It’s a special day. Not because Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) is celebrating 44 years of establishment, not because we are approaching Valentines Day and that you should quickly start thinking of ways not to have your house door locks changed when returning home at night, but because today, I have completed 32 years living in this beautiful planet.
Looking back at those 32 years, I ask myself, have I achieved a lot, or did they go wasted? The best way to answer this question is to see myself today, ask if I have a life that many wish they could have, and if I am on track towards accomplishing my goals.
First of all, the biggest thing in my life of which I believe took a lot of effort, sacrifice, investment, time, and commitment, is earning a Ph.D. in Political Science in a university that believes strongly in quantitative analysis. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Political Science discipline can be studied by either qualitative analysis or quantitative analysis. The latter requires a lot of math skills, which I don’t want to brag, but I’m good at. My aim was to earn my Ph.D. before the age of 30. The reason was simple. I read somewhere that a Bahraini citizen must be at least 30 years old if he wants to be a member in the Parliament.
I knew I had no chance of being a member in the parliament myself because I was an officer in BDF and we are not allowed to engage in politics, only cast our votes. In a way, there was a clear conflict of interest. Ever since I joined BDF in 1998, I studied political science, yet we were not allowed to actually practice politics. However, our Commander in Chief’s vision is to encourage officers to earn the highest military and academic degrees in whatever disciplines they are attached to. This tremendously develops the caliber of BDF’s human capital.
Another very big and impossibly unnoticeable part of my life is my lovely family. I consider myself the luckiest person alive. Now that I’m diving a bit more into the blessings that is bestowed upon me and greatly assists me to care and lead my family through our daily lives, the list seemed all of a sudden impossible to list.
Ever since 1980, my life one way or another was circulating around the militarized discipline of the BDF. Because my father was the commander of the engineering corps, the camp in Hamala was like my second home. I joined them during their PT sessions (Physical Training), I cheered their football team, and did a lot of stopovers for tea. In the summer times, I used to join a camp called “a course for the sons of BDF officers”. There, they train us young kids how to march, swim, and some Taekwondo as well.
As they say, what goes around comes around. It didn’t take much time for me to have those who I have cheered for in the engineering corps football team become my coaches in Muharraq Football Club. I’ve only spent around 3 years in the club, but I have learned a lot in those few years. It was more like hanging out in Muharraq for the hour before practice, and then hanging out till nighttime after practice. I was extremely in love with the streets of Muharraq, which began to have a negative effect on my grades, which contributed to locking myself in Riffa for the next few years till graduation. I have to be honest, once I was done with homework; I gave Riffa streets enough to be granted a Riffa street certificate as well.
I never came close from having my school friends’ parents prevent them from hanging out with me. What made me survive staying away from the ‘black list’ is a combination of two things. First, my grades were good. Second, ever since I was a kid, I always respected the elders, no matter who they are. My teachers never had a problem with me because I was always the ‘Yes Sir’ guy. I never spoke back to them. When I was in school, I used to visit my friends not to do homework together, but to teach and prepare them for the next day’s test. I remember completing my test, leaving the classroom, and then anxiously waiting for those who I have taught to come out and tell me how they think they did.
When I graduated from IKNS in 1998, I literally thought that the party life had just started. Then came ‘Hell Week” at The Citadel. In this week, I was ready to confess that Bin Laden is my older brother, just to get a full, uninterrupted hour of sleep. The first year at The Citadel was so tough it makes you doubt that whether ‘Hazing’ is illegal, or was it a pre-requisite to becoming a sophomore! Well, all I can say about The Citadel is that I’ve ‘been there, done that’.
I strongly believe that had I not gone to The Citadel, I wouldn’t have survived the streets of America. The reason is simple, one cannot do the things he/she does here in the streets of Bahrain, there on the streets of America. There, you can’t just park anywhere, honk to an Indian in 7/11, and ask for a chicken fillet and a Banana juice! You can’t park on the sidewalk, and you definitely cannot do a two-wheeler in your 85 Suzuki!
Fast forward to today, and I’m blessed with a family that I love, and am happily married with 4 beautiful kids, a job that I believe in, colleagues that I like, living healthy, in the most beautiful country, and with friends who always ask about me. All I can say is AlHamdullah (Thank You God).
I cannot disregard the fact that Bahrain’s leadership made Bahrain an island that if you work hard, you can reach all your dreams. The key here is, work hard, and work constructively. Thank you Allah for your blessings and for a wonderful leadership.
Happy 44th Birthday to BDF, and Happy 32nd Birthday to me!