Bahrain: The Aspirations We Seek
In his keynote address at the opening of the third parliamentary
session, the King of Bahrain has used a lot of human rights, political,
developmental and security terms, among others. Some of them represent
the aspirations which citizens hope to be realised in Bahrain; while
others represent the constants deemed necessary for sustaining Bahrain’s
structure. These include the following:
First: Emphasizing the important role
and core function of the Parliament (legislation and supervision);
as the expression of the ‘popular will’, which means that any weakness
in parliamentary performance constitutes forfeiture of the popular
will and mandate which created the parliament in the first place.
Poor parliamentary performance also constitutes a threat to state
organs which have a constant need for new and more advanced laws,
as well as parliamentary control to prevent corruption, waste, and
administrative flabbiness. An advanced Bahrain will always need
a strong parliament, representing the popular will and assuming
its legislative and supervisory roles. Thus, if the parliament malfunctions,
so will the executive bodies.
Second: Based on the mutual agreement
between the Government and the people, the National Action Charter,
Bahrain’s target is to move forward in building a state of institutions
and laws, as highlighted in the King’s address. A state of institutions
and laws is one that safeguards citizens fundamental rights, protects
freedoms and consolidates the exercise of democracy. In other words,
it is a state that respects the will of the people, believes in
people’s freedom and dignity and safeguards their rights.
Third: Despite all the storms that have occurred in the social
fabric, the King has stressed that the spirit of Bahrain draws its
strength and power from cordiality, coexistence and moderation;
and stressed that Bahrain, with its Arab and Islamic identity, is
the homeland of all.
Bahrain is a melange. Its value lies in its multiplicity, diversity,
moderation and tolerance, where the various colours of the rainbow
coexist with no single colour prevailing or superseding other colours.
This is a valuable asset for Bahrain which should be maintained,
so that Bahrain’s citizens and others can enjoy these multiple colours,
in accordance with the law, and in a manner that maintains human
Fourth: There are three rules which
the King has proposed as national and social constants which sum
up the spirit of rights and duties, the first being: public unity
instead of divisions; the second: citizenship (with all its manifestations,
rights and duties) instead of foreign ideological or political allegiance
and third: reform and tolerance instead of sabotage and extremism.
We have to maintain and strongly adhere to these rules and pass
them to the next generation.
Bahrain cannot exist without a solid base of social unity, true
citizenship, tolerance and harmony. Otherwise, the people will only
reap division, foreign allegiance, terrorism and extremism.
Because we are talking about the reality and aspirations, the
King has said: “We will always promote the values of moderation,
tolerance and coexistence, both in words and deeds, as we confront
extremism and fanaticism. We will also consolidate the values of
political action based on the principles of the National Action
Charter, the Constitution, respect for the rule of law and the sovereignty
of national decisions”
Fifth: As was the case in previous
addresses, the King’s last address included clear references to
the importance of the ‘cumulative’ building on achievements. The
last address expressed this by saying that Bahrain should move ahead
equipped with the deep conviction and strong awareness “that building
on past achievements is the way forward to consolidate the civil
state built on justice and equality, without the exclusion of any
one because of his origins, ideas or beliefs”.
What is of essence here is that irrespective of the size of achievement,
it is part of a growing structure, an expanding ring or an ongoing
process. What is being said here is that the people of Bahrain are
accumulating their experience and achievements for the future. As
long as the foundations are there, the structure will grow higher.
It is not wise to destroy the existing structure and start again,
and thus waste long decades of effort. If we do so we will only
repeat the errors of nations which have “unwoven their firmly spun
yarn into strands”.
Sixth: Indeed, as the King has pointed
out “Security and Development go hand in hand”. No economic or political
development can be achieved without a stable security. But the stability
of security, in turn, cannot be properly achieved without a diverse
and comprehensive development.
Security and development and the achievements of many countries
are faced with an extraordinary threat and challenge. It is the
challenge of terrorism, which threatens many of the peoples of the
region, with respect to their identity, present and future. Hence
it is necessary to confront terrorism through cooperation, the culture
of tolerance, camaraderie, awareness, strengthened security, political
reform, as well as other means.