This Thursday I am here… last Thursday I was in Dubai. I saw both nations interact with their national days; I saw both countries interacting with their nations. In Dubai it was like a wedding, everyone was happy. People enjoyed celebrating their national day. Here, some people enjoyed celebrating this day, while others did not. In Riffa for example happy people are carrying the Bahraini flag, celebrating and enjoying the day and expressing their love to the country. In Diraz, people are carrying the same flag, but they are engaging into fights with riot police, throwing Molotov's at the police and receiving tear gas back. Another part is worried about the future of this country and decided to celebrate this day by gathering at al Fateh mosque to pass their anger to the Government.
Dubai or the UAE in general walked towards the right steps until they reached where they are today. UAE leaders cared first about the people of the country, invested in the people and then invested in the infrastructure. With those solid steps, they will reach a day when they become the world's number one country. So what can we do today to be on the same path as our neighbor Dubai?
Today, our situation is unfortunately misty. We do not know where we are heading. The country is moving "3ala el Baraka" as we can describe it. How much did we lose in the last 10 months? How much money (just imagine how much did MOI utilized in the past 10 months which should’ve been used for housing for example)? How much effort? How much strength wasted which could’ve been used in something better? A lot… So, again I will raise this question… what can we do today to be on the same path as our neighbor Dubai or even better.
Political reform? Elected government? Use more security forces? More power to the Parliament? No, these are all shallow solutions and will only pause problems and make them worse.
Six major steps we must take in order to become a better nation. Start from the inside, move to the family, civil chill, law enforcement, cut the corruption and give the people their rights.
Start from the inside
It is known from the very old days that change begins from the inside, most or all influential people around the world say this. Even the holy Qur'an stated this when God said ((إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ)) "Allah does not change a people´s lot unless they change what is in their hearts". It is simple to understand, challenging to implement. When we start to become better people from the inside, when we begin to thank God, respect others and be better people in doing everything from being dedicated at our jobs, expanding our knowledge, being punctual, doing things with conscious, adding to the society and helping others then we will be able to see the real change in the society. So before we start marching the streets for our rights, we have to know and do our obligations toward others.
Move to the family
When we start correctly from the inside, then we will automatically start influencing the people we interact with directly, our families. If the father and mother teach their children the principals which I have mentioned in step number one and teach them how to accept and respect others, then we will end up having better families, leading to better neighborhood and a better country. When children learn that it is okay to have people around us who are different from us, it is okay that other people don’t believe in what we believe in (as long as they respect us). We can live with them and we can also be their best friends (and they are neither traitors nor infidels). When the father teaches his children that a book (not a Molotov) is the weapon and dialogue is the way forward (not roads blocking or garbage dumping in the streets). When the father is the first protector of his wife and children, protecting them by not letting them to be in the wrong places at the wrong times. Then we can say that we have better families and move to the next level.
History has always taught us lessons to learn from, and one who reads the way Imam Ali (R&P) wanted to deal with the incident of killing of khalifa Othman bin Affan (R) and how he didn’t want to cause more tension between Muslims themselves. But the reason why he failed to stop a Muslim-war between them is the act of Mu'aweya bin Abi Sufyan (R) who insisted on escalating the situation and takes justice from whoever killed Othman without waiting and overseeing the whole situation. Although Imam Ali and Mu,aweya agreed that they won't go to war and that they will work together to bring out whoever killed Othman to justice. But the act that Mu,aweya did (coming to Madinah with his troops) was enough for the people who didn’t want unity to Muslims (Munafeqeen) to make their move and make sure that the war starts between the two. We must learn from history that we must not give any chances for the people who want Bahrain to be separated, the people who wants to see Bahrain destroyed (Our version of Munafeqeen). We must learn that we all have to be the Imam Ali of the nation and to be wise, and always put the unity of the nation ahead of us.
There is one thing that everybody must remember, we live all together in this country and we have no other solution other than to live together or else start a civil war where all parties will lose. This is very important; this goes to all political societies, all religion scholars, and all the figures that are heard in this society. This is the time that we MUST forget everything. Forget your demands, forget what you want, and forget your political reform point of view. Focus on one thing; focus on how to bring the people back to one again. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that there is a very big sectarian tension in this country is either blind or pretending to be blind. Bahrain has always been known for the kindness and hospitality of its people, and losing this today means losing Bahrain. What is the point of all political reform if we have two sects that hate each other? The first step as I see it toward ending this tension is to bring back the faith between the two sects. This only can happen when both sects admits what mistakes they have done and apologizes to the other, only then people can turn the page and start a new chapter. But if we only see escalations, if we only see that people are carrying the BICI report and extracting what they like from it and ignore whatever wrong doings happened from their side, if we see that societies are only talking about the reaction and ignoring the action, then how can we pass this tension zone? Political societies must take responsibility for the wrong events that happened from their sect and apologize. We do not need excuses or explanation, the people only need acknowledgment and an apology to the nation. Religious figures must also meet together, sit and show people that they are together. How do you expect people to get back together if their leaders and ideal figures are fighting between themselves every other day?
Dear Government, this goes to you. Dear Government, this is simple! Enforce the law! This is a country, this is not a playground where you apply the law on some and ignore the law on others. We need to see that law is enforced on the whole nation, and not excluding any. It is simple! When someone is innocent, release him! When someone is guilty, don’t release him! When someone steals, cut his hand! When someone kills another, he must be sentenced to death! Yet, you do not have the right to torture anyone! This is what our religion taught us. Some laws are applied on the Shiite's but not the Sunnis while other laws are applied on the Sunnis but not the Shiite's, we want the rules to be applied on everyone. It is simple! Enforce the law, don’t differentiate between people, and restore security and safety to people.
Cut the corruption
Our country is drowning with corruption, and no one is doing anything about it. All corrupted figures are left without judgment. The country's wealth is being cut into pieces since a long period of time. Millions and millions throughout the years are disappearing, at the same time some figures are getting richer, richer and richer. The Government must take a very serious investigation and stops every corrupted person or mafias and take them to court. This is the nation's wealth, and all this wealth must go back to its people. We need a proper investigation with steep sentences for all those who are corrupted and stole from this nation; so that all who will come next will think a million time before they touch a small tiny part of our peoples wealth.
Give the people their right
Every Bahraini wants a descent living. A respective home that he can get once he's married, and not wait for 30 years until he gets one. A descent job with a descent salary that will make him cope with today's prices of goods. Every Bahraini wants to be proud of being a Bahraini. Every Bahraini wants to be able to enjoy full facilities provided by the country such as proper public parks and beaches. Every Bahraini wants to grow up in a healthy environment. Every Bahraini wants to raise his children and not worrying about their future.
When we achieve achieving the previous six steps, then we might move to the next phase and start talking about political reform, democracy or whatever. And then only we can be like our neighbor Dubai or even better.