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?