A person may view the map of the world and not notice the existence of Bahrain due to its small geographical area. Some of you may get stressed as you explain to an American or Australian friend about Bahrain, that it’s a modern country with ancient roots governed by a Constitution that has an enlightened monarchy and wise leaders.
Nevertheless, Bahrain is one of the countries that fascinates everyone with its charm and the kindness of its people.
I know many Americans and British friends who came to Bahrain on diplomatic missions or to work for a temporary period, but gradually fell in love with Bahrain and decided to spend the rest of their lives here. Some of them died and were buried here. I even know someone whose company asked him to move to work for a branch outside Bahrain, so he resigned and was satisfied with working for a lower salary in another company just to stay in Bahrain.
We are blessed to live in Bahrain. And, with the exception of some Gulf and Scandinavian countries, we see that the world around us is experiencing misery in varying degrees. There is the misery of wars and conflicts, and in many places, perhaps the impossibility of managing even one’s basic daily needs of food, medicine, and education. I am talking here about the rest of the 195 countries included in the UN.
Some or many of the inhabitants of those countries suffer even in managing their daily livelihood. The poverty reports issued by the UN are evidence of that, even in the US we saw, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the spread of what they called “food banks”, where millions of Americans queued in lines for a meal. This was seen all over the states.
On the other hand, anyone in Bahrain, even if he is a poor foreign resident, can get a nutritious meal for only 200 fils. Even if he does not have these 200 fils, he can go to any charity organisation or any charity owner or go directly to a restaurant that sells cooked rice and the owner of the restaurant will be happy to fill him a whole bowl of biryani or mandi, and perhaps add a piece of chicken as well, all for free.
During the corona pandemic, the people of Bahrain showed their true colours when everyone rushed to defend the cause of public health and confront this dreaded virus. We witnessed, for example, how the national platform for volunteering attracted, within a few hours, more than 30,000 volunteers of different ages and groups.
The honourable Al Khalifa, the rulers of Bahrain, had the foresight to anticipate the future, and encourage an open, inclusive and civilised Bahraini society. This placed Bahrain at the forefront of countries in the region, in the matter of progress and development in diverse fields. This openness was, in the past, often the subject of criticism and sometimes complaints from brothers and neighbours. But after they saw how successful this model was, we saw them follow the same approach.
Sometimes some problems and challenges may arise on the surface, but when we run into difficulties, we find that all Bahrainis are in their hearts guided by their leadership. They are driven, by the love of their homeland, to defend its security and stability. This is especially true when we see the countries around us collapsing under the weight of what has been falsely called the Arab Spring, democracy, and human rights.
I believe that we have a great responsibility in preserving these blessings and above all, we must focus on the security and stability of our homeland. These are the basic pillars of decent living, especially since we see countries that are floating on a sea of oil, like Iraq and Venezuela, but their people suffer poverty, hunger, and disease.
When another country that I love, the UAE, created a ministry of happiness, I said to myself: Why don’t we have such a ministry in Bahrain? Today, however, I realise that we live here in what I would call “the happiness of Bahrain”. It’s a special kind of happiness, because we are fully aware of how keen our leadership and our government are to overcome any challenge before us and that Bahrain will always be fine and in good hands, God willing.