“Nabeel Rajab” what can I say? This name leaves you speechless

 

 

In few months time, Nabeel Rajab became a national icon. Just like celebrities, Nabeel is loved by many and is hated by many others. His work towards defending human rights cost him a lot but it surly made him win the hearts of thousands. I and more than 20 other Bahraini students had the privilege of meeting Nabeel Rajab back in November here in Malaysia. The meeting wasn’t long but I could never forget his inspirational words..

“Abo adam, where do you see the future of Bahrain going? What political solution do you think is going to work?” one student asked. “I don’t really know and to be frank I don’t think about it much. As long as I know that I’m standing with the right and giving a voice to those who are prevented from their rights, I don’t care about the outcome. My job is not to predict what’s going to happen; my job is to stand with the right. To fulfill my duty in front of Allah, my country and the people” Nabeel answered.

“Abo adam, we have noticed that you use humor when dealing with the people that target you all the time, why is that?” another student asked. “I reply back to them when I feel like laughing because I know that most of them are being paid to do what they are doing, and that they are not interested in going into serious dissections with me. If they were, they wouldn’t curse and would use a proper language. Only then they would deserve a serious response from me ” Nabeel answered. “Therefore, my advice to you is not to focus on those who spend their whole time trying to bash your reputation. If there was someone trying to have a serious discussion or debate with you, don’t miss that chance and engage in that debate to help him/her understand your opinion. And if he/she was just cursing, ignore that and stay focus on your case, you don’t want to lose focus because that is what they are seeking anyways” Nabeel added.

In the same matter, Nabeel said : “What is important is to break the wall of fear when defending your right, to show them and the whole world that you are not afraid of speaking up and defending your rights peacefully. If you do that you will get your righst back. You won’t get your rights by keeping silent”

“The message I want to send to you is to always be UNITED. Different people have different views so don’t let that dissolve your unity. The problem in Bahrain isn’t with Sunnis and Shia as what some are promoting. So whenever you have the chance, stress on the importance of unity. A the end we are all brothers and sisters, that is something the history of our country proves, it isn’t something new” Nabeel said.

“Sometimes the injustice gets too severe that we just can’t find ways to handle it, what do you do?” a student asked. “I stay focused in what I’m doing; I try to never lose focus. Some people might get overwhelmed as the injustice increases, I don’t. I get even more motivated to defend what’s right” Nabeel answered.

Nabeel concluded the meeting by saying : “You are truly the future of the country.  You, the youth of Bahrain, still fighting for you rights after all what you have been through. That is something to be admired”

 

A couple of ladies who were there at that time and who were from different countries told us that we have no idea how the fact that what happened and still happening in Bahrain is inspiring , and how it’s helping in positively reform their countries as well .

 

As always, the meeting was ended with a group picture of us raising the famous victory sign.

From this man Bahrainis learnt and still are learning a lot. His tweets ease the pain of thousands; his words make us smile with hope. For that, I’m grateful and thankful.

What I want to say at the end is this: Nabeel is like thousands of Bahrainis who we consider as heroes. Therefore, any attempt trying to make people hate him will surly fail.

“Sumoooooooood”

(صمووووود)

 

Noor

14-1-2012

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An ANGRY woman writes about (@angryarabiya) Zainab Al Khawaja, Bahrain’s Alice Paul. Tears are not enough, speak up!

All the posts I have in my blog are about my expulsion from the polytechnic. This will change starting from today!

 TODAY, I have had mixed feelings just like every day. Is it nausea? Yes, I’m very disgusted with people’s attitude towards the case in Bahrain. Is it confusion? Might be. I cannot tolerate injustice anymore. I’m not sure which feeling is stronger, but what I know as a fact is that “I’M ANGRY, VERY ANGRY!”

On a humanitarian level, Zainab (@angryarabiya) is a pretty ordinary human being. She doesn’t possess “superpowers”; she cannot fly or break down a wall by just looking at it. What makes her special, though, is that she decided to fly from the swamp of fear that most of us live in, and break down the walls of silence to tell the whole world: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

How many people do actually hear her calling? The answer is: Thousands if not millions! Zainab AlKhawaja made her way into almost every Bahrain-related article, documentary video or TV interviews. However, so sadly few are the ones who can “truly” get what she is saying. Few are the ones who can actually feel the enormous pain she carries in her voice and eyes. That pain is hers and ours, the betrayed people of Bahrain. I say “betrayed” because the world preferred silence over action! The world kept and is keeping watching us treated like a bunch of toys, an owner breaks when he\she gets mad, and yet do nothing about it.

Zainab Al Khawaja (@angryarabiya) and many other Bahraini women keep reminding me of a very inspiring American woman, Alice Paul.

Here’s how I came to know about her (Alice Paul):

In Minnesota, and as a part of the program I was participating in, all of us (the participants) were invited to an American family house for a movie night.

The family was very nice and friendly; they cooked “Halal” dinner for us and served sweets. Later on, we gathered in their house basement. It was a very chilly winter night where we had to cover ourselves with heavy blankets even though the fireplace was on. An ideal atmosphere to watch a movie! The family asked: have you watched “Iron Jawed Angels” movie before? It is what we are going to watch tonight.

 Some of the participants were tired as a result of the long day we had, so they slept during the movie. But for me and just like many others that night, I was so fascinated by the story that I couldn’t sleep. The movie tells the story of Alice Paul and her friends, American activists who fought to give women their rights to vote.

Now, the reason why Zainab reminds me of Alice Paul is the identical incidents they both went through while defending human rights. Both Alice and Zainab went on a hunger strike demanding NOT only their rights, but the rights of others too. Both of them got harassed, threatened and cursed by the people who didn’t like what they were looking forward to achive. The two of them refused to remain silent when everyone else was forced to do so. Zainab stood like a steadfast mountain on the roundabout green grass where she was dragged and beaten before getting arrested. Just like Alice and her friends who were protesting in front of the US president house. They stood in front of the white house protesting even when seasons changed and snow covered their weak bodies, they too got arrested eventually.

Peaceful protest! That’s what they both were doing, Zainab and Alice..

here are some pictures of Alice with the protesters +Zainab with other protesters:

Today I salute all the brave people of Bahrain not only Zainab. And today I address my speech to the world leaders and wonder, aren’t Bahrainis humans? Online photos and videos of Bahrainis being dragged on the ground do not shake you?

I really don’t count on you (political leaders) of this world.

I count on the nations you rule, those who you constantly misrepresent. I count on humans all around this world, those who see what violations of basic human rights happen to us here and stand against it. And YES! I count on God.

I, now, demand the immediate release of Zainab Al Khawaja and all the political prisoners. I demand giving people their rights. ALL THEIR RIGHTS!

I demand HUMANITY, HUMANITY FOR GOD SAKE!!!

I refuse to sit back, watch the injustice and think that all I can do is cry and weep. I choose to speak up, how about you?

Noor

 17-12-2011

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My letter to the “HUMANS ONLY” – how many standards are followed when it comes to the Bahraini students case?

 

Dear humans,

 

As one of Bahrain Polytechnic expelled students I feel honored to be one among hundreds of others who have been expelled from Bahraini institutions of higher education for their political views and opinion.

“Bahraini civil rights will stay in the academic spotlight this week.At its annual meeting in Washington, the Middle East Studies Association will give its 2011 Academic Freedom Award to the faculty and staff members and students at Bahraini institutions of higher education. In a statement that will accompany the award, the association said that hundreds of academics “have been dismissed, arrested, humiliated, and tortured during detention; some have been required to sign loyalty oaths; others have had their scholarships withdrawn.” – The chronicle

This news comes one week before the 6 month anniversary of my expulsion. On the 12 of June 2011, I was the first student to get expelled from Bahrain Polytechnic. Just like many others, my story has some interesting facts. For instance, I was sent to Minnesota- USA on a women leadership program (a scholarship funded by the US State Department) from the period of: the end of January 2010 till the beginning of March 2011, which is the beginning and the peak of the protests that took place in Bahrain. That fact did not help much in convincing the investigation committee at Bahrain Polytechnic that I had a minor participation in the protests (not that protesting in general is a wrong thing) let a long any violence act. They ignored my right of freedom of speech and opinion (just like many other students) by printing my facbook history of posts and comments, and asked me to give reasons, explanations and justifications for writing them. The fact that no violence act did ever take place at Bahrain Polytechnic also did not help preventing the administration from forming the investigation committee where we were dragged to one after another to be questioned and humiliated as a punishment for our political views on the situation of our beloved country, nor did it help stopping them from getting us expelled and treated like criminals by escorting us off campus using the campus security vehicles.

 After a series of lies and false promises of reinstating all the expelled students, 38 students from University of Bahrain and 31 others from Bahrain Polytechnic remain expelled. To be honest, I do not know about University Bahrain but what I know is that all those who were reinstated to Bahrain Polytechnic had to sign pledges and were given warnings that are controversial like: not participating in any political activity of any shape or form. Therefore, the risk of getting expelled again remains high. On a personal level, I am one of the 31 students who have not been reinstated to study at Bahrain Polytechnic. I am no longer interested in studying there especially under that administration. However, I am eager to get my right back.

Throughout this blog, I sent a number of messages to different people whom are related to our case in a letter form. Only one of them responded, which is Mr Khalid Ahmed, an investor in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. He refused to give me his permission when I asked to publish his response and told me that had he know I published the letter I sent to him he would not have even responded to my email. Perhaps the information he told me in his response would cause problems to committee if published, I do not really know. However, the letter that had the largest number of views and responses from the public was the letter I sent throughout my blog and facebook to John Scott, the CEO of Bahrain Polytechnic. People were shocked that he did not reply back to me but I was not surprised at all. I did not and still do not expect any reply from him because I know for a fact that whatever response he will give will not undo all the troubles we all went and still going through because of the expulsion, nor it would help healing our hurt in dignity and pride due to the fact that half year have passed on the incident. Basically, any response from him will be too little and too late.

Today, on this special occasion (the award) I wonder, If many students were expelled just for visiting the pearl roundabout, and if going there was a crime, why there was not any similar action taken against John Scott? He too was spotted there BY THE SAME STUDENTS whom were expelled for going there!

 I am not interested in causing him any problems and I surly do not hate him. I just wonder how many standards are followed when it comes the students case?

 I demand the immediate restraince of all the expelled students. It is our right and we shall get it back.

Note: I did not take the pictures. And for all those who will start shouting it’s fabricated, it’s not. The original ones were sent to me in their original size but it has been reduced for internet speed matter.

 Thank you,

 Noor

References :

 The chronicle:

 http://chronicle.com/article/2-Reports-Denounce-Bahrain-for/129907

The first letter I wrote to John Scott:

http://nooralderazi.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/the-letter-i-wrote-to-on-facebook-the-ceo-of-bahrain-polytechnic/

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“Here kitty kitty”: Looking for the lost voice of Bahrain Polytechnic’s CEO.

 

Today, one of the first days of the new educational year at Bahrain Polytechnic, I sat here thinking about my x-classmates and fellow-expelled students and the words below came on my mind. I thought it would be nice to share them with you all.

 

We sat at the beginning of each of the three years we spent at Bahrain Polytechnic listening to John Scott’s welcome speeches. We heard his famous line “You are the new Bahrainis” so many times, more than we can count. He started his first welcome speech by telling us the motives that were behind the establishment of Bahrain Polytechnic, after that presentation I’m sure that the majority of us felt so honored to be chosen as the founding students. On another presentation he told us about his success story, how many times he failed and then stood up back on his feet and continued working towards achieving his dreams. That presentation was good as well.

I will always remember his last presentation that was held on the first day at Bahrain Polytechnic after the March,2011 events. He compared the situation in Bahrain with the tsunami in Japan and the earthquake in New Zealand (his hometown). He showed us pictures of those two natural disasters. He talked about how tragedies happen all the time everywhere. He said that what matters at the end is that how people react to those tragedies. What matters is that how people stand side by side to rebuild whatever was destroyed. Pretty impressive words I have to say..

 He continued his speech by telling us how neutral Bahrain Polytechnic environment should be. He also waked us through the new code of conduct that we had to sign to insure the physical and psychological health of everyone on campus. All of that was great, life at Bahrain Polytechnic seemed sweet and dreams were colored pink till we actually started going to classes. The environment was anything but neutral. That is something everyone who has been studying or working there at that time would agree on. We tolerated that and thought about the pinkish dreams.

 

Next thing we knew was us being hit by a human made tsunami. One after another, we were called for an investigation. Since no violent acts took place in Bahrain Polytechnic, the whole investigation was based on the students’ lives outside the polytechnic. Our facebook posts and comments, tweets , blogs ..etc. And many of those things were done even before we returned to the polytechnic. As far as I know, at least 2 months of my facebook history (prior to the beginning of the new semester) was printed out, looked at and some were discussed during the investigation. If you are reading this and you are a 20 years old person you would know how many posts and comments we make in facebook within 2 months, I know, A LOT ! Just imagine the size of the file :P!

 

One month later we were hit by another human-made disaster and it felt like an earthquake in our educational life, the expulsion. The educational injuries varied from one to another. Some were given a written warning, others got suspended for a semester or a year and the rest were expelled for good. In those critical days, John Scott was nowhere to be found. I wondered, the earthquake reached our land, where is the support group he was preaching us about. The irony is that during those days we all received text messages telling us how good students we were for complying with the rules and for keeping the campus safe. All those text messages were ended with his name.

 

When we got expelled, he was not there as well. Not even on papers because our expulsion letters were signed by someone else. Yesterday, I read the newspaper and noticed that he is out of the picture again. In the newspaper, the new students were welcomed by the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain Polytechnic, the same person who was the head of the investigation committee and the one who signed our expulsion letter. Are we now looking to the new CEO? Maybe.

 

In those words I am writing now, I want to send a request to Mr.Scott. If you truly believe in the words you have told us all those 3 years, please take a lead and be part of the solution of the remaining expelled students’ case. Some students were asked to return but 25+ students are still expelled. Take a stand and clarify your view on our case. And just so you do not be mistaken and think that I am begging for a solution I want to tell you that on a personal level, I have moved on with my educational life but I am saying what I am saying right now because I care. I care about the Bahrain Polytechnic that we all built together from day one after the establishment. I care about the great A students, the creative and active ones who were expelled with me. I care about the current students who miss their expelled colleagues. I care about the tutors who spent a lot of time and effort teaching us. I care about the staff members who missed so many lunch breaks to work on creating the best institute for us. But the most important thing is that I care about the future of Bahrain, I care about the “new Bahrainis” you have always told us we are.

 

 Noor

 25-9-2011

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105 days and counting, my new letter to Catherine Walker, The acting registrar at Bahrain Polytechnic

 

Dear Catherine Walker, the acting registrar at Bahrain Polytechnic,

 

Firstly, I want to thank you for contacting some of the expelled students asking them to return few days ago. That is only fair since you were one of the people who handed us the expulsion letters. I will never ever forget the expulsion day or forget you. I came into your office after you called me asking to do so. I came with a house made of papers which was a task I have just completed with my group in the HR class. You complimented it and asked if it was me who made it. I told you that it was me, and I have just finished it 5 minutes prior to your call.

 

Few days have passed already and I was waiting for a call from you informing me how sorry the administration at Bahrain Polytechnic is for expelling the students. That might be considered as a high expectation but I did not even receive a text message asking me to return as the others did. However, that  is good and I want to thank you for not calling me or sending me a text message. The reason for this is as the same as I have already told the chief investigators of BICI, asking me to return to the polytechnic using a text message would really offend me. When the administration decided to expel me they found time to write me a letter and found papers to print that letter on. They found a pen to proudly sign that decision. I can wait till the administration find papers and a pen to sign a written letter which says I am welcomed again in Bahrain Polytechnic. However, I cannot wait till they find time to sign it because they took all the time needed to do so already. 105 days passed since I was expelled on the 12nd of June,2011. Therefore, I demand to receive the letter by the end of this week. I do not think that my request is a difficult one. It is nothing compared to what I and the other expelled students had to go through because of the expulsion. And as I said before, to continue my studies at Bahrain Polytechnic or not is a choice that should be left for me to make and not something that should be decided by anyone else. I am not a trouble maker or a person who likes drama. I am just a student whom her right was violated and is expecting to get her rights back.

 

On another matter, when I wanted to write the words I wrote above I was puzzled about whom should I address them to. I do not know exactly why I thought of you, maybe because your name was a significant one in our case. I am sure that you had nothing to do with the process of making the decisions that changed and still are changing our lives. But you surly were and still are the messenger who delivers those decisions. So when I think of this I wonder, you came all the way from across the globe to work in Bahrain, is this really the job you have always dreamed of? I do not mean anything wrong by saying that. It is just that I am putting myself in your shoes and thinking: when leaving my country, family and friends to go work abroad, the job has to be an extraordinary one, one that I could not get where I was. Sometimes we work in jobs we do not like at all, or ones that have few tasks that we do not like. But in this case in particular, will the recent tasks you have completed like handing final expulsion letters to some of Bahrain Polytechnic’s founding students or the excellent ones ever be something that you would look back at 10 years later and smile? 20 years from now, will you be able to say “I had the best job in my life there” whenever anyone mentions the word “Bahrain” in front of you? I honestly hope and wish you can. I just love it when people say they had an amazing time in Bahrain.

The reason why I am saying this is that when I was in the US, they took us to see the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington DC. I stood there holding Bahrain’s flag so my friend can take a picture of me near the statue. I was surprised when a very excited lady approached me saying: are you from Bahrain?!!! She was very happy and she shook my hand when I answered yes. I asked her if she had ever visited Bahrain, she told me this: “yeah, I worked there for few years and I just came back, it’s a very nice country and the people are so friendly and amazing, welcome to my country, I am so glad to meet a Bahraini here”.  Of course we could not finish the conversation without talking about how hot and humid Bahrain’s weather is but that is not our topic now. I was very surprised at that time and thought: wow, what are the odds?! But that conversation truly made my day, I was so proud and excited I kept teasing my colleagues that were with me at that time and were not from Bahrain.

 

To conclude, I want to thank you for being nice to me on the expulsion day. I hope I can see you one day and have a conversation with you like the one I had with that lady in the US. I truly hope you have a great time in my country living with the kindest and sweetest people on earth, Bahrainis.

 

 

Sincerely,

Noor

 24-9-2011

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My letter to the BICI investigatior, Mr Khalid

Dear Khalid M Ahmed, Head of (Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry) investigators,

 My name is Noor and I am one of Bahrain Polytechnic expelled students. I am positive that you will not remember me because you apologized several times during the very short 8 minutes I sat speaking to you and asked me: what’s your name again? I came to your committee a couple of weeks ago to document my case, and I have been told that I might only have 30 minutes to speak. I thought that 30 minutes would not be enough, but I did not know that I would only have a fraction of that time to speak about my case even though I came with an appointment.

 Well, I am not here to talk about the way our conversation went or the time it took. I am mostly concerned about its content. You begun by taking my personal and contact information and then asked me a couple of questions like everyone else in the room. When you knew that I was there for an expelled student case, you told me that you’re meeting the people related to our case soon to see if there is a way to solve it. I told you that we were wronged by the expulsion, so the common sense would be returning us back! I also said that returning us is only the start of getting back our right because many of us were offended too. You seemed shocked and almost laughed when you said to me after that: “so are you expecting an official apology?! Because that will never happen!”.

Well, what can I say? You were right. Not only we didn’t get any sort of emotional compensation, but we got another official offense as far as I see it. I was highly offended by the official release that returning back students was announced in few days ago. And what I have expected and told you will happen did actually happen. I told you that I don’t want to be returned as a student who did something wrong and then was “forgiven”, because as a student, I didn’t do anything wrong. I also told you if we were “forgiven” then it would mean having less advantages in the polytechnic as students, especially that all what had happen would probably remain in my university records which was once a clean one! In addition to that I asked you, if we were “forgiven” what is there to guarantee that this “forgiveness” would not be taken back at anytime and the next thing we know is us getting expelled again? Some would say: compliance with the polytechnic’s rules would guarantee that. Well, apparently that did not help much in the first time!

You told me that there is nothing much that can be done regarding that now, and asked me to come again to document if that happens. Now I wonder what if that happens right after you leave, would you still look at the case once your job here is over? I certainly hope so, but I don’t think that is possible. Now you might ask, what do you want exactly? Why are you saying all of that? The answer is simple, I want my right back. It has been said that only the students who have been allowed back will be contacted. This means that not everyone will be returned as I understood. If I was returned, I hope I get an official letter for that at least and not a phone call like the one I got for the investigation. Also, I want to know what will happen regarding the semester that we were few weeks away from completing; do we have to start it all over again? And what about our university records, will they be cleaned? Whether I go back to polytechnic or not after being allowed back in again is a choice that is left for me to make. But even if I chose not to go back to the polytechnic again, it doesn’t change the fact that I still want to get my right back.

 Now I do not know if I am among the people who will be returned or not, but I certainly hope that this letter does not magically become a reason that prevents me from being returned.

Thank you for everything..

 Kind regards,

Noor

29-8-2011

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I feel like the polytechnic is singing : please don’t stop the expulsion ( as in please “don’t stop the music song” :P)

Well well well

today bahrain polytechnic expelled more than 30 people as far as I know

many of them I know personally, and many are close friends of mine..

well, what happened is that we met and kindda celebrated it! after all, tears are boring :P

I’m reading this cute book called: from lemon to lemonade , little things to sweeten  up life’s sour  moments.. ( btw I was reading it before all of this happen so I didn’t read it coz I’m sad)

Actully, I got the book when I WAS IN THE UNITED STATES :P  .. Anyhow, so back to the book title ..

I did that literly ! :P I turned our expulsion to a sweet thing for my friends :P

here’s how I did it..

Taraaa :

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES with graduate, sad and crying person’s face :P

I know that one dozen is not enough coz there were dozen”s” who got expelleded .. but you get my point anyways ;D

here’s the cupcake from another angel :P :

the face is crying but it’s just to delever the point, not that they were crying !

My friends are the best and have super awesome high spirits !!<3

will give you those cupcakes next time I see you :D

Take care X-Bahrain Polytechnic students :D <3

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