Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Elections, are we ready ?

One of the most important challenges that faced last elections in Bahrain was political awareness, on many levels, and especially among young people. Many of the younger generations, mine included, who are coming of age, tend to stay away from political issues probably out of habits developed from an earlier age, or fear of being associated with certain ideas that are considered dangerous and that this association may lead to being persecuted because many times, Bahraini society is not very nice to Bahrainis who are different.

This fear, among many other reasons, lead to the fact that many young people, young students, graduate from high-school with little or no political awareness or interest. When these students go to university or enter the labor market, they come face to face with the political and religious diversity in Bahrain and the different political and religious parties or societies.

Facing this new situation, many people get confused about what causes to believe in and who or which society to follow. This confusion and lack of awareness enable many political or religious figures to use or rather abuse their status to influence these people to push their own political agendas.
The results of the previous Bahraini elections clearly support this. Politicians/religious leaders played certain cards that tickle peoples fears, hopes and other emotions and people gave their votes accordingly.

In order to overcome the lack of political awareness, there are many measures to be taken (imho). First, the fear of participating in political discussions and issues must be eliminated; this will encourage people to participate more, this of course needs the cooperation and help of both the government and the civil society represented by organizations and activists.

The second step will be to consolidate resources from different organizations, governmental and non-governmental, to help spread political awareness and independent thinking through seminars and lectures and so forth, and so far the work the Supreme Council for Women is doing to support female candidates is the only noteworthy effort in this field.

Political education and awareness should then be integrated into public education so that the coming generations will have political awareness and will not face this same problem, and while it is gradually being incorporated in the "citizenship" or "Muwatana" classes, it needs further revision to be less dry and more interactive for students so that it will develop their minds not be another book to memorize and forget.

When awareness is spread, change will be inevitable, otherwise we will face the same problems over and over, as dodgy politicians are elected because they play on people’s emotions or people, realizing they’re being played, will give up on participation entirely.

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