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Integrating new national views in Bahrain

By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood

All life forms and entities are shape-shifting organisms – whether we consider ourselves or even our countries.

Just like we have changed and grown in a decade, so has the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Today we are a confident nation that is making strides and drawing up ambitious plans to make inclusivity a cornerstone of our national development.

Against this background, what a wonderful celebration it was that His Majesty King Hamad heralded the festival of Eid-ulFitr by ordering the unconditional release of 1,500 prisoners, the single largest number of mercy releases in Bahrain’s history.

It signals the moving on from the wounds of the past, the acknowledgement of the right of these people to re-join the community and put shoulder to the wheel of progress.

Few people know that the Bahrain government has worked tirelessly to address the many issues that arose from the political turmoil of 2011.

These efforts have always been leavened with compassion and understanding and all sides have been given a patient hearing.

Even expats were given a place in the National Dialogue and their views and needs acknowledged.

The government took recommendations of an international-level rights panel seriously and initiated many reforms.

Children and youth, the main targets of extremist organisations, were given access to character-building concepts of patriotism and service to the nation and community through carefully designed education and edutainment modules.

The next phase of re-integrating the released former prisoners into national life now begins.

During their time in prison, priorities have changed, technology has sprinted forward and the world itself has changed.

Bahrain’s interaction with the world too has been reshaped by new priorities and aspirations.

These men and women have a lot to offer our nation and we must make their rehabilitation and re-joining of the mainstream our priority.

By doing so, we shall be honouring the wisdom of King Hamad, celebrating his 25th year of accession meaningfully and providing a great service to our country.


Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism