7 February 2008

We Still Wait.

PS. I wrote this about a month ago but for some reason I never got around to posting it; that's why the below event looks a bit late

We, the people of Bahrain, wait for our turn.

This week celebrates the vision of Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoom, and how he pioneered the vision to turn Dubai and the Emirates into a global powerhouse. Less than 15 years ago, Dubai and the Emirates was hardly known to the rest of the world; nowadays, they are synonomous with success, luxury and the new age of globalization.

I personally oversaw the growth of Dubai; back in 1996, I visited Dubai, a city with semi-empty shopping malls, huge markets, roads too big for the minimal traffic, and lots and lots of desert. It made you think; why would you build something so large for a non-existent market?

It didn't take long for the answer to surface. By 1998, I was studying in the UAE; the empty malls I had seen were all full of shops and shoppers, the roads were filling up, and the desert making way for huge new developments. By the time I left in 2003, Dubai was so ridiculously busy that serious expansion was needed, and the expansion was underway. We, the people of Bahrain, wait for the same success.

I left the city for 3 years. When I visited again in 2006, the city had doubled in size. The levels of growth have been so extreme, that I failed to recognize most of the city I was once knew like the back of my hand.

Prosperity for it's people, wealth for it's inhabitants, growth for it's citizens. Sure, there were the nuisances; the extra traffic, the rush, the stress, but still, the benefits far exceeded the negatives. Prosperity, wealth, and growth. That is what Dubai has provided to it's people. I feel a tear of happiness for my Emarati neighbors; it's a beautiful thing to feel so content, beautiful to have a leader so great help turn your country into the paradise that it is. And that is what we, the people of Bahrain, were waiting for.

Now I ask this; Bahrain, a country that only twenty years ago, was so far ahead of Dubai (and the rest of the Gulf countries) in terms of development, education, infrastructure, and so on, is where today? Dubai has managed to grow with the help of it's leaders, and with it grew the rest of the Emirates. We still see poverty in the nooks and crannies of Bahrain. Sure, we see development, we see a few new towers and buildings, we see new shopping malls, we see Formula 1 tracks, and so on. But real growth? Somehow, it all feels synthetic. It all feels synthetic because the local people of Bahrain have not felt this growth; the unemployed still exist, and more than the numbers shown through the official media. The low wages still prevail. The people are still not prosperous. Dig a little deeper and you will see discontent, sadness, and anger.

Why? Dare I ask why? Or should I try to answer?

We as the people of Bahrain have been looking and waiting, waiting for opportunity, waiting for hope. But over the years, we see others grow, and we keep waiting. It has still not been given to us; the children of this country are made to find their chance outside this little island, all over the rest of the world. Those of us who stay here suffer injustice, let-downs, and discontent. Yet, we wait for our chance, that one day may come and pull us out of the deep hole we have been pushed into.

We still wait.


lizardo said...

nice answer for a good question.

Missy said...

I want my speed net BACK! mutta e3dlooon hal cable malhum? :( I wanted to download a show today and the remaining time was 31 days! -.-"""

moon-light7 said...

*deep long sigh*

ur touching the would there with what u said. & ur right, we still wait!

I would really love to experience this contentment u mentioned. having a leader & a country to be really proud of. it must be a beautiful & special sensation...or maybe a dream!

& i'm back to waiting again.

moon-light7 said...

by the way, since u mentioned the F1 track. ever since it's been built i keep wondering why we have a really good F1 track & a crapy football stadium!! i mean, isn't football more popular than racing in Bahrain!

the F1 track was built merely to create an image. this is how we develop in bahrain, to create an image to others only. no one really thinks about the problems that need to be solved or try to catch on before something wrong happens. no, we wait for the bad & then TRY to correct it.

& now i'm really back to waiting...

icon said...

Sure thing, we should stop waiting and work for it, for the same success or at least something close.
But how to start?! what steps can people of Bahrain take!! They have one word to say every now and then and it makes the whole counrty on "Waiting" ... its " we are helpless, nothing in hand, crippled".


Woozie said...

Let America swoop in like a mother eagle nourishing her young with pre-chewed capitalism! We'll bless your land with illegal immigrants, cheap Chinese labor, government inefficiency, lower wages, weak currency, subprime mortgages, and AIDS!


Coolred38 said...

Can anyone say the words..."its about time for a revolution"

silence means acceptance...if your leaders are running this country into the ground...or worse yet...taking it backwards(recent article in GDN) then stand up and take action...arm chair complaints do nothing to advance the cause of bahrain.

Bahrainis are quick to condemn America for its wrongs...Israel for its wrongs...other arab country leaders for their wrongs...but when was the last time I heard anyone condemn the ruling family in a very public setting...and have a large part of the population standing behind him or her? Little snippets in the papers that condemn with caution(my words) barely scratch the surface and do nothing to get anyones attention really.

revolution...sometimes new blood has to come in to change things up and start the wheels of progress rolling again...it doesnt happen by itself.

rosh said...

I love Bahrain - the simplicity, the people, the air - it reminds me of how home felt "real" back in the day. I am not sure if it's wise to wish Bahrain into a DXB? Sure lots can be done to recharge the economy into world stage. It's a small nation, but somethings need to strengthened - either the banking sector, tourism or real estate.

In a way you cannot compare UAE and Bahrain - because AUH has tons of oil, hence the rulers have much more muscle and options to play in the global arena. You must also note, with all the changes across UAE - it comes with a price, a price those who truly are from the UAE, shall pay or are unwillingly paying i.e. all is not well & dandy across the UAE.

It would really help the region - if GCC took some ideas from the EU and have an open GCC economy of sorts, to help all GCC nations propel & prosper. Plus, let's face it - after oil, taxes are required to run any nation.

ammaro said...

lizardo; its still unanswered...

missy; umm... im sorry?

moonlight; the priorities are a little screwed, a little all over the place...

icon; i know some people who try, who have tried, who have put all their effort into it, but they don't stand a chance to make it, unfortunately.

woozie; you can keep the american dream for yourself dude.

coolred; its been tried over the years, coolred, but it hasnt been successful yet.

rosh; bahrain has its nice points, but its not all peaches and cream. i understand what you mean about the whole problems in UAE; i lived there for a while, i felt it. but its something else to feel injustice, which is really depressing bro.

rosh said...

Perhaps I missed something (or everything) - what "injustices" against Bahrainis?

CG said...

I agree with Rosh. Don't compare with Dubai, and by the way, the locals here are still not living the high life like the expats. Bahrain is nice. really nice. synthetic? In that case Dubai is a plastic bag.

ammaro said...

rosh; long story. perhaps ill tell it to you over a big fenjal of gahwa someday

cg; its getting more synthetic by the day, CG. Its not the same bahrain you remember