Opposition and loyalist political groupings are currently setting out their political visions in response to the Crown Prince’s initiative for restarting the National Dialogue.

This is the perfect opportunity for us all to better understand each other’s viewpoint and to work towards a compromise formula for establishing a unified vision for the future of Bahrain.

The opposition is also planning a whole new round of protests and riots to coincide with the 14 February third anniversary of the Bahrain unrest.

We say very clearly: For groups like Al-Wefaq Islamic Society to call for further demonstrations at this moment would be a mistake for their own interests; and a mistake for Bahrain’s national interests.

Al-Wefaq do not need to take to the streets in large numbers to make themselves heard. They have been doing this for three years and furthermore they are also setting out on paper their political vision to be submitted to the Royal Court and the Crown Prince.

On the contrary, mass protests will inevitably increase tensions and create a very difficult atmosphere for starting the Dialogue.

Many political groupings which are supportive towards the Government have also responded negatively about prospects for further Dialogue. Several prominent voices have been actively opposing the Dialogue; arguing that Al-Wefaq should not be taken seriously while it is seen to be supporting street activism, rioting and terrorism.

Indeed, last year Al-Wefaq’s promotion of several days of protests and the inevitably resulting violence, led to several parties temporarily pulling out of the Dialogue process,

Bahrain is a small island and sooner or later we will have to rediscover a way of living together. By continued agitation Al-Wefaq is actually weakening their own position by making important social and political constituencies believe that they are not a serious and credible partner for talks.

By Al-Wefaq officials travelling to conferences around the world to spread lies about “apartheid”, “genocide”, “oppression” and “dictatorship” to naïve audiences who know little about the real situation in Bahrain; they should recognize the extent to which they are damaging their own country. The opposition have to stop behaving like partisan revolutionaries and recognize that they are a part of Bahrain. If they want to return to Parliament, this would be as the representatives of the Bahraini nation working for the good of that nation – not sabotaging its reputation and ruining its international profile.

We know that leading members of Al-Wefaq have issued statements rejecting violence in a very general sense; but they have remained silent after numerous terrorist bombings have been perpetrated, including outside a Mosque and crowded public centres.

Al-Wefaq have likewise remained silent when shippings of weapons and explosives have been impounded on Bahrain’s shores. People who died while handling their own explosives, and a youth shot while trying to attack the police while cracking down against weapons smuggling have been termed “martyrs” by the opposition, and their funerals have been occasions for further rioting and incitement against the state.

When Al-Wefaq is seen to condone or commemorate those who have sought to attack Bahraini citizens; it is not surprising that so many Bahrainis are skeptical about Al-Wefaq’s seriousness about Dialogue.

Al-Wefaq cannot only cater to their own political and sectarian constituency if they want to put our national Bahraini interests and identity first.

We know that you can call your supporters out on the streets on 14 February if you really want to, so doing so proves nothing. Far better for you to prove to all of Bahrain that you are committed to Dialogue, committed to reconciliation and committed to national unity.

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