Well, I would have continued supping my latte in Hamra’s Starbucks in 2006, while south Beruit was being bombed, if it weren’t for the fact that they closed Starbucks after the Israelis started bombing the Lebanon in what we might suspect was ultimately a bully tactic to get themselves back up to the Litani. At any rate, my awareness of what was actually happening to south Beruit, and to the country as a whole, was provided by the media.
Today and last week it is Press TV and RT News that has me taking off my three wee monkeys hat and the news from the part of the world where I was watching that news last week is that Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has ordered “quick implementation of recommendations adopted on Sunday by the country’s loyalist-dominated parliament, giving authorities powers to revoke the citizenship of anyone “recognized as guilty of committing or inciting an act of terrorism.,” while lawmakers have also passed a law banning all protests in the capital, Manama, at the request of the king.
So, there is something rotten in the “Kingdom of Denmark” and it is not something that I was likely to notice during my evening stroll down Kuwait Avenue, through Delmon Avenue and then back up past the HSBC to my appartment in Adiya. Not something I was likely to notice until I turned on RT News or Press TV.
Notice, perhaps not, and in the great scheme of things if you are from the West, Bahrain does offer that sort of normality, which Saudi cannot. Indeed, put on your three wee monkeys’ hat and there you are supping coffee at Costas, shopping at Waitroses, watching a movie at Seef Mall, chatting on facetime with home and …. well, for a time at least, what more do you want? A little bit of participation, maybe?
No, it is not even the lack of participation, which makes it all unsustainable in the longer term and while it is relatively easy to ignore the pictures everywhere of the King, Prime Minister and the Crown Prince – who, like all of the senior members of the government have the same family name – in the shorter term, you really do start to think, what if you were actually native to the place?
Well, it would be a bit like living in an “independent” Scotland where everyone in the government is called Jones and where Dai, Emlyn and Llewellyn have their pictures pasted all over the country. Oh, and worse still, where the government was bringing in immigrants to ensure that if the natives got a wee bit fed up with their lot, they could be quickly rendered surplus to requirements.