Ever since the turn of ’11 we all have been monitoring the news closely, people who never knew which channel was CNN, are now critics cause of the 12 months intensive news course we (Arabs) gained.
In Bahrain we have our own experience; as everyone else (my generation) on this island I had my first encounter back in ’94 when troubles started on the streets; the very same faces we see today, we saw back then with few different names added or removed…
Violence was the headline back then; where burning tires and all the writings on the wall became the 90’s thing; shiite Islamic personnel where the ones manning the front lines of that movement, where most of them formed Al Wefaaq National Islamic Society later… The main demand back then were constitutional reforms, a parliament, and equal share of responsibilities and obligations for both Shiites & Sunnite; and, people & ruling family…
Then came his Majesty the King, taking it from where his late father Prince Issa left it to him. He came with a total makeover to this Arabian island; from granting all exhiled political Bahrainis a full pardon, to establishing a national dialogue that resulted the agreed upon national charter and re-establishing the parliament.
As I recall, the King himself paid visits to religious leaders, and known families to put his hands on how to please all to move on; from there all scholars (including many other fronts) strongly advised their followers to vote for the newly adapted charter.
Few months down the line, after the official formation of political societies few boycotted the first parliamentary elections the island have witnessed in years; claiming that the charter was not executed the way they were promised. From a personal observation I couldn’t locate where the fault was, all I heard was ( we were cheated)! I myself have the first edition of the charter, and the newly printed… Identical!
The situation back then was somehow semi-stable, young boys (mostly) flirting with riot police on weekends, it gets bad around the national day (which was called “martyrs day” by Haq movement if I’m not mistaken) and around F1… Yet it was very stable compared to what we went through during the 90’s.
Then just right before the 2nd parliamentary elections, Al Wefaq and it’s affiliates decided to go with the flow and actually take part in the political game, and leave the streets. And so they did… It was so messy. They gave so many promises to the streets, and so many were not realistic at all, beside calling their opponents infidels and not trustworthy for being Liberal mainly. They won that round with distinct… Yet their supporters expectations were faced with nothing but excuses that the government is working against us, through their personnel within the parliament… Welcome to politics people, I mean I’m not claiming otherwise, but what did you think? That it would be a walk in the park? Either ways, the day they decided to enter the political front, naturally they should leave the streets… Leaving some pissed people there…
Then with the last elections last year, there were some rumours that they might boycott the parliament, that went to dust when they hit the polls very strong with 18 seats.
With the turn of 2011 and the winds of change storming the middle east, Tunisia & Egypt going under drastic political storms due to so-called young movements, and what seems to be every Arab leadership’s nightmare… Internet! Many took the initiative to try to do the same as their brothers and sisters did in those two nations, if not… At least they’ll settle for reforms, so everyone goes home happy.
So, it started in Bahrain with a facebook page made by a group of Bahrainis whom had it with the situation, and wanted to do it their way, keeping political societies out of the picture; while societies stayed on the bench observing, looking at the worst that could happen. Initially it was very small, then it got bigger and bigger… The 14th feb (that’s what they called themselves) lads took it to the next level; lacking a leader, political societies barged in when Ebrahim Sharif and Ali Salman blessed the movement.
The situations then escalated, when the Crown Prince appeared out of no where on national TV calming everyone down, and asking them to a dialogue… As a sign of good faith he freed political prisoners, and pardoned self exiled Hassan Mushaima.
By the return of Mushaima to the island I’m sure everyone noticed the crack in the wall of trust between everyone… Where the 14th feb people stood by their demands, and political societies reached where they never dreamt of reaching on the young blood’s account… They started exaggerating… Some wanted a republic, others wanted the resignation of the government, while others wanted the prosecution of the ruling family and so on…
A rally was organized by the 14th feb people to march towards the royal court, at a time where no one went back to the Crown Prince on his offer, the societies took a step back and had a rally of their on around the renowned Pearl Roundabout; the 14th feb supporters went with their plan, and the next day to the King’s house! Without the blessings of the scholars and the societies…. The very next day was the day everyone evacuated the roundabout by full force of the government with the backup of the Peninsula Shield.
A year down the line now; I can positively say we are way back beyond The year ’94. The kingdom under a political chaos, Anarchy, 14th feb guys are left alone in the dark, with no leadership, political societies are taking the scene with the backup of their in-house scholars, thugs roaming the streets; civil war-like events are taking place, middle eastern unrest… Armageddon if I may say!
Where are we going from here? What are the demands? Today, not yesterday, not last month… Today? Who’s the leader? Who’s accountable? And mainly who’s authorized to discuss such demands with the Crown Prince, that’s if the dialogue still stands; which I highly doubt…
I would like to know now; do you have a backup plan? Although I’m sure not; I would like to know… I’m a Bahraini and have a right just like everyone else does on this island, what’s next?
High expectations are the key to everything… On occasions… When there was a chance to discuss a way out, why the hell no one stepped up and did it… Now you get nothing, plus you get wiped. As always, we (Bahrainis) get to share the good and the bad, just by staying home and absolutely do nothing!
From the denial cave of my own existence,
Dr. Ahmed Alkhuzaie