Bahrain: another eventful week in review

clowns at the Parishiners\' Family Day in Bahrain
From time to time, churches and Christian communities in Bahrain organise excellent Parish Family Days where a plethora of backgrounds mix and mingle, and raise money for charity too. Monu brings us a picture of one of these days, with plenty of multicultural stalls selling food and lucky dips with excellent prizes to bring the punters in to part with their money for good causes. Present on the day was a good contingent from the Far East all the way to Europe with more than 60 stalls to experience. Of course these days are not limited to just Christians, but the whole community joins in, demonstrating Bahrain's religious tolerance; which is much in need especially at this difficult time with the continuing turmoil and violence produced by politicising “the cartoons“, Abdulhadi Khalaf urges us to sign a letter which plots a way to solving this problem by more tolerance, dialogue and understanding. A declaration is English, Arabic and Danish is Available for those interested, as well as another one in Arabicpdf by Arab intellectuals.

On the other side of the spectrum, Haitham Sabbah brings us news that an Israeli News Agency has hijacked Google to try to suppress Iran's attempt to discredit the Holocaust. More importantly; however, he raises the question that there is “No denial of Holocaust, yet you deny Palestinians rights, and the massacres of Palestinians and other Arabs. I don’t want to compare, but let me remind you of some: and goes on to list tens of what he considers massacres which should be recognised by the world community.

Anti-semetic cartoon by one of the leaders of the Arts in Bahrain

Mohammed Ni'mah, a new blogger on the scene who blogs in Arabic, believes that the “winner” of anti-semitism this week is one of Bahrain's leading artists – and one who has contributed daily political cartoons for over 30 years to Ahbar Al-Khaleej, a daily Arabic newspaper in Bahrain – Mr. Muharraqi, as documented by the Anti-Defamaation League.

after the break: a reward for a killing, Bahraini parliamentarian encourage the Danes to research non-fossil fuels, customer service evaluations, Religious Policeman's interview, a Bahraini proves that there is water on Mars, language bastardisation, and more!

Keeping with this prevalent theme, another new Bahraini blogger: Gardens of Sand – a blot by a Bahraini girl, pursuing an MBA from Winthrop University in South Carolina, USA – brings us news of another way to treat this situation by a Pakistani cleric whose idea of a resolution is to chop the heads of the cartoonists!

On a somewhat related topic, that Desert Island Boy, who is a Bahraini-American (yes we do have some of those!) considers the effects of some Bahraini parliamentarians like Khalid Mohammed – famous for burning the Danish flag amongst other distasteful acts – on encouraging the Danes to ditch oil in favour of non-fossil-based fuel and concludes: “I hope the beardos are happy that there are fewer white devils who want our black gold. Soon there will be no market for what we are selling and we can all go back to living like Yemeni hillbillies. Maybe then they will realize that the Peninsula needs the world more than the world needs the Gulf.”

Moving away from politics for now, The Joker provides an insightful view of customer service in Bahrain when he compares various institutions; for instance he is completely dismayed by the indifference one of the major commercial banks in Bahrain shows its customers, and says in this regard: “Ahli United Bank: Customer service at its worst. The knuckle heads at the customer service desk are so confused they don't know whether you were coming or going! One time I asked them how long it took them to process a loan knowing that my salary account is with them, I have no other commitment, and my employer is A rated. They said “roughly one month.” I don't have an account with BBK and they said they'd do it in less than a week. I have endless stories with AUB… I applied for an internet account around July or august.. still didnt recieve it.

Meanwhile, a shawarma-loving-pseudo-Bahraini takes the opportunity to talk to that famous Religious Policeman in a wide ranging and engaging interview. Be sure not to miss it! Cerebral Waste seems to have carved a nice niche for himself in the interviewing world and we look forward to reading more insightful interviews.

a Bahraini discovers that there IS water on Mars!

Qassim Abdulrasool, on the other hand, asks the very important question of when and why did women start shaving their legs, but Ali7 is more interested in showing us his persona discovery of water on Mars.

Through Ali Al-Saeed‘s update on his film project “Models of Success,” he introduces us to yet another very talented blogger: Hashim Al-Alawi whose blog Alfanan's Radio contains his own musical compositions, some he did in Bahrain and others while he was studying in Texas. Hashim has already released two albums whose music is a fusion of East and West and is very easy to fall in love with; his music is very melodiously moody and well worth the effort of adding to one's collection.

bahraini rants digs up another creative post which traces the origins of some bastardised colloquial Bahraini words, some of which originated from the English, Indian and Farsi languages and mostly coined within the last 75 years. Some favourites include: Bistoog = Biscuit, Bi-Feater = pipe-fitter (plumber), Smeet = Cement, Aranj joosh = orange juice and so on. If you visit that post, please check the comments threads as well as people have started contributing terms he has not covered but certainly inspired unearthing!

Our beloved and much missed Amira Al-Hussaini – aka SillyBahrianiGirlstill is missing Bahrain terribly while in self-imposed exile in Canada while she accompanies her husband in his pursuit of medical perfection; we are fortunate however that she continues to write in the local Gulf Daily News newspaper back home where she has been the news editor for a number of years. Her latest article there concerns the sheer arrogance of some people in which a “Yemeni soldier in Bahrain, who stabbed a Moroccan woman after a scuffle at a hotel, then arrogantly boasted that since he was working at the BDF, he was above the law.” in which she brings forth several irksome facts to the surface: illegal naturalisation, foreign mercenaries being preferred to Bahraini citizens in the armed forces and the police and the not so veiled prostitution industry in the island.

Manama Republic once again goes where no one treads. This time, he pens an excellent thought in which he compares the unfortunate demise of Rafiq Al-Hariri on Valentine's day last year, to the demise of contractual constitutional rule in Bahrain on Valentine's day in 2002. In this article Dangerous Liaisons he says” “For two small nations of the East, one February fourteen will go in memory as one of the most heartrending days of the calendar; an anniversary of the cruel ending of a pulsating relationship by anti-Cupid's arrow, lanced from within in one instance, and from without in the other.Manama Republic is always worth reading to get a real feel of the undertones that besieges Bahrain's society.

Finally, Frederik Haentjens, a Belgian blogger currently working in Bahrain suggests a meeting between visiting Belgian bloggers to the forthcoming Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix and Bahraini Bloggers. The 8th of March has been selected for the gathering at Dar Al-Bareh Gallery Cafe, one of the leading art galleries in Bahrain. I am sure both countries’ bloggers will have more to say about this unique meeting after the gathering.

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