This is a letter to the CEO of Bahrain Polytechnic
By : Noor Al-Derazi
Dear Johan Scott,
My name is Noor and until 2pm today I was a proud Bahrain Polytechnic student. You might recognize my face because I’m an active student. I won’t talk about the good things I have done to the Polytechnic because everyone knows, the staff & students. And because the polytechnic gave me so much that I can’t rap it all in this letter.
Dear Mr. Scott, I was one of the founding students, the very first batch. A student who was there before there were even printed patterns on the walls. I sat in classes hearing constructions noises in the background. I watched the whole polytechnic grow and develop. I was there since the very beginning that I was in the class whom the crown prince of Bahrain had visited while having a campus tour in the official opening ceremony. I was there when you welcomed us in the first orientation days in 2009 where you said to us: you are the new Bahrainis
Now, after being there for 6 semesters, I was the first one to get expelled from Bahrain polytechnic. And for some reason, you administration felt the need of having me leave the campus looking like a dangerous person whom the security had to escort out. I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye to the tutors who have known me since they were first employed. I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to my group mates I was working with to submit an assignment that is due tomorrow.
Firstly, you might find the channel I’m delivering my message through as a strange one, why a letter on my facebook and not anything else? Well, my facebook was the reason why I was sent to the investigation panel at Bahrain polytechnic to begin with. As you might already know, some of my facebook posts were already printed out and were provided to the investigation panel. My face book account has high privacy sittings which mean not everyone can view my wall, only people who I accept their friend requests can view it. Therefore, whatever I was saying was purely personal opinion and was not made for public release purposes. I never expected that expressing my opinion and practicing the right of freedom of speech that Bahraini constitution grant me would send me to an investigation panel.
Secondly, part of the main reasons why I got expelled was for my alleged participation in some unauthorized marches along with other things. I am curious to know if the investigation panel took my words seriously when I said that I didn’t participate in any marches. The reason for that as I told them is that I was not even here in Bahrain when people where marching! Would you like to know where I was? I was in the Minnesota -United States.
I have my flight tickets that shows the date of departure from Bahrain (28-1-2011), and another one that shows that my departure date from washington DC to Amsterdam was (6-3-2011). On Tuesday (7-3-2011 – in the midnight) I arrived to Bahrain, on Thursday the 9th of March 2011 I traveled to Dubai for two nights so I came back to Bahrain on Saturday the 12th of march 2011. Technically, if you calculate how much I spent in Bahrain before the Roundabout evacuation you find that I was in Bahrain for nearly a week only! that is counting the days where I faced jet lag from the 8 hours difference in time! So I wonder, what were those marches(s) (because the letter refers to me allegedly participating in several marches not only one) that I have participated in because I cannot think of any! Can you please give me an answer for that? Because apparently it was one of the key reasons I got expelled!
Thirdly, would you like to know why I was in the US at that time? Well, I was sent through the US embassy in Manama on a women’s leadership program funded by US department of state. Among 5 other Bahraini women, I was selected to participate in the program after they have viewed applications from all over Bahrain. The program name is “ the Study of the united state institute for student leaders on women’s leadership”. During our time in Minnesota and Washington DC, I have learnt so much about the US history, women’s leadership and Human rights. We even were given a copy of the Universal declaration of the human rights document. We learnt and saw how freedom of speech is granted and practiced by everyone. I connected it with what Bahrain constitution provides as well. Sadly, almost 2 months after I came back to Bahrain, I got called for investigation for practicing what I have learnt.
That experience in the US really changed me to the better. I can’t even begin to describe to you to the pride I felt representing my country abroad. I become full of honor every time I remember that. We were talking about how civilized Bahrain is, how great its people are and how lucky we are to be Bahrainis. That of course hasn’t change and will never change.
Finally, I want to tell you that I’m not sad or bitter because of this. And I defiantly didn’t write this letter begging to be a Bahrain polytechnic student again. I said what I have said in this letter simply because I have the right to do so.
Thank you very much for everything..