Abbas Busafwan (A writer and researcher from Bahrain)
We can say a lot about the appointment of Mrs. Sameera Rajab, the Minister of State for Media Affairs, however, the first thing that came onto my mind is that this royal decree relieves the world of the lies and fabrications of this lady, and confirms the absence of wisdom by the decision makers at the royal palace.
How? I will try to shed some light and clarify the matter in short.
Mrs. Sameera became like a professional “liar” over the past ten years – the age of the political dictatorship ‘project’ of King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa – and has reached a detestation level of deceit for fourteen months, which is the age of the revolution in Bahrain that erupted in February 14, 2011.
Over the time, she rudely boasted by saying: “I am a citizen, a Shiite, liberal and I do not represent the government!” The government deceitfully continues its big lie that Mrs. Sameera is a writer who only expresses her own opinion and not the opinion of the regime; as she is a member of the Shura Council (all members are appointed by the King) which represents the people! As stipulated in the Constitution of 2002, and thus does not represent the opinion of the ruling family. It is worth mentioning, however, that the husband of Sameera is from Al-Khalifa royal family.
The government always argues that audacities broadcast on TV channels that attack the opposition do not reflect the official policy, claiming those channels are not all Bahraini!
Mrs. Sameera Rajab has presented herself as a representative of the current broad public, from the Shiite and Sunni, that prefers in the survival of authoritarian rule, as a better option than going towards a democratic mandate yet with a religious rule similar to the regime in Iran! She also continued presenting herself with an independent view as opposed the government’s view. The informal role allowed her to go far in narrating false stories which were discredited by human rights reports and the famous report prepared by Mr. Bassiouni. Yet, she kept fabricating events until believing herself, while everybody around knows she is a liar!
After King Hamad appointed her as a Minister of State for Media Affairs, over and above, as an official spokeswoman for his government, the King practically has muted her "independent" and "popular" voice, and it is extremely difficult now, if not impossible, for Mrs. Sameera to pretend that she is representing her own opinion and not the government.
Now she has become a minister, and a spokeswoman for the government, she will – of course - continue to lie, but may be difficult to tell a lie as before, and it may be difficult for her not to be tactful, to talk angrily without facts, or to scream as she brazenly used to do.
It is true that it is difficult for Mrs. Sameera to be honest, but it is also true that it is difficult to “re-market” her, and even if she tries will not succeed. That is enough for the opponents to laugh on such appointment, which is difficult to be justified and/or to easily understand its causes.
What is obvious is that the King has totally failed, of course not for the first time, by this appointment. Because Mrs. Sameera is in the eyes of the media sector "lies as she breathes," as described by Fouad Al-Hashem, a Kuwaiti writer. Appointing a liar to be a Minister of Media Affairs tarnishes any credibility, if it still has any, of the regime.
This appointment may be a transient and harmless (possibly a foregone conclusion) by a government that faces many international criticisms a day. However, the problem is that the government needs to prove its claims to reform, and it is thus extremely difficult to present Mrs. Sameera as a reformer, even to the pro-government, who was stunned of her appointment as a Minister. A one commented by saying “has the king gone insane?!"
Politically, the appointment of Mrs. Sameera as the Minister gives indications of the process which clearly lacks any wisdom and reflects absence of the ability to manage the crisis, and most importantly affirms that King Hamad is unlikely to be aware of the damage he does to himself and to the royal family.