Citizens of virtual dictatorships, who risk their lives to oust repressive, autocratic, corrupt governments, have every right to free themselves from decades of virtual slavery. Libyans were wise to rid their country of Qaddafi and the diktats of his nonsensical Green Book and Syrians should be congratulated for their fearless efforts to topple the brutal dynastic rule of Al-Assad and his cronies. But to my mind those Gulf nationals currently stirring up trouble in and are criminals, if not traitors.
Instead of thanking their lucky stars that an accident of birth permitted them to enjoy enviable lifestyles and opportunities that most people elsewhere in the world can only dream of, they’re engaged in fomenting dissent. They’re not interested in focusing their talents on helping to make their homelands the best they can be; they’re bent on destruction. Some are individuals who won’t take responsibility for their own inability to be successful, preferring to blame the state while others have brains like sponges, soaking-up ideologies best suited to the Middle Ages.
The rest are sheep-like followers, too lazy to think for themselves or too dim-witted to realize that they’re being ruthlessly used by carpetbaggers, spies and enemy proxies to implement foreign agendas. A minority are idealists who’ve been indoctrinated by Western propaganda to believe democracy is a panacea for all ills, forgetting that true democracy requires time to evolve within the right climate, preferably one that is devoid of sectarianism and tribalism. Take a look at how so-called democracy has served Lebanon and Iraq and you’ll get my drift. The jury’s still out on the direction Egypt’s fledgling democracy is taking.
Democracy isn’t a rose bush to be transported anywhere in the world and re-planted; there are soils where it will thrive and those where it won’t. If the Chinese had embraced democracy would China, once one of the planet’s poorest nations, have emerged as the world’s second largest economy in little over four decades? I am not holding up Chinese-style communism as a system to be emulated. The Chinese authorities have been guilty of terrible human rights abuses over the years. But without a firm hand able to exercise population control and implement reforms, China would have remained poor and ungovernable.
I’m old enough to vividly remember the harsh times most citizens of the Gulf were forced to endure when I was a small boy. We had few resources. We lived on dates, fish and camel’s milk. The water we drank when we could find it, drawn from the ground, was barely potable. We didn’t have televisions, cars or a/cs. There were no good schools or hospitals by modern standards. But we didn’t moan and groan about our lot in life or rise-up against our rulers, who were generally loved and respected for having our best interests at heart, even when they didn’t have the wherewithal to up our living standards. We had nothing material to boast about but to a man (and a woman) we were patriots, proud of our homelands, our culture, our traditions and our principles.
By contrast, nowadays we’re spoilt. nationals enjoy safety and security that is second to none. Our streets are clean and crime is low when compared to the stats of other countries. Visitors marvel at our infrastructure and facilities. Nobody is abandoned without food, shelter or medication – and there are no homeless sleeping in cardboard boxes under bridges or huddled together in tent cities. We have freedoms to live where we want, buy what we need (and what we don’t), choose our viewing from hundreds of satellite channels, and travel anywhere in the world unimpeded.
Unlike Iraq and Libya, we have used our oil wealth as the basis to create world renowned commercial, trade and banking sectors. We have open sky policies and free zones. If things were as bad as the trouble-making rabble are making out, then why are so many foreign tourists flocking our shores? And why are expatriates so keen to stay when ‘hardship postings’ rewarded by exorbitantly high salaries, housing and transport allowances no longer exist? As the former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once said, “We’ve never had it so good”. This is why I strongly object to the pronouncements of international human rights organizations which criticize steps that the Kuwaiti and Bahraini and Emirati governments have been forced to take to prevent the sabotage of their respective countries’ national security at the hands of externally-sponsored groups.
“: a paradise for torturers, hell for human rights defenders,” said Said Yousif Al Mahadfh a Bahraini, a spokesman for the Centre for Human Rights (BCHR). That’s utter rubbish! The Bahraini royal family has historically been moderate and light-handed. But when the island’s stability is being threatened by Iranian infiltrators there to indoctrinate and encourage the Shiite minority to use street violence to hold the majority hostage to their demands, ’s rulers have reluctantly had to crack down. Human rights organizations are meant to be impartial but it’s notable that Al Mahadfh’s boss Nabeel Rajab, a Shiite, has been convicted for organizing anti-government protests and insulting the Prime Minister on Twitter.
It’s a similar story in where nationals benefit from some of the highest per capita incomes in the world. There, too, seditious Islamist elements have ground parliament to a halt and are inciting Kuwaitis to bring down the Al Sabah family to make way for democracy, no doubt as a prelude to a theocracy.
The rulers of , and UAE should turn a deaf ear to human rights organizations, whose loose talk only exacerbates existing turmoil. Made up of blinkered do-gooders, they don’t bother to see the big picture and they don’t care about the ramifications of permitting anyone with a grievance to burn vehicles or close roads to traffic. Instead of writing negative reports negatively hyping the human rights records of Gulf States, they should concentrate on Syria where even young children are being bombed, shot, dismembered and tortured daily. Or Israel, a state that bars most Palestinians from praying in Al Aqsa, steals Palestinian homes and land in east Jerusalem and the West Bank to expand Jewish colonies and sends commandoes to assault international activists on vessels attempting to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.
UK-based Amnesty international never ceases to condemn the Bahraini judicial rulings when it should be focusing on closing Guantanamo and pushing for the one-way Bush/Blair fast-track extradition treaty, permitting British citizens to be extradited to the US without proof, to be rescinded. Likewise, Human Rights Watch, headquartered in New York, is preoccupied with publishing reports slamming the Bahraini government for “arbitrary arrests and detentions” when the US prison population of 2.1 million is not only the highest in the world, prisons are grossly overcrowded and unacceptable numbers of prisoners are kept in solitary confinement, in some states for up to 40 years.
Every Gulf State must remain vigilant to protect the interests of the law-abiding majority concerned about threats to their peaceful existence. Ungrateful nihilistic individuals using violence to hold their countries hostage should be exiled to famine-ridden lands where the poorest eat grass and walk miles to receive baby milk from charities. Then they’ll really have something to complain about. But then, without an iPhone or a laptop who will they complain to?