Adventures of King’s Sons: Formula 1 Fees could Build over 6,000 Housing Units
2018-04-17 - 1:02 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Behind the motors of the Formula One vehicles resounds the voice of dissidents who have been demanding political reforms in Bahrain since 2011. It seems that these loud race cars accomplished their mission of overshadowing the voice of dissidents.
The F1 circuit has been an issue of conflict between the opposition and government over the past 7 years. Human rights pressure groups have tried to hinder the tournament, considering it a "tool used by Bahrain to whitewash its image and hide the scenes of killings and torture practiced against dissidents".
Despite halting it for one year during the February 2011 protests, the government succeeded in using force to resume the racing event. The bloodiest race took place in 2012; it was held while the police killed Salah Abbas (31 years old) and opened fire at dozens of protestors.
The races were not welcomed for the political situation witnessed in the country after 2011. Even on the sports community level, the car races were not a sport of interest to Bahrainis as is the case with the most popular sport in the world football (soccer), volleyball or handball whose athletes reached world cup finals.
Where did the Bahrainis sudden interest in car races come from?! The announcement of the Crown Prince regarding Bahrain's desire to host the F1 race was surprising and aimed at "promoting Bahrain". It was rather an old hobby that the king's son enjoys and that brings joy to him as he watches cars going around in circles, even if that requires a circuit, whose construction is worth 60 million BD.
The government ignored popular sports and spent millions on sports admired by the king's sons: cars for Salman, horses for Nasser and mixed martial arts for Khalid, yet we still don't know what sports the youngest, Sultan, likes. Nonetheless, Bahrainis are well aware that Abdullah, fortunately, has no interests whatsoever!
Bahrain pays over 5% of fees, annually, in order to host the race. The last F1 race held in Bahrain cost 20 million BD, according to Forbes. The race held in Bahrain recently marks the 14th one, which means that the state budget has spent more than 200 million BD until now to host the race.
Mumtalakat states that the Bahrain Circuit Company uses the company's resources the most following Gulf Air that also consumes hundreds of millions without accountability.
Bahrain Circuit Company hasn't yielded any revenue since its establishment. Transportation Minister's figures revealed that the circuit's operational losses reached 131 million BD in the past 10 years only, i.e. in a country drowning in poverty and economic woes.
While Salman bin Hamad enjoys the masterpiece designed by the German engineer Hermann Tilke, thousands of Bahrainis residing in broken down villages continue to protest in order to put an end to what this race stands for in terms of wasting national riches for the pleasure of a small number of ruling family members and their senior guests.
In a country overwhelmed with housing requests, the money spent by the Crown Prince on this hobby of his over the course of 14 years could have been put into the construction of about 6,500 housing units or two hospitals of the same size of King Hamad Hospital. One cannot start to picture the number of political and economic problems that could be solved if the government stops spending the state budget on the hobbies and adventures of the King's sons.
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