Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary-General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, delivered this speech before the crowds in the Bahraini capital Manama commemorating the eve of Ashura* (1436 Hijri), November 3rd, 2014:
Our message to Imam Hussain (pbuh); O’ Hussain, we pledge allegiance to you, to spread the message you have sacrificed your life for. We will walk on your path, calling for reform in your grandfather’s nation in our country Bahrain, we will call for good and denounce vice. We reject the oppression against our people and we work to realize the truth and good. We swear that we will not accept humility. Your voice moved us when the oppressor put us in front of two options; the thorn and the humility, and we will not be humiliated. O’ Hussain, you have drawn a clear path for our movement and goals. We pledge to continue the movement we had begun on 14th February 2011 until every citizen and human in this country gains his rights in equality, freedom, justice and democracy.
In this speech, I will not talk a lot about the elections to be held on November 22nd, because these sham elections are a premature failure. The elections failed the day the Authority blocked the way in front of real dialogue and rejected the just and legitimate demands of the people. They failed when Mr. Malinowski was removed from Bahrain because he was attempting to find a political solution that brings the two sides together. Also, they failed when Nabeel Rajab and Osama Altamimi were arrested, and when nationalities were revoked from citizens, and when the Authority refused to free opposition figures Abdulwahhab Hussain, Hasan Mushaima, Ibrahim Shareef, Sheikh Mohammed Almahfoodh, Sheikh AlMiqdad and all the other oppressed prisoners. Moreover, these elections failed when the opposition powers and the known patriotic national personalities announced their boycott to the elections that then became nothing more than an amusement. This failure was further exposed at the declaration of the decision to suspend the largest political party that won more than 83,000 votes in the 2010 elections. Finally, the Authority gave a blow to these elections by removing the manifestations of Ashura.
Our message to our people;
We have gone a long way towards our rights, we have brought the world and the region to realize our democratic demands, and this is a big step to reach our legitimate demands.
Our message to our partners in the homeland;
Our Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and his grandson Imam Hussain (pbuh) call on you to support the truth, in Bahrain, in the political life, so that the people of Bahrain from all factions will have the final say in their legislative, executive, judicial, security and media affairs. For all Bahrainis, to enjoy equality in redistribution, without exclusion or discrimination against any citizen. Bahrain needs us all to fix the current situation. We should all enjoy right to elect our government. Why don’t we enjoy this right like 200 nations around the world do?
Our message to the Authority;
We are calling for real participation in the State affairs, as stated in the constitution. We are calling for the implementation of what we have agreed on in the National Action Charter; a constitutional monarchy like the prestigious constitutional monarchies of the world. This implies that the rule, prime minister and administration must be in the hands of the people through the recognized democratic methods around the world. This also implies that the elected council enjoys full legislative and monitoring power without the assigned Shura Council vetoing its decisions. The Authority needs to listen to its peoples’ necessary and just demands.
The Authority, the people and the homeland will all benefit from turning this conflict into a cooperation to build the country through a democratic competition. The Authority should not bet on the external developments, the region is tensed and it will remain like that. Major turning-points are possible, the morale, from what has happened and is happening around us, is more than enough for those with hearts and minds.
We are reaching out to the Authority for reconciliation and an agreement that make Bahrain a cohesive and united power in the face of the Takfiri terror that has hit the region and will hit the country in the coming months or years.
The Authority will find itself in a better position between other nations if it responds to the people’s demands for democracy and justice.
Our message to Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the respected Secretary-General of the United Nations, to the international community and the powerful states;
We, the people of Bahrain, are a people demanding the generally-accepted democracy, freedom, equality and justice. We are walking on the path to democracy like the people of South Africa, Eastern Europe, South America did, and which you contributed to the support of. You have seen with your own eyes, through the media, through thousands of credible reports by foreign offices and international rights organizations, through the respected study centres and through the BICI report; that our innocent sons were killed in the streets, and tortured to death in jails, our wives and daughters were sexually abused in jails, our mosques, where we worship God, were demolished. And this is ongoing in one way or another.
You all know and declare that our demands are just and fundamental in today’s world.
Your Excellency, Mr. Secretary-General, the problem in Bahrain has elongated, and your calls and pleads to the Authority in Bahrain to halt the violations and engage in a real dialogue and consensus to political solution are not being heard. You, and others in the region and the world, have offered help several times, but your offers were rejected. Your knowledge about this, and your responsibility to maintain world peace and support democracy and respect of human rights, imply you to play a greater role by helping the people of Bahrain to find an inclusive political solution, like you have in other places of the world.
I do thank you for your efforts, nevertheless, it is humanely and ethically inappropriate for the world to stand on the sidelines and watch the people of Bahrain being repressed for calling for their fundamental rights.
Mr. Secretary-General, you and the international community are called on to take a greater and clearer position and make real efforts to help the people and the government of Bahrain to find a comprehensive political solution, without delay.
The instant and narrow interests linked with petrodollars must not contradict ethics and conscience. The world’s interest lies in maintaining economic and political relations linked with finding political solutions that do not produce extremism like IS that threatens the interests of the West and East and the Muslim nations and others.
The political solution we are seeking is in the benefit of all, Bahrain, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the region and the world.
I thank all the individuals, organizations and states that stood by and supported the people of Bahrain.
* Ashura is an annual commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), where he sacrificed his life to light the path of justice and nobleness.