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.