Will 'real' Bahrainis stand up and be counted
Vol XXVII NO. 115 Tuesday 13 July 2004
By Amira Al Hussaini
The clock is running backwards. Bahrain, the Garden of Eden, will finally become the land of peace and tranquillity it always was. The land of the great Dilmun civilisation, where the crows don't croak and people live in eternal bliss.
There will be no vice, no prostitution, no daylight bank robberies, no drug peddling, smuggling or sniffing, no rape, no incest, no adulterous wives and husbands and no cold-blooded murders and stabbings.
In this utopia, policed by the Mullas, there will be no bribery and no one above the law (except the Mullas themselves).
More important, there will be no women in public office, no women in universities, no women in schools, no women on television, no women on the radio, no women on the street, no women. Full stop.
Instead, there will be men and boys. Little boys, who will have more authority and respect than any woman, just because of their gender.
The righteous will take the rule in their hands and go about bullying ordinary people, mostly women and expatriates, who are down-trodden and lack many of their basic civil rights anyway.
A religious police in Bahrain? What are we talking about exactly? Are those pushing for the idea telling Bahraini authorities that they have failed to uphold security and justice and that a bunch of bearded men can now tell people how to behave, what to wear, when to go to pray, where to go and what to do in their spare time?
Where is this taking us to? Extremist parliamentarians have already managed to alienate many real people from the real Bahrain and what real Bahrainis want. They have already told the world that Bahrain is not looking forward to a brighter tomorrow and that investors are better to take their money elsewhere.
Among their few triumphs have been blocking Big Brother, allowing veiled women to drive and squabbling amongst themselves on who got the biggest share of the limelight in the media.
To all those who want to take us back to the Stone Age, the message is loud and clear. We, the real Bahrainis, want to move forward with the times. We, the real Bahrainis, are the future generation and want to have a better Bahrain for our children. We, the real Bahrainis, are proud that our mothers drove cars, travelled to Europe, can speak English, are working and have brought us up with the freedom of choice. We, the real Bahrainis, have also learned to adapt with this freedom and have never let our families or country down. We too insist on handing this freedom of choice to our children. Parents, society and schools taught us right from wrong and the rest was up to us.
Most of us grew up in homes where there are people with religious inclinations and those with none at all. We all considered ourselves Muslim because it is Allah who judges us on the Last Day of Judgment and not men who have decided to terrorise people and tell them they are implementing Allah's law. We all celebrate Ramadan, Eid and Muharram, and all the religious occasions which fall in between, together as one big family - even those of us who don't wake up early enough for the dawn prayers.
Religion is a personal choice and not that instilled in others through terror and the rule of force. It comes from within and for the virtuous, it remains within. It is not something to show off and it is not a reason to show spite towards others, simply because they have not yet seen the'light.'