Bahrain: Cartoons and other stuff

Dr. Abdulhadi Khalaf, the Bahraini dissident and member of the first parliament that was dissolved in 1975, now lives in Sweden and lectures at Lund University, posts a report about his Christmas visit to the island. He's not very impressed by how companies and individuals “show their love” and respect to the higher echelons of the political structure in Bahrain, concluding that:

I cannot help wondering who is the PR genius who convinced the three royals that billboards will make them loved? He/she must be a secret agent of the opposition who planted him to mislead the royal troika. And, apparently, he (or she?) has done a good job. For who would in his right mind would believe that he needs billboards to gain love or respect? The royal trio were really taken for an expensive ride. And counter-productive to boot.

Manama Republic has another excellent and insightful piece. This time he sheds a light of an insider on the unfortunate fatal accident that claimed one of the king's sons recently, and raises a very important point: Bahrain seems to specialise on squandering opportunities; opportunities which if used judiciously, could very much endear the Royals to their Bahraini subjects and puts the blame on the kingdom's dysfunctional PR machine. He contrasts Bahrain's missed opportunities with those that Kuwait makes a habit of winning.

Talking about cars, Mahmood posts another couple of vlogs (videoblogs); one about a recent visit with his son to the wildly popular Drag Races at the Bahrain International Circuit, the home of F1 in the Middle East, and in the second he takes you on a tour of his newly re-landscaped garden, in between he discusses the complete ineffectiveness of the Minster of Information who is rumoured to be on the way to be fired in a forthcoming cabinet reshuffle, and just like everyone else in the Arab and Muslim worlds this week, he puts forth his two cents regarding the blaspheming Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet.

The other hot topic in the area is the Palestinian elections and the subsequent landslide by Hamas. eMoodz provides his insight into this phenomenon and blames Bush for the increase in Islamists’ wins across the Middle East; he states that: “Such uneducated policies lead extreme Muslim fundamentalists to power, Shiite’s have taken over the Iraqi parliament, have boosted Hizbullah’s in Lebanon, brought radical Ahmedinjad to head Iran, gave the opportunity to the Muslim Brotherhood act to even shine more, and now, Hamas’s victory in the recent Palestinian elections.

Haitham Sabbah on the other hand has a different take on Hamas’ win; he is despondent and pessimistic on the next four years of Hamas rule. Haitham, incidentally, is taking part in the Al-Jazeera 2nd Forum in neighbouring Doha, Qatar, where he is joined by Global Voices co-founder Ethan Zuckerman where they are both participating in the The New Media: Bloggers and Participatory Journalism panel.

We have another blog to welcome to the Bahraini blogosphere, Mohammed Neama so far writes exclusively in Arabic about things Bahraini.

Onto Silly Things now where an insomniac Silly Bahraini Girl who misses her country to bits, reflects on the injustice of the judicial system where she is aghast at a very light sentence passed on a policeman who was inciting youth to go on a stealing spree on his behalf!

Strav turns his attention on health matters and tracks ‘bird flue’ in the area.

We started this round-up with an ex-MP, so let's end it with a prospective one! Tawfiq Al-Rayyash who was recently elected to the board of the largest political party in Bahrain Al-Wefaq's Steering Committee, reflects on politics and how it could be a noble pursuit if applied with honesty. He argues that instead of violence to replace a regime, political means must be utiltised to the full to do so for almost all Arab regimes suffer from an incurable corruption. (in Arabic)

The Joker meanwhile objects on another cartoon and the continued unwanted presence of Michael Jackson in Bahrain, and beaches the powers that be to throw him and his entourage out.

Tomorrow, Jan 31st, 2006 coincides with the Muslim Hijra New Year of 1427. May I take this opportunity, on behalf of my Bahraini blogging colleagues, and wish the whole world a very happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Muslim Year.

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