Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Bahraini Democracy of Escalation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Years ago, the government of Bahrain was stern in every aspect. It rejected openness and continued to prevent Bahraini opposition leaders from returning home. It also refused to release hundreds of political prisoners. Back then, we continuously criticized such policies and numerous parties urged the Bahraini regime to open up and engage in dialogue.

This is now history. The country has since opened up, a new constitution promulgated, free elections have been conducted, political prisoners have been released, and freedom of opinion and institutions respected.

However, history seems to be repeating itself in some ways as a number of Bahrainis now resort to the very extreme measures practiced by the government before reform. They seek to escalate, instigate and reject everything including dialogue with the government. The boycott spirit, negativity, extremist concepts and fiery slogans have taken control of some opposition groups.

A democratic state cannot survive without understanding and compromise. If the government believes that it could enforce its policies upon its citizens, or if government rejects dialogue and negotiations, the state of understanding will collapse. Likewise, if the opposition believes it could impose its program without dialogue or negotiations then this too will not only lead to a dead end but will also harm the democratic process.

The Bahraini opposition and especially the more extremist trends need to reconsider reality because the extremist mentality and its attempt to deny all that has been achieved, and the ”all or nothing” attitude will benefit nobody. Rather, such a mentality only harms the opposition itself.

The Bahraini opposition should openly condemn destructive behavior such as the sabotaging of buildings or the burning of cars. Such behavior is not that of a civilized opposition of a democratic society. The persistence of such political escalations with or without a cause is of no benefit to anyone. Much can be achieved in this small country through understanding and negotiation and the marginalization of these concepts is a blocked path of which we should highlight its dangers.