The map is from the American embassy in Manama and the red areas show areas that are off-limits to US servicemen and women, although, I am fairly certain that it is also a source of advice to American citizens in general.
The daily drive from Adliya to Saudi might see you turn off Kuwait Avenue into the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway and on down to the Causeway and there won’t be the slightest inclination to pay a little visit to Adhari, Sanad, Salmabad and the only way you are likely to end up anywhere in the vicinity of Sanabis, is by way of a little sojourn at the weekends to the City Center and Seef Malls. Why are certain roads blocked by a police presence? Well, the question won’t be asked.
Back to Adliya and there might be a walk in the evening Gidaibya, Hoora or Juffair, but nothing to interrupt your “normality”. A “normality” of Indians riding bicycles without headlights against the flow of traffic, or on the pavement, a “normality” where the Filipino cleaning lady had to give some Bahraini the equivalent of 1,000 € for a visa, so that she can earn about 400 € a month, a “normality” of three hardly male model types grinning down at all and sundry from here, there, and everywhere. Living in the Adliya bubble, however, is bearable and there is a wee world where, apart from any serious political or social discourse, everything is available, ….. and the people outside the bubble, all the people who live in the red areas on the map, well, you just don’t see them.
Nevertheless, we might be sure that their lot is at least slightly different from that of those who are in the bubble and we might also speculate that if it is going to get better, and the chances of that happening are only a matter of pure speculation, it is going to get worse first. That might be the only real conclusion we can draw from today’s local excuse for journalism (Gulf Daily News), which follows up a report that a certain extremist group calling itself Al Ashtar Brigades claimed responsibility for a blast on the Budaiya Highway, with a slightly more certain Anwar Abdulrahman, the editor-in-chief of the pro-government ‘Akhbar al-Khaleej’ saying that “while people are very much concerned about their country, these mobs are seeking to destroy it, thus harsh punishment is a must without any consideration whatsoever for human rights organisations.”
Now, while Mr Abdulrahman is not an official government spokesman, might we deduce that his comments imply that we are in for even harsher punishments and even less consideration for human rights organisations and we might at least suspect that “the not so bad life” in the “normality” bubble might be about to change. However, such comments from Mr Abdulrahman are not new and less than three months ago he was reported as saying “so-called human rights organisations” are “largely administered by ex-ideologists and even terrorists”. It continued: “As much as beasts cannot be left to roam freely, so in human society the feral element’s freedom should be under control.” Don’t expect the “normality” bubble to burst in the near future.