14th February in the Memory of the New Generation
2023-02-15 - 3:56 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Smoking hookah, Hussein recalls with his friends the memories he still carries of the 14th February uprising 12 years ago, when he saw his family march with him in a human flood toward the Lualua (Pearl) Roundabout, raising the Arab Spring slogan "People want to overthrow the regime".
This slogan, which Hussein has experienced during his childhood, has become loathsome after the Arab Spring failed and a new generation of tyrant Arabs emerged, led by new princes in the Gulf with an extreme agenda and a power that seems to be invincible.
Hussein can't regret anything, as the uprising decision in Bahrain was taken by the people's subconsciousness; the people who are burdened with history, injustices, treachery and deception. Some hear stories about how the situation of their parents was in the 60s and 70s, and feel astonished by the state they are in today! Their parents worked in large companies (regardless if they were educated, skilled or not), their retirement was not threatened, the housing units they secured without waiting were built on spaces that exceed 400 square meters. For them, history is not a series of grievances, but a sharp shocking regression line.
Hussein graduated 2 years ago from the College of Health with a bachelor's degree in nursing. He feels that everything that he, and his friends, have been experiencing since their graduation is caused by February 14. Due to the position taken by the government and what appears to be a stricter strategic plan than the Bandar plan, Hussein cannot get a job, neither in official state hospitals, nor private ones.
Even the policies to support the employment of Bahrainis in the private sector did not help him get a job with a minimum salary, despite his significant medical specialty.
His friend is a doctor. They both volunteered during the Coronavirus pandemic, and then were simply left to sleep in the morning with all the unemployed. While some of them accepted to be exploited by private hospitals and get employed as trainees without salaries or benefits, some of them asked to volunteer again, instead of wasting their energy and youth by sleeping and idling in cafes, so the government took advantage of their need and hired them as interns without any rewarding pay this time.
All Hussein asks for as a salary for his work as a laboratory specialist is 450 BD. He sees the government employing foreigners in his place in hospitals, with the same salary, while he works as a volunteer. For what reason should he feel rejected in his own country? How can he not feel that he is living the "life of the oppressed"?
Hussein lives a very difficult psychological contradiction. He believes that the revolution has overwhelmed his generation and caused them long-lasting tragedies that no one knows when will stop. At the same time, he sees that the government is importing foreigners as part of a malicious policy whose only goal is to replace Bahrainis by making people like him and his friends become desperate and leave this country.
The government has actually succeeded. Hussein has become an introvert, miserable, irritable and has no hope in life here. "I don't know what to do... But I am seriously thinking about leaving for Qatar or Saudi Arabia," he says. Hussain is the last person who was expected to leave Bahrain, and leave his village and his family in search of a decent livelihood.
"The government opened the door to foreigners, leaving its citizens either unemployed, imprisoned, or stateless," he tells his friends, puffing hookah smoke angrily. "It's a simple equation, they want to replace an entire people. They want the country, just like any company, to remain 'operating' by any workforce, or any kind of citizen."
It doesn't matter to the government today (or tomorrow) who the "citizen" is, what is important is that there are enough of them whose loyalty and submission are guaranteed, so that this country (the company) continues to operate, with the least level of noise. They turn a deaf ear to any sound that might disturb the king, and make him "sweat", as one member of his entourage reported what happened in Safriya Palace during the Safriya protest (March 13, 2011): "We were all there... The king could hear chants of "Down with Hamad"... None of us could do anything... including him... We all remained silent... We looked at his face...and we all started sweating."
Hussein attended the Safriya protest and heard these terrifying chants. King Hamad will probably be dead when Hussein's sons grow up, but he can imagine the face of King Salman bin Hamad when he experiences a new "sweat shower". Hussein believes that "One day, sweat will definitely not be the only thing Bahrain's uprising yields."