Since February 14th 2011 we have witnessed some of the most devastating acts of defiance and brutality carried out by the opposition against security personnel and civilians. The crimes committed by the Al Wefaq terrorists are even more heinous to us as Bahrain is known for its safety and security. Men and women have lived and worked side by side in this country freely for decades, and never felt threatened by neither the local indigenous population nor the expat community. A liberal society, where people, from all creeds, colours and religions are accepted within the community and work place. So what changed the balance in 2011? When you read social media, you will find an array of “experts” now amongst us, each with an opinion and each with a solution better than the other. We as citizens and residents of this country have grown up with the Royal Family in power and accepted it without question. You may ask why? There are hundreds of reasons for the people who live here to respect the leadership but I will cover just a few that come to mind and affect us on a day-to-day basis.
HM – King Hamad has faced a lot of unnecessary and unfair criticism since last year. He has been falsely accused but international media who are in the business of sensationalizing, accepted the opposition’s accusations without hesitation, omitting background checks and basic research. What the world forgot to notice was, that the same people who planned the coup are the ones who HM personally reached out and supported, to bring back into the fold. HM has stood by Bahrainis and expats alike. When Feb 14 2011 was upon us, HM did not falter, he did not panic he did not make arbitrary decisions that could have taken us down the path of anarchy, turmoil and destruction. HM chose the path of transparency, dialogue and eagerly embraced change.
HM, PM and CP stood together and reached out to discuss the weaknesses that they may have overlooked in an attempt to improve the country to make it an better place for generations to come. Where in the world will you find leaders who are willing to sit at a table with their critiques to discuss the way forward? Show me one leader who will face the world while a report by an independent committee is delivered and presented highlighting the errors and downfall of a system that he heads. The King of Bahrain did just that and he stood with the PM and CP. The world should have saluted them.
HM accepted that we needed change and is making all the necessary plans and reform is in progress. However, the opposition continue with their violent and terrorist acts and continue to threaten an entire family of over 10,00 people as well the safety and security of all who live in Bahrain. This further proves that it is not reform that they want, but mayhem to open the doors to a radical Shia’a power. In order to pave the way for our future, HM sent delegations to visit the UK, USA and UN to share our plans and discuss improvement. Now, this is complete and the time has come for us to work hard as a united community to climb the ladder of success as one nation. Bahrain is our home and we cannot allow friends or foes to cause destruction.
Many are not aware that aside from Sunni and Shia’a mosques, there are Catholic Churches, Hindu temples, synagogue, Sikh temple, Buddhist temples and other places of worship. These are scattered all over the island and people worship different religions and perform rites without fear of persecution. Let us not forget that the King donates these religious sites and has met with all the religious leaders assuring them of his commitment to freedom of religion.
The PM is a wise man of vision. His focus has always been to ensure a good standard of living for every single person living in this country. A man of integrity and foresight, that many leaders in the world lack. His father was a wise man and in fact Shaikh Salman built Salmaniya Hospital and it is the first and largest Governmental medical institute.
No one can deny all that the PM has achieved for Bahrain. He is a man of great devotion and one who works for us, and yet the opposition has the audacity to criticise and manipulate facts, when all the PM is offering us, is a better life.
The PM has made sure that Bahrain medical services of an international standard are available through new hospitals in the country, so that the common man for whom private treatment abroad is unaffordable is able to avail the same services in Bahrain. The level of service is of such a high standard that patients from the GCC travel to Bahrain for treatment.
The PM desired higher education of an international standard in Bahrain so that it was accessible to all who live here. The Bahrain University is the largest further education establishment in the country with over 40,000 students and students come from all over the GCC to complete their education here. The PM vision is to have a healthy and learned society – what could be more admirable?
The CP is an eloquent educated and open mined person. The CP has brought advanced ideology into play and catapulted the country into the international arena with the Bahrain International Circuit and Formula 1. He is an avid supporter of freedom of speech and is ready to listen and accept a contradictory perspective. The CP reached out to the opposition who rejected him more than once. The opposition has failed their own followers and the situation is beyond dialogue and the CP will support what is required to restore peace and security.
With the outdated labour law, the CP brought in the LMRA, so that employees could accomplish the once very difficult task of changing employers. The organization was set-up to protect the workers and ease the burden of changing jobs: this was at one time a tricky and intricate affair. However, LMRA is to blame for creating its own bureaucracy and the delay in their execution of issues in a timely manner. However, since last year the LMRA is more focused on improving their standard of service, and have certainly supported thousands of employees.
Women are a major part of the workforce. There are laws that protect women, ensure maternity leave and even shorter working hours until the infant reaches a certain age. The Supreme Council of Women has been instrumental in supporting women’s rights and has made recommendations to offer financial support to widows, divorcees and unmarried women.
The Ministry of Interior has been the forefront of the challenges in Bahrain for almost 2 years. They have taken the brunt of the burden and attacks. The Ministry has lost colleagues, friends and family but they still continue to safe guard our security. The police continue to be under constant attack but they themselves have no protection. The laws that should protect them lack amendments against new terrorist threats. The police are not permitted to fire on protestors in a riot. However the scenario being that the police are attacked by tens and sometimes hundreds of youth with molotovs, the current law can be considered null and void.
The law needs urgent change. The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Justice should have submitted the recommended amendments and it is now time for the Members of Parliament to act, not to delay but to action new terror laws swiftly. The budget committee must review compensation and salary structure urgently as there is no time to waste. The Penal code is outdated and weak against juvenile terrorists and offenders. This too needs to be resolved at the earliest, as these offenders in particular have no respect for the law nor the law enforcement officers. Let all criminals understand that when they attack a man in uniform this is considered an attack on the state and can be dealt with the full force of the law.
It is our duty as citizens and residents to support this vision. If there are weaknesses or shortcomings let us hold the people in charge accountable and not the leaders who continue perform their duty. Anyone who wants to work against the entire progressive system of Bahrain should exit as the only way is forward for us and for future generations. We cannot have a country run by delinquents who do not appreciate the big picture and continue to appose what is essential for our future well being.