I have to say that I tried my best to stay away from this issue, simply because as everyone else, I don't know all the facts. I don't know if tear gas can kill a person, and I don't really know if it was police brutality that killed Ali Jassim Makki.
But responsibility extends beyond the direct act of murder. Ali Jassim and hundreds with him were out there because it was their way of demonstrating their grievances. In a tightly-controlled political system where the government controls all the Shura, half the parliament, the judiciary, the executive, and the word "bandar" cannot even be mentioned, "political reforms" seems to be reduced to the glossy brochures we take to international conferences. We look around and we see naturalization (tajnees), corruption, unfairness, sectarianism.. yet many of us keep quiet because we can still live comfortable lives without getting involved. The problem is, not all of us have this comfortable life. These demonstration an act of desparation, and all government measures and anti-demonstration laws will not make it go away.
On 10 December 2005, Al-Wasat reported this about Ali Jassim:
إن مشكلته كبيرة، إذ بيّن أن والده «طالب ومازال يطالب بأرضه في باربار التي سرقها أو استولى عليها أحد الأشخاص المقربين لأحد المتنفذين، ولم يحصل عليها طيلة السنوات الماضية على رغم إلحاحه في المطالبة بها».
Government propaganda is not making it any better. It seems that Al-Menbar, Akhbar Al-Khaleej, and (poisonous) Al-Watan are unleashing their attacks against "disorder" and "illegal" demonstrations. Frankly I don't know where they get the audacity to even speak. Supporting a "reformist" agenda espoused by the King cannot be separated from supporting the right of free expression and public demonstration. In any casem Jassim and people like him don't really care to know about our anti-demonstration law, our independent investigation committees, or even the International Declaration for Human Rights that we signed, apparently. They want to know that their government is not stealing their wealth, perpetuating their poverty, or selling the country's land to foreigners. Until the leadership is ready to treat its people as citizens (not subjects), no amount of propaganda can change this sad situation.