My Letter to the King of Bahrain: Dia’a Ayyad

2019-03-14 - 5:46 p

*Dia'a Ayyad

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa,

I don't know what to write. I address you on the twentieth anniversary of your coronation and I am totally surprised at your speech on democracy, freedom, justice, co-existence and similar terms and concepts.

The same state which you are speaking of on this day is what the opposition and the majority of the country's population describe as a police state founded on elimination and marginalization.

"O King, you make us feel as if the utopia which remained a dream to Greek philosopher Plato lies in Bahrain".

But wait, your 20 years [of rule] don't need a lot of research, as the facts are clear and the events are evident enough to save us the trouble of diving into details.

Do you know, O King, that the foundation of an ideal city is the human being? So why does the Bahraini citizen come at the bottom of your priority list?

O King, do you know that in a utopia, governance should not be confined to the hands of one person? The answer you know for sure, but the monopoly of power is the ‘logic' that prevailed since Bahrain's independence in 1971 and Al Khalifa's takeover of reins of governance with the aid of countries that claim adhering to democracy and call for it.

Your so-called wise and rational policies, dear King, restricted freedom of expression and belief at all levels, unless they glorify your existence and praise your actions.

History will record that your reign has been replete with ‘great achievements', since the signing of the National Action Charter in 2002, which the national opposition said you turned against, and which is confirmed by the alarming spending on armament in order to confront any possible uprising similar to that broke out in 2011. The arms sales of the United States to Bahrain between 2017 and 2018, for instance, exceeded $6 billion.

History will record many interesting things. It will record that large purchases of weapons came at the expense of economic development and housing requests, for which Bahrainis have to stand knocking on doors waiting for years, perhaps as long as your twenty-years of rule.

History will also record that the public debt surpassed $34 billion, thanks to your great governance, and prisons during your reign have been filled with opponents of your rule and human rights defenders (over 4,000 prisoners). Your policies have separated Bahrainis from their families and homeland, and have made the largest portion of the population live below the poverty line, preferring naturalized citizens over Bahrainis in job hiring, thus increasing the unemployment rate.

Your achievements are many, O King, they can't be summed up in few pages. In your era full of achievements and specifically in June 2016, the nationality of the highest religious authority of the Shiite majority in the country, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim, was revoked, opposition political societies were dissolved, mainly Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society in 2017, and opposition leader and Al-Wefaq Secretary-General Sheikh Ali Salman was sentenced to life in prison in 2019 for demanding a democratic shift in power.

In the framework of what you consider as respect to human rights, protests were banned and the opposition were denied participation in the sham parliamentary elections.

Oh wise King, we can only remind you of an important achievement in 2006, listed in the famous Al-Bandar report, which represented an abhorrent sectarian scheme- a plot aimed at causing a demographic change by naturalizing tens of thousands of citizens from different countries to reduce the percentage of the Shiite majority in Bahrain, stripping on the other hand the nationalities of more than 750 citizens, both women and men.

The crises of your reign, O King, are numerous but they do not reach the momentum of the revolution that will remain a flame that will never die until justice, equality and freedom are achieved, and a state characterized by institutions is established through a new social contract far from demagoguery.

The uprising of flowers will continue in Bahrain facing fire and iron until people rule and the principle of citizenship is adopted, only then will the nation and its citizens feel at ease.

*Lebanese Author and Broadcaster

Arabic Version




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