Like you I think, I never thought our crisis would last this long. I even wrote a blog post back in April 2011 with the words “… a post crisis look” in the title. I honestly thought the crisis was over after the crackdown. Admittedly, I was very naive.
Well, it’s the last day of 2013, and in February 2014 our crisis will be in it’s third year. How would I rate 2013 crisis-wise? Not good. The National Dialogue stopped, protests were ongoing, terrorist activities escalated, arrests increased, and the polarisation of the population (especially the youth) just keeps increasing. The silver lining is that human rights abuses seem to have reduced significantly – but not stopped. There are still videos and photos appearing in the social media of alleged human rights abuses, but they seem to be reducing gradually.
Overall very little progress has been made, and if no major political solutions are found in 2014, it will be a bad year as well. In October I wrote that I thought the crisis might take another three to five years to resolve, now I think it might take a decade, maybe even more. The worse part of the crisis is that it’s becoming “normal.” I said to a friend yesterday “people have accepted the crisis.” She corrected me saying “it’s not acceptance, it’s resignation.”
So what are we to do? First, do not give into resignation or despair. I know, a lot easier said than done, but it’s our duty to not lose hope. If there is one thing we can do for this country, it’s to continue to hope.
It is our duty to hope. Remember that hope manifests good things. If enough people hope, things will improve. I believe that form the bottom of my heart.
Second, refuse to hate. Again, this is easier said than done, but what has hate gained us so far? Has anything really been achieved by it? No. Don’t try to change others. instead work on yourself. If enough people stop hating then we’ll be a step closer to a solution to the crisis. Remember the eternal words of Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I’m also reminded by what the late Nelson Mandela said, “I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”
Of course South Africa and Bahrain are very different. I don’t mention the quote as a comparison between the two countries, but to emphasise the importance of the liberation from hate. Hate won’t affect the person you’re hating, instead it will eat you up from the inside like an insidious acid. You must liberate yourself from it.
If we all hope, and liberate ourselves from hatred, things will improve.
Here’s hoping for a bright 2014 and beyond.
Happy New Year.