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Bahrain: Ban On Alcohol Sought

Bahrain has always been known as one of the most liberal and tolerant of the Gulf states, but in recent years the country's political environment has become increasingly religious, with many members of parliament demanding amongst other things a ban on alcohol. Reacting to this as well as other legislation being introduced, some of Bahrain's bloggers have expressed their disbelief and anger.

The Dude is not amused:

In the next few days, parliament are going to get together to vote on whether alcohol should be banned in all of the Kingdom's restaurants that are not located in hotels. And vote they will, almost certainly in favour of the pointless ban.
The current proposal stems from a relatively recent proposal to ban alcohol in Um Al Hassam [an area of the capital, Manama], because, allegedly, customers of licensed restaurants were getting drunk and disturbing families in the area. Actually, as I recall it, some MP or another said that people were getting drunk and would, y'know, go about trying to get into houses, and y'know, fall asleep on other people’s couches, ‘n stuff. But luckily it hadn’t happened yet, cause them residents were clever enough to, y'know, lock their doors. But it COULD happen.
Hah.
But, not content with merely limiting choice, they want to destroy it altogether.
[…]
How much time is wasted on such pointless endeavours? On April 29th of last year MPs “unanimously demanded a total ban on alcohol in Bahrain. They voted in favour of a parliament-proposed law banning the import, possession, sale or production of alcohol.”
But to become law, the proposal would have to be accepted by the government and the Shura Council. It wasn’t. Why? Because the ban would have far reaching economic effects; effects far to complex for the pure parliamentary minds to comprehend.

aMaL is feeling very pessimistic:

What is happening? Did someone read Nineteen Eighty-Four and thought, “oh, seems like an excellent idea, lets try it here and see if it works!”
Because, the ever-so-concerned parliament is drooling over its proposal to ban alcohol everywhere in the country (they hadn’t succeeded in neither solving poverty nor, their favourite topic, terminating prostitution). What’s next? Covering women up in burqas and public execution of shaved men in football stadiums? What happened to the Island of tolerance and diversity?
Every village in this country has turned into a war zone between frustrated brainwashed youth and savage dramatic gunmen. Walls are covered in black, there are remains of burnt rubber in every corner, speakers are louder than ever and helicopters crackle around day and night, warning those who survived the nineties that they might not be lucky enough to survive this decade. We are constantly in a state of war.
[…]
And, the most disgraceful project out of many, the TRA [Telecommunications Regulatory Authority] is about to issue a law that permits Big Brother to monitor every electronic means of self expression. Great, so now we have the good old fashioned agents on the ground and modern technologically advanced agents in the cyber world.
These are only few of the rotten attempts of surveillance, repression and control. Soon enough we will be witnessing the real, ugly face of the Orwellian nightmare right here in our own country. If we do not wake up and smell the stench, that is.

4 comments

  • “one of the most liberal and tolerant of the Gulf states, but in recent years the country’s political environment has become increasingly religious, with many members of parliament demanding amongst other things a ban on alcohol.”
    Just a correction. A ban on alcohol does not make a country intolerant. As a monitor one should leave his/her bias aside.

  • Thanks for commenting. I wrote that Bahrain has always been known as one of the most liberal and tolerant of the Gulf states (which is a fact), and said that the country’s political environment is increasingly religious (another fact), which has been manifested in many ways, including demands to ban alcohol. I didn’t directly equate intolerance with banning alcohol, though in fact I think it is impossible to separate the notions of liberalism/tolerance from a society’s attitude towards individual freedoms (including the freedom to consume alcohol). Bahrain is home to many non-Muslims – and indeed Muslims – who choose to drink; if the state made the decision that they could not do so, that would clearly be a restriction of their individual freedom, and a sign of intolerance. After all, to be tolerant means “inclined to tolerate the beliefs, practices, or traits of others”.

  • […] One of the MPs stood up and said; “We already know the reason for the problem. It is because of the 1, 2 and 3 star hotels serving alcohol.” […]

  • Khalid

    Stop being selfish and start thinking of the youth of Bahrain and the consequences of having such liberal laws regarding alcohol. Children aside, you all forget that Bahrain is an islamic country and by definition should promote religious and ethical agendas. A total ban will undoubtedly harm Bahrain economically thats why the proposal isn’t suggesting a total ban. If you’re bahraini and are still against more restrictions shame on you!

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