Blame the Government for Sectarianism?


For this week, I have two very important topics to discuss. One is on a recently uncovered scandal about an International Human Rights organization, and the second is about explaining more of the sectarian reality in Bahrain. The first begins when an anonymous person sent me a tape with him/her arguing with a senior figure who belongs to a famous Human Rights organization regarding the situation in Bahrain. In a nutshell, some conspiracy theories that I used to never believe are becoming more plausible after I heard what I heard.

I won’t discuss this topic today, and may do so later, if I haven’t decided to hand over the tape to a journalist (Let me know if you’re interested). I can say that I do now stand by the decision of my government not allowing some Human Rights organizations come to Bahrain, because they really have other goals in mind, that can be harming if applied today.

About few weeks ago, I received an email from a Masters student, named Reza Akbari, requesting to meet me. I really admired his approach and the fact that he was willing to come to Bahrain all the way from Washington, D.C. simply to have a better and more solid understanding for his thesis. He was working with a partner, Jason Stern. He asked good questions and I knew that he will eventually produce a report that is one of the best of its kind, and they did right here.

I read it, and I liked it, with only few comments that I think would very much add to the quality of their work. First and foremost, I think that with the time and effort they have placed, they could not have done a better job. It was nothing less than excellent for its type. But, if this was a paper for a course in Ph.D. or a research to be published in a renowned journal, then my suggestion is to invest in finding out why the issue of sectarianism has risen from last year’s events.

I, for example, am friends with many Bahrainis who call themselves ‘liberals’, or should I say, used to call themselves that. Now, they’d prefer to buy their coffee from Starbucks, a store that many used to boycott because of its ties to Israel, than from Costa Coffee, a store owned by a Shia multimillionaire. What happened?

Well, many people here, their friends, and cooperatives elsewhere directly blame the government, or the Information Affairs Authority (IAA) for being the reason behind driving last year’s protests towards sectarianism. Reza and Stern, mentioned above, have bought this argument and said that it is a move by the government to ‘divide and rule.’ You see, anyone who knows the government pretty well, such as myself, would agree that the government really had no clue what to do, let alone strategize exactly how to take care of the protests. Everybody was on his own!

I think, given my background, I’m at a very comfortable position to make some conclusions, so hang tight. I’ve been in the Army for many years, have worked for the IAA, and have a modest Political Science background. Like many Bahrainis, I followed closely the events before, during and after they had happened. If the government had a strategy, they wouldn’t have allowed the protests to reach the roundabout and camp there in the first place, because it was illegal. Put simply, the government had no idea that the media would end up being the tool to win or lose.

When it came to media, and I know it, each TV presenter had the total ‘Freedom’ to discuss whatever he/she wanted and accept phone calls from citizens who wanted to raise their concerns about important issues they saw necessary. So the issue is not ‘why did you order this presenter to use a sectarian tone in his show’, but more like ‘why have you not stopped the presenter from showing his emotions.’ Think about it for a second and you’ll see my point.

So the million dollar question is, why are people in Bahrain becoming more extreme and will they reconcile after all this? One thing that TV presenters on Bahrain TV have done, as well as Islamists from the Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood, is to uncover to the citizens of Bahrain and the Arab world the Shia extremists who were hiding behind the ‘Democracy’ and ‘Human Rights’ shields. Through more information, more reading, and more research into the ideology that moves the goal post every time the government reaches closer to it, normal citizens in Bahrain are finding out more about the work being done to swallow The Kingdom of Bahrain just like Iraq was swallowed. In this video, Hezbollah’s TV Channel Almanar, two members of the opposition clearly state that they do follow the Iranian Islamic ideology. Note that one of them is a ‘Human Rights’ activist. We started revisiting the Iranian revolution and the expansionist ideology and clearly saw that extremists have never went to sleep.

What this tells us is that in order for you to understand more of what really went on last year, and today as well, we have to really divulge into knowing more about the Sunni and Shia schools of thought. We will never be able to find a solution if we do not know the cause of the problem. To the many psychos, such as the one I heard on the leaked tape, if a country turns up moving towards theocracy due to democratic reforms, so be it! What are the qualifications of a human rights activist who sees Iraq as a successful democracy?

The next step for Reza and Stern is to find out the driving force that makes Islamists,from both sects, increase their followers and foundation. For that, they need to see the historical, regional, and the Iranian clerical ideology that is adapted here in Bahrain and rejected throughout the Arab world, except in Syria, Southern Lebanon, and now Iraq.

Today, and day by day, Shia opposition in Bahrain are yet to come out publically discounting the Iranian clerical ideology. In fact, they have done the exact opposite, as you can see in the video above. Unless they do so, the future will set aside reconciliation, and simply initiate containment by proper, more modernized, rule of law.

Categories: Bahrain, Social

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6 replies

  1. Excellent post.
    The government is no where near enticing sectarianism in Bahrain, intentionally that is. In fact, I don’t think its even of benefit to it. We all know Shias in Bahrain are not dependent on it, rather they depend on Iran .And certainly the Sunnis dont depend on it anymore. Whats enticing sectarianism is the clear favortism the gov has when it comes to applying the law. Much of corruption, hate speach, vandalism , and terror is conducted by the Shias. While whenever a Sunni makes a mistake, judgements would be made in record time with outrageous rulings. The government as you put it had no clue as to how to idea with the coup attempt last year.

  2. Sectarian and Shia pro Iran is the thalstest in denayning people wrights, the liberal you talked about I know very well they were killed and imprisoned and deported they were called then communist, Baathist and other names.
    I don’t know what is stopping the government from reform and transperancy what on earth they are waiting for, they have the power the resources and the time.
    Dictatorship like in South Koria they built a country and an economy that compete with the wist
    Here the main thing the Government concerned with is a system to keep it in Power and in Controle of A Contry
    Sectarian is part of that system, when you got all the police Sunni facing opposition mainly Shia then the outcom is sivil war, we are lucky we did not end yet in civil war.
    The government lack of vision and new blod is the reason for what we got now.
    The government here with all it’s power and ministers can’t blame conspiracy and forign powers
    Because it’s duty to protect and safe guard the country agains any threat internal and external and no one else to blame.

  3. ”Religion is the opiate of the masses”. it’s been said before. it’s a historically established and proven fact. I cannot even begin to contemplate the way religion is abused to achieve political goals throughout the world and particularly in Bahrain.

    Religion is made to control people; the way they eat, talk, dress, interact with one another, etc.. and ultimately the way they think. As it has such a great influence on our lives, self designated Islam’s guardians on earth found a shortcut to gain power and control. However, in a multisectarian country like Bahrain, domination by sectarianism is even easier and the rule is ”divide and conquer”

    The way to free the country from sectarianism is to first free peoples’ minds from the dominating thoughts of the Islamists (Although I prefer the term extremest) and from the blind adoption of the inherited thoughts (Culturally and religiously). It may seem like a long protracted solution, but in my opinion it’s the only solution. The government will have to invest more in education and to promote independent thinking so people would learn to question the assumptions behind what they are taught and what they have been brought up to believe rather than to take them for granted.

    Unfortunately, we have been brought up in a culture where disagreement is perceived as disrespect and hence discouraged. Those who dared to stand out and went head to head with the dominants were treated as outcasts.

    It may sound ironic, but the country can achieve unity only by building towards individualism.

  4. Of course, everyone can pretend at the real problem at hand is based on ideology. But if you do, you also have to look at Sunni radicalism do you not? And the last sentence contains the crux: “containment through rule of law”. A bit of a contradiction in terms?

  5. An excellent plan, RA! You’ve obilvusoy given this some thought.We agree completely to your terms.Love,All those Sunnis with lots of weapons but no oil who will remain quiet and marginalized for no particular reasonXOXOXO

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