Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Expansion-contractioN

In the last post I talked about the recursive historic pattern of uprisings decade upon decade over the last century, manifested as mass street protests. I now contend that within each cycle of uprising there first comes a period of expansion of freedom (allowing civic participation eg in the 50s, 70s and 2002), and before people get too used to it, a sudden or gradual contraction of this freedom (arrests of activists, dismantlement of civic institutions eg sudden dissolution of parliament in 73 etc) which then leads to an uprising (protests, resistence, opposition etc) which then leads to human rights abuses etc. When the situation reaches this state of deadlock, after a period we may see the government under intense, domestic and international pressure, allow a degree of public freedom, hence going back to the beginning. This cycle has happened over and over again.

If this cyclical theory is true, then I would say that right now we are most definitely in the 'contraction' part of the cycle. Unfortunaly, my fellow bloggers seem to jump the gun a bit too quick and failed to read the rest of today's newspaper (alwasat) beyond the article regarding the orders for every webmaster to register their site inside or outside of bahrain (I agree this sucks). In today's issue also, 'terrorists' laws are about to be introduced that carry the death penalty and include criticism of the constitution, and another law that bans the disclosure of names of defendents to local or international media prior tothe final court verdict (eg Free Ali campaign is totally illegal). So if it's not going to be failing to register your site with the MoI, then the content of the site may easily be judged as breaching 'terrorist' laws AND if you get arrested (if not executed), then you're family or any human rights organisation cannot reveal ur identity or campaign on ur behalf!! WOW i think we've just hit a triple whammy!!

I also further argue that this decade, although sharing the cyclical charecteristics of previous times, is facing a unique predicament in that what is essentially happening right now, is that autocracy is being ENSHRINED in law before our very eyes; through the constitution, royal decrees, press laws, law 56 etc, that have outwardly stated that one man rules this country. This is a precedent. Whereas before, the situation may have been more chaotic and ad-hoc, NOW I feel it is concerted and is clever enough to emerge behind different facades like a lizard changing his skin and cunningly gaining a degree of legitimacy under the banner of 'democracy'. This is much more dangerous as such laws will be very difficult to reverse and could easily drag the political crisis on for many years to come in the absence of the true will to reform this country.

That's my simple opinion, don't give in, our forefathers never did.

Posted by BB @ 4/26/2005 01:42:00 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Your blog is a pleasure to read. The analysis of the whole situation from a macroscopic perspective is great! That's exactly what some people need to read - especially leaders of political groups in Bahrain. Identifying a pattern is always a good beginning to breaking it I guess.

With regards to registering the websites: The online community in Bahrain is not big at all, and if the government managed to take action and slaughter (literally) thousands of people in the street, what will stop them from harrassing a bunch of cyber-"geeks"?

It's a sad, sad, situation to see your country degrade itself on a daily basis, and the government of Bahrain never failed to surprise us. I've been away from Bahrain a very long time, and it seems that it isn't getting better on any level (economic, social, political, or religious!) - I don't understand why people are so attached to it, and I really (honestly) want someone to come through and convince me why living in Bahrain is a good thing for them. The offer is on - someone, please come forward.

Posted by Blogger Evil Odd @ 4/26/2005 06:33:00 AM #
 

Odd...i don't have answers, it all the oddity of being...

like u said, i just wanted to identify a pattern so we keep things in perspective. When the new Amir came to power and launched his so-called reform program, with naiivity and hope the people supported this initiative. People in Bahrian have a very short memory and never learn from history's lessons...

We need to be pragmatic and not idealistic... although i continue to dream of a red revolution..

Odd...i guess life would be a lot easier in bahrain if u understand the stalemate... politics is one, albeit a big part, of life... is there any other country in the world where people are as kind, as giving, and as sincere as Bahrainis? Some even say that it is this naiivity that has allowed the magician to play his tricks on the people over and over again.

But then again, you're not the only one that has the wats the point staying in Bahrain sentiment. At the turn of the century thousands of Bahrainis emigrated from Bahrain to leave behind Khalifi terror, mostly to mainland Arabia, but even as far as Seychelles, Zanjibar and other African countries that maintain Bahraini lineage.

Who from our generation wants to go back after they graduate if they studied abroad?

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 4/26/2005 03:01:00 PM #
 

Will you register your blog with the Ministry of Information of the Government of the Holy Kingdom of Bahrain ?

Posted by Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl @ 4/26/2005 06:47:00 PM #
 

Yes and my real name is Desmond Tutu what's urs? ;)

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 4/26/2005 07:56:00 PM #
 

One again, you analysis of the whole situation from a macroscopic perspective is excellent. I have a couple of comments that I would like to add regarding our life cycle in Bahrain. The first is about the starting point. In your analysis the life cycle starts with expansion then contraction until it reaches deadlock. Is this really the case? If this is the case then it means that five or ten decades ago people had some type of freedom which was taken from them later on by the British or the royal family or who even you want to call them. If that was true, then the question that I would like to ask, why did they contract the freedom in the first place? Was it because people’s freedom threatened their plans and objectives? Or was it because Bahrainis didn’t match well with the new comers? Or was there some other hidden reasons? The reason that I am asking this is that if we can analyse and find out the root of the problem then we might discover and predict what will happen in the future.

Anyways, the second point that I would like to stress is what have we learned from this cyclical theory? What will you do in the future to avoid it?

In my opinion, the core problem is about the political leaders strategies. In all these period the political leaders had a short-run strategy which did work and as the history proved it, i.e. contraction – uprising (short-run strategy) – expansion (short-run strategy is wining). But in the next phase the strategy fails again. The reason behind that is that the government manages to create a counterpart strategy because it manifests the goal of the political leaders before its eyes. An example of this is the demonstrations the political societies are organising from time to time. What are the goals of these demonstrations? A simple answer would be to put a pressure on the government. Ok you would put pressure but this is a short-run goal. The government would manage to take you down in the future. Consider the new laws that the government is announcing recently. All these laws will lead us to the contracting and the deadlock phases soon.

What we really need is to set up a long-run strategy. I think it is the best way to take the government down. In a long-run strategy you have a goal that is NOT visible to anyone but the leaders who created it. The government will not be able to identify the goal because it is not visible to them. In the long run when the goal is visible it will be too late for the government to take a reverse action. The best example for a long-run strategy is the Imam Hussein revolution (a.s). On Ashura, the Amawi prince thought that he contained the Hussain’s revolution and put an end to it. But few years laters, the Amawai state lost their power and collapsed and the reason that Hussain’s revolution had a long-run goal which was not visible to people on Ashura. The effect of the revolution is still influencing people at the present!!!

An example of a long-run strategy that we can do at this time is coaching new leaders for instance. In 2025 how the government will react when they realise that new highly skilled leaders are emerging dramatically. They don’t have any plan to stop them! It wasn’t on their agenda or productivity map.

Well, before I finish this point I think that combining long and short-run strategies is the way to goal. I am pretty sure that some people have realised this and started working on it.

Posted by Blogger Bahraini by nature @ 4/26/2005 08:44:00 PM #
 

Good article in today's Qatari Alsharq newspaper by AbdulRahman alnu3aimi entitled "Society facing state terror"

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/26/2005 11:53:00 PM #
 

This post is a reply to Bahrania, BBN, and the anonymous commentator who so kindly asked Bahrania to let "us take care of ours (business)".

First - Bahrania:
Naiivity and kindness can lead to ignorance, and that coupled with senseless "Arab" pride is a formula for self-destruction. The opposition has given us classic examples of this over the years. Even your average Bahraini employee "who refuses to work in minimal positions because he or she is more qualified" is an example of that. Sometimes people need to take things as they are, accept a position, any position, and work from there. Extreme demands (Al-wefaq's demands before the elections, and workers' demands for higher-skilled jobs) don't get you anywhere. People need to work from the bottom and make minute moves before taking big leaps. Please note that I compared the average Bahraini to a society, because I believe that when it comes to a small society such as ours, psychological and social factors come before political ones. Sometimes, it is the psychological/social factors that lead political societies to make senseless decisions.

Second - BBN:
The root of the problem is exactly what we need to look for. You will find it under piles and piles of historical rubble, but sadly, not many people in Bahrain want to work as garbagemen.
Your point about the course of action to take in the future is completely logical, and yes, I've always dreamed of having a long-term strategy. I also share your thoughts about the nature of that strategy.
However, BBN, I do have to pick on a couple of things in your post - mainly the comparison you attempted to make between our situation and Imam Hussain's. This is the pitfall, and the intellectual crime that a lot of Bahrainis (particularly the Shi'as) commit. They veil themselves in the belief that a "little army can make a difference", "if we believe in God, then he will help us succeed", "Imam Hussain is with us" - and the most interesting one "the life of the Imams taught us everything we need to know about life and politics" - None of the above statements are complete. In fact, they all lead to a mental block (which Bahrainis have had for the past 100 years). I could argue that conceptually speaking, any person's life can be seen as a plethora of lessons in life, but practically and physically speaking, we are nowhere near the Imam's situation. Take for example the situation with our army - there is a reason why they're hired goons who can hardly speak a word of Arabic - and that is because they will never ever communicate with the public and will not be swayed by emotions of people they can't relate to. Also, the above thoughts that we are poisoned with as youngsters are exactly what make people like the anonymous commentator say what he said in his post.

Finally, anonymous:
Your committed a classical fallacy - you introduced personal emotions into what is supposed to be a historical analysis of the situation in a country (to make rational decisions, you don't feel, my friend!). You accused Bahrania of not understanding why the people did what they did in 2001. Well, Anonymous, if the people weren't ready for the consequences, why did they do what they did in the 1990s? To gain freedom? To get a parliament in which they wouldn't participate in when established? Or to leave Bahrain as this hell that it currently is?

Anonymous, you have no idea how much my blood is boiling at the moment: it is because of people with ideas like yours that we are getting nowhere - you want someone like Bahrania who is "westernised" to leave you alone so that you take care of your own business - but let me tell you, it is people like her who you need on your side, because it is the writers, thinkers, and intellectuals (regardless of their idealogies) who will ignite a change if it is going come - not through barring every possible support you can get and sticking to your local mullah's rambling about a world that ended 1100 years ago. It is through sites like Bahrania's that those "western" educated Bahrainis will read about the history of their country, and perhaps make informed decisions in the future if they get somewhere in society.

You want her and people like her to let you be and stop writing? What will you do? Steal a couple of gas cylinders, spray meaningless words on walls, and end up in jail - having educated no one? And celebrate when they release you because your mother missed your existence in the house?

Someone mentioned something about cycles earlier on ... maybe you should read and learn from it.

Posted by Blogger Evil Odd @ 4/27/2005 11:15:00 AM #
 

I think we shouldnt start being mean towards one another! Everybody contributes in their own way, and collectively we ALL make a difference; in a common call for justice. Afterall that is what we all seek! It doesnt matter what kind of education you have or what "class" you belong to.

We are all in the same boat, even if we might "appear" to have different seating.

Be nice to Bahrania!

Kermit (the frog?)

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/27/2005 12:08:00 PM #
 

I never expected the topic to touch such a sensitive nerve.

Firstly, since blogging is a new phenomenon in the Arab world, some people fail to understand that a blog reflects a personal opinion. I in no way claim to be an authority but by all means you have the right to question this 'opinion' with you're own logical arguement. HOWEVER, I will NOT accept personal attacks. IF you have a problem or want to discuss personal matters then by all means you can email me on the following email:

alma7aba@hotmail.com

Otherwise i'm not prepared to host comments of a nature i find particularly offensive and nothing to do with the topic of discussion.

You can judge me all u want, but i guess i never thought it necessary to talk about the feeling of hearing that you're relatives are arrested one after the other, male and female simply for their blood relations. That would be giving away too much detail...but one day soon enshala... i might talk about more personal issues such as this...

The 'naiivity' comment I made was fair in the sense that you fall for the magician's trick over and over again. With the benefit of hindsight it is clear the regime used the prisoners and people's hope of freedom to push through the Mithaq. Do u agree?

Thanks for dropping by though, and please you're comments are most welcome, just don't personalise them, I appreciate you're opinion even if does not agree with mine.

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 4/27/2005 12:23:00 PM #
 

/me agrees!

Kermit (jumps around as a sign of confirmation) lol

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/27/2005 01:33:00 PM #
 

ODD.. I agree with you on your point. I mentioned Imam Hussain on purpose here. A good practice in teaching is to use the learner ideal character as a motivating example. Anyways,I know the situation is completely different but there is a lesson we should learn from. The thing is, we are as Muslims have the best Ideal characters like the prophet and ahil el beit. These people have drawn to us methodologies that if we follow them we would be successful in our life. But unfortunately, many people understood the religion aspect only and left the other aspects aside.

Posted by Blogger Bahraini by nature @ 4/27/2005 07:55:00 PM #
 
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