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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=Where is everyone else?. Sorry for the trouble.

Where is everyone else?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Not only is Al Wefaq the most popular political society on the island, but these days it is also the most active one. If you have been following recent activities you may have noted that Wefaq has provided support (logistic or moral) to the causes of the BahrainOnline detainees, State Security torture victims, the BCHR discrimination report, constitutional reform, and even for the protection of the Tubli Bay mangroves.

I commend Al Wefaq for supporting these important causes, and I also credit the Wefaq high order for recognizing the political value that this gives them. However I can't give my full support to the party because Al Wefaq is an Islamist group, and I disagree with them in principle. But it leads to the question... where is everyone else??!! Are there no other political players to compete with Al Wefaq? In particular, I'm thinking about the National Democratic Action Society (NDA), since it is the largest political society without a religion driven agenda. Their presence in supporting all the grassroots human rights and social causes is miniscule compared to that of Wefaq.

Yes, they usually issue a statement in support of something... and sometimes they even hold a seminar... but their physical presence is rarely seen on the street. Whenever there is a protest for something you can be sure to see Wefaq leaders Ali Salman or Dr Abduljalil Sengase (of recent controversy) on the scene. But the only time I have ever seen another group make their presence known at one of these events was during the Victims of Torture demonstration last June, in which a small troupe of NDA supporters wore yellow headbands and held a banner with the party name at the bottom. But since then, nothing.

I'd like to see more political societies take an interest in these events, sponsor/co-sponsor them or encourage their supporters to show up, and to make their presence known when they get there. Not only is it morally right to support some of these causes, but it is also in the interests of the party. And come 2006, this will provide more choice for a voter concerned about human rights and social issues... I know, I don't like the idea of groups supporting these causes for purely politically selfish motives... but unfortunately that's the nature of the game.

Anyways, Al Wefaq is spearheading the movement for revising the current Constitution, and is organizing a demonstration this Friday afternoon in Sitra. There will probably be a decent turnout... but will any of the other political societies show up?

(P.S. Any updates on the million dinar war chest of the BCCI lobbying group? And any news about the Al-Montada society of businessmen? 2006 is not that far away... get crackin'!)

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4 Responses to 'Where is everyone else?'

Blogger Evil Odd says:

I'm afraid that there is no one else!

By the way, I've started a new blog called the Odd Blog and it's available at


Feel free to visit, let friends know about it, and comment on the first post.


Blogger Scorpio says:

Great point Chan'ad! I don't think its a failure of either public relations or leadership on the part of the NDA - it's much more serious than that and goes to the heart of the failure of Left intellectuals in the Arab world: the failure to engage with the masses - with the Bahrain's intellectual forums being one of the worst examples. The end result they've marginalised themselves through their own elitism.

So this opens the way for right wing Islamists such as Al Wefaq, creating all sorts of moral contortions: for instance it seriously undermines demonstrations in favour of human rights if the only people organising them have contempt for the whole human rights paradigm.    

Anonymous AA says:

Fantastic blog! Now you have a fan in UK!    

Anonymous Anonymous says:
3/25/2005 09:28:00 am

Al Muntada appears to be split between those who want to be active in politics and those who don't. For now, their political agenda will likely be pushed through the BCCI.


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