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Bahrain: Lost causes?

Recently a number of bloggers have complained about a lack of real education, a lack of critical thinking, and a lack of political engagement in Bahrain.

Coolred38, an American living in Bahrain, recounts some of the bad experiences her children have had at government schools, and lists all the faults of the government system as she sees them. She concludes:

I wish I could send my children to private school….I wish I could surround them with people who cared about their futures…even if they are non Bahrainis…because I sincerely believe the average Bahraini doesn't really care what the future holds for their children…as they are allowing these substandard teachers and school staff to care for their children day after day and year after year. You might say “we don't have a choice…that's the govt's doing”…the govt works for you doesn't it….silence means acceptance…if you accept your children being taught…or not taught…in this fashion…then good for you…keep quiet and don't complain later when your child can't graduate or get a good job cause they are suffering from basic education. Even those that do graduate from high school find college a whole other world…a world where people have to read in order to achieve good results…where they need to know not only where the library is but how to utilize it…a world where memorizing just doesn't cut it….my daughter just started college this year…and has had to learn the hard way….in fact…she has had to relearn how to educate herself in order to figure out college life and the standards she must maintain…even though she has been an A student all her life. At any rate….I told them I will be making a formal complaint to the Ministry of Education…[…] I just wish more parents were serious and concerned enough to complain in order to affect some change. Silence means acceptance….right?

Nido asks a similar question; he is wondering why his generation is not as politically active as his parents':

No one can seriously say that we are as politically involved as they were. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Bahrain is less politically active nowadays when compared to the past. Bahrain is obviously one of the most politically vibrant countries in the region. I am comparing the affluent, supposedly highly educated youth back then and now. Back then getting involved in politics was the norm. Today we dare not, nor are we interested, to even speak of the subject. […] Why are we so disengaged, so uninterested?……. Why is that? Why is that in a region which is so obviously going through one of the most turbulent and important periods in its history, where lives, ideas, norms, economies, futures and even geographic boundaries are being reshaped and redefined? Where no one really has so much more at stake in what happens, and where nobody else stands to gain or lose more from the consequences? Indeed where no one else has any reason to be more concerned as to what happens? […] Why is it that so few of us bother, and if they do bother they seldom act? Why is it that for so many of us this is a pointless and boring topic that is best avoided? Why is it that we have only the courage to resort to anonymous blogs, while if the identity is public then you have to severely curtail what you dare say?

The Soft wonders at the divisions that people holding essentially the same beliefs can create between themselves:

في فترات عُمري الوجيزة ولحظات الإقتراب والاختلاط مع المجتمع
تصفحتُ أفكار الآخرين وكنتُ أكثر إنفتاحاً وقبولاً لآراء الغير ..!
ولكن ترى فئة من المجتمع ذات أفكار مُتعصِبة لا تقبل رأي الآخرين تكفر بعض الأمور والمعتقدات
[…]
عندما كنت في المدرسة وبالتحديد في المرحلة الثانوية ( ثالث ثانوي ) كنتُ أزود أصدقائي والبعض من الزملاْ كُتبي , فذات مرة أعطيت أحداهم كتاباً للسيد الشيرازي وأخرى ..بعد فتره سألتها ما رأيكِ بالكتب ؟ ..أخبرتني أنها لم تقرأ هذا الكتاب بالتحديد لأن أمها منعتها من ذلك فطرحت اسألتي مذهولة ً لِما ؟ فراودتني بالإجابة لِأنه شيرازي , فسألتها وما بهؤلاء ؟ فقالت وهي مترددة بالإجابة أنهم لا يحبون الإمام علي (ع) فأنا لا إرادياً بدأتُ بالضحك وأخبرت الفتيات الجالسين معنا .. بدأنا بالضحك كأنها أحدثت نكتةً
At times in my short life, and at moments of approaching and mixing with society, I have examined the ideas of others and been more open and accepting of their opinions. But there is a section of society with fanatical ideas that cannot accept the opinion of others, and says that certain matters and beliefs are blasphemous…
[…]
When I was in school, to be specific in the third grade of secondary school, I used to lend my books to my friends and some others. One time I gave one of them a book by Al Sayyed Al Shirazi (a revered Iranian cleric), and other ones… After some time I asked her what she thought of the books. She told me that she hadn’t read that book specifically because her mother had forbidden her to do so. I asked in astonishment, ‘Why?’ She answered, ‘Because it is Shirazi.’ I asked what about the others, and she said hesitantly replied that they didn't love Imam Ali. I couldn't stop myself from laughing, and I told the girls sitting with us. We started laughing as if she had told a joke…

Cookie is also disappointed with the education she is being given:

when I’ve chosen science speciality I thought that I will invent , discover something or at least spend time in labs working with real things!
But when I got there my dreams/expectations did not happen! I was in shock cause we had to imagine what we learn. we have to imagine physical actions, creatures, chemical reactions and other – must to see – things.
I thought that I’m going to think my way but I discovered that I have to think like a copying machine!
I thought that I’m going to be a little scientist but I became a broken memory card.
I believe that school make you stupid. unless you are stupid !

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