LETTER : Why not Bahrain?

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From Mr H V Mapp

Sir: Omar Al-Hassan (letter, 26 February) argues, in reply to Robert Fisk's Gulf reports, that parliamentary democracy is not suitable for Bahrain and its neighbours. In fact, Bahrain had limited democracy half a century ago when elected Arabs and non-Arabs, Muslims and non-Muslims shared local government power with appointed councillors. The amir dissolved the 1973-75 elected national assembly for refusing to pass a law (now in force) permitting imprisonment without trial and, at the same time, axed the state's constitution.

Public indifference at that time has since changed dramatically. Rapid population expansion, especially of the young, has contributed to economic and employment problems. Education has produced a class of professionals and intellectuals, male and female.

Whether in Bahrain, or forced to live abroad as exiles, they are well aware of the changing ways of the world, of the march towards democratic forms of government. Not unnaturally, they ask - why not in Bahrain?

Yours faithfully,

H V Mapp

Southend, Essex