Editorial: Yes, We Are Targeted!

2016-07-22 - 8:20 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Yes, we are targeted in our existence, identity, beliefs and rituals. Being Shiite means one is targeted, marginalized, exiled and accused of betrayal. Being Shiite means one will be killed, arrested, prosecuted, revoked of citizenship, exiled, deported and persecuted. Being Shiite means one is targeted in one's life, existence and beliefs. A Shiite is not considered a citizen or an indigenous; a Shiite is deemed a traitor. Criticizing the authorities, refusing oppression or corruption or even demanding to take part in the political process makes one a traitor.

This is not a secret; however, people who try to hide this truth only portray themselves as a joke. There is nothing that can be hidden; the regime's measures are evident to the whole world. None of the modern democratic regimes in the world doubt the reality of the sectarian persecution from which the Shia in Bahrain suffer. The fabricated charges brought forth by the Government do not fool anyone, except the island kingdom's sectarian counterparts.

Besides, this is not the product of the 2011 events as some attempt to promote, it's neither revenge nor punishment. For the retaliation against the protests that took place between 14 February and 15 March has reached its peak since the announcement of the National Safety period. The severe punishments against everyone who took part in these events have not stopped since that day.

It is not revenge, nor punishment. It's even more. It may be true that the regime found these incidents an opportunity to reveal its true face that was hidden under the banner of the so-called "reform project"; that lie which Shiites in Bahrain were surprised to hear of, as they know that it is only a mask the regime wears to hide its ugly face and conspiracies.

Since that day in September 2006, peaceful Shiites in Bahrain woke up to the news of a scandal that turned their lives upside down, a conspiracy plotted by governmental officials from the ruling family to instigate sectarian sedition and marginalize the Shiite sect. It is a conspiracy that targets Shiites in their existence and works on "Sunnatizing" the critical government posts and positions and nationalizing hundreds of Sunni foreigners aiming at changing the demographics of the country. According to the report issued by Salah Al-Bandar, the adviser to the Cabinet Affairs Ministry at the time, this conspiracy includes a secret espionage cell that spies on Shiites, as well as organizations supported by the government, fake NGOs, forums and websites that incite hatred against the sect, support provided to citizens who have converted from the Shiite to the Sunni sect, in addition to the expenses allocated for falsifying the elections. According to Al-Bandar, the minister activated 5 clauses that cost over a million BD ($2.7 million).

After the circulation of Al-Bandar report and the chaos it caused, Al-Bandar was forcibly deported to the UK. Newspapers were not allowed to tackle this report or even mention the name of the counselor who unveiled the conspiracy.

This was enough to shake every Shiite in Bahrain who has realized, yet late, that the king whom he trusted, gave his voice in the convention and with whom he decided to overcome the woes of the 90s is the one who is planning this conspiracy and that the so-called "reform project" aims at inciting hatred and sectarianism instead of promoting equal citizenship, equality and justice and unifying the Sunni and Shiite components of Bahraini society.

Nonetheless, Bahrainis decided to overcome the scandal and proceeded in their work on political change through participation. The opposition "ignored" this scandal and did not give it a chance to be an obstacle in the opposition's path and thus the opposition took part in the Parliamentary elections in 2006. Al-Wefaq had the lion's share of the citizens' votes.

We recall here the saying of the political philosopher and thinker Hannah Arendt. Therefore, if one is attacked as "a Shiite", one must defend oneself as "a Shiite". Not as a Bahraini, not as an upholder of the Rights of Man. What can you do in this moment?

On Monday (July 18, 2016), 4 senior Shiite clerics Sheikh Isa Qassim (whose citizenship was revoked and who is referred to trial and threatened to be deported or exiled), Sayyed Abdullah Al-Ghureify, Sheikh Abdulhussein Al-Sitri, and Mohammad Saleh Al-Rabiee issued a statement in which they announced: "As a main and indigenous component of this nation (the Shia component), we are now strongly convinced that we are being targeted in our very existence, identity, beliefs, rituals and [religious] duties," and urged to put an end to this targeting. On the following day 217 Shiite clerics issued a statement highlighting the content of the previous one. Hundreds of angry protestors; thereafter, in Diraz took to the streets, stressing on their opposition to such sectarian targeting that is being blatantly practiced in Bahrain.

Yes, we are targeted in our existence and we demand responsible international interference to put an end to this targeting of Shia in the Gulf nation of Bahrain.

Arabic Version



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