KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN – From Southern Utah’s small dot on the world map, Bahrain is a long way away; but it is another small dot on the map (an island in the Persian Gulf) receiving considerable media attention as protests erupt there, catching the wave of uprisings started in Egypt.
This reporter had opportunity to interview a 23-year-old Bahraini-born resident of The Kingdom of Bahrain. “Qamar,” depicted in our photo gracing a red headband (red is Bahrain’s national color) that reads “National Day” in Arabic, gives St. George News her exclusive personal perspective on the protests and relevant issues facing the Bahrainis.
To preserve the flavor and integrity of the interview, her e-chat style is set forth here, in its entirety, without comment:
REPORTER: Are you safe and sound? I see all sorts of media coverage on protests in Manama
QAMAR: Yes I am very safe and sound I had tears in my eyes seeing the people dancing and waving our flags they were like 1000s of people…this is us…peace loving nice warm hearted people we don’t need this what’s happening
REPORTER: It seems its about Shiite vs. Sunni? Which are you? Is the King Sunni or Shiite – and what do YOU think about this?
QAMAR: Well it wasn’t supposed to be something Sunni vs. Shiite thing but unfortunately this is us Muslims…Racists towards each other and I sense it is somehow become that…I am A Sunni and so is the Government and the ruling family here, we are a minority, almost 70% of the population comprises of the Shiites
REPORTER: Are the people wanting democracy and feeling oppressed from not having a voice or is it more about one tribe against another? (forgive the expression . . . )
QAMAR: Our king is one of a kind an extremely generous man and god has given him alot of patience and this country is not a democrat state it is a kingdom u cannot have revolutions or democracies here!
REPORTER: What do you and your Egyptian friends think [Editorial note: Qamar is a flight attendant and well-traveled throughout the Gulf and abroad] – I tell you why I ask – I think it’s grand they toppled and prevailed in protest, but from what I read it seems that it’s a small step towards the people’s goal, am I right? Because the same military that served under Mubarak is the military that is now in power . . . until something next happens.
QAMAR: Egypt was a totally different case poverty was beyond lines and people had lots of issues…in Bahrain to be honest, even the poorest sleep in Air Cons [air conditioning] and every house has a car and nobody sleeps without their tummies filled…
QAMAR CONTINUES: So what do they exactly want…and there is a limit these people outraging and protesting believe me…they cut off a Pakistani policeman’s fingers, they did alot of things they killed people which the media didn’t show but when Police had nothing but to show their last resort and to fire them up…they’re exaggerating.. anyhow inshAllah [Allah willing] good times will be restored soon, if Shiites win i swear we will be Iraq part 2
REPORTER: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
QAMAR: i don’t have a passport yet my dad has been serving this country almost thirty years and all my brothers and sisters were born here too. there r loads of people over 35 yrs residing here yet still with no passport or citizenship…don’t we have a right to it??? why r these people protesting i think we should be the ones but we are still being patient with the government whereas there r people living for 2 years 5 years and getting a house passport and jobs..
REPORTER: Who is denying you the passport?
QAMAR: we r in the waiting lists almost 30 years here imagine…all kids were born here my father serves the government…and the local Shiites are against giving us citizenship now and they demand that we go back from here but how can we go back after decades here where we have no homes back in Pakistan; everything is here, and that country is absolutely alien to us. Our government should consider giving us nationalities as we face problems getting jobs despite being qualified because we don’t have Bahraini passport and locals are of course preference over us but we are locals too.
REPORTER: Summing up?
QAMAR: this terrorism and gun fires and this drama is so alien to us…its really depressing pls pray for us and our king