We have a huge information deficit in Bahrain. There is a lot of talk about transparency, but very little of it in actuality. I mean, basic statistics and information about the government are for some reson top secret! Not that I don't appreciate the government's efforts to protect us from knowing too much, but I still think this lack of transparency is very unbecoming of any semi-democracy, almost-free society like us. For one, it makes people suspicious: governments don't hide information for no reason. In that sense, no one can blame people for not trusting the government-- It also just totally undermines this "reform" thing we keep talking about.
But anyway, someone had made the comment that I complain about what's wrong in Bahrain and don't appreciate what's right. So, in order to be more positive, I came up with two lists: the top 5 things I'm grateful the government is transparent about-- and the top 10 things that I wish were transparent-- the lists are not exactly proportional, since there is much more that I don't know, but at least I tried!
Top 5 things we know in Bahrain:
1. We are an island (there is no proof, as we can barely see the sea really, but I'll give the government this much)
2. We have a King, a Prime Minister, and a Crown Prince
3. We have some oil left and we have a company called BAPCO
4. There are laws and the laws are available in www.legalaffairs.gov.bh
5. Some government agencies make mistakes and some mistakes are published in a report
Top 10 things no one knows:
1. Who is in charge of the country? I mean seriously, who rules? (if any)
2. Who owns which parts of Bahrain. Really. Please?
3. How did those people come to own those parts?
4. How much is our real oil revenue?
5. Where is the oil money going?
6. Why doesn't BAPCO have a board of directors anymore?
7. Why do we have a BAPCO, a supreme council for oil, a national oil and gas authority, AND a ministry of oil? (or am I just cross-eyed?)
8. Of all the laws in Bahrain, which are actually applied? (if any)
9. What are the ministries of defense and interior up to? and why aren't they in the audit report?
10. How many people did Bahrain naturalize in the past 5 years? (please now someone must keep track!)
Of course, there is actually much more and really it's all long over due.. There are things like royal spending, financials of government companies, business affiliations of high officials, benefits and salaries of those, etc etc. We could even have a top-100 list just like the billboard music thing! (or not...) Point is: we are really clueless in this country and we desparately need INFO!