Don’t Abuse Freedom

Bahrain is the only country in the GCC region where people have freedom of expression and it is sad to note that some self-serving elements in society often abuse it.

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Bahrain is the only country in the GCC region where people have freedom of expression and it is sad to note that some self-serving elements in society often abuse it. The troublemakers are a microscopic minority who don’t know that their antics put an entire community in the dock at the end of the day.
Some small-time opportunist and selfish community leaders whose sole job is to incite gullible teens suddenly surface when the situation gets volatile. They exploit the circumstances to serve their vested interests and vanish before the police arrive. Their loyalties and credentials are always in doubt.
About four years ago, they crossed all the limits when the placards of the Iranian supreme leader were brazenly brandished in Manama protests.
Not long ago they, along with their women, descended over the offices of the leading Arabic daily and held a powerful demonstration to protest against the publication of a cartoon about the Iranian leader. Their anger was understandable but their actions really make one wonder if they are true sons of the soil.
During the recent flare-up, the photographs of a burning police vehicle, a Bahraini journalist fleeing the blaze, youth with covered faces pelting stones at security forces and road blocks were immediately flashed by news agencies and slapped on page one by all regional newspapers.
The rioters have no idea how much harm their foolishness would have caused to the country’s image and economy.
When foreign investors see those photos, they start having second thoughts about putting their money at risk here.
When families in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia see the photographs of hair-raising vandalism in Bahrain, they cancel their planned visits to the kingdom.
When the news about law and order situation reaches foreign shores, top bankers start having sleepless nights, as the island is a regional banking hub.
Bahrain is also a favourite venue for top conferences during this rosy season. Thanks to the Molotov-loving thugs, some events management gurus will start advising their clients against holding their meetings here.
It is shocking to see that the country’s economy will take such a blow just because of the mindless violence done by a bunch of lunatics.
Teens if misguided go berserk within no time. And the security forces cannot guard every nook and corner of the country. Until the “guides” of these delinquents are contained, there will always be a threat of such acts being repeated.
Village elders can play a vital role in maintaining peace by keeping the young blood in their area from derailment. They should immediately report inciters to the police so that a small problem does not snowball into a major crisis.
Ali Jassim’s death after the alleged police action was tragic and instead of praying for his soul some disgruntled men resorted to vandalising public property, setting trash bins afire and blocking roads. Some Press reports said the Jid Hafs suq was also reduced to ashes. These unlawful acts spread panic among citizens, rendered many a worker jobless and upped the tension level in the area.
The brain behind the disturbances and the perpetrators of these heinous crimes achieved nothing in the past, achieved nothing now and will achieve nothing in the future. They will always be the losers because their intentions are less-than-satisfactory.
The families of those arrested on suspicion of damaging the police car and stealing a weapon will suffer in silent agony for months if not years. Now who will put food on the table for their children?
The inciters owe a reply!
[The writer can be reached at [email protected]]