Monday, November 13, 2006

Bahraini Election Campaign

A whole week ago, when I wasn't paying attention, Mahmood al-Yousif called attention to secular liberal candidates dropping out of Bahrain's Parliamentary contest in favor of Islamists. Here's his perspective as a Bahraini secularist:
"Over the last few days, 15 prospective candidates gave up the fight and hung their swords. Some I am sure discovered that there was now way for them to compete in the fray and they did good by cutting their losses early and bailing out, others just entered the elections in the first place to probably just get the 'key money' they would be offered to get out of the way, while others have been pushed, harassed, cajoled to do so by various 'non'-political sources, at least, that’s what they want to call themselves and we know that they are anything but.

"So what’s happened then? The religious clerics put the kabbash on some candidates to get out of the way in favour of other turbans or beards! How about that for a good party trick? How do they do it? Well, think of the nod that a mafia boss does in those movies and you probably will get the picture.

"Once that signal is given, the 'apparatus' goes into overdrive: mosque preachers bleat the virtues of the selected one, while nefariously besmirches the opposition. So they bray out things like: 'Only elect the believers!'

"Of course, as they alone hold the exclusive keys to Heaven, it is only their sanctioned form of believers who are meant by this; why don’t you give us a CPR number and name why don’t you? Anyway, the content of the message of course is to tell people that the marked person is a non-believer! They have summarily excommunicated him politically, and of course their followers, being the true sheep they are, would just acquiesce to their demands unquestioningly. Ma’atems (on the other side of the spectrum) are just as bad using the same tactic more or less, and the result? Good people who have proven their mettle and who actually did attempt make a difference in the last parliament are chased out of the loop!"

(Crossposted to American Footprints.)


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