in Medinah. There are distinct differences between the two apparently: essentially the Suras of Mecca are the essence of Islam which we should all follow, while the Suras of Medinah are those dealing with events of the time, governance, wars etc. which do not hold as much resonance in this day and age. They are essentially the “sword” Suras which deal with topical events 14 centuries ago and are not as relevant now as they were then.

I don’t have the erudition required to decern a difference or form a theological argument. But my mind tells me that the above is logical. How can something that applied 14 centuries ago apply now? Isn’t the world completely different? Would you apply the same medicines available then to ailments afflicted on human beings now? Can a cure for common cold be applied with the same alacrity to cancer? I think not.

There are far too many questions, and unless we face them logically without the interference of emotion, we can never find answers, and really, never save as well as propagate the greatest religion the world has known.

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Societal limits

Commenting on my article Field visit to Big Brother Arabia bahrainia wrote:

Mahmood, I respect and appreciate your very logical reasoning, and im glad we’ve taken the debate to a higher level. Why should I be offended, u were ever sooooo polite which is nice for a change:)

You raised important points which I have learned from. Im not against a businessman making a profit from fair trade.

What im essentially trying to question is the agenda in the media. Now, every newspaper, every TV channel, every internet site has an agenda, be one that belongs to an individual or a government or a businessman. No im not saying, its a conspiratorial agenda, but some sort of goal or framework in which the information they broadcast or publish is communicated with this in mind. When I say ‘islamic’ media. I dont mean one that is just full of sermons and historic dramas looking at victories past, the ‘golden era’ or whatever. Im saying one, that at least doesnt defy the religion. If you look at a standard Western channel, taking for example again the BBC, everything is kind of acceptable up until the 9pm watershed (ok excluding a few kisses and hugs here and there in some soaps- but these scenes will hardly go amiss if filtered out).

I gotta disagree with you. I found the ramadan program line up on most of the Arabic channels ‘quite’ entertaining, and some programs even made the headlines for their storylines. In line with the spiritual nature of ramadan anyway. About the different religions. Im all for pluralism, why not have a program for the other religions?

Actually Ive just met a very interesting kuwaiti lady finishing her PhD in islamic entertainment and recreation. I’ll post something when I have a chat with her about where to draw the line in entertainment. And Yes a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Pornography is entertainment (and very profitable indeed), and even for the sadisticly minded, paedophilia is entertaining, does that make it acceptable on a mainstream arab channel?

As for the constitution and the parliament, to be honest, it is by definition a non-contractual one. I know i’ll probably get bombarded with hate comments for saying this. But what ppl voted for in the National charter is not the same as what eventually came in the 2002 constitution. The National Charter only got the 98% yes vote after the King made certain promises regarding the power of the two parliamentary chambers- promises which he completely threw out of the window. Hence, I feel, like many others, that everything is based on a deception and I give no credibility to the so-called ‘democracy’ that exists in Bahrain whatsoever. Moreover, other issues such as the geographical boundaries that were drawn, were all made on sectarian lines. In addition, to the 100,000 politically naturalised, on top of the sectarian discrimination that exists in the country. This isnt a conspiracy theory, it is a fact. Then what pisses me off, is when I read comments as the one posted here, that all the ones following in this line are extremists and terrorists. Well what drives terrorism and rioting is poverty. True Al mo3awda sparked off the whole Ajram debacle with his statements, but in the end it was a few teenagers who rioted outside the concert hall, with no orders from anyone. Bahrainis are peaceful people, and islam is a religion of peace and harmony.

BhraNia

I felt compelled to split this topic from the original due to the various valid points raised. Here is my personal opinion on the matter:

It would indeed be interesting to find our what your Kuwaiti friend has to say about this subject, her opinion will be valuable as she arguably has researched the subject much more than I or the majority of people, that being her thesis. Good luck to her with that.

I have commented before that the limits of democracy and personal freedoms is a fine line which is defined essentially as “your freedom ends where someone else’s freedom begins”. The same is true of how to define the limits of freedoms of expression, be that in art, television, film, the written and spoken word or however a person in concurrence of current laws interprets his/her personal space for self expression.

Therefore the line in essence is hazy and not a single person can tell you where it lies, as everyone will bring their own personal prejudices and “historical baggage” to bear on defining where that line is or should be.

Let’s take some accepted art in international circles, does one regard the photography of Bill Brandt for instance of the female body as pornographic? There is no doubt that some people will take offense to his work as they will with a multitude of others’. Like Bill Brandt, they have every right to voice their opinions, but they surely shouldn’t have the right to tear down his photographs and destroy them.

Some people might regard pornography and pedophilia as another form of art and self expression which should be respected. This is a very difficult question and I cannot but apply my own prejudices to it: to me, I am personally against gratuitous pornography and will actively sensor its images when and if my own children are exposed to it through no fault of their own. It is also my responsibility as a parent to tell my children why I choose to censor that particular content. But this is me, a parent exercising our prerogative and imbuing our children with what we think is right and wrong simply to help them evaluate their own future choices in life.

I am however opposed to state/religious censorship in all its forms. I am strong advocate of freedoms of expression, and a strong believer that it is the responsibility of parents to educate their children of their interpretation of social norms.

Taking my views into consideration let me tell you this: We have several pornographic channels being broadcast on free-to-air and pay-per-view channels on satellite receivable in Bahrain, and obviously the rest of the Middle East. I do not have any free-to-air receiver myself, but have seen such channels at other locations. What I have is much more “destructive” and that is an always-on internet connection.

I have installed a network at home connected to a computer in every child’s room. I have a server through which everyone at home accesses the internet. There is no “filter” on the server to disable any particular site nor content. We (my wife and I) have however explained our expectations to our children and encouraged them to not go to such sites. We also told them that due to browser hijacking, viruses, worms etc they might be “pulled” to an innocent sounding site but its content we might find objectionable. If that happens they are encouraged to come and tell us about the experience and I will fix their computer by removing the virus or correct the browser hi-jacking. I have of course installed a virus checker on each and every computer. But I cannot blame them if they have been tricked into getting to a site they have no control over.

On installing the network at home, we made up a contract between us the parents and the child (we have 3) and each had to sign this contract and stick it up on their wall next to their screen. In it we detailed when they can use the internet (duration, after finishing all school homework, cleaning their rooms, etc.) and what to do if they find objectionable content, making especially sure that they understand that we will not punish them if they do inform us promptly. This worked very well. It’s been three or four years now. True to their word, they did inform us when they encountered problems with their browser, or they have clicked an innocent looking link in a spam email they have received etc. We know that we can trust them now because of this experiment.

The constitution

I agree that the 2002 Constitution was a surprise, and I applaud the various political activists and some members of parliament’s efforts at redressing the balance lost by the birth of this document. There is outright rejection and on the other hand full acceptance. Such is the polarisation of our society in this issue.

My personal view is this: the ballot was cast and parliamentarians elected based on the 2002 constitution. For although the Charter for National Action is a legal document, it is not the constitution, it was a referendum on “fundamental law and visions” and as it has been approved by 98.4% of the populace. If 55% (I forget the actual figure of people voted) then cast their ballots and choose their representatives regardless of any other issue at hand, then the majority of the country have chosen this new constitution as a binding document between the government and its citizens.

Yes the demarcation of electoral districts was obviously wrong and imbalanced. Yes perceivably wrongly and politically motivated naturalised citizens did vote. But as the vote was cast, the outcome must be respected.

If fault is to be borne by anyone then surely it must be the opposition! It was their responsibility to ensure that the people knew their point of view and explain why they are boycotting the elections. It was their responsibility in which they abjectly failed in transmitting the message to the populace that what they are voting for is an aborted democracy with a changed, non-binding and one-sided contract. But because of their divided nature and their inability to coordinate their efforts, they have lost the battle.

Now we have an elected parliament, we have an accepted constitution by the majority of the public, and we have a framework to change that constitution. We have to use the methods allowed under the constitution to change it. We have to depend on our chosen representatives to change it and ensure that it gets event better than the constitution of 1973. And the “outsiders”, ie the societies who boycotted the elections must review their position in society and create a clear vision and collective strategy to induce this change, not by violence and rhetoric, but by clear steps to be adopted such as working hand-in-hand with the chosen representatives of the people.

So why did 55% of the population vote? In my view it is because they saw these societies as serving a certain sect, religion, or ethnic belonging, rather than the whole of Bahrain.

Why should someone from Riffa care or give a whit what Al-Wifaq does or says? Al-Wifaq markets itself ONLY for shi’as! What political party in the world is allowed to even exist if its (hidden) declaration is to a certain ethnic and religious sect or sub-sect? Does that mean that a Sunni from Muharraq will not be able to join the ranks of Al-Wifaq? How about a Shi’a from Duraz attempting to join Al-Asala?

These “societies” should not be allowed to exist legally. What they do is divide the society and propagate the segregationist policies of failed ideology (no, I’m not talking about Islam here).

A political party should not be allowed to restrict its membership to a religion, sect or thought. They should be allowed only to convene with the ultimate and only view to strengthen national unity and work towards a goal of the betterment of the country as a whole, not a sub-sect of society. The political party must be open to all sects, religions, and ethnic background to gain legitimacy with its own people.

Hence, political parties by definition MUST be irreligious, but have an active and well thought of agenda to raise the standard of living of the whole country, not just a collection of cities, towns or villages. It should concern itself with guarding and guaranteeing freedoms of expression, creativity and invention. It must actively seek out laws which prevent incoming investment opportunities and negate them. It must protect the dignity of the human being. Not be exclusive to a certain group.

This is the failing of all political societies in Bahrain. I just hope – as I am sure you do to – that they will realise this failing and put in mechanism to correct the situation. Before all is lost.

What happens in the absence of all of this infrastructure and ideology is riots, terrorism and corruption. Adel Al-Moawdah is absolutely responsible for the riots and the untold damage done to local business opportunities.

His declaration that he will forever “fight vice and promote virtue every time an event like this happens” referring to whenever a singer is invited to the island to perform, should have automatically disqualified him from parliament as these comments absolutely were the ignition point of the riots.

It is ironic that he instigated this event, but the executors where his diametric opposites: it was Shi’as who demonstrated and destroyed, while he is an abject Wahabi Salafi who traditionally are completely opposed to Shi’as and their ideas.

So parliamentarians’ comments carry much farther than their immediate circle, other people with their own agendas will use them to their own effects. This of course demonstrates the naivety of not only Adel Al-Moawdah and his ilk, but the whole parliamentary exercise in Bahrain.

But then, haven’t we had 30 years’ experience in parliamentary life? No, what we had is 2 years of parliamentary life 30 years ago, long forgotten and its proponents largely dead. The only survivor of that era is Al-Dhahrani, the chairman of the Council of Representatives. And he amply demonstrated his unsuitability when he urged and begged the parliament to “let him fix the problem of GOSI and the Pension fund directly with the government!” This is the chairman of the parliament urging this infant democracy to go the route of nepotism and personal relationships rather than work within the framework of the constitution!

So if a representative of the “golden era” of Bahraini parliamentary life is so at odds with the concept of democracy and institutions, the very one who was elected to this exalted position by his colleagues largely due to his “experience” and “sagacity” due to his involvement with the 1975 dissolved parliament, why should we even care for a dated document like the 1973 constitution?

The method is certainly wrong, but the concept is correct. I’ve read somewhere that a medieval king would give his right arm to have the wide ranging powers that our King has given himself! And that is true when you look closely at the 2002 constitution. The fact remains however that the constitution is not a Heavenly inviolate text, hence it is our collective responsibility to work within the current framework to achieve a proper end-result, and that is to change the constitution to be a current, encompassing, and empowering essence to the Bahraini citizen.

Having Islamists in parliament gravely concerned with the morals of society, a television show, and a concert will not lead us unto a path of human dignity and creativity, just to abject poverty and ruin.

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Dubai… and three little blue pills

I’m back! But I almost didn’t go. The Dubai 8th International Airspace Show was on at the same time. Because of that, every single room seemed to have been booked way in advance so when I wanted to reserve a room last week there was no chance. The only room we found was at the Ritz Carlton and they wanted DH3,300 + 20% per night (that comes to about $1.047) which is excessive to say the least so I canceled the trip. However Pinnacle pulled some white rabbit out of their hat and got me a room and paid for it too! So thank you very much Pinnacle for that. The trip was back on.

Three hectic days of ‘death by PowerPoint’. Thank you Microsoft for creating this gem. If anything is going to guarantee Bill Gates a ticket straight to hell it’s business people all over the world cursing him for creating such a monster. You cannot have a business meeting without hundreds of gawky PowerPoint slides. I’m luckier than most I guess because the companies I represent all are ‘media’ companies, so they do try to spice up the presentations. But the engineering presentations still suck as they are dull. All engineers are the same I guess: facts, tables, charts with no interest whatsoever to spice up their dreary pages, however Jon at Pinnacle did a really good job with some animated product panels opening and closing!

Any way. I survived and managed to get good info about the new Pinnacle Systems products. Very interesting. Now it’s time to convert those three days into sales. Grrrr.

The most important thing about all of these dealer meetings though is not so much the new information on products, it is the re-establishing relationships, associating names with faces, handshakes, pats on the back, show a bigger carrot or a longer stick to ‘make the numbers’ for the next quarter or year.

I didn’t have a chance to visit my sister who now lives in Sharjah, just a short drive from Dubai and didn’t have a chance either to visit some of my friends. But we did have nice dinners and went to a couple of pubs etc to dull the pain of PowerPoints for that day and of course to be in a better frame of mind for the next day! That was fun.

My normal thing when I get to my room is to immediately unpack and put whatever extra cash, passport, excess plastic cards etc in the room safe. Most hotels now have these small safes in the wardrobe, and I did just that. Before checking out this morning, I opened the safe to get the stuff out and I suddenly noticed a very small package stuck in the very corner of the safe, under the front sill.

ViagraI never noticed it before. It looked innocent enough and as it was normal paper, I didn’t think it was much. Maybe a scribbled phone number or whatever. Was I surprised when I opened the package I found three Viagra pills! Wohoe. What do we have here? I guess the guy must have had, or planned to have a very wild time in my room… And why didn’t I look closer when I first moved into the bloody room? Just think, I almost never take slippers with me because you just assume that they clean and Hoover the carpets properly, but after seeing those pills, you never know what the hell has happened on those beds and carpets! From now on I’m NOT walking bare-foot on any hotel carpet and that’s a promise.

Now, what the hell do I do with this ‘treasure?’ Any ideas?

Tell you what, we’ll have a little competition… the pills (yes, I took them!) will go to the poster of the best and most original comment on any of the articles on mahmood.tv! and this is NOT a joke, I swear this is true!

hmmm, let me think of a few rules:

  1. by participating into this competition you absolutely do not hold me or my host responsible for all and/or any side effects/death you might experience by using the prize (pills).
  2. you must be logged in – so if you don’t have an account yet on mahmood.tv, please go ahead and register.
  3. we’ll think of a voting structure for the best comment, but I will personally make the decision on who wins and my decision will be final.
  4. you must be over 21 to participate.
  5. if you’re not allowed to have these pills in your country for any reason then you can’t get them.
  6. you pay for shipping/arrange for collection.
  7. if this is deemed illegal, then the competition is off and the pills get flushed down the toilet!

So you want a permanent hard-on courtesy of Pfizer? Get your mind juices flawing first!

Hehe.. have fun! 😉

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