Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bahrain blues. A few views.

Just for the record, and out of respect for the Kingdom we adore (more so than some of the protestors, sadly) bougi will celebrate Bahrain's stability, once it returns to stability.

And no, all bougi plans for this year's Formula One, are obviously and unfortunately on hold.

For those who don't know the full story, here's a very brief nutshell:

Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni royal family, a monarchy, not a dictatorship, or an oppressive regime. The Government isn't exactly perfect (please introduce us to one that is), but nevertheless, better and more forward, than most. Bahrain's population are predominantly shi'ia. However, the sunni/shi'ia problem, isn't so much of a problem anymore, as depicted by the simple folk - otherwise known as most Western press.

Sunnis and Shi'ias are united in their pro-Government support, as are other sunnis and shi'ias in their discrepancies with the Government. Saying that, these 'discrepancies', if presented to your average Egyptian, Yemeni, Libyan, Tunisian, Iraqi, or Irani, are actually, a little laughable.

Now, as a firm advocate for peace, and a non-judgemental non-Bahraini,  I have a few questions, with regards to the Kingdom's 'situation':

1. If, as all Bahraini residents do, you received free healthcare, free education, free housing and benefits of up to 750 USD per month (for the unemployed), would you take it upon yourself - and your children - to go along to a public monument, a congested roundabout in fact, vandalise it, and then...sleep there? Would you, as a sensible human being, put your children at risk like that?

Why wasn't parliament chosen as a more viable camping option? Or maybe, one of the prisons? Wouldn't that have been more effective in meeting both constitutional and detainee concerns? I'm just saying.

2. Wouldn't you be grateful, as a law abiding citizen, for the [rather fortunate] platform provided? Or, would you consider making a couple of Molotov bombs? Drive (yes, many drove to their place of protest), park your personally owned vehicle, and proceed to disrespect your own land?

*Granted, the tanks were totally uncalled for. Brutal and just ugly, but were the bombs, called for? There seems to be some significant hatred going on here...why?

*Taxes are part of a so-called ''democracy''...just by the way. Again, I'm JUST saying :-)

3. Egyptians wanted to eat. Over 2 million of them are homeless - sidewalk/Tahrir Square/cardboard box/tent...same same. This isn't Egypt.

What do Bahrain's protestors want? Exactly?

4. Reform is ongoing. Constitutional concerns: A worldwide problem. Corruption: Please. Show me one country that isn't?

My final question: Yes, there's Governmental problems. Understood. But with health taken care of, education available, subsidies aplenty and opportunities all over the place, I really cannot understand this *high* level of anger. Why are they, so, mad?

Remember. Read carefully. Questions are being asked. Nothing has been stated as fact. I look forward to your tangible, educated answers, if any.

Last (but never least), I offer all of Bahrain's protestors a personal invitation to Africa. Or maybe Iran. A few American ghettos, even. Enjoy an unpleasant dose of harsh reality, genuine struggle, affirmative 'discrimination'. You'll be kissing Bahrain soil and screaming love for King Hamad louder a bunch of excited groupies. PEACE.


  1. and they are saying that its inhuman to tear gas women and children while they were sleeping.. maybe it was! but what were they doing there in the first place..

    they should have think a million times before going out on the streets about the consequences that these actions has to themselves, their families, the economy.. the country they said they love.. and the future..

  2. Very eloquently put, and perfectly reasonable assumptions and comparisons to make. But let's look at the stated aims of the protesters:

    1. Bilateral Constitutional amendments which are binding to address the contentious current Constitution of 2002
    2. The immediate release of political prisoners, some 450 are incarcerated many of whom are children under 18 years of age
    3. Release and increase press freedoms, repeal Law 47/2002
    4. Guard and increase personal freedoms and freedoms of expression
    5. Investigate corruption and return stolen wealth into the state coffers
    6. Repeal Law 56/2002 and bring torturers to justice

    As Mahmood Al-Yousif puts it however: "Are any of these demands unreasonable? Do they differ from the aspirations of any human being?"

    Or as Sadiq al-Ikri, a trauma surgeon at SMC, now in intensive care ward after being attacked by security forces at the roundabout camp, phrased it: "We are not looking to overthrow the regime, They just simply have to be more accountable, and the king has to play a role as a constitutional monarch."

    All those things you have mentioned - the education, healthcare and subsidies,etc - are good things that the Bahraini government has done for its people, and like you say, much more than many governments all over the world, even in the 'developed' world - Hurricane Katrina leaps to mind - but at what cost to the people?

    Is it right that centuries old fishing grounds have been seized for private homes and luxury developments, that land rights have been repealed in order for wealth creation by the powerful few?

    The free, often low grade education that you point to as being good for the people, is seen as a salve for the erosion and denial of their basic human rights. Tamkeen's own research admits that applicants for the jobs it is helping to create lack basic skills.

    Whilst i agree with you that perhaps the protesters should have thought twice about including children and the elderly in the protests, I believe that they chose to because they intended for thee protests to be peaceful. Certainly everything I have read about suggests that there were no weapons in the camp - This was no Thailand. And the attack came without warning, making it impossible for the children to be evacuated.

    For a more academic overview of the issues, as identified by Steven Wright of Georgetown University, download the pdf of his 'Fixing the Kingdom' paper here:

    It was written in 2006, so is somewhat out of date, but predicts that "socio-economic realities such as rising unemployment, poverty, and decreasing standards
    of living are increasingly fostering vocal discontent within sections of Bahraini society and risk a return to the instability of the late 1990s, when unruly violence took on a momentum of its own."

    Unfortunately, in the past few days, we have seen that prediction come to pass.

  3. I agree with you Tim, and thank you for your response. It's made think twice about the situation, certainly. However, I still believe the way in which they went about making these demands, is wrong - and actually quite troublesome. I stand by that.

    I still don't agree that a congested round about (''Square'' has obviously and inaccurately been used by western media for dramatic effect) was a wise, or safe location, by any means.

    They also need to consider that this is not a POPULAR view in Bahrain. Over 20,000 people came out in support of the King and Govt?

    Many in Bahrain are happy. Why should they then be this badly effected by the grievances of some?

    They are valid demands, very valid (and shared with many across the globe), but they aren't popular ones, in Bahrain.

    Again, this is not Egypt. The majority of the island should not be effected...camping on a congested roundabout and sabotaging the entire island's movement, as well as the safety of women and CHILDREN? What for? How does this, really, help?

    Make those demands infront of parliament, park infront of prisons and don't move until demands are met. Isn't that more viable? Or must it be sabotage? Must it have been the country's busiest round about?


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