On July 12th 2013, a brave young girl, Malala Yousafzai addressed the UN Youth Assembly at the UN Head Quarters in New York. This young girl who celebrated her sixteenth birthday on that day has probably shown more courage and humility than most politicians do in a lifetime. Powerful leaders cheered as she thanked God and said “let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons”. Shot in the head and left for dead, Malala has shown determination for her plight for the education of women in Pakistan and a war against Taliban terrorists. The UN Secretary General supports her condemnation of terrorism and the oppression of women, as does the rest of the world. Global media channels applauded and congratulated her when she rightly said, in reference to the Taliban “these terrorists are misusing the name of Islam for their own personal benefit”.
Since February 14th 2011 Bahrain has been through devastating upheavals and the violence continues with destruction of public property as well as targeted attacks on security personnel branded as “mercenaries” by opposition groups. Local media and writers have relentlessly voiced the truth, to expose the failed coup d’état disguised as a “revolution”. Remarkably people in the world’s political arenas of power and influence ignore witnesses and continue a vile propaganda of distrust against the leadership. Religious scholars continue to preach hate, violence and sectarianism in the shia’a matams and have reached desperate heights of absurdly accusing security personnel of carrying out abusive acts against detainees or prisoners. External financial support for Alwefaq armed militia Feb14 coalition is evident. The fact that the rioters / protestors / bombers / thugs / activists (call them what you will) carry out heinous acts of terrorism against a tolerant population cannot be denied. The Feb14 terrorist coalition is made up of young men and women who should be the future of this country. There is silence from the west although Alwefaq abuses the rights of these children by denying them free state education. Not a word of criticism from the West touches Alwefaq – a political party involved in the National Dialogue that has rejected family law and denied shiaa women basic rights. This same party coerces men, women and children from shiaa villages into protests, riots and illegal activities.
When Al Wefaq had the majority of seats in parliament; they passed a law raising the age of a child to 18years. These children have now become tools of destruction and commit terrorist acts which Alwefaq defends and uses its’ international network to condemn the government for arresting these terrorists as they fall under the category of “children”.
The UN and the West has been guilty of wrongly accusing the leadership of using excessive force and failed the peaceful majority by not exposing the fact that the security personnel purely contain situations and act only in self-defense. Over the last 10days Bahrain lost another young policeman – Yasser Khan Jadoon died from injuries sustained from a remotely detonated bomb, while four others were hospitalised. Shamefully only a few mourners attended his funeral whilst the murderers congratulated each other on social media for their latest “achievement”. In the last 29 months, tens of policemen and innocent civilians have lost their lives, tens have lost limbs; others have permanent injuries from petrol bombs. Civilians and policemen have been murdered with homemade weapons or dragged out of their homes and beaten. Sadly there is not a whisper from the West, as though these men and women are insignificant. Bahrain is a compassionate society, and yet it appears these qualities vanish when men and women who protect the country lose their lives.
The Prime Minister visited injured police and civilians in hospital out of genuine concern. The PM has never been sect selective; on the contrary, he has embraced all who live in Bahrain with a clear vision of a better future for citizens. In his own words; “we have a goal to see that every Bahraini has a house, has a job and we will never have poverty in Bahrain”. The PM continues to work hard for this goal and Bahrain today is a witness of his achievements. The PM defends the rights of police and innocent residents and citizens across the country. But one man cannot fight this battle alone.
Government officials who do not worry where their next meal is coming from discuss dribble such as banning bacon and alcohol and the Ministry of Culture events. When will prominent men and women who do not worry about businesses collapsing around them or their next pay cheque actually use their initiative and fight for the rights of the people rather than squabble over their own salary raise?
Bahrain government encourages further education through international scholarships and subsidized university degrees locally. There is no shortage of universities to obtain an internationally recognized degree and yet we have illiterate youth in the shiaa villages. There is no discrimination in the work place with the Supreme Council for Women enhancing rights of women within the constitution. The bottom line is education and a literate society is the key. If Alwefaq continue to force children into criminal activity, there will be more delinquents than an employable workforce from the shia’a villages. Education is proven to minimise sectarianism, sexism and aid in creating tolerance and acceptance with the most important quality of agreeing to disagree in a respectful multiethnic society. “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today” (Malcolm X).
Perhaps these officials could have planned educational and sports activities or camps during the summer break and Ramadan to instill Bahrain’s traditional and cultural strengths within the villages. There is no excuse for youth having nothing to do under the current circumstances. During school semesters attendance must be enforced – hold parents accountable. Competition amongst the youth, between schools, between clubs will aid in engaging the youth and get them off the streets and off with the masks. The country has a responsibility to provide quality all round education and if citizens are not receiving this for whatever reason, this must be highlighted.
The leadership is working for a better Bahrain – time for government officials, Ministers and MPs to step up to the job and earn some respect. As Malala said when the world stood up and applauded her; “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first”.