24th May 2013
Hundreds of thousands from different political and religious parties and factions attended the historic mass sit-in titled ” Friday of loyalty”. The biggest ever assembly in Bahrain’s history took place in Duraz, west of the capital Manama (on 24th May 2013), denouncing the regime’s heinous attack on Ayatollah Qassim’s house.
The massive sit-in occupied an enormous area in Druaz which became overcrowded hours before the event had even started. For three hours after the event had finished, traffic jams surrounded Duraz.
The sit-in started and ended in a remarkable civilized way. Top clerics, medics, economists, politicians and activists participated and listened to people representing different groups as they expressed their stances.
The main speeches were al-Wefaq’s Secretary General’s speech and the speech of Sayed Mohammed Al-Ghuraifi who represented the clerics.
Some issues are greater than red lines
The Secretary General of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, Shaikh Ali Salman, stressed, “Some issues are greater than red lines, some issues imply dramatic radical changes that cannot be controlled, and attacking Ayatollah Qassim is as such”. Salman said very clearly “the regime and the king himself take responsibility for any attack on Ayatollah Qassim. Attacking this person cannot take place without the knowledge of the political leadership in the country
“When the Iraqi regime attacked senior cleric Sayed Mohammed Baqir Al-Saddr it changed the future of Iraq, attacking Ayatollah Qassim will change the future of Bahrain as well”.
Addressing the international community, Salman said, “The international community must take serious actions to stop the systematic and brutal human rights violations that are taking place in Bahrain, its position towards Bahrain should match the foreign policy values it raises”.
The people are capable of turning the table
Salaman stressed “You have seen the steadfastness of the people over the past two years. The whole world knows for sure that the people are capable of turning the table. Neither repression nor political maneuvers have ended or will end the revolution. The regime can’t escape the rightful demands of the people and must return all the expropriated rights to legislative and executive and judiciary authority, security services must be open to all Bahrainis and the people must have right to control their national wealth.
A government that is not elected by the people is illegitimate, and popularly rejected, he added.
Salman stressed on adhering to the peaceful and national principles while at the same time evaluating the political scene in order to do what is necessary for the people to realize their rights. He added, “Politically speaking, Ayatollah Qassim’s political attitude relied on the peaceful approach since the establishing of the constituent assembly (in the 70s) and then the National Council and finally the current revolution in 2011, as a mean to reach real reforms. He has always insisted on reaching a national solution without linking the national movement and solution to regional and international dimensions
“Any rational person understands that it may be difficult to maintain all this in the absence of such a great valuable person who has long saved the country,” adding, “this is not a threat, but an objective reading”.
A man worth a nation
Salman spoke of Sheikh Qassim’s vital role throughout the decades of struggle for reform, he said Qassim is firm to reach the finish line while he has always reached out to others and stressed on nonviolent movement.
Rational and mature nations would be proud to have such a great national and Islamic figure and would invest him in building its future, he added, unlike oppressive countries which jail Nelson Mandela and kill Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
The people have gained high awareness through this man’s speech and positions and the regime cannot play circumvention nor can it rely on repression to silent the people who demand to be the source of all powers, Salman said.
The international community must act
“The international community is must not remain silent on the outrageous human rights abuses in Bahrain. Its credibility in supporting democracy is narrowing because of its support to a tyrannical regime while turning its back on the people’s demands for fundamental and necessary humanitarian rights in every country in the 21st century. The right side of history is the people’s side, the international community must stand with the people of Bahrain and support their demands for freedom and democracy and equality. I say to the international community, you are under the microscope and the people of Bahrain will determine their position towards you in the future according to what you do today.”
The king is responsible for any attack against Ayatollah Qassim
“We are not here to express our solidarity for a couple of hours and leave. We are not here to make a reaction or protest what happened for a week or a month. But, we are here to emphasise that we have been here for more than two years in our struggle for democracy. We are here to let everyone know that we are ready to be here for months; or years and even decades, if needed, to take back our stolen rights”.
“Our clear message to the regime is that the king himself takes responsibility for any attack against Ayatollah Qassim”
“If you cross lines we will cross equivalent lines”, Salman warned.
He said, “The revolution has started peaceful and will remain peaceful, and will not need stones or bottles, and this is what Sheikh Issa Qassim had said. Our protests will remain peaceful but are open to other options like the capital, a permanent sit-in, civil disobedience, escalated boycott to the regime and other peaceful tools.”
An unmanly and disgusting crime
On behalf of clerics in Bahrain, Sayed Muhammed al-Ghuraifi emphasised that the masses strongly refused the unmanly crime of attacking Qassim’s home, adding, “We strongly refuse all weak official justifications and consider them an arrogant escape from such serious crime”.
He demanded an official apology for what happened, and to hold criminals responsible and put preventive measures for such crimes. The frantic official media campaign against Ayatollah Qassim must immediately stop. The massive attendance shows the continuation of the revolution. It reflects the insistence of the people to achieve their legitimate demands that won’t be abandoned”.