A statement in response to President Obama’s speech at UNGA

September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yesterday, as I listened to President Obama deliver his speech at the 68th session of the General Assembly, I was disappointed to hear him compare the situation in Bahrain to that of the current situation in Iraq and the unfolding tragedies in Syria. Notwithstanding the efforts of some groups to reframe what is at the core a political debate, Bahrain’s government has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to resolve differences within its society peacefully through dialogue and without preconditions. The president’s statement does not reflect Bahrain’s well known history as a progressive outpost in the Middle East and the progress we have made in responding to the events of February and March 2011.

Over its history, Bahrain has provided unparalleled opportunities to its citizens regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion. This is not a well-worn public relations cliché, but the reality that thousands of Bahrainis live every day. In no other county in the Middle East is my story – that of a Jewish woman who rose on her merits to the highest levels of civil society – even possible. I have the privilege of serving my country precisely because Bahrain is a place where hard work and ingenuity provide an equality of opportunity.

At the same time, Bahrain’s program of reform is not complete and we remain committed to making Bahrain a better place for all its citizens. I serve with a number of outstanding public servants committed to this noble goal, and we should not allow a violent, vocal minority to reverse the social, economic and political progress we have made thus far under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

As a country, we are committed to moving forward. Making such a false equivalence only serves to obfuscate this important work.

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