Sunday, March 06, 2005
Just as thousands of unemployed people holding bread take to the streets in protest, our venerable Minister of Labour Affairs, is part of a 12-pimp delegation to the UN in Geneva to defend the Bahraini government in ratifying elimination of racial discrimination conventions. That's right, along with all the other highest ranking officials perfectly fluent in english, he stood up there in front of the panel of 18 judges to state categorically that Bahrain has not witnessed any form of discrimination neither in the past or in the present time!! This is the same man who reportedly stated in private as a joke that sectarian discrimination stands at 200%. From the UN premliminary report:
The delegation pronounced that in Bahrain there was no such thing as racism; the people of Bahrain, numbering approximately 500,000, had four or five basic origins. Shiites of Iranian origin represented 8 per cent of the population and many of them held high professional positions in society. Shiites, Sunnis and Bidoons among others were treated equally in all manners.
Have these people no shame!!! He really couldnt have been more subtle in lying if he tried huh? The government sends one of its token shia ministers to go and deny anti-shia discrimination by the government. How sly. One words describes this man: muflis. I wouldn't believe anything he says, he's gone past the stage of redeeming his reputation as the biggest sycophant on the land.
Discrimination and sectarian policy is the cancer eating away at Bahraini society. Its a fact of everyday life. I would even go to the extent of calling it covert apartheid. When you apply for a job, you can expect to be asked the question "are you shia or sunni" if it is not too clear from your name. Merit, credentials, experience, no the most important criteria when applying through the front door in certain organizations or ministries is your sect.
Although the shia represent two-thirds of the population (from a BCHR report):
-they occupy 18% of the highest ranking public offices
-out of 47 ministerial and deputy ministerial position, the shia occupied 10 ie 21%. No shia in the interior, foreign, defence, security and justice ministries.
- out of 64 employees in the General Prosecutor's office, only 4 are shia ie 6%.
-in the back offices of the Shura council, out of 56 offices, 13 (ie 20%) are occupied by shia. Out of these 13, 6 out of these are drivers!! It doesn't get that much better for the elected council- out of 108 positions, 39 are occupied by shia. Noting that none occupy decision-making roles, the roles represented by shia are driver, cleaner, technicians, clerks.
-Shias not allowed to own land in Riffa.
-unemployment among the shia stands at 40%.
The numbers are even worse for women. These are just quick statistics, you can look at discrimination through many different dimensions, education, pay, unemployment, government projects and budget distribution, proportionate representation in government.
I truly believe that it is this policy of sectarian discrimination that fuels social tension between the sects. If I know that one social grouping is at an advantage purely because of the sect they ascribe to, then this will naturally fuel antagonism and social perceptions will come to adopt this sectarian looking glass, filtering down society to the level of children in the playground.
So the first step in ending sectarianism, is stopping the policy of STATE endorsed discrimination, then look at tackling social sectarianism through education and awareness only after the first step is implemented. Otherwise what's the point in chanting big rhetorical slogans of one people one country, when in actual fact you don't want those from the largest social grouping even serving in your armed forces or police force. This issue needs to be tackled from the TOP. Unfortunately following the performance in Geneva, the TOP is still totally denying the problem.
Like D. Mosawi stated in his editorial today, we're still waiting for the day where we will see Lance Corporal Jafar Qadami or Abdulhussain Satrawi (typical shia names), serve in armed forces.
Check out Chan'ad for more.
PS I received a message through a friend this morning, Abdulemam sends his regards and says thanks for the support. Here's a private joke. How do you annoy three muslim men in a prison cell? Throw a bunch of drunks off exhibition road in there :)