Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
It's been a while since I've written anything, partly because I've been busy at work and unable to find the time or inspiration to write anything meaningful and partly because what I've been hearing, reading and seeing (sometimes even smelling) has just exacerbated the stress and writer's block I've been having lately.
Daily riots and demonstrations have become business as usual in Bahrain and I can't help but think, "when were they ever NOT?" We have always had the occasional burning tire or the frequent demonstration until it was recently called "the land of the million marches". But recently it has reach ridiculous proportions. Those constant promises of returning to the promised land and consequently ruining every possible happy occasion you can think of have raised the hate guage to maximum levels and hostilities have increased exponentially on social media. And the trouble is it is no longer just two groups of people fighting to impose their views on one another but each of these groups now has several groups within themselves...
So many categories of people have arisen with each side representing a new school of thought (sarcastically speaking) with their initial affiliation still intact.
1. The hard-core loyalists: these are the people who would give their left eye for the ruling family and primarily the Prime Minister. To them the government is always right even when it's not. They abhor the opposition of all kinds and with no exceptions.
2. The conditional loyalists: They are hard-core loyalists until the government does any positive move towards bringing tensions down that might have the smell of leaning towards pleasing the opposition however minuscule it may be... And then they turn to sarcasm and condemnation and will criticize the government till their heart's content.
3. The loyalist opposition: they have pledged full allegiance to the Government but if they see an opportunity for improvement they will voice it out even if it goes against what the government's wishes. They are often called the positive opposition because they believe in keeping and reforming the existing system rather than the toppling calls of some other categories. They attempt to make sense of the government's moves possibly for their own peace of mind but mostly to calm down the previous group and to prove good will to the world.
4. The reformists: they try not to cloud their purpose with any sort of loyalty but rather focus on political and social reforms whoever they may serve. They believe that they have the best interests of Bahrain in mind and as a result manage to anger both sides of the spectrum even though they don't intend to. They also refer to themselves as "moderates".
5. The moderate opposition: they are a confused bunch; while they vehemently support the Feb14 movement which calls for the fall of the "regime" they have been seen to oppose some of their practices but some think they only do so to appear moderate. They never praise anything good that comes out of the government and they hardly ever comment on the illegal actions of the destructive opposition and even defend them at times. But they're moderates by self proclamation so let's leave it at that.
6. The negative opposition: this is where most of the opposition societies and human rights activists fall. They are the puppet masters behind the movement and have launched a full-fledged cold war against the government with the sole aim of seeing it removed from power. Their war is made up mostly of negative publicity and economic destruction and they will lie through their teeth to achieve their objective.
7. The destructive opposition: this is the rogue group thought at first to be the small fraction that has hijacked the original protests and caused all the violence at the beginning. But now we see that it is a disease that has spread throughout the opposition villages causing daily destruction and violence against property, civilians and police. They often come out at night masked and hardly clothed. They burn tires and blow up gas cylinders and throw bricks at policemen. They graffiti property and burn schools and run over policemen with their cars. These people have completely lost their sense of purpose and have taken the streets as their home and have become immune to tear gas.
So with this 7-point scale If each person in Bahrain assesses him/herself according to their "school of thought" what will the demographics of this conflict look like? What if instead of Sunni/Shia statistics, we could fall under one of these categories and see who "wins" the numbers game? Obviously the answer is NOBODY.
Loyalists have turned against each other and have lost sight of the big picture. Where the ultimate objective of the loyalists or "pro-govs" as we are often called was to restore confidence and stability to Bahrain and basically bring it back to the peaceful and quiet island it always was, the groupings have obstructed their visions and different groups started having different objectives. The focus has completely been lost and instead of all of us pulling into the same direction, we started pulling in different directions and as a result weakening our position in the eyes of the world.
All the while, and even though the opposition has also broken up into different categories, they are still aligned in their goals. They still know what they want and they are using each others strengths to achieve it. Their messages to the world have been consistent and they have never lost sight of the ends they have been trying to reach however much they may disagree with the means.
Dear categories 1 to 3 and even 4: our cause is a good one. We are the non-violent peaceful parties, we keep our neighborhoods clean and our walls free of graffiti and our tires on our cars instead of burning in the middle of some road. We never hit anyone with Molotov cocktails or bricks and we certainly didn't lay down any metal rods and spikes and spilled oil on roads to cause harm to others. We did not lie or distort facts or kill each other to prove our point. We didn't plot for coup attempts for decades and we did not commit 1000 legal and social violations like stop teaching our kids or leave our patients to go out to protest or turn our schools into political arenas and we certainly didn't set out to cause major material harm to Bahrain's economy.
It's time to realign and refocus and be more consistent. It is time for people all over the world to remember the newly awakened Giant and the force behind the number. The Gathering Of National Unity is more than just Sh. Abdullatif Al Mahmood or a name registered now as a political society. It is what brought us together and put our voices out there in the first place and the spirit is what needs to be kept alive.
And I pray for the day when 1 to 7 become ONE...