Well, if not today, then maybe tomorrow. When I used to fly back from America to Bahrain during my study times, I use to take my time thinking a lot while flying over Europe. It seemed like I was flying over less and less developed countries until I reach the border to the Middle East. I’d say to myself that I really don’t want to be living here, in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and northern parts of Saudi Arabia. Then, at once, the aircraft lands in Bahrain and I get this great relief seeing nicely paved roads, shining traffic lights, lightning billboards, clean cars, and a nice musically soft Arabic Bahraini accent.
Now, living in Bahrain for few years, I kind of got bored. I want more, I want the things that made my life so easy back in America, the things that I see when visiting Europe, and most, I want Bahrain to be Singapore. Yes, we tend to live life always comparing ourselves to others, where sometimes, or most of the times, we find ourselves better and luckier. However, I don’t want to settle, I want to be the best.
The world today is changing. Good countries are going to get better, bad countries are going to get worse. Those in the middle, like us, can go either ways and it is up to us on where we want to take our country. It is not about where we are right now, it is about where do we want to go?
As a nation, we have achieved a lot, and are credited for that. Many statistics on the Arab world show Bahrain in the leading pact. Sometimes we are the first, other times we are in the top five, but the truth remains that we are much above the average Arab country. Is that good enough?
Heck No! We are blessed with many things here in Bahrain. Amongst them is a leadership that is striving to always move this country forward, a geographic location that can serve us well, and a relatively more flexible country due to our small, but respectable land size. We need to use this really well.
Using the many tools that we have, and knowing where we want to reach, the question remains on how do we reach our goals? The answer to this question is easily said than done. For once, we have a major political issue in Bahrain, where the Shia opposition are clueless on how to run a country. They seem to misunderstand that democracy is a bridge that takes you towards prosperity, which is the ultimate goal of every forward-looking nation. They’ve been demonstrating for eleven years, in Parliament for more than five of them, and I have not once seen a policy recommendation that addresses independence from Natural Resources. In fact, almost all their mandates have to do with more and more dependence on wealth from Natural Resources. Personally, it’s really not the beards and turbans that turn me off, it’s simply the rationale.
Quite frankly, most of the Parliamentarians in Bahrain are stuck with the idea that whatever money the government makes should be distributed to the people, when in fact developed nations take money from the people to spend on investments and to solidify the regulatory systems. Are we doing that?
I’ve spoken to many officials and non-officials who are interested in this somehow new to them phenomenon. Their answer is quite simple, the people won’t accept. Of course they won’t, because no one is explaining to them about their interests in it.
Japan for example, once introduced new policies that would take an unpleasant hit on their citizens for a period of time before eventually benefiting everyone, came out explaining word by word on how important it is for the future of the nation to take this step. The people understood, agreed, and now that nation has moved on and is better off. Why can’t we do this?
Well thought-out article. There are many people (in every country) who would like nothing better than to live off the government or society if given the chance. It seems that the entire world has taken on a “give me I am entitled” type attitude. Who wouldn’t want to have the best of everything with no effort!
I admit that I am no expert. just an average person and have not been here for very long, but in looking at Bahrain there are many things here that as an American I am jealous of. The health care, the subsidized prices of petrol and some food items, the housing (even if there is a wait-list) just to mention a few. I have friends back home who have to decide whether to buy food or petrol – and this is with a “good” full-time job, and just forget about going to the doctor if you need to.
That being said, everyone needs to have rights and opportunities but this should not come at the expense of others living their own lives around you. It truly seems that the “protesters” have forgotten that everyone else have rights too – the right to drive without road blocks, the right to breathe clean air with no tire smoke, the right to express a different view… the very same rights that they say they want! Throwing molotov cocktails, burning trash, blocking roads is not doing anything except proving that they have no respect for others in the neighborhood. How can anyone believe that the people behind this could possibly run a country if they can’t control something like this!
The violence here needs to be stopped before any changes can be made. Everyone just needs to open their hearts and minds and really listen to everything that is being said. There has been too much in-fighting and eveyone just needs to take a step back and see that your wonderful society is being destroyed – hopefully before it is too late!
Great comment! Thank you very much!
i think you are sadly missing some points here and we as Bahrainis need to acknowledge. Sure, we live in quite a wealthy part of the world with oil and subsidies left, right and center. people from abroad coming to Bahrain are bewildered to see why Bahrainis would complain (relative to the more difficult life and standards of living in western countries), but you forgot one thing. i can’t describe it to you but just go (and I am go really inside) the Sitra villages, Budaiya small villages, and feel the air. Feel the warmth (or lack thereof), feel the level of choice, freedom, and positive aspirations if you can find it in those people’s faces. If anything, check the Al Arabiya reporting from the inside of those village and the way children today are taught.
there’s a psychological and social breakdown happening that no democracy nor new PM nor a new iranian-style leadership would fix, and that’s the deterioration of morals, goals, and motivation to live a normal life. People in these neighborhoods will commit suicide (in fact their mothers openly say they would be proud) if they died in the hands of the ‘evil ones’ (aka the police). It’s psychological break-down. Forget economics, politics, and social change for a moment. These people come from broken families with no father figure or any figure that puts them in the right path. Of course the right path to you and me would be something, for them, the path could be ‘fight-fight-fight to death’.
all I’m saying is, Bahrain is going down due to societal negligence. What’s the point of putting reforms forward when Bahraini citizens are not even humane enough to work and contribute just like any good and positive citizen would be to his or her country?? People will burn furniture and tires for generations to come. People will speak of ‘police brutality’ whether it truly occurred or occurred in their heads. In the end, it has and will re-occur for generations.
i suggest firstly that us as Bahrainis need to acknowledge and take small steps in rehabilitating these villages, and turn around these people’s lives. I also suggest the government to immediately acknowledge the break-down of morals in such neighborhoods and establish national rehabilitation programs in each village permanently.
i also don’t have to tell you this, but westerners in Bahrain are becoming a bit weary. let alone us Bahrainis. There’s an air of depression, and you can sense it from people wanting a ‘change of scenery’ or the ‘air is dead’ comments. Some fortunate enough could escape this and go to Durrat or Amwaj (artificial places if you ask me), but for the rest, they can’t afford living such lifestyles. I mean look at today. highways and streets are empty because of the marches all over the island. Depending on where you are and how close you are to the action, all you hear are police sirens throughout the night. This is not Bahrain anymore, this is the worst US neighborhoods with nightly firings, this is Afghanistan with bare-footed children roaming freely in the night with molotovs in their hands putting themselves into danger. Heavy black smoke (from burning tires) streams through the inner streets just waiting to choke the next victim. Bahrain is open for the world to see and this what you will see once you enter these villages. Let’s keep the blame game until later, but for now we need to acknowledge that it exists.
we need mental and health experts in Bahrain. We don’t want any other help, and we need them now
Excellent and priceless comment. Thank you very much for your input and I totally agree. Perhaps to write a whole article on it.
I agree to a large extent to all you have written .
However its important the country improves in all aspects not just economics. Accountability and democracy are the hallmarks of sustainable development. You can’t focus on ‘good roads and hospitals’ when your citizens have no say in how they will be governed. While democracy isn’t the end of the story,it at least ensures the government is accountable to its own people.
I suggest you use your influence to push this fact within the Royal family and not beat about the bush as if all is well in our dear Bahrain.
The earlier ‘rational’ people like you fully appreciate the status quo cannot hold, the better.
Its easy to be far removed from the daily tear gas in the homes and streets(remember Zenga,Zenga ) of Bahrain ,as we have seen from Asma Assad shopping online,while her home town was under bombardment.
You did not choose to be an Al Khalifa,but you can choose your stand on the challenges facing Bahrain. I pray Allah guides you .
I’d have to thank you and respectfully point to the fact that democracy is not am engine made somewhere in Germany with a fan that cools it off when used in hot places like Bahrain. There are many prerequisites to democracy and we need to achieve that first in order for it to be sustainable.
You are very correct ,as every country needs to develop its own system.
But judging by the numbers on the streets regularly,stakeholders need to get cracking on this urgently ,before Bahrain gets to the point of no return !
I’m againt Velayat e Fiqh by the way 🙂 .
Run a country like its a corporation? The objective of democracy is prosperity? Are you really a political analyst? What about liberty, dignity and individual and collective resposibility and accountability? What about equality, identity? We are not employees of a family business dear (well, you might be!) – we are citizens!
There was once a friend who insisted that he knew how to play the violin, but then this sound came…. Well let me just say you are way off tune.
Citizens are not employees my friend, the are the customers who will benefit from good services.