|code: 321894||Date: 2012/06/13 - 14:07||source: PressTV|
Much more to Bahrain revolution than sectarian conflict
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - An interview with Dominic Kavakeb of the Bahrain Justice and Development Movement to further discuss the issue.
The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: international lawyer, Paul Wolf and president of Bahraini Medical Association Osama al-Aradi. The following is a rough transcript of the interview.
Q: A great part of the world media, Mr. Kavakeb is a calling this a battle between the ruling Sunni monarchy and the Shiite-led protesters in their words. Is this how you would describe it or is it bigger than that?
Kavakeb: I think it’s far bigger than that. I think it’s really quite unfortunate that the media has tried to portray that narrative of this being about the Sunni and Shia conflict when of course it’s not. In reality this is about democracy and dictatorship.
This is about a group of people who are predominantly Shia becaue it’s a majority Shia country but they are not asking for a Shia state; they are not asking for anything along those lines; they’re looking for democracy, they’re looking to have the same rights as everybody else in the country.
So this idea that it’s just simply religious sectarian conflict is completely wrong; but I think it’s one that the government has tried to propagate as much as it possibly can because it seeks their argument; it seeks their narrative; it makes it harder for Western governors to criticize the government and to do other things on those lines. So I think it really suits the government to make that narrative but that really should not be the narrative.
The people on the ground have stressed time and time again we are Sunni, we are Shia, we are non-Muslim, we are whoever, we are wanting democracy and that’s why we are out on the streets.
Q: Mr. Kavakeb, speaking about a sovereign nation when we are speaking about Bahrain that has come into question how independent is the Bahraini regime when it is deciding for instance on the current crisis specially when there is a talk of, for instance, a merger with Saudi Arabia as part of the union we had that news before. Do you think that the Bahraini regime is independent when it’s deciding what to do with this political crisis?
Kavakeb: I don’t think really any regime in this world is entirely independent from anyone but I think there is quite clearly a specific link between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The way that Saudi Arabia views Bahrain is that it’s just another, essentially another part of their own country and as we’ve seen in the past couple of months they’ve been trying to solidify that through the GCC union that has been proposed which the majority of Bahraini people reject and one of the biggest demonstrations that we saw over the last few weeks, the last few months was in opposition to that union taking place.
Thousands and thousands took to the streets and made their position very clear and the opposition said as well that you know any union that takes place should have a referendum and I think that demonstration in itself was a referendum because it made people’s opposition to that very clear.
So I think very clearly there is a very strong link between Saudi and Bahrain and I think also it’s problematic that at the moment Saudi Arabia seems to be having the biggest influence over Bahrain and their influence seems to be to edge away from dialogue and to continue repression as a way of answering this crisis.
Q: The issue that’s being put into the spotlight now at least by the mainstream media is dialogue, reconciliation and again the comments made by the UK administer there that he’s been saying and I’m quoting him, “we are urging all concerned parties to engage in dialogue come up with a compromise,” but the question is, is political dialogue and is that compromise the next step for Bahrain or is it even viable now?
Kavakeb: Well, I think it’s the only option, to be honest at the moment this has gone on for nearly 18 months now and the situation really isn’t changing and I think there has to be some level of dialogue.
But when we say there has to be dialogue, what we don’t mean is for the government to come along and pretend to the world that they’ve spoken to the opposition and they’ve listened to some of their demands- no what has to be is a very clear process of the government engaging directly with the opposition on all of their demands, on all of the things that the people are asking for whilst at the same time having rolled back all of those repressive policies that are put in place over the past year. That includes obviously the political prisoners who are currently in jail and have to be released.
You know that’s the sort of dialogue that we’re looking for and I think the opposition have made it very clear time and time again that they will do a dialogue that they will happily sit down and discuss but it has to be meaningful it can’t just be a kind of fake dialogue used to call up the opposition.
You know, you say Alastair Burt the [UK] minister for foreign office for Middle East and North Africa made the statement yesterday in Bahrain and actually Hillary Clinton made a very similar statement yesterday in which she said that we call for dialogue etcetera, etcetera but it has to be an internal Bahraini solution to this and I just really feel that that’s not enough.
And Western governments do need to try and push the Bahraini government to the dialogue table because at the moment all they’re doing is more and more repression and the opposition as we heard from the great speech by Sheikh Ali Salman yesterday who said the people will continue to come out on the streets and they will continue to protest that’s not in anyone’s interest for this to keep going on over and over for months and years without a solution.