Who to blame on the Salmaniya Hospital Case?

We won’t be able to solve any problem, big or small, if we prevented honesty from overpowering all the biases we create. On Thursday, the famous case of placing doctors and medics on trial for their role in the chaos we all have witnessed in Salmaniya Medical Complex during February and March of 2011 issued verdicts that almost no one felt satisfied with. Here’s the thing, if you’re one of those who’s not satisfied with the verdicts, I can tell you that you may be wrong, very wrong. First, let’s start with what Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry stated in its report in Chapter five.

“847. As a general overall conclusion, despite  conflicting narratives of certain events, it appears that SMC continued to function throughout the events of February and March.  Nevertheless, those events caused considerable disruption to its operations.  It is well established that the open areas outside the SMC buildings were occupied by protesters, who controlled the entrances and exits.  The Commission finds that the occupation and control of the area by protesters hampered general access to the hospital and created a perception of an unsecure environment for those requiring medical care.  Some Sunni patients seeking to gain access to SMC for medical treatment were turned away.  Most of SMC’s ground floor level, including the Emergency Section, the ICU and the administrative section, were taken over and controlled by medical personnel, resulting in difficulties for the Emergency Section.  The Commission cannot conclude that the  flow of outsiders, or the obtrusive presence of the media, was positively authorised by the medical personnel in charge.  However, no attempts were made to prevent their presence or actions, thereby violating patient confidentiality. The Commission was not provided with undisputed evidence that any of the medical personnel inside the hospital refused treatment to any injured or sick person on the basis of their sect, but some cases of discrimination against patients were documented.  More generally, the Commission considers that the involvement of some doctors and medical personnel in various political activities on and around the SMC premises was clearly difficult to reconcile with the full exercise of their medical responsibilities and highly disruptive to the optimum operation of an important medical facility in a time of crisis.  On the other hand, security services executed unlawful arrests on SMC premises, and attacked and mistreated some individuals, including medical personnel. Finally, it is established that on 16 March 2011, the BDF took control of the entire complex and placed some injured persons, whom it sought to keep under its control, on the sixth floor of SMC.”

Few days ago, while I was driving to work, I noticed the main Highway, all the way from Riffa, has turned into a huge parking lot. Cars were barely moving, and eventually two or three hours later, we all reached our destinations. The reason, the Ministry of Works discovered a serious issue in a main water pipe right under the last part of the highway.

I bet that the Ministry of Works knew about this problem for a long time because they had to constantly fix the potholes caused by the this leakage. Then came a day where they decided enough is enough and that fixing potholes is not the solution for the grave leakage matter underground. I applaud this effort, and believe the same idea should be applied elsewhere, but where?

When I look at young adults running around emotionally in Bahrain, whether chasing or being chased, I see them as the crack in society, similar to the crack in that road. When they get caught for doing something seriously wrong, like overtaking a hospital or preventing another sect from healthcare, which is total disregard to the law, the law enforcers come and do their part of disregarding the law as well.

From day one, I was not critical of protesters marching towards the ex-GCC roundabout as much as I was critical at law enforcers for allowing citizens to break the law. Allowing citizens to break the law implies that they themselves are not serious in abiding by the law. Without going much further in this case, let’s end by saying that we have created for ourselves a culture that disregards the law, and made ourselves the crack in our own society.

Then came applying international standards to our sad legal system. The first thing the world noticed, which I agree with, is that there is absolutely no excuse for the law enforcement to break the law that they protect themselves. Yes protesters turned rioters were and are totally wrong and they deserve to go on trial for attempting to overthrow the government, but law enforcement’s actions totally turned the table around when they mixed their emotions with their profession while arresting the alleged criminals. Because of this, the public prosecution was put in an awkward position and had to not include the most serious allegations. Not only that, but these individual acts, documented in the BICI report, embarrassed the legitimacy of the whole government.

Who to blame for those verdicts? Well, the main issue under the visible surfaced cracks is the Ministry of Education. While graduates of private schools are mostly working in the private sector, the public school graduates are found everywhere else. Today, I’m faced with a choice of going bankrupt while providing private schooling education for my kids, or saving a lot by signing them up to government funded schools. If I want to maximize the chances for my kids to have a bright future, my only choice is to go bankrupt. Why?

I can tie back almost all our problems today, the quality of law enforcement, the quality of the judicial system, the sneaky ‘human rights’ organizations, the religious brainwashing mechanism, and the sectarian hidden agenda all back to the lousy public schooling system in Bahrain. We do have geniuses as products from this system, but they are outliers and the majority are honestly a lost cause. We can see them running around everywhere, chasing and being chased, while the business sectors watches from the windows of their offices.

When I was lecturing in one of the local universities two years ago, I had to spend 80% of my time preparing and printing loads of papers that will never be read for the Ministry of Education. For students from the public schooling system, I had to give 100% extra effort just for them to catch up to the others from private schools. Moreover, the university administration and dean would change the law grades I give to bad students in order to remain attractive and competitive with other grocery-store-like local universities. So, why do we blame the cracks in our civil society if the main pipe right underneath is broken?

Don’t waste your time with already made products, we still have large amounts of students currently in our disposal and we need to make sure they don’t turn into bad chasers and/or being chased. We have been wasting our time demanding change in just about every government entity except the most important one, the Ministry of Education. There are good people there, but a total revolution is required in order to be more like Finland and Singapore, the best in the world. It is really worthless to waste our time chasing criminals and bad cops if our crack is in the educational pipeline right underneath.

Categories: Bahrain, Social

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8 replies

  1. Thanks for the article,though I reckon you have tackeld the issue in a different perspective than I expect.Nonetheless, you reverted to education as a cause and I agree with this, but in the case of SMC; the lack of transperancey was the sole reason, that produced content and discontent among ppl. Jeoprdizing the leagl system by indludging it into limitless lies was a main cause, blame goes to the ministers who used to tell lies, blame the BTC for over exagerating things and assigning prg presenters who were liers too.
    Intereference in judge decisions is another cause, and letting loyalist to gov to take revenge loosley, with no accountability has worsen the situation.

  2. The public school system in Bahrain was actually very good during the 70’s and 80’s, Many senior people in Bahrain benefitted from the government schools. Yet today these same people would not send their kids there. Why? Because despite living through the most wealthy and supposedly reform era, education which is the future of our country has been ignored while things like malls, consumer spending and prestigious projects like the nearly-empty BFH were given more importance. This shows the priorit of the rulers for the last 20 years. Ego over education.

    Speaking of which, I noticed that you have managed to acquire a PhD in the past few months since returning from your DC assignment. Congratulations. Its impressive that you’ve had the time to fit that in!

    Which university awarded you the doctorate and what was your thesis title? Is it available to read?

    • Thank you for your valuable comment. I truly believe that you’re absolutely right when saying that education was ignored and that Ego came over Education.

      With regards to your second part, I completed my Ph.D. back in 2009, not recently. You can visit the ‘Who Am I’ page for more info. You can find my dissertation online, but I will sure post it here very soon.

      Thank You.

  3. Good article bu Salman, but I have to comment on a couple of things here. My first is Al Sayeds comment, and I say this while still respecting his/her opinion, I just hope that we can one day reach a consensus that what took place all over Bahrain including the SMC was not only the fault of the government and the loyalist, it was also the fault of opposition hardliners, opposition leaders calling for civil disobedience, the disruption of peoples every day life and those who participated in those acts, let alone outside international interference. If we want to move forward we first have to admit that this was a result of more than one or two factors, and all sides are to blame. When there is consensus, and people agree that there were mistakes made from all sides, that agreement will become the foundation for us as a united people and country to move forward.

    Education, I agree is a big part of this problem, (al sayed, I will give you this one, it is the governments fault) but trying to say that this is as a result of public school education more than it is of private school education is a point I cannot let pass without disagreeing on.
    Let me start by saying this, both education systems have their pros and their cons, and neither system out weighs the other.
    What type of education are we lacking? Text book education? Does the private sector provide the type of education we need while the public does not? The answer is NO!

    We are lacking societal awareness, societal responsibilities, respect for law, and awareness of the respect that law has/should have for the people.

    None of this is provided in any of the education systems.
    – Public school students have no respect and no desire to understand the “extra liberal” ideals or mindsets of those in private schools, and private school students have no respect and no desire to understand the “close minded” ideals or mindsets of those in public schools.
    – We have nothing in our education system that helps us be aware of, understand, respect, or accept the differences in our society weather it be religion, sect, mindset or anything else.
    – What responsibilities do we have towards our country? And what responsibilities does our country have towards us? Who teaches that?
    – What is our ultimate goal as a country? Where is the roadmap to our future? Is there a plan? How can we contribute to the plan?

    I could go on and on, but frankly I’m not in a position to make a difference right now, and I’m sure you aren’t either, so ill save my breath and hope that one day we will be able to reunite and look back at these days as the days where Bahrainis first began to accept that they had differences. Its time to start understanding and accepting each others differences and work on moving forward using this understanding as well as our similarities and what we agree on to do so.

    I went to both public and private schools; I benefited from both and have a lot of good to say about both but also a lot of bad. Let’s not blame it on private or public, let’s just say it’s the education system as a whole that needs to be overhauled to a system that can address a united society that has its differences.

    • Bu Yousif, the moment I saw a long comment, I knew that you won’t go through the trouble of writing such a thing without it being of great value to us all. And I was right! Thank you for your comment. The system in both private and public schooling in Bahrain is what needs to be overhauled. The ideals you mentioned are of extreme importance to be taught in schools and at home. Where’s the governing body that makes sure the growing generation are receiving what is necessary for a bright future for Bahrain? We need to revamp a totally new model that embeds in us all the understanding that if you need for someone to follow you, then you need to learn how to make the love and respect you.

  4. One of the critical aspects of education is the ability to question, debate, challenge theories and authorities. Children learn this not from books but from experience in class, at home and in the public sphere. This enables them to form balanced opinions and develop their thought. Also they need to see accountability to form trust, and respect and learn responsibility. Merit should count for more than family to develop an understanding of how the real world works. This is what Bahrain needs to develop, and the overhaul should therefore be societal, not just in the school system.

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