Hasan Moosa Shafaei
When he stayed away from the political arena, this was seen as
an indication of a political and human rights crisis in the country.
But when he re-entered the scene after two years, hope was restored.
This sums up what can be said about the appointment of the Crown
Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa as First Deputy Prime Minister.
The opposition was optimistic and welcomed this step and put
forward a number of serious issues for him to resolve. Arab and
Western capitals, as well as International human rights figures
and bodies welcomed this step, and saw in it a potential solution
which can help take Bahrain out of its current crisis along the
road towards stability, democracy and peace. It is clear that even
ordinary citizens are optimistic and see the Crown Prince as a popular,
humble and bold figure, who is capable of making di?ficult decisions
and tackling contentious issues with due transparency .
Both the opposition and the loyalists want Bahrain to come to
its senses, and return to its happiness and tolerance, whilst moving
swiftly towards the future by making the necessary decisions for
overcoming the current phase. Political and human rights issues
have become very much intertwined, to the extent that it is difficult
to tackle one and ignore the other. For this reason, one can find
among the politicians and human rights activists in Bahrain, shared
hopes and aspirations towards equality, justice? freedom, democracy
It is evident that the Crown Prince is aware of the complexity
and magnitude of the problem. He does not want to disappoint the
people of Bahrain or the friends abroad, and would like to prove
that he is able to restore peace and stability, and create a new
momentum for serious and effective reforms. The Crown Prince had
previously stated in the media that the pace of past reforms had
been slow, and that their benefits failed to reach all citizens.
Currently, everyone hopes that the Crown Prince will be able
to address the cumulative problems in the country. In his letter
to the King on 11 March 2011, he highlighted the problems that Bahrain
has experienced during the last two years. He also vowed to work
towards making Bahrain a model of tolerance and cohesion through
the respect of diversity, democracy and fundamental freedoms. This
is in addition to promoting a concept of citizenship based on duties
and obligations, equality, equal opportunities?and promoting economic
development and stability. During the first session of the Council
of Ministers, he talked about the importance of putting forward
a political programme that suits the requirements of the modern
age and satisfies the will of the Bahraini people. He also stressed
the importance of overcoming all challenges with the participation
of all Bahrainis without any exception, marginalization or discrimination.
Today, Bahrain needs a political solution which could be achieved
through dialogue and consensus. National dialogue currently faces
many challenges which necessitate the direct involvement of the
Crown Prince. A political solution will reduce most, if not all
of the security tensions in the country. No economy can develop
during political and security crisis nor can social divisions be
tackled apart from the political issue. All the current problems
are strongly intertwined and can mainly be attributed to ?olitical
disagreements between various parties. Addressing the political
issue is a priority, without which, Bahrainis will find it very
difficult to heal their wounds and return to normality.
The citizens are attaching their hopes on the Crown Prince, though
the current situation requires solutions that could be painful to
everyone. These solutions should be consensual and would require
compromises, trust and selflessness among political parties in the
interest of a stable and prosperous Bahrain. The tense situation
in the region requires adopting fast initiatives in order to protect
the country and enable it to confront foreign challenges.