Opposition Leaders Turn to Age-Old Trick to Undermine Bahraini Government

Having walked out of the national reconciliation dialogue on specious grounds and having refused to take part in the upcoming parliamentary by-elections on the advice of their handlers overseas, and finding they had gained nothing by being petulant, the opposition leaders in Bahrain are now turning to the age-old trick of trying to denigrate and embarrass the government though bad-mouthing it and supporting lies and falsehoods.

As soon as the long Eid ul Fitr holidays began at the end of last month, the opposition Al Wefaq first levelled the accusation that the house of its president, Ali Salman, had been raided by security forces even though no such incident had taken place. But in the judgement of the government’s detractors it makes sense to try and embarrass the government during the time of national celebration of a festival.

As if that was not enough, soon after this the mysterious murder of a teenager in Sitra was laid at the door of the security forces even though in this case as well the security forces were not involved in any way whatsoever. The body of the boy had been brought to the hospital by some unknown persons and left there and immediately thereafter the canard was spread that he had died of injuries sustained as a result of a teargas shell fired into a crowd.

It was clear as daylight though that the injuries the boy’s body bore had nothing to do with the kind of injuries one would sustain if hit by a teargas shell. The photographic evidence and post-mortem examination results to prove this were carried prominently in the local press which showed the boy’s body bore a large vertical gash behind the neck (apart from other injuries) which was totally inconsistent with the kind of mark a teargas shell would leave.

The boy had obviously been the victim of some sort of personal vendetta but the opposition groups refused to listen because the reports of the death of a teenager at the hands of security forces have the potential of drawing the media attention worldwide, make for a good headline and come handy to embarrass the government – more so when a team of international experts is camping in the country to listen to any reports of human rights violations.

To get to the bottom of the despicable happening, the government has even gone on to declare a reward of 10,000 dinars [US$26,600] for any information leading to the people who had left the body at the hospital or to the perpetrators of the crime of killing the boy.

Of course the denial by the government that its security forces were in any way involved in the incident or the announcement of the reward have had no effect on the opposition resolve to continue to harp on their lies.

For the record, this is not the first time deaths in opposition-led villages – and this includes even normal deaths due to old age or a heart attack – have prompted the opposition to exploit them for their own murky political purposes by blaming them on teargas inhalation as a result of alleged action in the area of the deceased by security forces and following this up with huge funeral processions with mourners chanting anti-government slogans and carrying anti-regime placards, thereby turning a common death into the death of a martyr!

It is time the Bahrain opposition looked inwards and reflected over what gains it expects to make by disseminating and supporting this kind of lies. After the events of the last few months, which have proved to be draining on both the energies and the resources of the Kingdom and its citizens, it is time the opposition reciprocated the government’s reconciliatory gestures and made every effort to join the mainstream rather than ploughing its lonely furrow which will reap it no harvest.

Brij Sharma is an Indian journalist and editor based in Bahrain. Brij tells us the interesting stories we don’t usually hear from the middle east country.