Wednesday, December 15, 2004
17 ديسمبر ذكرى يوم الشهداء
الذكرى العاشرة لسقوط الشهديين الهانيين
إننا عبر هذه المسيرة نؤكد إنتمائنا لهذا الوطن. هذه المسيرة لم تأت لتعكر احتفالات العيد الوطني للمملكة، بل إن الاحتفاء بذكرى الشهداء هو أفضل عمل وطني نقوم به ووفاء للذين قدموا أرواحهم من أجل حريته ونيل حقوق المواطنين. كما إن اختيار هذا اليوم هو تنديد جماهيري بالجرم الكبير بحق شعب البحرين الأبي حيث تم انتهاك حرمته لأول مرة منذ الاستقلال بقتل أثنين من المواطنين في 17 ديسمبر بالرصاص الحي الموجه نحو المسيرات الشعبية السلمية المطالبة بالحرية والعدل والبرلمان.
والسؤال الصحيح ينبغي أن يوجه لقوات الأمن التي اغتالت الشهيدين هاني خميس وهاني الوسطي في مثل هذا اليوم، لماذا اخترتم هذا اليوم بالذات رغم علمكم أنه اليوم الثاني للعيد الوطني؟. هذا السؤال يجب أن يوجه للجهات الأمنية، فهي التي اختارت هذا اليوم منتهكة بذلك حرمة الوطن وحرمة عيده الوطني.
I spent along time thinking about how I should go about talking on this issue, though I felt it important to raise it in my blog. The fact that people are torn even on an occasion like a national day-a happy or sad occasion, a time of rejoice or a time of rememberance, carries with it deeper national symbolism. Mahmood's piece written at this time last year, in poignant prose sums up this feeling. It doesnt help that history has led to the bad timing of things. On the one hand, 16th December is the day Isa bin Salman came into power in 1961, and his successor Hamad bin Issa then also chose what I would prefer to call '3eed iljuloos' or Accession Day to be on 17th December 1998. For some reason 16th December is referred to as Independence Day, although it is common knoweledge that the British 'officially' left the islands on 15 August 1971. Which some ppl still contend should be the official National Day.
On the other hand, on 17th December 1994, two young men were shot dead in cold blood, sparking the biggest uprising Bahrain has ever witnessed. A young man just married, and another about to graduate, both coincidentally called Hani, were the first to fall, in a long string of brutal killings, in one of the worst chapters of Bahrain's modern history. What didn't stop government forces killing them then-a day after 'national day', doesnt stop the people from remembering them now-a day after 'national day'. Fireworks on one day, and graveyard visits the next. Ten years on, 17th December is still an UNOFFICIAL day of mourning and remembrance, for a large part of Bahrainis, who feel the martyrs are the national symbol of sacrifice and to them we should thankful. As the celebrations commence for some, mourning just begins for others.
As a personal experience, I can remember, even as a kid, the moment news would break that a new lamb was taken to the slaughter. Probably, the one that affected me the most was Saeed Aliskaafi, slightly older than me at the time, 15 or 16, we knew his family. When he went missing, reportadly arrested, no one began to imagine the horror that his father would receive when he went to the police station to collect him only to be given a body bag with a son so severely tortured inside, it seemed death was mercy for him. I saw his photos in the mortuary then as they were plastered everywhere, and they haunt me till now, how can anybody do that, and how can they get away with it? Many events are being organised all around the country to mark their remembrance, and gif's like the following are circulating all around the net:
There is even an entire online forum dedicated to the martyrs of Bahrain, documenting outlining the events surrounding each death. It is clear, a large part of marginilised Bahrain, will not be celebrating tomorrow. In fact, other than visiting graves, there will be a march of remembrance on the 17th.
Bahrain is not unique in this practice; all nations celebrate their martyred heroes. The memorial weekend celebrated in the United States dedicated to remembering the fallen heroes of past wars and the pomp and ceremony which marks it as a solemn occasion exists in practically all nations. What makes Bahrain’s Martyrs Day special is primarily the fact that it all happened so recently that every Bahraini above twenty has a distinct memory of it. Moreover, the history of ancestral struggle and the background of tyranny on which the struggle was grounded gives Martyrs Day a particular poignancy.
An occasion like the celebration of Martyrs Day should be used to remember fallen heroes not only as brothers, fathers, husbands that are missed dearly, but above all to remember the cause for which they died. The demands for the return of the 1973 constitution for which the martyrs fell was also the quest for democracy, social justice and the rule of law. It was a struggle of a people to live meaningful lives in freedom, peace and harmony, pursuing their chosen goals and fulfilling it within a system of law and justice equally available to all.
Their memory belongs to the Bahraini nation and it is important to keep their memory alive, as a reminder of the reason for their sacrifice, and to send a message to the murderers who still walk through Bahraini streets freely and with impunity under royal Decree 56.
Martyrs of the Uprising
Hanni Abbas Khamis, 24, Sanabis, 17 December 94, shot dead
Hani Ahmad Al-Wasti, 22, Jedhafs, 17 December 94, shot dead
Haji Mirza Ali abdul Redha, 70, Qadam, 20 Dec 94, beaten to death by security forces
Abdul Qadir Al-Fatlawi, 18, Duraz, 12 January 95, shot dead
Mohammed Redha Mansoor, 34, Bani Jamra, 25 January 95, shot dead
Hussain Ali Al-Safi, 26, Sitra, 26 January 95, shot dead
Aqeel Salman Al-Saffar, 1 year, Bilad Al-Qadeem, 8 February 95, inhaled tear gas for prolonged period
Hussain Ma'atooq, 12, Daih, 8 March 95, died after a holicopter flew low above the house. He was on top of the house
Hamid Abdulla Qasim, 17, Duraz, Killed on 26 March 95, shot dead
Mohammed Ali Abdul Razzaq, 48, Bani Jamra, Killed on 1 April 95, shot dead
Mohammed Yousif Atteya, 28, Bani Jamra, Killed on 1 April 95, shot dead
Hussain Abdulla Al-Asheeri, 17 years old, from Dair, Killed on 19 April 95, shot dead
Nidal Habib Al-Nashaba, 18, Duraz, killed on 4 May 95, shot dead
Saeed Al-Eskafi, 16, Sanabis, died under torture on 8 July 95, died under torture
Mohammed Shehab Fardan, 10, Karzakkan, 25 May 95, died after an explosion during clashes
Hassan Jasim Al-Hasawi, 70, Nuaim, 7 Jan 96, inhaled tear gas for prolonged period
Mohammed Hassan Taher, 22, Jedhafs, 6 March 96, died in mysterious circumstances
Isa Hassan Qambar, 29, Nuweidrat, 26 March 96, executed
Fadhil Abbas Marhoon, 25, Karzakkan, 6 May 96, shot dead by a special military unit
Salman Al-Taitoon, 28, Sanabis, 7 May 96, in house explosion by special military unit
Ali Salman Al-Taitoon, 3, Sanabis, 7 May 96, in house explosion by special military unit
Abdul Amir Hassan Rustom, 36, Sanabis, 12 May 96, beaten to death during clashes
Mahmmod Abdul-Latif Hissain, 12, Sanabis, 11 June 96, tortured to death
Ali Taher, 17, Sitra, 2 July 96, shot dead.
Zahra Ibrahim Kadhem, 54, Bani Jamra, 23 July 96, beaten to death by security forces
Seyed Ali Amin Mohammed, 19, Karbabad, 17 August 96, tortured to death
Bashir Abdulla Ahmad Fadhl, 27, Daih, 20 May 1997, Beaten to death during an attack by security forces.
Abdul Zahra Ibrahim Abdulla, 27, Sanabis, 6 June 1997, was beaten by the security forces
Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas, a blind person, 50, Bilad Al-Qadim, 29 June 1997, tortured to death, wife was beaten severely inside her bedroom.
Abd Ali Jasim Isa Yousif, 45, from Nu'iam, 8 August 1997, as a result of the deterioration of his health in jail.
Yaser Ibrahim Ali Sdaif, 22, Sitra, 22 September 1997, due to torture inflicted in prison.
Nooh Khalil Abdulla Al-Nooh, 22, Nuaim, 21 July 1998, tortured to death
Mohammed Al-Sayyah, 28, Sitra-Wadyan, 30 September 1998, health deterioration following torture.
Haj Ali Karim, 60, Sanabis, 12 February 1999, inflictions directly due to torture received in prison in 1996.
Jaffer Yousif Ahmad, Ras-Romman, 25 February 1997, was sentenced in 1980 for fifteen years, died due to torture inflicted in prison
I wouldn't want to be so crass as to start a blaming game. What has happened in the past has happened. Nothing can change that. But what is clear in the irony of the different perceptions the days to come will offer, is that further national reconciliation is needed on both sides. Wounds are still open, and a healing process can only begin when torturers are punished, compensation is given to families, and an official apology is received. Maybe then will people begin to feel a part of government celebrations.