Bahrain became independent on August 15, 1971, and is celebrating its independence today, December 16. This difference in date is to correspond with the day the Late Amir, His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, acceded the throne.
Independence is a gift of God. It is a day of pride for all citizens.
The joy of freedom can best be realised by those who have lived under an alien power; under whom their freedom of speech and action were restricted.
The dignity and status of a citizen is more valued in an independent country. Hence, a wise citizen knows that it is his duty to protect the freedom of his country lest his existence will be least valued.
This is where loyalty to his/her homeland gains importance.
In this context, I remember the words of the Prophet who expressed his love by looking at the soil of Mecca, on the eve of his migration to Medina.
He said, “What a nice city thou art and how ardently I love thee. Had my people not exiled me, I would have never settled anywhere else.” (Tirmudhi, Chapter Fadle Mecca).
Muslims should treat the Prophet as a role model.
If all citizens heed the patriotic feelings of the Prophet, no-one would even think of ruining his country either by means of destructive thoughts or by deeds.
On Independence Day, both old and new generations come together to celebrate and promote the values of unity and patriotism. It is a rare occasion that draws senior citizens to evoke their memories of pre-independence and realise the value of freedom.
Although Bahrain is small in size, its history is so opulent. Discoveries by archaeologists reveal that it had civilisations of different inhabitants since prehistoric times.
On this glorious occasion, let me highlight the immense developments Bahrain has witnessed in the social, health, education and housing fields.
Since 1960s, the government has implemented various industrial, commercial and financial projects.
Bahrain Bay is one of Manama’s most important landmarks. It spreads over 500,000sqm and is valued at $2.5 billion. The bay provides residential, commercial, and tourist services, as well as social and public facilities.
It is made up of three islands: The Northern Island, the Southern Island, and the central Four Seasons Island. An internal port was established by building two bridges that connect to the mainland.
People of Bahrain have many things to feel proud of. The government has taken keen interest to equip its citizens to attain self-sufficiency through various programmes. The newly discovered oil resource, which officials expect to be ‘on production’ within five years, is expected to provide significant and long-term benefits to the kingdom’s economy.
I am an expatriate and I have been living in Bahrain for nearly 40 years. I am sure that this peaceful atmosphere in Bahrain is due to the wise leadership of His Majesty King Hamad and his principle of toleration in all respects. While I admire his astute headship and control, I on behalf of expatriates extend my sincere wishes to His Majesty for his long life with Iman and health.
I extend my congratulations to His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, and all members of the Royal Family and the people of Bahrain.
I wish the kingdom a happy National Day and every success and prosperity.