By Tariq Alhomayed
Isn’t it strange for the Shiite Bahraini opposition to announce large-scale demonstrations on Friday in Bahrain, calling this the "in your service my homeland” protests, against union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which is something that has not happened yet, at the same time that Iranians were calling for similar protests in Iran?
Only the most stupid of activists – or shall we say politicians – would pay any attention to such a call, telling the Shiite Bahraini opposition that now is not the right time, and that if you take to the streets to demonstrate this would mean that you are followers of Iran. Whether protests do take place in Bahrain or not, the most important thing is that the Shiite opposition groups there have called for such protests, and this includes the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society. Therefore this call for protests – coming one day after the Iranian calls – automatically means that the Shiite opposition in Bahrain is sectarian and subordinate to Iran. In this case, when we say this is “strange”, this is not to imply or insinuate that the Shiite opposition in Bahrain is sectarian, for this is clear and undeniable, rather what is surprising is: can the Shiite opposition tell us what democratic model in Iran they would like implemented in Bahrain? Would they like to see the transfer of power, even though the only thing we see in Iran is the rule of the mullahs and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, not to mention election rigging? Do they, for example, believe that the Iranian parliament has any influence or are they just eager to follow the Wilayat al-Faqih [Guardianship of the Jurists] model? Do they want to see the Bahraini media following the example of the Iranian media, where journalists are killed and imprisoned, and newspapers shut down? Or does the Bahraini opposition want to see economic openness and the concept of development, which is something that is not present in Iran, the international pariah which is facing sanctions from more than half the international community? Have the Bahraini Shiite opposition not noticed that the domestic opposition to the Wali al-Faqih regime in Iran equals – if not exceeds – half the population of the Gulf, and this is not to mention Iran’s suppressed Sunni community, as well as other non-Shiites in the country?
This is truly confusing; however it exposes the Shiite Bahraini opposition, and disproves its counterfeit democratic slogans, whilst it also serves as a response to all those who attempt to mislead western media outlets and international organizations, in addition to exposing all those who sympathize with them in the Gulf and the Arab world. This does not sanctify sectarianism in our region, rather it is a call to reject sectarianism, and this is something that cannot happen unless the Shiite intellectuals in the Gulf, particularly Bahrain, take action and tell the truth, standing up to the extremists within their own ranks, regardless of the price. This is precisely what the Sunnis in the Gulf did, particularly in Saudi Arabia, when the extremists – regardless of their political or religious orientation – sought to hijack public opinion and utilize this as a weapon, transforming the world into a house of war. The intellectuals – as well as governments – continue to stand up, on all levels, against extremism, in order to reform those who can be reformed, particularly with regards to public opinion; therefore the intellectuals have not left the scene empty for the Sunni extremists to exploit, whether we are talking about Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda or anybody else.
Today, the Shiite intellectuals must take a serious stance against Iran, Hassan Nasrallah and Bashar al-Assad. It is shameful for the Shiite Bahraini opposition to be silent with regards to what is happening in Syria today, therefore the Bahraini Shiite intellectuals must speak up, particularly as they witness the Bahraini Shiite opposition taking part in demonstrations that should not be called “in your serve, my homeland” protests, but rather “in your service, Iran”!