FEB 93



PAGE 2 VOICE OF BAHRAIN FEBRUARY 1993 . . Inauguration of Al Khalifa’s Talking Shop The appointed Consultative (Shura) Councilmetforthefirsttimeon 16January 1993.The Arnir (ruler) inaugurated the first session with a less than five minutes speech. His audience were senior members of his ruling family, appointed members and a handful of invites The Arnir addressed appointed members of the Council saying “wc hope that your reputable Council shall m ark a successful step for national unity of progress, stability and prosperity” Back in 1975 when the Prime Mirlister withdrew his cabinet from the meetings of the elected National Assembly affecting the requircd quorum, his reasoning was stated in a letter hc scnt to his brother the Amir. He complained that thc Assembly was hampering the work of the government and positive results swerc obtained other than troubles. Thc parliamcnlS was a nuisance that must be banned. The powers of the ruling family wcre never challenged in such a way by legally-immune peoplc as had happened in the clected assembly. It was for the first time that a “common” man was able to question the Interior Minister about allegations of maltreatment, torture and deportation, or to question the dctails of the national budgct which reserved a largc amount of the country’s wcalth to a handful of ruling family membcrs . Thc cabinet was m ado accountable to thc people This is quit an extra-ordinary affair which thc ruling family found immposible to livc with. Accountability is niusance, and the Amir stcppcd-in and banned it. Sincc thcn, mcmbers of the opposition were harrassccl, pcrsccurcd and subjcctcd to all forms of inhuman trcatmcnt! Twenty scven year latch the ruling family was as determined as ever to resist any attempt for instituting accountability. On the contrary, the whole nation is made accountable to the ruling farnily. This was the underlying message of the Shura Council irmauguration day, as can be read from the following extracts of irltreviews with the appointed members. Abdul-Nabi Al-Shuala: “every one of this establishment (Shura Council) is proud of the trust given to him (by the Amir)”. Abdulla bin Hindi: “I consider this Council as a gift to the people of Bahrain”. Jasim Fakhroo: “our appointment to this Council was based on the trust and we all have to be competent for this dear trust of our Amir and our respected govemment”. The latter could not be more explicit in indication who is accountable for who. Jalal Mohammed Jalal- “we shall remain competent in accordance with the trust given to us by the Amir”. Farooq Al-Moayyad: “we were honoured by his Highness selection of us”. Ibrahim Al-Mahmood: ” I and my colleagues are honoured by the Amir trust and we shall endeavour to bc competent”. Khalifa Al-Dhahrani: “the political leadership chose us and hope to be able to satisfy it”. The other interviewed member played the same stereotype. This is exactly what the ruling family is aftcr . A group of obedient people endeavouring to satisfy the government and the person who appointed them and who can remove them at will and without explanation, as was stated in the Royal Decree. The first and last word is in the hand of the sovcrcign: the head of the ruling tribe, the Amir! Jim Bill Retires Jim Bill, the British officer in-charge of heading the Public Security Directorate has rctircd at the end of 1992. Hc was appointed by the British government as head of the Police in 1965 after the crushing of thc uprising that year by the British Army which was stationed in three military bases at that time: Muharraq Jufair and Hamalah. In that year the British government also appointed Ian Henderson to head the intelligence service. Both officers played a key role in persecuting, torturing and killing of people who dared to oppose the feudal Al-Khalifa regime. Jim Bill retired from his position as Director General of Public Security. He is now in Britain and intends to write his biography! He had threcdcputies: Ibrahim bin Mohammed AlKhalifa, Ian Henderson and Ahmed AbdulRahman Bu-Ali. No candidate has been named forhis succession. Ian Henderson was supposed to retirc a decade ago. He is still in command of the Security and Intelligcnce Service (SIS). The British Government always claimed that these and other dozens of British officers are not seconded by the HM Govcrnment. It is hard to convince the people of Bahrain otherwise. Whether these individuals are helping the Al Khalifa regime on the* own accord or arc carrying out their acts on behalf of the British Jim Bill Retires government is the people of Bahrain. They see a British hand in their continuous ordeals and they, naturally, blame teh Brtisih government for their hardshipsIt is difficult to accept the claim that the British government does not have a hand in the export of torturers*, and she will be wiser to recall these messengers of death and terror back homc to serve the country better and to let the poople of Bahrain enjoy living in a more secure place. It is inconceiveable to continue propping up a reprressive regime which has a black record.

PAGE2 1993 VOICE OF BAHRAIN Education: Mission Unaccomplished Modern education in Bahrain started in l 9 l 9 for boys and nine years later, girls primary schools were established. Education was run by the British up until the Second World War when Ahmed Al-Omran was appointed as director of education. After independence in l 97 l, an educationministry was created and amemberof the ruling family took over. Sheikh Abdul Aziz AlKhalifa ran the ministry until his sudden death in 1982. The then health minister, Dr. Ali Fakhroo, was appointed to run the education ministry in addition to the health ministry. This continued for just under a year, after which the health minister was transferred to the education function and another person, Jawad Al-Urayedh, was appointed health minister. In the absence of any form of democratic institution, Bahrain’s education policy has been formulated by some half a dozen people for the past eight decades. From a literacy point of view, Bahrain’s records are impressive. Illiteracy, if it exists, pertains Lo the older generation and accounts for about l l %. This is compared to a 404tO in the early seventies and 66% in the fifties. Since Dr. Fakhroo’s appointment, several modern techniques were introduced, such as designating a class teacher for small group for primary subjects. Basic literacy education is technically adequate and a diversified secondary education is available. After twelve years of primary, intermediate and secondary education, the Bahraini youth start wondering what is next. Job prospects are non-existent for those completing secondary education. These people can’tcompete with l 20,000 foreign cheap work force imported from the Indian sub-continent and the Far East. Where are more that 20,000 national unemployed. Expatriates dominate the job market by a hefty 56%. Bahrainisation has been talked about since 1972. Up until now the media is beating the drums of Bahrainisation. To Bahrainise, it is little more than a joke. For one, the educational system is not rgeared to a carefully studied development plan. That is apart for odd sectors, like tourism, hotels and catering, where the school graduate is guaranteed a job in one of the hotels. University education is not available to every person. The places are not enough and the cost of fees and books is beyond the capability of many families. The secondary school leavers wonder for five years and end-up taking such jobs as market porters, fishing, washing cars, receptionists and any other form of work, which really don’t require a secondary school education. The educational system fails also to achieve its social objectives. Citizenship development is an alien element of the curriculum. The history being taught, the social studies, the religiouse textbooks and language are fragmented and distorted. Indeed, Bahrainis depend on their own to study their country’s history and to understand their heritage. Students are told that Bahrain virtually did not exist before Al-Khalifa “conquered” the islands more than two centuries ago. The National Assembly experiment in l973-75 is mention in passing. No information or details are available to explain why it only existed for two years. Citizenship is vaguely defined. What is a good or bad citizen. Who qualifies for being a good or bad citizen is not clear. The joke is that the easiest way to be a good citizen as required by the goverrunent is to join the informers and spies network managed by British officers, like Ian Henderson. Only then, would a person be declared a “good citizen”. More over, Bahrainis are told that they should be thankful to the royal family which provided them with bread, houses and highways. A common phrase usually reiterated by all members of theruling family to who ever talks to them is: “Your stomach is full of our food”. Not surprisingly that most school graduates end-up joining the larger frustrated sections of the society, with no future to look for. Moreover, the government has encouraged a two-tier system. The private expansive-fees schools are operated nationally and by expatriate communities. In these schools, students learn to love English language (not Arabic) and are taught the American or any other country ‘ s history, but not Bahrain. Most graduates of these school then go abroad to complete their education and return for more or less secured career prospects. Zis upper or upper-middle class system of education is revered by the government as the jewel in the crown. Hence the conclusion: Bahrain’s education system or systems score well on teaching how read and write, how to calculate and how to appreciate science, but at the same time fail to address the country’s development requirements and fail to develop a sense of citizenship. Demise of the Reginal Career Gulf Air has been the only national airlines forBahrain,Qatar,Omanand the UAEupuntil l985, when the ruler of Dubai formed a rival airlines company “Emirates”. Then LDubai claimed that Abo Dhabi was the main beneficiary in the partnership of C;ulf Air. The Emirates airlines was not allowed to function where Gulf Air managed to monopolist Few months ago, Oman announced it was unhappy with the Gulf Air and that she allowed her internal airlines company lo extend its services to India and Dubai. Last month Qatar followed suitz and announced that a new national airlines w as formed under the chairmanship of a member of the royal farnily, Mohammed bin Ali bin Jabr Al Thani. This leaves only Bahrain as the main dedicated member of the Gulf Air. Had it not been for the financial difficulties, Rahrain would have announced a separate airlines. All this signifies how grave the differences bctween such stales claiming tobemembersofaregional grouping, i.e. the Gulf Cooperation Council. In fact one thing is missing and shall continue to be missing, that is integration between economical and political structures of Lhe GCC countries. In fact competition and clashes on eveFy minor and major issues, including military clashes on disputed borders. The GCC is more of a political joke than a reality. They Have Done it … At Last The Ruling Family Celebrated Their Son’s MSc Degree A year ago, Bahrain was hit by a wave of enforced celebrations. The big news was that His Highness Shaikh Salman Al-Khalifa (son of the heir apparent) has just completed his Bachelor C)egree in the US. What a major achievement. At last, the Al-Khalifa family has proved to the world that they can match the thousands of common Bahraini citizens who have been graduating for decades, while members of the royal family were less caring about education. The many thousands Bahraini youth were astonished to see themselves without proper prospects in life despite graduating from all recognised univers Sties in the world, while the young Al-Khalifa chap (Shaikh Salman) has been appointed as deputy of his father chairing Bahrian Centre for Research. More over, the young sheikh has been attending all sorts of seminars and “briefing” delegates and speakers on what is to be discussed. After graduating last year, he chaired a seminar (July l 992) on B ahrain in the year 20 l 0. The first paper was titled “Alternatives to oil for national income”. When the questions session started, a young Bahraini graduate asked for permission to speak to the chairman (the graduate Sheikh Salman). The question raised by the common Bahrain graduate was: What have you (AL-Khalifa family) achieved for this country since you started ruling for the past two hundred years? The national income is well-known in fact and figures? and has always been pumped into security and defence expenses. Whv don’t vou allocate such huge amount of expenditure on education to enable the young of the country to contribute in development programmes? In the advanced countries, people are taxed but are granted their rights. In this country we are milked without any rights. Would we get our rights in the year 2010?. The Al-Khalifa graduate was furious and interrupted the common Bahraini graduate by saying: You have deviated from the subject. See me later and I will explain to you my answers. The common Bahraini g
raduate replied: How do you claim there is freedom of speech and democracy while you shut me up? If you have an answer say it now in front of the audience. The red-faced young shaikh went into an embarrassing silence.

Yet? this year another shock wave hit the media. The young Sheikh has managed to complete a Masters degree in international relations, this time from Cambridge University in the UK. Again, congratulations and celebrations were every where for this “miracle” achievement, Photographs of the young Sheikh chatting with his father was a main item of the newsP Every day the young shaikh is congratulated for his magnificent achievement which only several hundred of common Bahrainis have achieved. Directly upon his return, the young Master-holder Shaikh chaired another seminar on industrial investment in the GCC countries. This time only selected delegates were present to cheer the magnificent Shaikh.


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