IF you compare the stages of ancient and modern history with the present Bahrain, you will see a reality that has not changed for thousands of years.
Dilmun, the name given to Bahrain in Sumerian language, means the land of life. There is no doubt in the eyes of the elders as stated in the epic of Gilgamesh, “The holy land of Dilmun, the pure country of Dilmun. Dilmun, a country submerged in light, distinguished by radiance.”
Based on this civilization heritage, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa built his vision for his kingdom and its people whose positions were recorded by history as an example of national unity.
In 1970, the first test started on this promising island — when the independence movement began in the Arabian Gulf. At the time, the Shah of Tehran released a series of statements on their alleged right to Bahrain and raised many question marks about the rule of Khalifa Family.
However, the results of the referendum conducted by the United Nations on the request of Sheikh Isa Al Khalifa cut the roots of such allegations, because all the Bahrainis declared absolute loyalty to Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa’s rule. Those who lived during that era said some families of Persian origin refused to support the Shah’s rule. The percentage of those who chose independence under Al Khalifa reached 100 percent — a precedent not seen in the history of the United Nations.
Because these people believed that life is unity and their land is life, they worked very hard to transform Bahrain into an international financial center which has its own place in the world and serves as a model of relations between the ruler and the people. King Hamad bin Isa considers this a natural product of the firmly established country which cannot be shaken by storms.
Since the rule of Khomeini in 1979, the expansionism issue has been Iran’s essential approach. In fact, the Mullah regime incorporated expansionism into its Constitution under the headline, “Exporting Revolution.” The regime deemed Bahrain as the most important passageway to reach the Gulf. From that time, they have been busy destabilizing the country. After 39 years of failed attempts, they have realized that this country is obstinate. It cannot be swallowed despite its small size. They moved from the East of the peninsula to the South where they found in some Yemeni gangs an opportunity to attack the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arabian Gulf.
In the king’s council, you hear the great impact of such history on him. He says, “What the Bahrainis sacrificed in the past decades, their complete trust in us to handle the affairs of the kingdom, and their support for the national charter made me ashamed as to how I will return the favor for everything they have given.” The favor and response came through a just and rational rule, which facilitates the realization of people’s wishes and making individuals partners in all stages of building the State and its advancement.
Today, Bahrain is recovering from a scourge imposed on it as part of the ambitious Iranian expansionism scheme. It experienced security tension; but because of a just rule that put things in their rightful place wisely, the king ordered formation of the fact-finding commission in 2011. The committee’s neutral report was the best evidence of the king’s quest to establish the rule of justice without discriminating between citizens.
This committee and the subsequent royal and government measures are considered a milestone in the history of Arab governments because they are unique. The committee served as a catalyst for calmly handling causes of protests, especially the neutralization of elements working for Iran as their true forms appeared in latter years seeking to abort serious legal and reform developments. These measures were the beginning of a new renaissance through which Bahrain became more powerful and determined.
Since 1999, the leader went on to develop all State facilities by updating laws, the parliamentary elections in accordance with the resolutions of the national charter, the two houses of parliament, and putting the rule of law between the components of all people. The law is strictly applied such that each and every one is given what is rightfully his and the offenders are punished without any negligence; because King Hamad is a statesman whose rule is based on the principle, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Today, everyone in Bahrain is busy restoring its historical position and the effectiveness that characterized it before the wave of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, especially describing it as an international financial center and touristic destination through which GCC countries and the world could breathe. The painful page has been turned and today they are writing the modern translation of the meaning of “Dilmun, a country submerged in light, distinguished by radiance.” Because it is the land of life, it deserves such name and its king deserves to be the king of the land of life.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times