Following a tragic incident a few days ago, when a Bahraini was killed after he refused to pay a Bangladeshi mechanic the 500 fils (1.3 USD) extra he was demanding for a job, Bahrain has now stopped issuing work permits to Bangladeshi nationals. A group of MPs are planning to submit a proposal to parliament to expel all Bangladeshi workers, who might be as many as 90,000, from the country because allegedly they commit more ‘shocking and gruesome crimes‘ than any other community.
Mahmood is not impressed by this knee-jerk reaction, and he says:
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.
Reeshiez comments on the post:
This is the most ridiculous thing that I’ve heard and is blatant racial discrimination. I can’t believe our government did this and that many people support this law. You can’t punish an entire nation for isolated incidents by their citizens. How would bahrainis feel if all arabs were banned from coming to the US because a random Bahraini killed an American citizen? I am completely disgusted.