For over six years, Bahrain has lived in ambiguity due to events that were difficult to forecast and monitor the consequences of. But the siege on Diraz, which began a year ago, has been the country's most mysterious since the Pearl Revolution began on February 14, 2011. The siege opened the doors towards the prospect of everything happening.
Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim [born in 1941] was known in various stages of his life as the strange "cocktail" mix of qualities. There is no weakness in his ambiguity - his inability to grasp a sentimental moment, or just a desire to seek places of excitement. It is the nature of the man who combines the two kinds of humility - a lot of it or at times confusing humility - together with the charming and fast ability to turn scales.
Sheikh Qassim built the state and participated in the drafting of its first constitution after independence. But he did not engage in direct political dealings. His passion was more in the religious sector and the making of the "religious generation" which would have the special care of the sheikh, who was described by the late Sayed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah as the "jurisprudent". Such care will make the attraction of Sheikh Abu Sami - as his followers prefer to call Sheikh Qassim - soar to the limits of social appeal. With an abundance of admiration and loyalty accumulated in the 1980s, and as the 1990s generation was gradually being molded, he became a religious authority after 2001.
During that year, the Sheikh's speech became the "speech of truth" and his own council was transformed into the "final laboratory" for all the acts of politics and many of its statements. The Sheikh undermined many of the traditions of the religious pulpit, at first.
But after returning to the country in 2001, he redeveloped those traditions and reconsidered the effectiveness of the religious platform in the face of the new impulses of new ideas. This provoked heated debates and a sullen withdrawal among followers, especially with the range of people and Mujtahidin interpreting the sheikh's speeches.
There was mystery in the Sheikh's parental care for all, but he did not hold back in dispelling the same mystery when it comes to defending religion and faith. He does not know how to remain in the gray.
In spite of the heated fallout from this performance, Sheikh Qassim's authority continued to rise and ascend, and his speech gave inspiration and general consideration to his methodical choice, which was based on three competing characteristics: religious intensification, political maneuvering, and ideological differentiation. But just for a while.
Following the February 14 revolution, Sheikh Qassim took on an exceptional role. He was the undisputed axis, but not a personal centric, or aspiring to be in the spotlight and dictate orders to followers. At this stage, he began to address his "natural" ambiguity with full clarity in the alignment to the "revolution" and its demands. The Friday podium where he gives his sermon at the Imam al-Sadiq Mosque in Daraz produced a special linguistic dictionary to demonstrate the strict opposition to the government's repression and to condemn attacks on lives, sanctities and rituals. The Sheikh sometimes came out from the calmness he was known for, leaving his spontaneous anger to shake the mosque and the opposition arenas.
After that, the regime began to plot an attack against the Sheikh. The man whose forehead was once kissed by the king of Bahrain became a target of the worst descriptions and accusations of the Khalifa ministers. The incitement, which began in 2011, turned into a list of charges, culminating in the June 2016 indictment against the cleric.
Al-Khalifa's resentment of Sheikh Qassim is not without reason, or the result of a vacuum. The regime expected the Sheikh to take a special position similar to the "circle of ambiguity between vagueness and clarity", which he was known for during the many significant and sensitive stages that the country went through. However, the Sheikh went far in advocating for the "revolution", and displayed his political and religious project, which ran opposite to the regime. Instead he expressed his views that were compatible with the political demands of the opposition. The sheikh asserted the independence of the religious platform from official hegemony, which angered the ruling family.
He was never known to have been implicated in the gatherings of the "princes and the sheikhs" to be forced to pay back, or offer blind loyalty under the threat of extortion. They had nothing on him, and he had none from them. Therefore, despite the regime's ugliness and darkness, the Sheikh went a step further, giving the popular movement "legitimacy" and not just a cover. This ran parallel with the regime's attempt to cut off the supply of the religious establishment from the opposition movement. But to no avail. This prompted the regime to accelerate the plan and go to the source, which pumps support and protection to the opposition and refuses to sit on the "tables of harmony". Thus, the attack on Sheikh Qassim took place last June as well as the revocation of his citizenship which was included in the "declared war" package that extended to the "Imam Sadiq Mosque", the prevention of the performance of "Friday prayer", the imposition of a military siege on Diraz, and not ending with the bloody attack launched on Tuesday.
In his ambiguity, as in his absence and presence, Sheikh Qasim opens this island to all a world of possibilities. The troops were defeated in front of the Diraz sit-in. But they tried more than once to enter the house. This time the incursion enjoyed American cover and followed the example of Al Saud. The forces have flooded the village's streets with blood. But the plan is not yet clear. The Saudi and American allies are still running the show and their objective was: "To force the regime to retreat, to take shelter, to wait for the new operational order" or "to reach the end of the road and swallow the poison of mass suicide". It was always likely that this was going to be a struggle between advancing and refraining. The battle that Sheikh Qassim is aware of is meant to "drain all possibilities, and freeze them at the same time". In such a case, the best way is to turn the table upside down and from the angle that the regime and its backers from the outside do not expect. But Sheikh Qassim, known for his keen sense toward "blood" spilt, knows that it is fraught with a list of dangers and challenges. The sheikh is the only one - now confronted with a mysterious and unknown fate - calculating the pros and cons. He is the one who is meant and able to do so. So that is why they came for him, with all their terrible murder, and to his humble home.
Al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by website team