MANAMA, Bahrain – With a situation different from other countries experiencing unrest in the Middle East, Bahrain faces more complex and time-consuming solutions, Bahraini Ambassador to the U.S., Houda Nonoo writes in an editorial published yesterday in “The Hill.”
“After eight weeks of unrest in Bahrain, one thing has become abundantly clear: Bahrain’s situation is much more complicated than that of other Arab countries that have experienced mass demonstrations recently, and that is why there are no simple solutions,” she writes.
While unrest in other countries has been determined by a united front, no common thread unites Bahrain’s opposition, such as a lack of representation in the parliament, she writes. The government has continually pressed for a National Dialogue so that “everything is on the table,” only to be refused by the opposition parties who insist on preconditions that will limit the discussion, according to Ambassador Nonoo.
“I am confident that as the protestors see life returning to normal in Bahrain – banks have reopened, students have returned to class and traffic is flowing again – that they will come to the table to make Bahrain stronger than ever,” she said.
A state of reform is not new to the country. Since 2002 Bahrain has worked to build democracy and reforms, establishing a constitutional monarchy, electing a parliament, and creating municipal councils. The country is currently a young democracy and while the pace of reforms may not be as quick as desired, they are “genuine and permanent,” the Ambassador says.
“Our greatest aspiration is for all of our citizens to believe that their government represents them–that they can realize their ambitions and gain redress for their grievances as Bahraini citizens equal before the law,” she writes.
As Bahrain looks to the future, the country will continue to prize its relationship with the United States and value the association with “the world’s greatest democracy.”
“Our relationship with the United States is one of our most important, and we believe that it must be based not only on shared security interests, but also on shared values and aspirations,” she writes. “Our emerging democracy may never look like American democracy, but the United States is our great example as we fashion our own system.”
Ultimately, Bahrain’s long tradition of tolerance and moderation will pull the country through this difficult time, Ambassador Nonoo writes.