Security Tensions: Great Loss to all
It is quite certain that the political reforms and freedom of
expression in the new democratic experience have benefited everyone.
This includes all political players, civil society organizations,
active parties in society and political and religious figures.
The political system has strongly promoted its legitimacy and
strengthened its relations with the various social segments in an
unprecedented way through the reforms. The available atmosphere
of freedom has undoubtedly helped in spreading awareness in society
and has provided a wide opportunity for self expression. It has
also contributed to the increase in the number of civil society
organizations. In addition, human rights organizations saw a decrease
in incidents of human rights violations. This is evident when comparing
human rights reports issued before and after the 2000 reforms. International
organizations found refuge in Bahrain, something which they had
never found before in any of the neighbouring countries. They were
allowed both to open offices and use Bahrain as a regional base
for their activities and training programmes.
Political parties, which used to work underground, have had the
opportunity to appear on the surface, register as political societies,
establish their own offices and have representatives in the Parliament.
Moreover, many of their members also work in civil society institutions,
including human rights ones. But unfortunately, some of these members
have adopted extremist ideas and called for the overthrow of the
regime. Had it not been for the wide margin of freedom available
in the country, these extremists would not have been able to perform
any of their activities. They protested and demonstrated for years,
talked, made speeches and did what they wanted, including setting
fires and inciting street violence.
Any party that considers itself a winner in the current situation
is in fact a loser. The security tensions do not give Bahrain a
good reputation as a state or as political system, even with the
excuse that it was forced to take tough measures in order to confront
violence and riots. Also, it is not in the interest of Bahrain and
the political system to say that human rights and public freedoms
have deteriorated, even for a short and temporary period. Furthermore,
international human rights organizations will not be happy about
the current situation. It is most likely that they are waiting to
see positive developments in the fields of freedom of expression
and political participation such as elections and the ratification
of both the Press Law and the Civil Institutions Law. One could
also say that the developments in the last two months constitute
a great loss to local politicians and human rights societies.
In summary, any damage the political process through immature
and irresponsible practices will not harm one party only. Any breaches
of the atmosphere of freedom, abidance by the law, and respect of
human rights represent a major loss to all. Whereas it is only by
adopting the language of reason, logic and respecting every person,
that all governmental and public parties (including international
human rights organizations) will make gains in this field.