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Photograph scary.

Your front page (February 20) carried a photograph of a posse of uniformed policemen wearing patent gas masks walking in a platoon formation. Well, this is what I thought after a first glance. Until a closer look revealed these were no policemen, but an organised gang of thugs with Molotov cocktails tucked where a policeman would normally have his holster. So this was the true face of the opposition whose members in civilian clothes sit in Areen Wildlife Park across the table, with those who want peace and tranquillity in the country, to hold a dialogue for consensus! If this is not the theatre of the absurd then what is?

I have been wondering as a Western observer living in this country for more than a decade whether February 14 this year was the day when the opposition thugs were given some kind of signal by some hidden leader to go all out to wreak havoc across the country? My guess has turned out to be true. The security chief of the country has now laid it all on the table. There are no nebulous statements and conjectural finger-pointing. Here they are, the entire unmasked gang with names, photographs, where they got the training, who paid them, which countries' outfits supported them (and still do), how much money was spent, who are their local contacts. A capital job of seamless sleuthing that lays the dead cat squarely at the door of Iran.

These elements have even infiltrated the sacred precincts of the parliament where a teenager thug's photograph was being flailed as if it were the image of a wronged baby. What cheek! One wonders if one has to redefine words like patriotism and loyalty to the nation for the sake of such MPs. And I thought that irrespective of their differences over policy matters, all those elected representatives were on the same side when it came to the unity and integrity of the nation.

I am not therefore surprised that the parties keen on a peaceful solution are abandoning the talks realising the futility of any dialogue with smoke and fire filling up the horizon. How can one hope to agree on peaceful terms when warring factions of the opposition are up and about everywhere?

I think the opposition groups must be asked up front at the next session of the talks to either make sure its constituents completely desist from any disruptive activity or should be told the talks stood suspended until that was done. The continuation of any talks in the current scenario has no meaning.

Ted Thompson

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Feb 23, 2013
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