The Janus-faced King of Bahrain

Rodney Shakespeare

Bahraini police guards stand ready for the arrival of King Hamad
bin Issa al-Khalifa (portrait) during a National Day ceremony at
the University of Bahrain in Zallaq, South of Manama. (12/16/12)

When it comes to blatant hypocrisy, the King of Bahrain takes the cake. Outrageously ignoring the fact that he ordered citizens to be shot in the face, tortured and killed, he now poses as a man of peace who would like to have a “national dialogue”.

By “national”, of course, he does not mean everybody but rather a tiny section of the population i.e., those creepy-crawly individuals who adhere to the belief that the al-Khalifa regime represents civilised behaviour instead of barbarism.

By “dialogue” he means conversation with sycophants who will not only agree with everything he says but avow that their deepest desire is to have the King kick them in the face.

And, alas, the sycophants exist. Let nobody think that they, desiring nothing but their own advancement at the expense of everybody else, will not soon be crawling out of the woodwork to prostrate themselves before the duplicitous King. Yes, there are plenty of sycophants who are only too willing to sell their souls for a mere glimpse of the monarch’s face. Indeed, for a position of influence in the regime, most of them are only too willing to sell their bodies as well.

The scene will be like something out of the Middle Ages with courtiers, clairvoyants, flatterers and clowns all telling the King exactly what he wants to hear. When, from outside the palace, groans of misery and pain are heard coming from the people, the courtiers dismiss them as but the croaking and cawing of birds. When screams are heard coming faintly from the dungeons deep below, the courtiers shudder a little before tittering that the rats and mice are being naughty again.

Yes, in the dungeons, the real leaders of Bahrain are rotting away and are being ignored by the King’s court as if they never existed just as it ignores the bulk of the people as if they, too, never existed except, of course, as serfs and servants serving their betters.

HOW DARE THEY! How dare the court sycophants and those who aspire to being court sycophants ignore the representatives of the people languishing in the dungeons! How dare the creepy-crawlies claim to represent anything except their own disgusting selves!

There is only one way forward for Bahrain if it is to become a happy, stable society and that is to release ALL political prisoners, every one of them, from the dungeons. Every one of them must be compensated for being tortured and imprisoned just as the families of those who have been tortured and killed must be compensated.

At the same time, the King must apologise to a nation he has so grossly abused. He must sack the vicious agents who surround him and discuss only with the true leaders of the people.

The King should also humbly pray that there is sufficient forgiveness in the hearts of the people to forgive him although all sane outsiders are saying that the King and his foul, rotting regime have long out-lived their usefulness and they would be wise to get out of Bahrain before they are kicked out. All decent people in the world (and the words “decent people” do not include the USA and UK governments) are preparing to kick out the tyrants, torturers and drug-takers who populate the seats of government.

As for the talks which the King says he wants (and that could be true because he has always dreamed of audiences applauding his every sentence) there will be no validity without the presence, and the freedom, of the true leaders. Those leaders, moreover, will not accept their own freedom unless every other political prisoner, every single one of them, is released at the same time.

And that, of course, means that Al-Wefaq, for example, must have the simple courage and sense of destiny to demand the release of ALL prisoners, together with compensation for them and for all families which have suffered. This is the sine qua non which must be implemented before there is any thought of agenda or timetable.

When people have been tortured and killed; when families have lost their loved ones because of the monsters in government; and when the al-Khalifas are detested, there can be no pretence at anything except the implementation of genuine democracy. Some think that there could be a constitutional monarchy but the first requirement for that is an immediate determination to release, compensate and apologise in the most full-hearted way including identification and punishment of all those who have ordered or implementing torture and killing. Nothing less is acceptable to the people of Bahrain.

Moreover, nothing will be agreed in Bahrain unless, for once, the al-Khalifa regime itself shows some courage instead of the usual sly cowardice which led it, for example, to invite in soldiers of the most ghastly regime in the world, that of Saudi Arabia.

If the al-Khalifa regime wants to open a new way forward, it must announce the end of the Saudi occupation. Furthermore, Al-Wefaq and any other grouping which aspires to an honourable place in a dialogue, must also demand the immediate end of the Saudi occupation.

Implicit in the end of Saudi occupation, of course, is a rejection of Wahhabism and of the deliberately sectarian policy which, perhaps more than anything else, disgraces the Al-Khalifas and tells the world that they are nothing but the low-grade minions of feudal barbarians.

The people of Bahrain are the most democratic in the world and the world backs them by first demanding the release of all the political prisoners of Bahrain.


Rodney Shakespeare is a visiting Professor of Binary Economics at Trisakti University, Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a Cambridge MA, a qualified UK Barrister, a co-founder of the Global Justice Movement, a member of the Christian Council for Monetary Justice. His main website is Shakespeare is also Chair of the Committee Against Torture in Bahrain.

Article published here: PressTV. Photo/Caption: Mazimi/PressTV.


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