Last night during a rally in Saar, to the west of Manama, Al Wefaq General Secretary gave a strong speech reaffirming that the people of Bahrain will not back down on their demands.
Sheikh Ali Salman, speaking to a large crowed to mark the first anniversary of the end of the state of emergency, said that they people will not stop in their struggle until “the people are the source of all authorities”.
“If you call all the surrounding armies to stop us, they will fail. And fail they have.” Sheikh Ali said in a speech widely noted as one of his most fiery since the uprising began on 14th February 2011.
Sheikh Ali went on to show his support for moving the country on from this crisis and stopping it from descending into further violence. He countered claims of the regime that Al Wefaq are interested in inciting violence saying, ” You have to know that we have been raised to prepare for death. You have to know that with only two words of a Fatwa (religious command), this nation would give tens of thousands to martyrdom.”
But he argued this is not what they have done, for the sake of the country. ” Without our care for this nation, we would prepare our coffins and start a war with uncontrollable consequences.”
His speech made clear the opposition is not intending to give in, therefore repression will not work to end this crisis. Only real dialogue leading to real political reforms.
Sheikh Ali also stressed that the people should be the source of all authorities, arguing that this is the central demand of the opposition. “Our legitimate demands cannot be debated by anyone from this regime but in 2012 we come together and say we want action as well as words that the people are the source of all authorities.”
He later outlined some of what this would mean in practice. “Our demands are for the Bahraini citizens to elect an independent legislative chamber, that has full authority and no appointed chamber has authority over it.”
Sheikh Ali rejected the regimes attempts to discredit the movement and to circumvent their demands. ” They said Iran, they said violence and they said sectarian. Lying in every single word and they know that they are lying.”
The fiery nature of the speech suggests the opposition is growing weary of the current political stalemate and is stepping up its efforts to push the government to the dialogue table.
It also comes the day after Sheikh Ali’s home was attacked by security forces.
Read the translated speech in full below:
Full speech of Al Wefaq General Secretary Shaikh Ali Salman
during the opposition gathering “Homeland for Everyone” in Saar to the west of Manama – June 11, 2012
Salaam to all,
Sometimes I might request some things of you that might seem difficult, but it’s to the benefit of us all. I don’t like to hear “down with someone” or “death to someone”. It’s a request for the sake of our uprising and our wisdom.
I will speak on 5 main topics and starting with the legitimacy of our demands:
Our legitimate demands cannot be debated by anyone from this regime but in 2012 we come together and say we want action as well as words that the people are the source of all authorities.
For this principle is not just an article written in the constitution or the charter! When we say that we want to elect our government, we speak on behalf of Bahraini’s, although not all. I use the word “we” because this demand belongs to the majority of the people. They try to discredit us by saying you and Al Wefaq do not represent Bahrain citizens. So why not end the debate and have fair elections or a referendum, controlled by an independent body?
Then we will see what the citizens really want. Do they want an elected or appointed government?
Then we will be bale to cut this debate short! So don’t speak about what the majority of Bahraini’s want, instead let’s end this uncivilised debate and go for a real referendum. This should not include those politically naturalised, as it represents a disaster for our country, destroying the demography, a conspiracy mentioned and explain the Bandar Report.
Our demands are for the Bahraini citizens to elect an independent legislative chamber, that has full authority and no appointed chamber has authority over it.
There is no doubt that the appointed chamber does not represent anyone! And whoever tries to say otherwise will find them looking silly and stupid in front of the whole world!
They were unable to debate the legitimacy of our demands so they created three big lies and repeated them. They said Iran, they said violence and they said sectarian. Lying in every single word and they know that they are lying.
I will briefly repeat our demands so that the regime and the world can hear us.
We have legitimate demands that we will never give up on. We want Bahraini citizens, Sunni and Shi’ite, to be the source of all authorities – in words and actions.
Whatever they continue to say about the detainees and their right to express their opinion, accusing them of violence or using Molotov’s (which I am against), it will all be useless and be of no benefit to them at all. Bahraini’s want this change. They want to be the source of all authorities and this was proven in the constitution of 1973 and 2002, and the national action charter.
To the second point: It was unfair of you to reject our demands and kill our rights! It was unfair even before Martyr Mushaima was killed, before the massacre of the Pearl Square and before the national safety laws. It was unfair because it violated our rights to have a fair legislative power, to have an independent judicial authority and to have an elected executive power. You are manipulating all of these authorities and this is violating the constitution and charter.
It was unfair when you killed us without any reason and when you arrested our sons and women. It was unfair when you assaulted our dignity, demolished our mosques, raided our villages and besieged our freedom.
There are not just my words but is the voice of the whole world, starting from the international human rights organisations. There are more than 100 international organisations condemning the violations and say that this regime is treating their citizens with injustice. Then we had a committee, assigned by the King himself, which has proven that this regime is lacking in justice. Lastly, there was the international community through the human rights commission of the United Nations, UPR, that proved that this regime is violating all the citizens’ rights, including the political right of electing the government.
Point three: You, our partners in this homeland, you caused the nation and us many wounds and pain. You should not have done that and what you did won’t bring you any benefit.
Yes we always speak with forgiveness, because we love this nation, we love you all because we care about this island and its interests. Caring about this homeland is what caused us to tolerate all that has happened.
Believe me, we do not want more martyrs from March 15th of last year. Without our care for this nation, we would prepare our coffins and start a war with uncontrollable consequences.
The Field Marshall said, “If you come back, we will be back”, and they came back with 200% force. Just to let you know Marshall, the people did not yet use even 50% of their potential power.
You and others need to know that we are all children of the Prophet Mohammed and his family; children of the best human brought to this earth. You have to know that we have been raised to prepare for death. You have to know that with only two words of a Fatwa (religious command), this nation would give tens of thousands to martyrdom.
What I say is not about adopting force, nor is this a threat or challenge. We are right and you treated us with injustice, so do not ever think that what you have done will stop us from demanding our rights, no matter how brutal you are your attempts will fail.
Furthermore if you called all the surrounding armies to stop us, they will fail. And fail they have!
The times have changed and you can’t rewind history and suppression will not stop these demands. You will never be as tyrannical and violent as Saddam Hussein. All these examples have been given by God to show that you can never break a civilised nation that is insistent on getting its rights.
And to the regime we say, you will never be able to break the opposition through your political games, as the opposition is mature enough to be aware of your tricks. The opposition’s experience is stronger than the regimes. You won’t be able to use weak political manoeuvres to turn back a nation whose demands are clear and strong. Our demand is the “the nation is the source of all authorities”.
You won’t be able to make any political manoeuvres, even if you had all the PR companies in the world working for you. One single tweet can knock down all what those companies are doing. I am saying this to tell you sincerely and honestly. I don’t want to insult or disparage anyone or to take the right of anyone away. I will demand the rights of the nations as long as you continue to extort those rights. We will continue to chant and fight until we get it!
People, history is on its way to create you a humane country, compliant with your dignity across many aspects. One of them is your right that an injustice is currently preventing you from. What you are calling for is the conclusion of what humanity has.
During the tough times when doubts can reach you, remember the nations that never stepped back but reached and accomplished their demands. Everyday another nation converts from dictatorship to democracy and Bahrain is no exception. Whoever believes in something different is not remembered by history.
Do you want the world to see you as someone responsible for a harmonious nation or a tyrant dictator who violates his people’s rights?
This is not a personal demand. There is no special benefit for Shi’ites only, or Sunni’s, or Islamists, or Liberals. There is a chance to achieve for the benefit of all parties in a very high way, through a humanitarian country with insured right. This is really possible!
It happened in Europe and other parts of the world. Islam has given us the best theories but we have never had the chance to do it in practice. We say give us at least the chance to prove Bahrain’s benefit in the practice democracy. You are our brothers, our sisters and our souls; what harms you will harm me. I would feel awful if you and your children couldn’t have what I have, if you couldn’t find housing or a job because someone from the ruling family came and took it, or you were forced to chase after someone form the ruling family and kiss him to get a job. What is a job offered on blood worth?
Even if those who support the government only had elected this government it would be better than the current one. If there were an elected government, problems of housing, health, education and infrastructure would be solved within 10 years. That’s what we are calling for and demanding!
We call for a real reconciliation, not based on the slave and master mentality, but one that saves the country and puts it back on the right track.
We tolerate each other except for those who destroyed our mosques and profaned our honour. Yes, we tolerate politically, we will build a country where you and I have freedom, and it is possible.
We want to participate in the building of our homeland by active deeds not written words, without the slave and master mentality but equality amongst citizens. We want to build our country as the developed nations did, including the entire nation with all sectors and religions.
Freedom and democracy will be achieved in our country soon. This is our rightful demand.