12 March 2007

Al-Watan's new low

Yes it's Al-Watan again. This paper never fails to reach new lows! I suppose I don't mind having government propaganda tools, but this paper seems to be staffed by sectarian lunatics that are paid off so well and stop at nothing (ehm.. Ateyatallah is very much alive and in power). Anyway, I'm yet to understand how anyone would possibly buy that piece of crap. Still I usually go to their website for the comedy of it or to balance my low blood pressure. This time I wanted to check out a poem they published about about MP Latifa Al-Gaoud on page 10.

Basically, the King issued a law while parliament was on vacation (constitutionally permitted) granting operation and development of Khalifa port to some company, as part of the privatization of ports project. Then, as constitutionally required, the decree must be referred to parliament which can either reject or accept it, but not modify it. Opposition MPs from Al-Wefaq had big reservations about using (abusing?) this mechanism to evade parliament discussion of laws. They voted against the law, so did Aziz Abul and Latifa Al-Gaoud.

Now, it seems that Latifa Al-Gaoud, a conservative Sunni woman w/tribal origins is an unlikely target, but it seems Al-Watan just couldn't handle her voting with Al-Wefaq. Her vote with opposition offended Al-Watan soo much that they published this 100% crazy poem accusing her of being a sell-out (?). Apparently not understanding that an MP can vote according to his/her convictions, it potrayed Latifa's vote as pro-Shia (what private management of a port has to do with sectarianism is beyond me!). It also points to her "Southern" origins (do they know Bahrain is barely 650 KM sq?). While at it, they couldn't help but take a few shots at Al-Wefaq, and even women of Duraz and Bani Jamra villages!

Of course, I'm not surprised the Ministry of Information (quick to jail bloggers and journalists) had no problem with this piece of crap. After all, there is freedom of speech when it comes to defaming anyone other than the government. I'm also not surprised that the bigot who wrote this could not even put his/her name on it and decided to be "Abo Zalooma" instead. I would say shame on you, but I don't suppose Al-Watan has any sense of shame (?)

Update (14 March 07): Latifa switched her vote and the law passed.


Gardens of Sand said...

Hi Lulu,

I started a comment that got way too long so I published it as a post in my blog. Refer to gardensofsand.blogspot.com for my comment.

Thanks for bring this latest monstrosity to light!

Anonymous said...


can we talk said...

newspapers should not be allowed to print shameful drivel like this. and if they do not publish the name of the author, they are should be responsibe, liable and accountable for the published material. this is precisely why i think you cannot have a completely free press. someone should be accountable when people get slandered.
there are still many among us who have the intellectual maturity of a box of plasticene and who will jump on the sectarian bandwagon whenever they cannot see past the end of their nose.
yes, you are right about this issue having nothing to do with sectarianism, but the problem is that when there is an issue the bloc votes together as a bloc. this means one of two things: either they all agree (which i find hard to believe) or they are all told how to vote (which i find unacceptable for different reasons).. yes, they have a better chance of making a point when they are all in agreement, but that implies they are either mindless clones who all agree or mindless sheep who will either wait to be told how to vote or vote against their own beliefs.
this is true for any bloc. since the division of blocs is, with very few exceptions, sectarian, if we are honest,it will result in a vote that will appear sectarian whenever the blocs do not agree. reason being that the major blocs are sectarian to begin with. if membership of blocs was based on race or gender, the vote would appear racist or genderist.
sadly, this is a reflection on a large proportion of our society, who will talk about being anti-sectarianism, but will still have no problem being a member of a sectarian group.

LuLu said...

Hi Gardens of sand. I saw your blog and really thanks for analyzing the so-called poem objectively (something I admit I just didn't feel like doing!) Thanks also for putting ElSa3eedi his right place!

Anon thanks for the link.. for some reason these days all Al-Watan pdf links get you to the main contents page but don't open the actual numbered pages.

Can we talk, well, I see totally what you're saying, but I have two comments:

1. On freedom of speech, I don't think some clear-cut anti-defamation law will conflict with freedom of speech. Even in Europe & the US you're not supposed to encite hate or violence for example against certain groups and can be arrested for it-- that should handle immature abuse of freedoms. We need to fix our laws.

2. It is an issue that our biggest and most popular political blocs are sectarian but I think that goes back to history.. Since 1975, the only permitted associations were religious (political associations were all banned). That's 30 years of mosques and matams entrenching their position in a society that is already religious. That said, though, I find it very troubling that Sunni MPs are somehow expected to disagree with Al-Wefaq and side with the government always, which is what this seems to be about. I think the sectarian issue was brought up here just as a scare-off mechanism as usual.

ca we talk said...

re #1
yes, absolutely, the two have to go hand in hand, so that boundaries are clear and there is no ambiguity, under normal circumstances, in what can and cannot be published, and there is not so much judicial discrepancy in handling each case and no super-imposed interference to hold or to release.
re #2
they have a good long head start and it will take a long time to counter the effects. i just hope that we do head in the direction of mending bridges rather than building more walls. maybe now that even some sunnis begin to see themselves as second class there can be more empathy between people. at the end of the day, i think most people view their belonging to a sect as more of a cultural/social thing than a religious thing. how many people really understand the differences between the two sects after all? how many people even care? i know i don't.

you know what scares me? it's the thought of a bunch of people sitting in parliament when an issue is being raised and having to take a stand on this issue and vote, saying to themselves: I wonder how i am supposed to vote? i wonder what (my bloc/my party/the government/my sect..pick one of the above) wants me to vote, looking left and right and frantically going "what, what?? yes or no? yes or no?? tell me!".. instead of pondering (what does intelligent me think would be the best thing for our country.. let me debate and convince or be convinced)

the worst result of these last few decades,IMO, is this willingness to be led mindlessly ..

p.s. keep up the good work.. you always provide gourmet food for thought.. i wish you wrote more frequently.

Anonymous said...

"for some reason these days all Al-Watan pdf links get you to the main contents page but don't open the actual numbered pages"

It happens consequent to the current issue changing, that of today replaces that of yesterday. I never bothered to find out how to resolve this, if it is ever possible.

Anonymous said...

اتابع مدونتك منذ فترة .. ينقصها شئ واحد، التنويع في الموضوعات حتى لا تصبح مدونة متخصصة في الشئون البرلمانية


moodz said...

Alright I read the poem you mentioned on the day it was published, it took me a while to actually get the gist of the entire thing, but then again.. I guess it was meant to be as ambiguous as it appeared to me.

Now, let's call things by their name here, the writer did not really "take a shot" at the women of the villages.. but on the contrary praised them each for having distinguishable traits, each village for what it's famous for.. vaguely..

Abo Zalooma, noted correctly that Ms. ALGaoud stood no chance of winning, none at all.. regardless of the reasons.. but was basically put in place by the government for their support.

He is only crying over spilt milk. It is only fair to note that AlWefaq is in fact an opposition movement, Lateefa AlQaoud did not function like she was intended to and blindly support the pro government front, but decided to take a courageous step tipping the scale in favor of the other side.

I fail to see what is wrong with that, she was not portrayed as pro shia like you noted, and the whole thing has nothing to do with sectarianism!

Don't take me wrongly, I hate AlWattan even more than you do, and i'm not here defending it.. Just wondering out loud I guess..

Nice blog btw! Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

صج لي قالو فوق شينهم قوات عينهم .... مالت عليهم من جريدة كحيانة .... يعني يا النائب يكون بصام و يوافق على القوانين عمياني .... او تكتبون فيه قصايد تهجونه .... اقول حق لطيفة القعود و للباقي ما عليكم منهم .... على قولتهم القافلة تسير و الكلاب .... هو هو

LuLu said...

Hi moodz thanks for stopping by.. I guess the writer was smart in a way to not write in a direct way but instead he hits on a key disturbing note: an MP is attacked for not voting for the government, and is further attacked for voting with the Shia block. I find that very disturbing, more than any subtle demeaning words that were used (e.g. calling her "wlaidek il agshar, 3amayem t6eg e9ba3, left her husband for her brother-in-law, etc). I'm not offended by those words, as un-classy as they are, as much as it disturbs me to equate a vote against the government with a vote for Shia, then equating that with being a member of el-7awza (2nd part, last line).. Putting this in the context of what Al-Watan writes in general, it doesn't look like an attack on Latifa as much as it is a call for Sunni MPs to bundle up with the government (or else).
On the women thing, maybe i'm wrong but I see no praise, just a weird sarcastic prelude..

LuLu said...

Anonymous thanx. I agree it's a good idea to add more variety. I guess I never thought of my blog as parliamentarian, but instead wrote whenever something that interests me came up and usually it's politics!

SILVER said...

interesting !! so they show thier ugly face again with no shame !!


moodz said...

Since its Arabic poetry, let me try to get my point over to you guys in Arabic as well.. Replying in English didn’t serve the purpose any right apparently.

يفرض المجتمع العربي عموماً(و البحريني بدون إستثناء) تبعية جاهلية بدوية عمياء على المرأة كونها عوناً لزوجها و أهلها دون أن تكون فرداً ذو كيان خاص و توجه شخصي مختلف. وهذا ما يبكي عليه المتخلف إبن زلومة وهو ما لسنا بصدد مناقشته الآن. لنرد على النقاط المثارة تباعاً:

1.وصف القعود بأنها حوزوية: هذا الوصف يؤول إلى كون الوفاق تتبنى التيار الإسلامي الشيعي المتمثل في الحوزة، كونها إنحازت إلى كتلة الوفاق دون الحكومة (التي وضعتها في منصبها) جعلتها وفاقية (او حوزوية كما ذكر) أكثر من الوفاق نفسها.

2.التصويت مع الحكومة يعني التصويت مع الشيعة: لا أرى مما ذكرت في هذا الموضوع من شيء، القصيدة لا تتعدى كونها قلبل من العتب الممزوج بالحسرة و التأسي بطابع فكاهي. فلا داعي لإقحام الطائفية و النوايا المكبوتة و غيرها.

3. نسوان القرى: لا أزال اختلف معك فيما تذهبين إليه في هذه النقطة، الأبيات واضحة.. المنامية زقرتية، والعشا مشاوي عند الدرازية و خد الجمراوية بسرة خنيزي وغيرها.

جل إحترامي،،،

Anonymous said...


I must agree that some of the sectarian claims our dear blogger accused the "poem" of are unfounded.

Surely, however, there is no room to deny the portrayal of the pro-government position as the righteous, and default, one and any other as aligning with al-wefaq, a betrayal as our great poet dubbed it.
Isn't the whole sectarian problem ignited by this distinction, pro gov x others, which for some time meant mostly shia'as.

So you deny this link by pointing out a jahili theme of, basically, not treating women as individuals, or persons. But I really doubt that this element is that significantly present in modern day poetic ideologies. If anything at all it is artificial, in that the poet CHOSE to take that stance rather than it was forced upon him by his environment and conditioning. In doing so he conceiled this criticism under a blanket of irony.

I can ramble on for quite a while, but i'm gonna call this a wrap for now.


LuLu said...

I suppose the point of writing poetry (loosely defined as poetry at least) instead of an article is so that you can add many layers of meaning that can lead to this type of discussion. At the end, each will understand what they want to and within a specific context. Personally, I cannot see it as innocent, given the context of Al-Watan's and what is stands for.

Phil's paragraph 2 pretty much captures the gist of what I was gettin at

LuLu said...

Oh and apparently something, somehow, must have worked out, as Ms. AlGaoud has switched sides miraculously a couple of days later..

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