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The American Dream

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The United States of America (a supposed “ally” of Bahrain) is considered the largest, most powerful “democracy” in the world (although only 57.5 % of the population voted in the 2012 US presidential election). Some believe that in the US one has complete freedom of speech and the human rights of all across the vast country are respected.

However, a series of reports by Amnesty International, amongst other human rights agencies, suggest that the US has some of the worst cases of abuse by security personnel, human rights abuse, abuse of women and children, lack of freedom of speech and racial discrimination in the world.

What the USA government conveniently omits (while condemning the small island of Bahrain) are the recorded abuses and the lack of freedom in America, while the UNHR remains suspiciously silent.
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Dear Mr. President

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Dear Mr. President,

I write to you as a citizen of the world and a long-time resident of Bahrain.

You lead the most powerful and largest democracy. America is portrayed as the land of the free, where people from all walks of life supposedly live with complete freedom – after all, an American is an American regardless of race, creed, colour and religion. Since your father was Kenyan, you would have personally experienced prejudice and racism. Luckily, you have been successful in your career and today, you stand before the world as the first African American President of the United States of America.

Considering your status, your statement “efforts to resolve sectarian tensions that continue to surface in places like Iraq, Bahrain and Syria” at the UN 68th annual Session of UN General Assembly on September 24th 2013 is breathtakingly outrageous. This accusation proved to the world that you chose to ignore or are unaware of the reality of the situation in Bahrain. Some would say this comment irrefutably proves your role in the “Greater Middle East” agenda.

Mr. President, I take this opportunity to make some clarifications as an observer who, prior to February 2011, had no penchant for politics.
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Amnesty’s Formula

Amnesty Final

The 65th season of the most prestigious race in the world – the Formula One season will commence on 16th March in Melbourne Australia and wrap up the season after 22 races in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 30th November 2014. The F1 is recognized by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) as the highest class of competition for open-wheeled racing cars. The Crown Prince of Bahrain sanctioned the spectacular Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir that hosted its first race in 04-0-04. The first FIA approved track in the Middle East placed Bahrain firmly on the international map.

Whispers against the Bahrain Grand Prix have already begun. Navi Pillai mentioned this small island and Obama criticized Bahrain as if a population of 1.2 million with almost half being foreigners can affect the world’s political scenario or the American agenda.

Amnesty International facts and figures report is based on research in 159 countries and territories between January and December 2012. The report claims, 112 (70%) of the countries tortured their citizens, 101 countries (64%) repressed their people’s right to freedom of expression, 80 countries (50%) conducted unfair trials, had prisoners of conscience detained in 57 countries (36%), security forces were responsible for unlawful killings in peacetime in 50 countries (31%), men, women and children faced forced evictions in 36 countries (23%), people were forcibly disappeared in 31 countries (19%) and 15 million people worldwide are currently registered as refugees.

Amnesty International makes allegations against all the 22 countries that host the Formula One.
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Time to take responsibility for Bahrain!

Action Changes things

Friday, 27th September, was a normal weekend in Bahrain. An approved rally in Budaiya meant, courtesy of AlWefaq, thousands of residents in and around the area would be hostages in their own homes. Many waited patiently for the usual show of “solidarity” to dissolve into the predictable chaos, violence and general anarchy that people in Budaiya have become accustomed to.

Sadly, this has become a regular occurrence in the Northern Governorate and although thousands of voices continue to condemn AlWefaq and their disturbing rallies, it seems they have the “right” to protest and chant obscene slogans at the very government that allows them this freedom whilst the “basic freedom of movement” is not a privilege for non-supporters of fanatical opposition groups or political societies.
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Who knew their dream was to destroy Bahrain

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Within 30 days (as most months since 2011) Bahrain has been condemned by UNHR, CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, AFP, AP, HRW, FIDH, and Al Jazeera to name a few. Social media flutters with news of Khalil Marzooq’s arrest, painting a picture of a man that is eons away from his sadistic personality while unarmed police continue to defend the lives of civilians and maintain peace.

BCHR calls for the release of selected shiaa prisoners while AlWefaq demands the release of Marzooq, have an emergency meeting in Geneva, defiantly break the law and meet with a foreign official and have abandoned the National Dialogue that they demanded in the first place. While representatives of AlWefaq and BCHR travel the world and launch extensive media campaigns, they question funds spent by the government on PR but fail to declare their own financiers.
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Icon of Bahrain

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A young man who grew-up beside his father in important meetings, was born a visionary leader – a quality many strive for – a quality that only the possess. This young man would travel the world and while everyone was enjoying the scenery and indulging in their escapade abroad, this young man wondered why Bahrain could not have the same facilities and advantages that many modern cities in the world offered to their citizens.

As he grew older, he worked at providing each citizen, regardless of race, religion or standing in life, free education, housing and health. He later realized that the world could not depend on fossil fuel forever and knew that Bahrain needed to become economically independent from oil. He endorsed Islamic banking and invited banks to set-up their offices and branches on this island, expanded the hospitality sector by inviting foreign investors to build hotels, encouraged international exhibitions and investment in real estate projects never before seen in this part of the world. He even saw the value of offering foreigners permanent residency by recommending and permitting freehold properties in selected projects. The country was booming. When the global recession in 2008-2009 saw neighbouring countries in turmoil, Bahrain was hardly affected. There was no mass exodus and the country continued being increasingly business friendly and economically sound.

From the outset this man has had one vision – a better Bahrain for future generations.

Bahrain became formally independent as the State of Bahrain on 16th December 1971. It was soon after this man began the process of modernizing Bahrain together with the late Emir, Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. In 1975 the Ministry of Works, Electricity and Water was established comprising of electricity, water research and projects. In 1992 it was restructured into two sectors of Public Works and Electricity and Water. In 1995, it was renamed Ministry of Works and Agriculture and in 2001, it became the Ministry of Works. The Ministry of Housing, established in 1975, was responsible for providing housing services to citizens with plans to provide suitable houses to Bahraini families who were unable to build properties themselves.

To ensure an educated youth, the Ministry of Education was created to provide free compulsory education to all Bahrainis. According to data from the 2010 census the literacy rate of Bahrain stands at 94.6% with expenditure since 2008 accounts for 2.9% of Bahrain’s GDP.

In the Arab culture when someone is sick, the entire family tends to gather and offer assistance and support. For specialist medical issues, many citizens were forced to take on enormous expenses for treatment abroad. This man sympathised with the people and brought specialist medical facilities to the country to ensure that sick citizens and residents could be surrounded by their loved ones, in the comfort of their home. Bahrain today has some of the best medical facilities in the region, if not the world.

This man inspired the foreign policy of Bahrain and was the first Arab leader to recognise the importance of South East Asia. He developed and maintained good relations with Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines. This man endorses mutual respect, cooperation and expertise of other countries. World leaders have said that when you meet with this man the way he speaks, the information, the honesty and the vision he has, makes it possible to forge long term governmental ties.

In 2000, when the Gulf Air aircraft crashed killing all passengers, this man was in France for medical treatment. He immediately cut his trip short, at the expense of his own health, and returned to Bahrain to stand with the people in their time of need. He visited every single family that had lost their loved ones and personally offered his condolences.

In 2011 when the country faced a crisis, the Al Fateh Unity gathering saw hundreds of thousands show their allegiance to Bahrain and reject all acts of terrorism and foreign interference. This man visited public places to show the masses that national security was of the utmost importance to him, thus calming an insecure population. When this man greeted thousands of citizens outside his home during those turbulent period, it was a time when people needed reassurance and security – this man gave them hope and the determination to fight the enemy in a unified peaceful manner.

In 2013, after the emergency National Assembly meeting, this man again reached out to all sectors of the community and cemented his commitment for a better future. He visited the Ministry of Interior and thanked the police for risking their lives. He visited malls and public places to encourage people not to be fearful in their own country. With this man’s charisma and intensity entwined with his unconditional dedication to the people of this country – Bahrain can only go from strength to strength.

This man has encouraged freedom of speech and during meetings with media representatives has asked for criticism and advice in order to improve Bahrain.

He has met with communities in different parts of the country and asked for recommendations on how to improve their lives. Some say this man drives late at night to identify sites for improvement, as well as personally providing support for families in need. This man has strategic ability to fulfill people’s dreams and to resolve the problems of thousands. He faces criticism head on and never shirks his responsibility. This man works for Bahrain.

One story is that a woman with a mentally challenged child in a wheelchair, tried to enter a place this man was visiting. She was unable to reach him due to the huge crowd that had surrounded him and so left, as her son was tired. As she was returning home, a car stopped and this man walked towards them. On enquiring about her son, this man immediately instructed that vital treatment was to be provided for this boy in Europe. The lady returned to Bahrain with a son who was able to walk.

This man is the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. Respected by men and women from all walks of life and known to children as “Baba Khalifa”, he has thanked every sector of the country and stood by ordinary citizens, residents and world leaders. But, he is Bahrain’s BuAli, and the people respect this great gentleman for empathizing with the ordinary and steering the country out of a political crisis.

The message to this extraordinary man is – Sir, you never walk alone – Bahrain is with you.

May God Bless you always.

@SallyfromSaar

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Bahrain post 14th August

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Tamarood (Rebellion) or Tamarind as they are now known, was a complete embarrassment for the stubborn leaders of Al Wefaq, who, not surprisngly, still enjoy their freedom despite the fact they encourage youth to “crush the police” and carry out terrorist acts. The failed protest on 14th August 2013 was a strong indication of exhausted communities whose support for the opposition has waned.

As sympathy fades, spiritual leader Isa Qassim and political leader Ali Salman desperately announce marches, sit-ins and “civil disobedience” – but nothing is working for Al Wefaq now. Unpredictable violence and vandalism has left businesses in distress, the economy suffering and unemployment on the rise.
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