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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=More of the same. Sorry for the trouble.

More of the same

Friday, April 22, 2005

As the turn of the month approaches, opposition activists have reloaded and have announced some more protests to keep the pressure on the government.

On April 30 (the eve of Labour Day), the Committee for the Unemployed will hold the third in its series of demonstrations. This time the protest will take the form of a march that will commence at 7.30pm from Ras Ruman mosque and will pass by the Prime Minister's office. (Read about the first and second protests.)

On the following Friday (May 6), the second protest demanding constitutional reforms will be held. The venue this time will be next to Dana Mall at 4pm. Interestingly, the announcement says that the protest is being sponsored by all four of the boycotting opposition parties, rather than just Al Wefaq as was the case for the first protest. Is it possible that the others have finally woken up?

Well, let's see.


Update (24-Apr-05): Today's GDN has the following:

Rally ‘illegal’

MANAMA: Social Affairs Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi yesterday dismissed the constitutional conference general secretariat as “unlicensed and illegal”. She was commenting on news that a rally would be held on May 6 to press for constitutional reforms.

Things seem to keep repeating themselves in Bahrain. But Dr Balooshi's statement sounds more like a dismissal of legitimacy, rather than the ban that was imposed on the last protest. But there's still time left, so let's see how the government responds this time.


Update (25-Apr-05): More in today's GDN:

A planned rally to call for constitutional changes would be an illegal act orchestrated by an illegal organisation, authorities said yesterday. The government does not recognise the group organising the rally, which is backed by four political societies that boycotted the parliamentary elections, said a senior Social Affairs Ministry official. (Continued)
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6 Responses to 'More of the same'

Blogger Bahrania says:

Chan'ad, the Sitra protests were also supported by ALL the boycotting societies as is obvious by all the follow up meetings they had to rally around Wefaq following the governments threats against it. Wefaq was responsible for the logistics and rallying the people.

These are protests that fall into the strategy of escalation the boycotting societies are adopting in pressuring the government for constitutional changes before the 2006 elections. This aim is openly stated in Alamana al3ama lilmo2tamar aldistoori led by Jaleela Alsayed, established by all four societies to implement the recommendations of the Constitutional Conference of February 2004.

No reforms, no participation in 2006 elections. There isn't an ideologically contentious element in this message; that is why you see islamists hand in hand with liberals and ex-communists- a relationship that has been resilient since the 70s.

The quest and demand for a more democratic framework is foremost, ideology is secondary, and should naturally be accomodated in this framework.    

Blogger Chanad says:

Bahrania, I agree that all of the boycotting societies supported the Sitra protest. But there is a difference in approach between Wefaq and the other three societies.

For example, look at this announcement for the Sitra protest. It reads "Al Wefaq in coordination with Al amana al 3ama..."
Then read the announcement for the upcoming protest which says "Arranged by Al amana al 3ama and the four political societies". Definitely a change.

As I wrote in my earlier post, post even though all four parties are very involved in the demand for constitutional reform, only Al Wefaq has actively engaged the masses successfully. At the Sitra protest all of the top leadership of Al Wefaq was present and visible, and Ali Salman gave a rousing speech to the crowd at the end. On the other hand, Mr Al-Nuaimi of the NDAS was nowhere to be seen.

And the Sitra protest was not an exception, but the standard. Al Wefaq is extremely proactive and speaks directly to the masses. Their leadership is always on the street whenever there is a worthy cause. On the other hand the NDAS (or any other society) seems somewhat elitist with all of its seminars, but very little action on the street.

I think this is one of the reasons why Al Wefaq is so hugely popular today compared to any of the other political societies.    

Blogger Bahrania says:

I don't see what the problem is with this symbiotic relationship which is more of a temporal one with the specific aim of constitutional reform. I don't really see how ideology fits in. I'm a leftist, I call for constitutional reform. I'm an islamist, I call for the same constitutional reform. The objective is the same.

Ideological view comes later, once we agree on the constitution.    

Blogger lavashak says:
4/23/2005 10:59:00 pm

Very interesting Chanad, i'll have to check back for the pix (there will be pix right?)


Blogger Chanad says:
4/24/2005 12:22:00 am

Bahrania: I guess I haven't made my point clear, so let me try again.

I am NOT commenting on the symbiotic relationship between the parties, or whether it is good or bad. Nor am I commenting on any ideological similarities or differences.

Simply, my claim is that Al Wefaq has done a much better job of its PR than any other party. Right now it is the only party that has made a real effort to engage with the average Joe (or Ali, I guess).

That this upcoming protest is being officially sponsored by all four opposition parties may be a sign that the others are willing to do more than organize seminars and write papers.

I hope that is clear enough. (Again, remember that I am not judging whether anything is good or bad. I'm merely trying to describe the situation).    

Blogger Bahrania says:
4/24/2005 03:34:00 pm

sorry,..still didn't get it...come again??!

just kidding...point taken :)    

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