A Night in Diraz
2017-03-20 - 6:15 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It is the weekend, the time when everyone looks for a breather to change their mood. Contrary to that, we are looking for a way out into a choked place, besieged day after day. This is our second attempt to overcome the more than eight-month long siege on Diraz. As the security deployment prevented us from reaching [the sit-in site] on the night of the [scheduled] last hearing in the trial of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, this time, our attempt almost failed had we not realized that there lies a risk whether yesterday, today, or the day after.
To reach our destination, a jump was inevitable; by means of which we would cross or fall. We jumped.
More than 10 minutes in, we had been walking into the depth of the village, or so we thought. We were looking for something to guide us in the middle of this darkness and silence. We finally found someone and asked him, "Where is the Sheikh's house?" He answered, "What Sheikh!" How would anyone not know which Sheikh we are talking about! He seemed apprehensive, in a way that he was apologizing for not giving us an answer. The harassments and threats probably succeeded in depriving the people of Diraz their sense of security. However, it certainly did not detract any of their insight or decency.
We thanked him anyway, and found our way to the (Square of Sacrifice); the sound of speakers filling us with a sense of belonging, pushing us to directly join the lines [of people]. A little boy passed by giving away pictures of Sheikh [Isa Qassim], along with the photos of the martyrs of this year. It was a few moments before the procession took off.
From alley to alley, the crowd marched; men chanted slogans, and women repeated after them. It did not seem complicated; someone would shout a slogan through speakerphones, and the crowd would repeat. A few young men held cameras and rushed to the front and back of the procession. It was a humble crowd, and the discipline demonstrated there was strict, at least, the photography scheme is organized in a way that does not show any of the participants' faces, so that they would not be exposed to danger.
Some slogans make you relive 6 years of your life; they are the same slogans that stormed across Manama. They remind you of the hope we lived back then, and tell you that no matter how things change, there will always be those who stick to that stance. Again, slogans mention Sheikh Isa Qassim, The speakerphone would voice the chanter saying, "He is part of the solution", and we would answer: "How could he leave?"
Halfway through the procession, our noses were filled with the smell of toxic teargas hurled into a nearby village. A child held by her father started to beat his shoulder. He put her down, and pulled a scarf from around his neck, and wrapped it around her mouth and nose. He held her hand, and continued to walk as she kept her pace beside him. Unlike the usual, the children did not cry or complain, they only stare around them in silence, as if they are learning how to demand their rights, to endure exhaustion, to be familiar with oppression and teargas, and to memorize a lesson, which they would teach their children in the future.
Another slogan is heard from the speakerphone: "The origin is Diraz", and chanters would reply "and not the passport". This is until the procession reached the Sheikh's house. We faced the Qibla (prayers direction), and read with the crowd the prayers to hasten the dispel of their grief. At the end they all pleaded, "Oh God Almighty, until the return of the Ka'em (Imam Mahdi (pbuh)) save [Sheikh] Qassim". We repeated it three times, and the crowd dispersed.
A few young men placed dinner on tables, so people would eat what would fulfill their hunger, and they sat in different sides. You cannot hear them but whisper, and cannot see them but stare from where they sat towards the sit-in site. There is a sense of awe imposing itself here. Is it that of the Sheikh? Or that of death? Or would it be that of courage and sacrifice? The jet's humming; however, deprived us from realizing the answer. It seemed the situation in the area is tense. Despite our desire to stay, yet the time came for us to leave this village that if you enter or meet its people, you are deemed a criminal.
We made our way back, the further we walked away from the sit-in site, the lonelier we felt. This time; however, the image of what we saw accompanied us. They are not maniacs running around themselves in circles chanting slogans with no one to hear? They are in fact chanting to remind themselves and to teach their children. We left them in that site, a people ready for sacrifice.
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