Bahrain to Ban, Deport Bangladeshis
Following a tragic incident earlier this week, when a Bahraini man was killed by one of his Bangledeshi employees, the Bahrain government has indefinitely stopped issuing work permits to Bangledeshi nationals. The employee had demanded an extra 500 fils (1.3 USD), which his manager refused. A group of MPs are planning to submit a proposal to parliament to expel all Bangladeshi workers, who number as many as 90,000 in the country, from Bahrain, allegedly because Bangladeshis commit more ‘shocking and gruesome crimes‘ than any other community.
Mahmood Al-Yousif, a Bahraini freelance blogger and former commercial airline pilot, recently commented on this knee-jerk reaction from the Bahraini government:
"There are a few things that suggest that our society is in a desperate state. The indicators are probably best exemplified by the exclusionary standards our parliamentarians and their electorate take. Both are quick to condemn whole peoples, nations and even civilizations due to isolated incidents without taking one second to reflect on our own shortcomings and our non-exclusive ownership of basic human values. … If you talk to Bahrainis fortunate enough to have lived in the 70s and before, they will categorically tell you that they have never experienced anything like this, they will confirm that they didn’t give their neighbour’s race or religion much importance. They will further tell you that they habitually interacted with each other in various ways; they visited, conducted business and even fought the British occupation together by forming and maintaining a cohesive multi-cultural front that crossed confessional divides. The common denominator was their Bahraininess which surpassed every other consideration. They celebrated their differences, rather than diligently work at finding the chinks to exploit in each others’ armor. The stark contrast between that era and now could not be more evident. What we now have is an acutely insular society with impenetrable walls propped up by suspicion and hatred of the other. This “us and them” atmosphere is condoned by the government - regardless of how many denials we hear from their higher echelons - evidenced by the selective employment policies, the conditional awards of constitutionally guaranteed citizen benefits and the disparity in economic circumstance. … Let us remind them that their role is to ameliorate differences and protect the national unity, and not diligently and wantonly work at exacerbating them. The demand to expel and ban Bangladeshis because of the unfortunate result of a single person’s moment of anger is tantamount to our agreement to the entrenchment and even encoding xenophobia as our main Bahraini trait"
Posted by Ayesha Saldanha
Tags: Bahrain , Bangladesh , Mahmood
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