Bahraini People's Letter to IPU Members: Don't Hammer Nails into Our Bodies
2023-03-12 - 10:30 p
Dear Inter-Parliamentary Union Members,
Members of the 146th IPU General Assembly, welcome to Bahrain. It is great that your meeting is held under the theme of "Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance".
We hope that you are here today for us, we, the people. Parliaments in the world reflect the people's voice, not the governments. We are aware that it is not part of your official missions to pressure our government for more reforms, but you have to know that it is also not part of your official mission to issue free or prepaid statements praising our government. We are also aware that it is not part of your missions to offer recommendations to fix our parliament's imbalance of popular representation or expand its parliamentary and legislative powers, but you should also know that it is not your job to be a public relations and propaganda campaign promoting our parliamentary experience, where the principle of separation of powers, a condition for true democracy, does not apply.
As you carry out your official duties, it's important to remember that there are also opportunities for moral leadership and challenging tasks that can be undertaken by both women and men in the legislative authorities. We, the people of Bahrain, place our trust in you to take on these moral responsibilities, which we believe are a driving force behind your political actions and public speeches that have earned you the merit of representing your people.
It is regrettable that we as a nation lack a collective memory that recalls brave and principled positions taken by our parliamentarians to establish and consolidate our popular sovereignty and our role as a critical check on the decisions made by the political authority, since we, as the people, represent the core of the social contract that governs our society.
In our collective memory, the leader of the largest political bloc in the history of our parliament, an opposition bloc, presented the most important report in the history of Bahrain on public property and the corruption that led to its theft and looting. This leader, who is your colleague and who is supposed to welcome you and engage in public discussions with you, is in prison over political charges. Our parliament did not have the courage to even raise his name or picture, let alone demand his release and ensure he undergoes a fair trial.
This means that the popular voice is repressed and besieged and that our parliament does not have a real representative capacity or power to confront the king's monopoly of absolute power. The king not only can stop decisions and legislation, but he can shut the mouths of the legislative authority members before they even think of speaking. He can make them his puppets and he can make them mouthpieces of what he wants, and he doesn't even need to threaten them with what Mussolini used to threaten his parliament, to "lock the doors of parliament shut with nails."
We hope that you won't be the hammer hitting more nails into our parliament, because you would be hammering nails into our bodies and deepening our crucifixion on the altar of democracy.
We hope that the theme of your session, "Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance" turns into an urgent task in our parliament, which has not criminalized the blatant discrimination suffered by the Shiites in Bahrain, who are the indigenous people of this country. The parliament has not prevented sectarian attacks against Shiites beliefs, dialect, culture and history, did not stop hate speech against them, and did not prevent books of Takfir and fanaticism that undermine their doctrine and beliefs.
We call on you, parliamentarians, to: be with us, not against us.
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