Scrolling through yesterday’s Alwasat newspaper, I came across this shocking piece of news concerning the latest government scholarships for this year’s secondary school graduates.
Just a quick background on how things are done,
Every year more and more Bahraini teenagers graduate from secondary schools around Bahrain, and as you would expect, the more students graduate, the more honour students graduate. Every end of school year, the Ministry of Education announces the scholarships plan, which to many new graduates (those of 95% or higher GPA) is the holy grail and what everyone aspires to. To many of Bahrain’s political societies and average Mohammed on the street, it’s a sign of what the govenment plans for the country’s future and is always a playground of controversy (unfair distrubution of scholarships, sectarian discrimination,etc..) but that is for another day..
This week PM Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa handed out certificates to over 450 of this year’s honour students, those 450 odd students will share 1864 scholarships with their fellow private school Bahraini honour students.
The number of scholarships are impressive but the quality is by far substandard
كشفت خطة البعثا ت والمنح لهذا العام التي اعتمدها وزير التربية والتعليم ماجد النعيمي مؤخراً عن عدم وجود بعثات ومنح للدراسة في جامعات أميركية وأوروبية بخلاف العام الماضي الذي تضمن 32 بعثة توزعت بين أميركا، فرنسا، ماليزيا، سنغافورة، وأستراليا. واقتصرت بعثات العام 2009 على جامعات مملكة البحرين ودول الخليج والمملكة الأردنية الهاشمية وجمهورية مصر العربية فقط.
This year’s scholarship didn’t include any scholarships to the UK, USA, France, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. The scholarships are instead within Bahrain’s universities, GCC countries, Jordan and Egypt.
Well I’m not knocking these universities as calling them terrible but the inconsistency of the quality of scholarships is terrible and these kids futures are subjected by if the MoE decides they can send them to these good universities or not. But this isn’t the worst or most shocking thing about this year’s scholarship.
في ذلك حاولت «الوسط» الحصول على رد رسمي بشأن ذلك من الوزارة دون جدوى، في الوقت الذي علق فيه النائب عبدالله العالي خلال حديثه لـ «الوسط» يوم أمس (الثلثاء) عن وجود 21 بعثة للإرشاد المدرسي في الأردن في الوقت الذي تتعذر فيه الوزارة بعدم وجود الشواغر لعاطلي الخدمة الاجتماعية.
وأضاف أن خطة البعثات لهذا العام خلت من بعض التخصصات المهمة كهندسة الطيران وصيانة الأجهزة الدقيقة وعلوم البيئة وعلوم الطاقة وتحلية مياه البحر والطب، فضلاً عن العلوم النووية، كما وخلت من بعثات للجامعات العريقة في أميركا وأوروبا لطلبة التعليم الصناعي والعلمي، لافتاً إلى أن بعثاتها للجامعات غير الخليجية ركزت على تخصصات الخزف والنجارة والموسيقى والخزف وحالات قليلة تجاوزت ذلك لتخصص لدراسة الشريعة والتربية والإرشاد.
According to MP Abdulla Al-Aali, this year’s scholarships included 21 scholarships to Jordan to study school counselling where at the same time, the MoE have failed to find openings for previous years graduates.
In addition, many other important majors were missing such as aviation engineering, enviromental science, micro-technology, medicine, water technology and energy sciences. At the same time, most of the foriegn scholarships were for artistic majors such as Music, Sculpture, Pottery and Carpentry.
In one point we understand that the MoE wants more honour students to become jobless by paying them to study majors they will not find jobs at neither in the MoE or anywhere else for that matter, plus we see that it doesn’t really care about what the COUNTRY needs. Finally we can see that majors which need more talent and passion than brains are only given to the highest scoring students.
This is absolute hogwash.
Apparently we have a thingie called the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030 [En] [Ar] which envisions that Bahrain needs to give its citizens the best education and training possible in order to increase productivity and build a knowledge based economy. I think the MoE kinda snoozed during those meetings..
And when they snooze..WE LOSE!
Well the suspension only lasted 12 hours, and the dust has cleared so we can now see the reason for the suspension and how it was lifted so quickly..
The reason for the suspension, making many peoples speculations correct, was Shura MP Ms. Samira Rajab’s article blasting the Iran regime and hinting of Ahmedinajad’s apparent “Jewish” descent.
AAK Newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Anwar Abdulrahman has stood by the article citing that what Ms. Rajab wrote was true, frank and honest.
الأستاذ أنور عبدالرحمن: لم يسحب وانما حجب.. يوم أمس الأول وأنا في زيارة للخارج ويوجد فارق بيني وبين البحرين 4 ساعات، وفي الرابعة فجرا اتصل بي القائمون على إدارة التحرير وأخبروني أن المسئولين بوزارة الإعلام قرروا إيقاف “أخبار الخليج”، فدار حديث بيني وبين مسئولين في وزارة الإعلام وكذلك معالي الشيخة مي آل خليفة وزيرة الإعلام والثقافة وكان حديثا حضاري لا أننا كنا نعرف السبب وهو نشر مقال بقلم الأستاذة سميرة رجب بشأن إيران وظروف إيران وحقائق إيران ونتائج الفكر الثوري الإيراني..
Akhbar Al-Khaleej 24/6/2009
“I was on a visit outside the country where the time difference was four hours, where I recieved a phone call from the editorial staff at 4 a.m (midnight Bahrain time) telling that officials from the Ministry of Culture and Information ordered the suspension of the newspaper. I spoke with those officials and with the Minister Shaikha Mai bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa in a quiet and civil manner. When then knew that the reason for the suspension was Ms. Samira Rajab’s article about Iran, its situation and the aftermath of its Islamic revolutionary idealogy”.
Now we know how it got suspended, but how did it get back on the shelves so quickly?
قال صاحب السمو الشيخ خليفة بن سلمان آل خليفة رئيس الوزراء على هامش الاحتفال بتكريم المتفوقين أمس: ان مؤازرتنا للصحافة البحرينية في أي شيء تتعرض له واجب.. وواجبنا نحو جريدة “أخبار الخليج” أكبر بمقدار طول دربها الطويل الذي قطعته في خدمة الوطن.
وأضاف سموه: لا يمكن ان نسمح بأن يمس الصحافة والصحفيين أي سوء
We must stand by the Bahrain press, and it is my duty to do so, and that is even more so in the case of Akhbar Al-Khaleej because of its long history in Bahrain.
So basically PM Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa lifted the suspension,because AAK is after all his “favourite newspaper” (can’t find the source in AAK archives..Damn!)
and of course, the newspaper doesn’t fail to lavish praise to the PM for this swift lift of the suspension.
سمو الرئيس لا يسعني إلا أن أتوجه باسم كل الزملاء في الجريدة بالشكر الجزيل لسموكم الكريم على وقفتكم الرائعة الى جانب “أخبار الخليج” عندما حُجبت عن قرائها، فمهما نفعل فإننا لن نوفيك حقك.
أفضالكم علينا لن ننساها ما حيينا.. وسنظل نرددها زادا لنا على طريق العطاء للوطن.
Same link as above..
“Everyone at AAK newspaper would like to thank you for your gracious support for the newspaper during this suspension, we are forever indebted to you.
We will never forget this for the rest of our lives, and we will carry it with pride as we continue giving to this country”.
Although I am happy that this problem was solved and that the newspaper is back up and running but what disheartens me is the way things are done in Bahrain,
Every problem starts off with an unfair and OTT punishment/obstacle and if you ever want to get ‘justice’ you need to find someone high up and ask for their help or better known as a ‘was6a’ to fix your problem either with a word or a swipe of a pen. After getting what you want, being the good mannered society we are, you have to praise the person who helped you and massage their ego.
We claim that we have laws and that we all abide to them..We claim that we can settle matters with logic and within courtroom walls.. Using our Sharia, our constitution, our laws and good judges..but the ugly reality is that the only law is survival to the persons with the most ‘Was6a’s!
Will we ever learn? Will we ever break these shackles and actually become a good country?
People around Bahrain, in their homes, in their offices and NOT on Gulf Air flights will notice something missing today..
No Akhbar Al-Kahleej newspaper!
The following was published on the newspaper’s website http://www.aaknews.com and its sister newspaper the English speaking Gulf Daily News
على ضوء أوامر من السلطات المختصة تم ابلاغها إلى الأستاذ أنور عبدالرحمن رئيس تحرير “أخبار الخليج” بعد منتصف ليلة أمس تقرر وقف صدور جريدة “أخبار الخليج” حتى اشعار آخر لأمور لها علاقة بمخالفة قانون المطبوعات.
وعلى ضوء ما تقدم تم حجب الجريدة عن الصدور ليلة أمس بعد أن كان العدد الذي من المفترض أن يصدر صباح اليوم على وشك الطبع.
MANAMA: Bahrain’s concerned authorities informed Akhbar Al Khaleej Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Anwar Abdulrahman late last night that the daily newspaper has been suspended until further notice for reasons related to the Press law.
The suspension order was received a few minutes before the newspaper went to Press.
Mr Abdulrahman was holding negotiations with the concerned authorities over the issue early this morning.
What has led to this ban is not yet known and what’s it connection to the Press law. This comes as another blow to freedom of speech in Bahrain, after seeing a wide spread of web censorship with the aim of ‘a clean web’ which conveniently blocked everything from opposition websites, pornography, gambling, anti Islamic websites, web proxies and Google Translate, it seems that the ever enlongating arm of censorship has hit the mainstream media!
The strangest and most shocking thing about this ban is that it is Akbar Al-Khaleej, a newspaper which is predominately pro-government and most of it stories cover either one of two things.. What’s going on in Muharraq or What PM Shaikh Khalifa is doing…oh and I forgot, about Shaikh Khalifa and his undying love for the people of Muharraq…
So what has this clawless kitten of a newspaper done to ruffle a few feathers in government?? Only time will tell but for now this is a very sad day in Bahrain history and its attempt in becoming a democratic country..
Al-Wasat newspaper must be the only newspaper in Bahrain that writes about every single court case happening in the country, and with Bahrain’s shockingly easy and light punishments, readers can expect to find a couple of jaw-dropping whoppers on a daily basis.
I just want to show a couple of cases from today’s newspaper, similar stories and exact same punishment!
6 أشهر لفتاة تسببت بوفاة طفل وهربت
حكمت المحكمة الصغرى السادسة بحبس متهمة بحرينية من مواليد 1988 تسببت بوفاة الطفل عيسى حسن محمد دسمال لمدة 6 أشهر مع النفاذ.
وقد علمت “الوسط” أن المتهمة كانت تقود السيارة بسرعة 160 كيلو متراً في الساعة وعند مواجهتها بالتهمة المنسوبة إليها اعترفت إلا أنها عللت بأن الطفل المتوفى هو الذي تسبب في الحادث.
وكانت منطقة المعامير شيعت جثمان الطفل عيسى حسن محمد دسمال الذي قضى نحبه إثر اصطدام سيارة به حينما كان يهم بعبور الشارع من جهة مضمار الاستقلال بمدينة عيسى.
Here a young Bahraini lady driving an insane speed of 160km on one of Isa Town’s main roads and hitting a young child crossing the road leading to his unfortunate and untimely death on the scene. Although she confessed that she ran over him but blamed the child as the reason of the accident, not the fact that she was driving 160km in a 80km zone.
Horrible crime..Even uglier excuse…Punishment.. Six months in prison
Second story is quite similar as I said yet with very different protagonists..
6 أشهر لبنغالي تسبب بوفاة مسن بحريني
قضت المحكمة الصغرى السادسة بحبس وافد بنغالي لمدة 6 أشهر مع النفاذ وذلك بعدما تسبب بخطئه في وفاة المجني عليه.
وتشير التفاصيل إلى أن المتهم البنغالي كان يقود مركبته على شارع فرعي في المحرق وهو شارع جمال الدين الأفغاني ولسبب سرعته اصطدم برجل مسن كان يحاول عبور الشارع وقد استطاع المسن قبل الحادث أن يعبر الجزء الأكبر منه.
This time a Bengali man driving on one of Muharraq’s main roads runs over an old man, even though he crossed most of the road at the time of the accident, the driver didn’t have the common sense to slow down, hitting the old man who died later that day.
Horrible accident… No common sense…Punishment… Six months in prison.
Now I don’t know about you but don’t the above stories count for manslaughter? People in sane countries get 6-7 years for manslaughter whilst in our tiny criminal’s paradise we give them a pat on the back and six months in prison (which is actually less time around 4-5 months for reasons I don’t recall at this moment!)
At least it’s good to hear that the law made the two perps ‘equal’ in a court of ‘law’…
A BAHRAINI blogger has spearheaded the launch of a petition against Internet censorship following a ministerial order to block pornographic and unauthorised websites.
A total of 150 people from Bahrain and other countries have signed the on-line petition since it was initiated last Thursday and more are adding to it every hour, said its creator Eyad Ebrahim.
Mr Ebrahim said he was hoping to collect as many as 5,000 signatures before sending the petition to the Culture and Information Ministry, along with recommendations from bloggers.
“Bahrain is a democracy and we would like to be treated in a democratic way- we are adults and should be treated accordingly,” he told the GDN.
“Any censorship needed should be done in the household.
“Adults should have the freedom to decide which websites they want to censor – the government is trying to play God.”
Mr Ebrahim said a better option than censoring would be to bring those handling the offending website to court and leave it for the judge to decide on the website’s fate.
“It (this censorship) damages Bahrain’s reputation as a liberal country,” he said.
“It would be far better to redirect this energy or to confront it with legal tools rather than blocking it outright.”
The Culture and Information Ministry issued a decree on January 14 informing all telecommunications companies and Internet service providers to prevent access to pornographic and unauthorised websites banned by the ministry, which included some political and on-line discussion forums.
However, Mr Ebrahim said he wanted to know what criteria the ministry had used to decide which websites to block, because while some harmless websites had been blocked, offensive ones were still accessible.
For example, while many political websites had been blocked, others that promoted sectarian hatred were still accessible.
He said if any sites had to be blocked it should have been websites that promoted hatred of any type because they went against the Bahrain Code of Ethics that was launched by bloggers last year.
Mr Ebrahim also questioned the move to ban pornographic sites while Bahrain still had an alleged prostitution industry.
“We see political, economic and social implications to this (Internet censorship),” he said.
“Socially, when it is illegal to access a particular content over the Internet, people will get around it and will be criminalised for this.
“Economically, when it is a law, this will increase the cost on service providers, who will then shift the cost to the clients.
Mr Ebrahim said the block on websites conflicted with Bahraini law, its constitution and international agreements.
“The ministerial order conflicts with other parts in the Bahraini law and constitution,” said Mr Ebrahim.
Furthermore, he said the block on websites violated Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Bahrain signed on September 20, 2006.
Article 19 states:
l Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
l Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
l The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph two of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities.
It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others.
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.
To sign the petition against Internet censorship visit: www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-internet-censorship-in-bahrain.html.