Bahrain: Following the Release of the BICI Report

Following the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report that was presented to King Hamad on the 23rd of November 2011, it was the most extensive report that has been presented to date and the nation and it’s people had time to submit their claims.

It holds the Accounts and the Accountability, the conclusions and the recommendations. People who had just listened to the BICI Chair Cherif Bassiouni’s speech were angered without taking the time to read the report which if read will draw many conclusions on all fronts and in my small unnoted opinion takes Bahrain a step forward when approaching many aspects of the way certain situations are handled.

Looking at many articles from social media that immediately drew a small nation to the worlds limelight again, I found an article written by Morgan Roach that summed up the BICI report in a short but sharp manner ( read here ) and was perhaps the only reporter to cover the findings with a balanced report placing all the points which other agencies and journalists failed to.

This morning, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) released its findings of the government’s response to protests that occurred in February and March. The findings were expected to be critical and hold the government accountable for the abuse that took place. They did not disappoint. Placing significant emphasis on Bahrain’s security services, the report documents the numerous human rights violations that took place. In his address following BICI Chair Cherif Bassiouni’s remarks, King Hamad vowed that he will do everything possible to ensure that the atrocities that took place earlier this year will not be repeated. He must keep this promise.

The government’s decision to submit itself to foreign experts for judgment is unprecedented in the Arab world. Knowing that the results would not be pretty, Bahrain’s government determined that admitting its failures and working toward meaningful reform will not only strengthen the country, but also cleanse its international image. Whether or not the factionalized opposition movement accepts the commission’s results is another story.

The BICI has been widely criticized as a “charm offensive”—a disingenuous attempt by the government to placate protestors.

In many ways, Bahrain’s government is fighting an uphill battle.

The Shia community as we have yet not confirmed the minority/majority in any report to date,

has long clamored for more representation in government as well as a more equitable distribution of resources and opportunities. The government’s response to these demands has been slow.

Yes the response has been slow  however where it has been slow is perhaps the way the community is more incited to protest physically whereas doors had and are still open for civilised dialogue. And dialogue does go a very long way if it’s addressed in the correct manner with the correct assesment, the correct evaluation, the correct implementation.

Now that the government is on the brink of making real progress, it may prove too little too late.

It’s never too late for progress.

Deep sectarian divisions spurred by Iranian propaganda have fractured the country, and violence continues. While the protest movement originally started with demands for political and social reform, it was quickly hijacked by extremist elements in the Shia community, mainly al-Wefaq, whose members have called for the removal of the royal family.

And these have been facts that are very easy for the naked eye to see. The power of the internet is a tool that can be used to prove the points above and show the fact that Iran has lead alot of propaganda via their many TV stations and social media.

Now that the BICI report has been released, the real work must begin. Bahrain’s government will need to build on its pledges of transparency and reform. Although the recommendations of the commission are non-binding, they must be taken seriously. At a time when the country is so bitterly divided, the government must work toward addressing the grievances of its population and greater integration of Bahraini society. Furthermore, continued negotiations with the moderate elements in the opposition movement are needed. Some entities will never be satisfied with the government’s efforts, but those who are willing to move forward and engage in the reconciliation process must be embraced. The BICI is off to a good start, but there is much work to do

For those who were disheartened at the BICI report, the acceptance of the report must be adhered to and the country and it’s people should not point accusations or reject the report.

Bassiouni’s speech was tough and hard to swallow, but the report was fair and balanced ( please read here prior to comment ) and the most important point is that the “Human Rights” organisations in Bahrain and Internationally despite the fact that they were the first ones to object to the report and called it a “charm offensive” have also had hard pills to flush down.

If progress is what the people of Bahrain are looking for, it’s time to accept all aspects of the BICI report and not just aspects that suit an aspiration or an opinion.

“It takes a great man to be a good listener and it takes courage to admit such truth”




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