My dilemma is not what I could have called this article be it a Letter to America, the United Kingdom and European Union or what but ----
The legitimacy of criticism of Bahrain is largely based on one false claim, the supposition that Bahrain is a “Dictatorship”. This is the core of all domestic campaigning and international public relations for those working to undermine the status of Bahrain. It is a claim widely made by dissidents, often then erroneously repeatedly reported in the Western press. For the media the use of such an evocative word is seen as the shortest route for them to pinpoint or to define instantly, the villain of the peace, of guaranteeing there can be no doubts, no legitimate argument against them, the free press in confronting what they see as this identified evil. For those who claim to oppose or stand against the dictator of Bahrain, the use of such terminology is considered essential, compulsory. Its use will ensure, in fact will legitimizes all their actions even to the point of them entertaining or supporting those acts which in other circumstances, would be labeled, that of treason or of terrorism.
The “Bahrain dictatorship” is the favored terminology of the Human rights lobby and similarly that of the dissidents they afford sanctuary. It is frequently used to sanctify their cause and undermine any potential support for the Kingdom. One does not have to google hard to find examples of its use. Saeed Shehabi the prime mover behind the Bahrain Freedom movement and other dissidents groups in London, a proven Iranian agent and provocateur wrote in Global Research, “Campaign to arrest Alkhalifa dictator’s torturer son”. In the mainstream press the attacks are often even more direct as in “The Independent” where on 6 August 2013 Nigel Morris Deputy Political Editor headlined “David Cameron entertains Bahrain’s dictator King Hamad al-Khalifa”. Forbes magazine Mark Adomanis used the bias of comparative myopia “Dictatorship and Double Standards: Bahrain is more repressive than Russia”, to make his point. Then of course we have to consider the ramblings of George Galloway. A man who has called Bahrain’s Monarchy every name under the sun, some of which in comparison make the label of Dictator honorable; Galloway is a man who has met and spoken favorable about despotic Ayatollahs, praised Bashar al Assad and stated that Hezbollah chief “Nasrallah should be the president of Lebanon!” While he received payment from Iranian state-owned Press TV of £100,650 and from Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV of £96,000, he claims to be a man of principle; one who has stood at the forefront of protests along side Bahraini dissidents at London Rallies, against the Dictator of Bahrain. As someone who also has received £62,400 from “Russia Today” for services rendered possible our George could explain to Mark Adomanis of Forbes if he thinks comparing Bahrain to Russia was in his opinion a wise choice.
Look the word up in any dictionary; a dictatorship is a government or a social situation where, “One” person makes all the rules and decisions without input from anyone else, dictatorship implies by definition “Absolute Power”. One assumes therefore in the case of Bahrain, for the country to be correctly defined as a Dictatorship by implication, it is His Majesty King Hamad who has absolute power, it is the King who makes all the decisions.
So like many people in Bahrain both local and expatriate alike I find myself in a bit of a predicament, a quandary of how to explain away the latest round of elections both parliamentary and municipal held last November. How do I explain to people that Bahrain is a different type of Dictatorships, it is one that has elections? It is a dictatorship so different that it was the opposition theocrats, who claim to represent 70% of the people who say they seek democracy that cried foul and issued fatwa’s to boycott the elections? A strange scenario if ever there was; my dilemma starts therefore as a consequence when I consider what to do, how to avoid questions on the subject of dictatorship, fatwa’s and elections.
· Do I ignore the 53% turnout because it is down from the 67% of 2010, when there was no boycott because the theocrats claim they by default still represent a 70% majority that didn’t vote?
· Do I agree to the point made that the theocrats had every right to wage a campaign of intimidation and threats including acts of actual violence against candidates and voters because Bahrain after all, has been declared, labeled in the media a dictatorship?
· Do I agree with the media therefore, that is the theocrats that seek real democracy and consequently I should follow their latest fatwa’s of disobedience, of resistance?
Alas another sleepless night is needed as I ponder these points, how do I choose between a dictatorship with elections or a fatwa controlled democracy run by theocrats.
Another puzzle that adds to my problem is how it could possibly be that, “in line with the framework agreement of the National Dialogue to enhance government cooperation, a new Government Action Plan 2015-2018 (GAP) has been agreed between the legislative authority and the government, after extensive negotiations with the Council of Representatives”. That’s a mouthful; did I miss something in my reading, National dialogue implementations, negotiations, parliamentary committees, representatives and government plans, how quaint!
I hadn’t realized this is how a dictator dictates, uses absolute power, sets the Government strategic priorities on a whim and actions them with the click of a finger. I must have missed something during my last vacation.
Indeed it is a peculiarity of Bahrain’s draconian dictatorial system that, each Ministry initially submits its own ministerial proposals to the Government through the Cabinet, as their contribution to the draft action plan. The King is not the point of contact that remains as before, the office of the Prime Minister, HRH Khalifa bin Salman. Here the proposals are deliberated on to produce an outline draft. As head of the Government, it is the Prime Minister, on behalf of the various home Ministers that is responsible for the document as presented at the opening of Bahrain’s bicameral Parliament. Thereafter, not as a concession to people power or as the media would have us believe under the shadow of an iron fist, but as agreed through the National dialogue, it is left to the MP’s of the Council of Representatives through various sub-committees and general sessions of their choosing, to consider the proposed document. To table any substantive changes, additions, and/or to make amendments. The council tabled 31 fundamental changes and overall a total of 52 recommendations, all of which were subsequently then incorporated into the now newly approved GAP. Further, Parliament we are told, at this time of writing, continues discussion and review with the Government on the state budget, in support of the implementation of the GAP.
As to my predicament time for a pause; there is I would say, a slight information gap, a small difference between the myth of the media, the declared dictatorship and the reality seen in daily life in Bahrain, that of a working constitutional Monarchy in action. Should I put this down as just another big western media oops, of ignorance or assign it to media bias, an open hostility toward Gulf Arabs, the begatters of Osama in general in favor of foreign flavored republican theocrats aligned to those across the waters of the Gulf sitting on a nuclear time bomb. Those currently being offered tea and biscuits, even doughnuts in Geneva, the new best friends of the west who WILL have to import more cranes and lampposts just to handle their current rush of home grown admirers.
Back to Bahrain, where despite its problems and attempts at economic sabotage since 2011 by our democratic seeking peaceful theocrats, the country remains the regional home to many multinational firms and more than 400 banks and financial institutions who account for over a quarter of GDP. It continues to improve and extend its modern communications and transportation infrastructure and retain its cosmopolitan outlook. It even has a free trade agreement with the US. According to the 2015 Economic Freedom index the country “continues to be the freest economy in the Middle East/North Africa region with impressive long-term improvements in financial, investment, and labor freedoms that have transformed the kingdom into a competitive trade and financial hub that leads the region in many areas”. Now that is a situation that didn’t come to pass overnight. Therefore one has to admit that the critics must be right since lying only 18th on the Economic Freedom index chart a few points behind the UK at 13th and the US at 12, Bahrain will certainly have to improve its performance if it is to stay ahead of the Middle East’s only real democracy Israel, positioned at 33rd. So whom shall we blame for Bahrain not topping the list, well that is an easy question to answer? Like everything else that is wrong with the country; the government led by the Prime Minister of course! It is he who coordinates, actions, ensures the government follows the GAP, besides it is he who also has renewed efforts to further enhance the foundations of economic freedom with greater transparency, outlawed corruption and waste, policies that surely will undermine the status quo. We certainly should not seek to blame those that sanction economic sabotage from their pulpits and highchairs.
Personally speaking I think a few more very British “pull your finger” out dictates are in order, this surely would provide the solution; it remains however something I shall not loose sleep over.
On the trail of the tyrant and Human Rights abuses in Bahrain, we are told the dictator has locked up all who oppose him, denied them the right of assembly and freedom of speech. How often do you read the jails are full of tortured and abused prisoners, all human rights defenders, doctors, teachers, journalists or trade unionists? All are innocent, falsely imprisoned by the dictator for exercising their rights. Not a single criminal among them. Like CAGE in the UK and their Jidhadi John assessment “he is a nice man” many groups that accuse Bahrain as has been said before are like CAGE apologists, a cover for terrorism. These groups fail to mention the village militias, the street thugs, the child soldiers urged on by their peers and theocratic masters who are responsible for 29,000 attacks against security forces since February 2011, that is an average of 20 a day. When did you last read in a HR report of the 14 police officers that have been killed or the 3124 injured? The hundred or so that have, as a consequence of this violence suffered life changing injuries as a result, or for that matter, when did you see an international Human Rights Society condemn the murder of any of the 16 innocent Asian workers that have died at the hands of these peaceful protesters during that time. According to rights groups’ actions against the “Bahrain dictatorship” requires no explanation; violent rioters and terrorist bombers alike are only people peacefully exercising their rights of assembly, it is the police who are at fault. They have no right to confront or crackdown on such people; it is not the responsibility of the police to protect the rights of the balance of society.
After the events of 2011, Bahrain sanctioned the BICI report, put it self on trial. What did those that claim Bahrain a dictatorship do, besides point their fingers. Did they reciprocate; allow an assessment of their part in the crisis. No way their hands are clean, after all they were following the instructions of a fatwa. The Bahrain government on the other hand accepted the findings of the report without flinching took it medicine with dignity and has now taken action on most of the BICI report recommendations. It also now allows the Red Cross continuous free and unfettered access to its prisons. It has established the office of an independent Ombudsman, an official with teeth, with the ability to transfer cases to the Public Prosecution and to investigate reported cases of abuse or the mistreatment of individuals. In all the only complaint from others governments on the implementation of the BICI report, has been that progress on some points has been slow or incomplete. It has been four years, how long did it take to ban slavery in the US or will it take to close Guantanamo Bay. The theocrats contribution in the meantime to progress and reform can be summed up thus far in one word – “boycott” - reinforced by violence on the street.
In 2011 Bahrain faced an attempted coup by groups led largely by sectarian theocrats whose allegiance to the Kingdom is questionable. The majority, a reflection of the 53% that turned out in the last election are a testament to the fact that the coup never had as claimed, majority support. It was and still is only supported by one sect. A sect that does not see the need for reconciliation talks, national dialogues or elections, their argument has been from the start, their way or no way, a case of all or nothing.
As to a conclusion time for you to decided, for me its time to go drop my wife off at church, yes church. For those that didn’t know, Bahrain has churches; it also has a synagogue plus a good number of Hindu temples and even a few cathedrals. Alas for me a druid, I have to admit there is no Stonehenge for me to visit, religious discrimination well not really as I prefer to make do as normal with a trip down to my local pub to extol the virtues of a bacon butty washed down with a gin and tonic.
PS As an after thought there is one thing that I can say with certainty about Bahrain - should the theocrats succeed, one can kiss freedom of religion, woman’s rights and all other freedoms enjoyed in this dictatorship GOOD-BYE, just look at the countries these clerics wish to emulate - Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Further reading two items that didn’t make the international news – the first illustrates a progressive government - the second the stance on personal freedom of the theocratic opposition.
A medical examiner's report shows that an inmate arrested for drug related charges was beaten to death in custody, a court heard. The doctor was cross-examined at the High Criminal Court yesterday, where he said Bahraini Hassan Al Shaikh died as a result of severe injuries to his head, back and chest. Six Bahrainis, including three high-ranking officers, are standing trial in connection with Mr Al Shaikh's death and the torture of three other people.
The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) launched on the sidelines of the 28th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) yesterday, a drive to obtain greater legal protection for Shiite women in domestic disputes such as divorce and child custody. A Family Law for Sunni Muslims has been in place in Bahrain since 2009, but Shiite political groups led by Al Wefaq National Islamic Society previously vetoed a similar law for the Shiite community based on objections from their religious leaders.
George Galloway: “Nasrallah should be the president of Lebanon!”
George Galloway Praises Syrian Dictator Bashar al Assad and denies human rights violations
George Galloway's outside earnings third highest of all MPs