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Braving the masses...

Vol XXVI NO. 326 Monday 9 February 2004

By Amira Al Hussaini

THE manners of Bahraini men or rather boys whose bodies have grown faster than their mentalities have certainly gone down the drain.

Our bad luck took us to the Autumn Fair on its last day (Jan 30).

Two of my sisters, my aunt, a cousin and I decided to brave the masses and spend the evening shopping there. It was a nightmare.

Forget about the traffic and the fact that there weren't sufficient parking lots. We were ready for it all when taking last-minute bargains into consideration.

What really got to me is the number of boys and in many cases grown men who were loitering around with the idea that any woman - however conservatively dressed - was game.

Don't those people have sisters, mothers and wives? What benefit do they get from rubbing their bodies against 12 and 14-year-olds?

Shouldn't there be security cameras and police on hand to see what these ill- mannered specimens do in crowds?

Such harassment is unacceptable, particularly in a Muslim country. It was a Friday and many of these little pests were just a few hours from performing their noon prayers.

Each and every one of us was harassed in one way or another. I really felt disgusted.

When my 15-year-old sister, who wears the Abaya and Hijab, turned around and asked one youth behind her to stop touching her, he simply laughed and tried touching her again.

Who rescued us? A Pakistani porter who walked us all the way to the car, carried the things we bought and also apologised for the manner in which the Bahraini boys were behaving.

On top of all this, he refused to take any tip.

Why didn't I report the incident to the police? Because I know it will be a futile exercise.

More than a year ago, me and my sister were attacked by a gang of five drunken Saudis, who pulled my sister out of the car and bit her.

The thugs were caught, taken to court, fined BD40 each and released. That was justice in the eyes of the law.

At the Autumn Fair, I took action. I turned around and hit one of the pests following us with a copper artefact I had bought from the Iranians. Now I wish I had bought a heavy marble ornament from one of the Pakistani traders. It would have been really handy and more effective.

I would have felt much better - whatever the consequences were.

At least I would have taken justice with my own hands.

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