Bahrain: Kitting Out An Islamic Car

This week in Bahrain we have a thoughtful post about the nature of God, a story of a sex education class, visitors’ varying experiences of both Bahrain and Spain, and a complaint about public toilets. There is also an intriguing examination of the specifications an Islamic car should have…

We start with a treat for bird lovers, with a photo from Bahrain Observations.

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The nature of God
Ali Abdulemam continues a series about the ‘manufacture’ of certain concepts within Bahraini society, and in this post he turns to God:

الله في وطني صورة من صور الرعب لا الحب، صورة من صور الخوف لا الأمن، تعيش طول عمرك خائفا من هذا “الله” لأنه وصل إليك بهذه الطريقة ، تعيش غير مطمئن أبد عمرك (…) لكن لا أحد يستطيع أن يفهم هل هذه هي صورة الله الحقيقية، أم هي الصورة التي حملة الرسالة ومبلغيها إيصال “الله” عليها ، لماذا أصبح الله سيفا علينا بدلا من أن يكون رحمة بنا
In this country God’s image is one of terror and not of love, of fear and not security. You live your whole life afraid of this God because this is the way God is presented to you. You are forever living without peace. (…) But no one is able to grasp whether this is correct image of God, or rather an attack of the Message and those who convey it in presenting God to us. Why did God become a sword over us, instead of having compassion for us?

Teaching good values…
Al Kaseef tells us about a class for sex education and moral values:

كان هذا الفصل ثقافة جنسية راقية ولكن أي مراهق يفهم أو يتفهم هذا الشيء، وأي مراهق في هذه السن يمكنه الصمود بدون أن يتنشي إلى أبعد درجة ممكنة ؟
الأستاذ في هذه الحصة كان يجتهد في شرح المسائل العويصة الخاصة بالأعضاء التناسلية للذكر والأنثى، ومع الأسف كل ما تحدث عنه ورسمه من فظائع على السبورة كان معروفاً لدى الجميع تقريباً. المهم بعدما فرغ الأستاذ من الشرح تلفت إلى الطلاب / الأنعام حتى يجيب على أية استفسارات. وهنا مد أحدهم أطنابه وكان أنفه فاحشاً، ولذلك سماه عترته ” بو خشم “.
بوخشم قدم مداخلة نوعية قال فيها : استاد أنا ما فهمت شي، ليش ما في تجربة عملية؟ طلب ناري أليس كذلك ؟ الأستاذ التفت إلى بوخشم وقال له: أمش معاي المختبر باراويك التجارب؟ وهنا تحطمت أسطورة الأخلاق الرفيعة ومكارمها بجرة استهبال من بهيمة يشبه أنفها الكيك بونص روبية.
The sex education class was sophisticated, but which teenager can understand or try to understand this subject, and which teenager at this age can be patient without becoming extremely high-spirited? The teacher in this lesson was trying to explain difficult issues concerning the male and female reproductive organs, and unfortunately everything he talked about and drew of these horrors on the board was already known by just about everyone. Anyway, after the teacher finished explaining he turned to the pupils / the sheep in order to answer any questions. So one of them raised his hoof – his nose was monstrous so we called him ‘Bu Khashm’, father of the nose.
Bu Khashm made a special sort of intervention, in which he asked, ‘Sir, I didn’t understand something. Why don’t we do practical work?’ Scorching question, wasn’t it?
The teacher turned to Bu Khashm and said, ‘Come with me to the laboratory, I’ll show you practical work!’
This is when the myth of lofty morals and noble qualities was shattered by an act of stupidity by a beast whose nose looks like a 50 fils cake.

Two different Bahrains…
Mohammed AlMaskati writes about the indignation of a local newspaper editor, who objected to some recent articles in British newspapers about the political situation in Bahrain:

Yes my friends, both the British Times and the Independent have officially “lost a lot of their credibility” after publishing articles talking about sectarian discrimination, and a “futile democratic reform” around Bahrain. This must be in part in a campaign led by the British Press to defame our beloved country and most probably Islamic countries as a whole.
Or how would you justify articles that note such unthinkable and despicable issues that has no place in our country, after spending an entire hour with them supported by a fleet of other local journalist and even a British citizen explaining the prosperity of the country and the comfortable and rich life lived by the good people of Bahrain, with speedy access to governmental housing, and a total unemployment rate under 1%, inflation at an all time low, and constituencies blindly based on the total number of citizens living in that particular area and of no sectarian incentives behind planning them at all. After explaining all of this to them they would STILL go back home and end up writing an article noting the negative side of Bahrain! […] Without any appreciation to our hospitality they still talked about sectarian discrimination, in an act nothing short of total distortion of facts not only to the British people, but to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown. And how would anybody even bring up such nonsense about Bahrain the country whose appointed governmental ministers are equal in numbers for both sects, and is probably the only country its Military is open without any restrictions to members of both Muslim Sects.

Ammar certainly believes that people should try to see the ‘real’ Bahrain:

A famous musician superstar and his brother are in the country, and have been here for a good few weeks now. So far, their host has been taking them out to the top end restaurants, the 5-star hotels and resorts, the modern shopping malls, and so on. Being here even for a few weeks, this is pretty much the only side of Bahrain that they've seen; a modern, upscale country, full of rich people, high class hangouts, and luxury cars.

I meet up with them once every now and then, and so far they've seemed to enjoy the country. After all, it's not every day you stay in a country full of lavishness where everyone (apparently) seems well-off, and everywhere you go is modern.

I caught a sort of yearning for something though, through one of their conversations. Although a great life, something about it felt fake; all the restaurants, the cars, the opulent life was nice, but there was no real substance behind it. Something was missing.

The conversation drifted off to the fact that not everyone in Bahrain lived like that, and actually far from it. A good percentage of the Bahraini population haven't even visited some of these restaurants they go to every day, as they cost way beyond what they can afford. Some don't live in lavish buildings and drive fancy cars. No, there was another reality behind what appears to be a land full of prosperity and affluence. They didn't believe it at first, until I promised to take them for a tour around the real Bahrain.

To find out what that tour involved, see here.

… and two different Spains
Bahraini Rants has had a holiday in Spain:

Ibiza and the Balearics:
Take away all the industrialized nightclubs and insane posters, the hippies, the clubbers, the DJs, the bullshit and the hype, and you’re left with something incredible, a place with real magic, beautiful beaches, great food, lovely country side, and a laid back vibe that you just can’t beat. With the season wrapping itself up, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed Ibiza if I had been during the shmack dab middle of hectic season, everyone was just so happy that things had calmed down and we enjoyed a nicer holiday because of it … However; in true European fashion, the nude sunbathing did catch us off guard. Walking along the beach searching for a spot, we were continuously surprised by the image of naked privates. Let’s setup there. Shit no, 7 naked Germans sunbathing and having a BBQ on the beach, let’s just find another spot. I’m just curious, aren’t they worried about flying sparks? Crazy naked Germans and the burning bush.

Mohammed AlMaskati also made trip to Spain a while back, but feels he didn’t make the most of what the country has to offer:

It wasn’t till the last bloggers meetup that the thought that I haven’t really seen the “cultural side” of Spain had hit me. Those two weeks I was there were spent either chilling on some beach, eating at some restaurant, or just wandering around with the car looking for some attraction, a zoo, a go-kart track, a paintball field and a miniature golf was all there is to it. […] What’s worse is during my return trip I decided to spend a couple of nights in London, and being the typical Arab tourist that I am have again wasted the opportunity not at museums and theaters, but exhausting my credit card limits on an endless shopping spree. And the fact that I didn’t have company didn’t help much either.

Toilet trouble
Yagoob is having difficulty finding a decent public toilet in Bahrain:

I hate going to the toilet in Seef Mall..
Why does everyone think that wet is ‘clean’?! Once you walk into a toilet the floor is wet and covered in dust mud and the seat is also drowned with water and God knows whatever liquids, even when you use some loo roll just to rinse off the water.. Surprise Surprise! The toilet roll is soaking wet!
And to top off all this, even the door and its handle are soaking wet and because people keep on doing this the wood of the door starts to rot and starts to look like a bloody shipwreck under the sea!

Top gear
Ammar reports on the announcement of a new ‘Islamic car’ – and has some suggestions as to what that should mean:

Now, Proton decide to create a car, put a compass in it pointing to Mecca, and a compartment for your praying mats, quran, and so on. Okay, all very well, but to me that just sounds like a regular car with a $10 compass installed. I personally think a car needs more substance to actually get the label “islamic”, and so i've come up with a list of new ‘options’ for the car to actually deserve being labelled that:

- The radiator can only be topped up with a 50/50 mix of coolant and zamzam water

- If you are a girl, the car will not let you ride with another man, unless you have a relative with you (ie, your brother, father, etc)

- The car can be filled up with gas any time of the day during the year, except in Ramadan, where you can only fill up the car after the sun sets

- If you are a man, you may buy up to four of these islamic cars. If you are a woman, however, you may only buy one

- No seatbelts, because if God is willing (In Shaa'Allah) that an accident will happen and you're going to get injured, a seatbelt really isn't going to stop it

- The car goes to auto-pilot mode and drives to the nearest mosque as soon as the athaan (call to prayer) is heard

- The car stereo is automatically set to all the quran and islamic radio stations, and nothing else.

- The car greets you with “Al salam alaikum” every time you switch it on

More from Bahrain in a week's time…

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