Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Column: March 2011. Dedicated to the Kingdom.

As seen every month, in Oh La La Magazine

Err. WOW?

As a non-judgemental, non-Bahraini, who sincerely appreciates Bahrain, let me say this:

There's a unique air of beauty in the Kingdom. A sense of soul, peace and love, unsurpassed. This wasn't generated by a single group, but by the nation's people. It's an overall "Bahraini thing". Can't we just hold on to that? ''B3d?''

It was from 2004 - 2008 that I worked for the United Nations. It had its perks, such as a 7 day holiday every 8 weeks - indeed, sweet. I was stationed in the Horn of Africa, and so decided to visit a number of surrounding countries. Bahrain was one of them. The Formula One Grand Prix, back in 2006. Intrigued (mostly by Michael Jackson making it his choice of residence), off I went to see the Kingdom. Again, and again, and again. 

In fact, in the space of 18 months, I'd visited Bahrain 10 times. Some may call it absurd (whatever), I call it finding a like-minded haven. A cultural balance between tradition and modernity, so suited to my liking. An abundance of spas (I like to self-indulge, you see), a unique sense of hospitality, warmth, and pride. The 'island vibe', with forward thinking. A nicely paced, progressing development, with respect to an impressive history. All I needed really. 

By the end of 2008,  I did an 'MJ'. I too made the rather bold move of making Bahrain my homebase. Without benefits, or any kind of preferential treatment, I, like may other [sunni, shi'ia and international] entrepreneurs in the Kingdom, worked hard, utilised opportunities, enjoyed the tax-free environment, and ended up doing rather well. For that, I would like to thank Bahrain, and all that is within it. 

As with every single country on the planet, there are the noted shortfalls. None however seemed as bad/tragic/corrupt/detrimental to the nation, as what I had witnessed elsewhere; so, once again, I am thankful for Bahrain. 

Looking at this all with a profiler's lens, western media have said enough on the ongoing troubles of our treasured Kingdom, and as a former Public Information specialist with the UN, who had to manage much of them on a number of high level press trips, I am fully aware of the foreign journalists' need to sensationalise (they're called 'hounds' for a reason) . The bloodier the story, the bigger the cheque. Dramatise, and you will be glorified. Simplicity, is key. Destruction = lovely. That pretty much sums up most of their outlook when it comes to coverage.

So, while Mr. ad Mrs. international media scurry across the Kingdom making money off Bahrain's blood, they too have managed to incite hatred, create further divide, and polarise political/social issues in the most unethical, un-investigative manner, imaginable.

Allow me to relay a discussion I had with one of the protestors:

Protestor: Are you trying to say BTV is more reliable than [a Western TV station]? 
Me: Are you trying to say [that Western TV station] is more reliable than BTV? The same station which once accused Obama of being Osama Bin Laden's ally, because their names sounded similar? Have you chosen to support a station that pays for the blood of your brothers and sisters?
Protestors: What do you mean?
Me: The bloodier the story, the more these journalists, who claim to be 'covering Bahrain' - except they've only covered one opinion - are paid.
Protestor: They're paid for that? Really?
Me: Yes, really. They've been accused by pro-Government supporters of being one-sided. But are they? You'd have to care about a situation to take sides.
Protestor: I had no idea they got paid.
Me: Well, now you do. Peace, love and dialogue, with Bahrainis, for Bahrainis, with positive intention for all those who love the land.
Protestor: Hmmm. There is a problem of unity, but I guess we should stand by Bahrain, before anyone else. 
Me: I guess.

God bless you Bahrain. May the issues be resolved in an amicable environment of unity and loyalty. May those who perished, rest in peace, and may the Kingdom become a better, more beautiful place, for all.

One Love. One Bahrain.


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