What does this word really mean?
Responsible people like me, and I presume you, realise that our freedom is limited and bonded by a complex set of rules and regulations, values and principles, teachings, religious doctrines and dos and don'ts which together make us who we are.
If we were living in a vacuum, then freedom would be limitless.
The fact that we are in a society, shackled with age-old traditions and customs, makes our freedom really worthless because whatever we do should be socially acceptable and politically correct.
Those traditions and customs are mostly pre-Islamic or influenced by pre-Islamic values and concerns. I am not in a position to comment on this right now, because I don’t want add insult to injury and drag theoretical Islam into arguments which are more destructive than they are constructive at this age of relative "freedom".
Every time a sane person (which I presume I am) in Bahrain comments on Islam, he is straightaway attacked as being "unIslamic" or even "unGodly"!!
I will leave that to God to be a judge on and not to a bunch of mountain goats, who are more at home shepherding their herds in the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) but have made themselves judge and jury on what is Islamic and what is correct and what isn’t!
However, this is not the issue today.
We are in a predicament and given the different variables and factors which limit what we can do and say in a so-called democratic society, I feel that we should be pragmatic, face reality and act with tact for a change.
The reality of the situation as I read it at present is as follows:
With the introduction of formal education for women in Bahrain with the opening of the first government school in 1928, women have come a long way.
To the horror of some men and even women, Bahraini women have left their mark on society, made the most of education, have successfully managed to create a balance between their family lives and careers, are driving cars and studying abroad and also have a say on whom to marry and whom to turn down.
In traditional families and societies, all the girls should be covered and girls who choose not to are shunned and even sometimes banished.
In liberal and moderate families, the girls have a choice. Those who want to wear the Hijab can do so and those who don’t are not forced to.
Go to any coffee shop or restaurant in Bahrain and you will see the two sitting together over a cup of coffee talking about guys, the latest make-up and who drives the shiniest car in the kingdom.
Today, many decades later, Al Asala and Al Wefaq have joined hands to ensure that we go back to square one - to the pre-girls-education-era, to be more precise.
Who is to gain the most from this movement? Why is it allowed considering that we are not free to do what we want and say what we want? And last but not least, why are working educated women such a threat to men and other women?