A Hostage of Two Reigns: Hamad and His Father

2019-03-12 - 12:24 ص

A.M served five years in a Jaw Central Prison cell during the events of the 1990s, spending the first years of his youth. Here he is returning to it once more to serve a life sentence when he has reached his 40s. In this article he recounts his testimony on the prison transformation between the two eras, the reign of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and that of his father Emir Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa and his view on each of them.


"I have nothing left to be blackmailed with pain. Enough are the ordeals of sorrow and decrepitude". I remembered this verse by poet Mohammad Mahdi Al-Jawahri while I grabbed my pen to meet your request and write my opinion about the two reigns of power.

I imagined myself addressing the King who denied me everything and took a lot from my life and age.

When Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa became the country's Emir on March 6, 1999, I was lingering behind bars in Jaw prison at that time. I had spent 5 years in jail during my first years of youth. Today, after 20 years, I have spent about 5 other years of the life term issued against me but I am in my 40s now.

At these moments, I remember leaving prison in the general pardon issued in 2011 and later recall his trickery which the most prominent leaders in Bahrain fell for. He deceived them all and lied to them. He even made them not dare announce anything that does not confirm that they believe him, even if they had doubts. He was that cunning and that's how they failed.

Let's now look 20 years later. Here he is gathering every one of those who believed him again in prison and rendered the rest displaced. However, those, who weren't imprisoned and didn't flee the country, sealed their mouths shut. Some of them, in my opinion, abandoned their sense of honor for the sake of living, i.e. only surviving under the rule of a tyrant who feeds them bitterness every single day.

I only hope now to exit prison while my mother is still alive. I know that if her demise, God forbid, happens while I am in prison, everything in me will be destroyed. I hope to touch my children with my hands and embrace them. Years have passed and I have been deprived of seeing them but from behind a glass barrier. I forgot how it felt to embrace my children.

Weeks ago, a father of a prisoner sentenced to life passed away. His father died with grief over his successful son who was a distinguished teacher. In my cell, a young man was imprisoned here before me, his moustache and beard grew here in prison. I feel shy to say that he even reached puberty here, while he still has ten more years to spend before he embraces freedom.

What life is this? What suffering is this? These are the people of this country and its indigenous people, who have inherited imprisonment and torture, and they have nothing else for them during this oppressive rule.

I mention these details to show the ordeal of a citizen like me living in the era of this king. How hard it is to see his photos every day in the state newspapers which we are allowed to read. I see him, his children and family spending the best days of their lives, while my family and I are living our worst days. I don't feel embarrassed to declare to the whole world that I hate him and hate every moment of his reign.

I lived in the harsh reign of the former Emir Isa bin Salman [Al Khalifa] and tasted the bitterness of torture and imprisonment, as I have lived under the reign of Hamad and tasted the bitterness of torture and imprisonment, and I say that despite the darkness that I suffered during the reign of Isa bin Salman, it was a picnic compared to the horrible brutality I witnessed in the torture under the rule of Hamad bin Isa. I realised when I faced this terrible torture that our biggest mistake was that we were asleep while he was building this torment factory of his around us.

I have a lot to say, but as a political prisoner, I call on all the people of Bahrain to remember us and our families. We are lingering here like the dead. The prison is just like prophet Yousif described "a cemetery for the living, a house of sorrows, experience of friends and gloating of enemies".

*Political prisoner held in Jaw Central Prison, serving a life term since 2014. He asked to remain anonymous fearing further retaliation.


Arabic Version

التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

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