About The Photo of King Hamad And Sheikh Ali Salman

This photo was floating around the internet today.  It shows prominent opposition leader and head of Al-Wefaq Society Sh. Ali Salman offering his condolences to His Majesty King Hamad on the demise of his grandmother, Shaikha Mouza bint Hamad Al-Khalifa, God rest her soul.

I guess this is a good example of the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” What to make of it?  Here are some conclusions I’m drawing from this photo:

– It shows, as always, His Majesty’s compassionate and understanding nature.  I don’t know if Sheikh Ali Salman had to take permission before attending the Azza [funeral reception], but either way I think it’s gracious of King Hamad to receive him.

– Though I have to be honest when I say I don’t trust Sh. Ali Salman that much, nor do I have a lot of respect for him [I thought his behaviour during the Bahrain crisis arrogant and bizarre to say the least], I like how he still made sure to offer his condolences.  Is he kissing up? Maybe, but good of him to show his respect to his head of state.

– Where is he kissing him? not so easy to tell, but judging by the angle of His Majesty’s face it looks like the kiss is on the cheek, not the nose.  Now, for my Western readers this statement might seem strange, so allow me to explain.  In Arabian Gulf countries, it is a sign of respect to kiss a tribal leader or someone of prominence on the nose, rather than the cheek.  So if one were to greet the king or other prominent members of the ruling family, they would kiss on the nose.  Having said that, this custom is not set in stone and there are many who do not follow it.  So I would not place too much importance on where he was kissed.

– The photo shows what Bahrain really is (or was leading up to the crisis); a multi-religious, multi-ethnic society built on mutual respect and understanding.  Of course there’ve been problems from time to time, but these are created by extremists.  Most of us get along and respect each others religions and views.  I’ve lost count on the number of times I’ve visited Shia matam’s where I went to mourn and to celebrate with friends and acquaintances.

– Is it a sign of things to come? A step closer to reconciliation perhaps?  Difficult to say.  There is so much bad blood on all sides. Many sunni’s are lobbying hard with calls of “no more royal pardons” wanting the protestors/rioters and their leaders to get the strictest punishments.  One thing I have no doubt about though, is that reform will continue, and perhaps even accelerate.  Wait and see.

What Next?

As we’ve heard many times, the government’s immediate concern is national security.  The post-crisis crackdown is not over yet, but it does seem to have slowed down.  Many prisoners have been released after questioning, and many have gone back to their jobs.  I imagine reforms will continue after the crackdown and state of emergency are over.

Should the government still have dialogue with Al-Wefaq?  I’m not sure how willing the government is, seeing how un-parliamentarian Al-Wefaqq behaved during the crisis (resigning from parliament, striking at the Pearl Roundabout and having the audacity to call for a constitutional assembly, among many many other offensive  actions).

Personally, I think it might be a good idea for Sheikh Ali Salman to resign, and for Al-Wefaq to choose a new leader.  This would be a very powerful gesture by the opposition, seeing how little credibility the sheikh has left, especially among the sunni members of the population.  Since he was so willing to call for the resignation of the government, why not practice what he preaches?  Show that he was wrong, go home and let someone else take over.

Well those were my two cents… it’s funny how a picture can mean so much.  Either way, I hope it’s a sign of good things to come.

Talk to you soon.

13 Responses to About The Photo of King Hamad And Sheikh Ali Salman

  1. Suhail 5 May 2011 at 6:00 am #

    BTW, copied this photo from a Facebook friend. Sorry, forgot which one, so i cannot give them credit!

  2. Redha 5 May 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Sadly, sectarian hatred has been planted between people.

    I feel very depressed when I hear things like my father-in-law trying to go to saudi through King Fahad Causeway twice this week and both time the Saudi Authorities asking him if you are Sunni or Shia’ and sending him back just because he’s Shia… or like people asking each other about their beliefs, which is a private matter. what difference does it make whither I’m a Muslim, Jewish or Buddhist.

    What’s happening is really depressing, but I see light at the end of the tunnel, and I pray to god that people open and cleanse their hearts and minds.

    God Bliss

  3. Alaa 5 May 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Indeed a photo says a thousand words and I guess in this case raises a thousand questions. In general this is a testament to the bond between Bahraini society and its leadership as regardless of our differences we are all connected by the unique nature of this island and the unquestionable need for loyalty to our beloved King. Sectarianism has always been part of this unique fabric and there are times when it diminishes and times when it raises its ugly head; however, my optimistic nature and humble understanding of the history of Bahrain tells me that our wise leadership and forgiving society will put sectarianism back in its cage.

    Nevertheless, I completely agree with Suhail in terms of Al-Wefaq despicable failure in performing during this political crisis. Honestly if it was me I would have done so some time ago as this would be better than risk having the entire Al-Wefaq society legally disbanded with its unpredictable impact on the image of Bahrain’s democracy; a risk they truly and understandably still face today. Moreover, since His Majesty King Hamad started the democratic reform process, for the longest of time I never trusted and believed that Al-Wefaq and for that matter most of the other representatives being elected would perform under a political crisis due to their unilateral righteous frame of thinking (i.e. The mentality of “I’m totally right therefore you are totally wrong”). My only wish is that instead of Sheikh Ali Slaman resigning, the people who elected them realize that a new breed of political leadership needs to emerge, one that is royalist, patriotic, capable, pluralistic and most importantly non-sectarian nor ideologically motivated. This stands true for all political players of any successful democratic system, even for our noteworthy democratic reform process, which is literally taking its baby steps.

  4. Rana 6 May 2011 at 9:43 am #

    it is a good picture and carries alot of meaning.. you covered alot of angles but why didnt mean that what ever happened between people when it comes to death, people forget and just do what thier religeon and faith advised them to do..
    I think people in Bahrain need ages to reach a state of good intention between each others..
    fire of hate would burn every thing. I hope they get it before it is too late

  5. Susu 6 May 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Suhail you are a very hateful person. Never expected these hateful statements to come from you. The crisis has changed you. Stop being so negative and consider the cup half full. This is how Arabs are. We are nice people. Even if we disagree or are each other enemies, we still fulfill our ethical duties such as mourning a persons death

    • Suhail 6 May 2011 at 11:16 am #

      Susu, I suggest you read my other writings before you judge me so harshly.

  6. Isa 7 May 2011 at 12:35 am #

    Dear Suhail,

    Ask a Bahraini Shia what it means to go to a funeral. For Ali Salman to go is not “kissing up”. It is upholding an important Bahraini tradition of mourning the loss of our fellow countrymen and women.

    Don’t over politise or read too much into it. He and Wefaq are still by far the largest elected political society in Bahrain and represent a significant % of the population. Check out AlWasat today to see the laws that they had put forward, which have been shot down by other parliamentarians in their absence (Anti-discrimination, financial oversight of government, etc…).

    Kind regards,

    Maan

  7. Susu 7 May 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Thats why I said the crisis has changed you, ie Your weren’t like this before ie Your previous post were not as hateful

  8. Khaled 8 May 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    I think for his Majesty to even greet Ali Salman is a large sign of his compassion. Ali Salman the same person who him and his party did not only not perform but were of a negative impact during the crisis. Ali Salman who stood on a stage which said “Samedoon hata isqaat ilnedham” translation “staying strong until the fall of the regime” a stage which had nooses and death calls to the royal family. And yet his Majesty still accepts his condolences and greets him. Ali Salman is just a person playing on both sides for his own personal agenda without any loyalty not to the Bahraini people or to the royal family.

  9. Khaled 8 May 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    So “kissing up” is the perfect term to use to describe this picture for Al Wefaq, Ali Salman and many other munafeqeen have shown their true colors.

  10. BRN 8 May 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    King Hamad is the most forgiving King, honestly, if i were HM, i wouldn’t even lift my arm up to greet him. He was one of the clowns who tried to overthrow the regime and caused so much sectarian hatred between bahraini brothers and sisters.

    As always, Thanks to God Almighty, then thanks to HM the king, we will get out of this united more than ever.

    I see we still have some childish trolls posting comments (morinio). Allah yhadaak inshaAllah.

  11. Morinio 9 May 2011 at 2:09 am #

    يسقط BRN يلعن BRN تفو تفو تفو يسقط BRN يسقط BRN يسقط BRN

  12. Heba 1 June 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Suhail, your blind allegiance to rulers that were imposed upon you from the moment you were born is ignorance at its best. You have the gall to ridicule your own fellow countrymen who had the audacity to stand up and demand dignity and real political participation and control in government and over their own lives. You, yourself have admitted that the Bahraini parliament is skewed in order to dilute the parliamentary representation of the villages in the north of Bahrain in favor of the sparsely populated south of Bahrain. People have been protesting this injustice since its inception in 2002 but the government has done nothing about it. Now that people have taken to the streets, the government suddenly calls for dialogue and paints the protesters as unreasonable and treasonous. Have you not asked yourself why it is that the government only implements “reforms” or calls for dialogue once the injustices reaches a tipping point that drives the people of Bahrain to the streets to demand their rights? Why do you think the government does that? Do you not realize that the basic foundation of a state that is ruled by a monarchy is to consolidate and maintain power and in doing so, ensure allegiance of the population? The very fact that there exists a monarchy in Bahrain means that there must also exist subjects of the monarchy (i.e. YOU and everyone living in Bahrain). You and everyone else in Bahrain living under a monarchy is a mere subject of the royal crown. Bahrain is considered the royal property of the royal crown. What self-respecting person in the 21st century holds on to this archaic view of what it means to be a citizen of a country? There is a vast segment of Bahraini society that is standing up and saying they no longer wish to be treated as mere subjects. Bahrainis have the natural right to participate and control their own fate and government and not wait for decades for a monarchy to hand us only cosmetic reforms. You need to study your history of Bahrain, given that it is not sufficiently taught in the official state curriculum. How about you read up on the 1973 Bahrain constitution or maybe even do some research on Bahrain in the 1800s. Open your eyes and speak the truth. You will be judged one day for everything you say and disseminate.

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