While in Bahrain we stayed in one of the furnished apartments hotels in Gudaibiya/Adliyya. All things considered, it was a pleasant stay ( thank you Mrs. Hassina, Mr.Singh, and brothers Khalid and Ali)
Our daily drive to town would invariably takes us past- the Gulf Hotel and the al-Fateh grand mosque. This is one of the few places in Manama that one can actually can enjoy an evening promenade. What is left from the seafront takes away much of the unpleasantness of driving through the unsafe highway.
Unfortunately our visit came in the tail of the grandiose, albeit controversial, celebrations of the official National Day. This meant that we were subjected to some of its leftovers.
For several kilometres the roads stretching from the grand mosque, past the Corniche , the Central Suq, the Seef , to Infinity, were littered with ugly billboards, eyesores.
Those hopelessly unaesthetic billboards featuring the royal trio, the king, the PM and the crown prince, were huge, ugly and irritating. And, they were too many.
I cannot help wondering who is the PR genius who convinced the three royals that billboards will make them loved? He/she must be a secret agent of the opposition who planted him to mislead the royal troika. And, apparently, he (or she?) has done a good job. For who would in his right mind would believe that he needs billboards to gain love or respect? The royal trio were really taken for an expensive ride. And counterproductive to boot.
One may consider other situations in other parts of the world to find answers to the question: who is in their right mind would think that billboards can generate love or respect? Answers are not attractive.
For here, one usually finds leaders who have totally lost touch with reality.
Saddam tried a lot of them,
so does Kim Jong-Il
and even Bush (in a away!)
One cannot argue with the right of people, royals or otherwise, to put their images on billboards, ugly or not. But do they have to erect thirty-plus billboards on one pavement of a 5km long street? Has no one mentioned to them what saturation point means.
I do not have any problem accommodating views of those who believe that billboards play an important role in our modern life. But what is modern about such eyesores as were lined throughout Bahrain? What is ‘modern’ about having the image of three Big Brothers watching you from above?
Many would consider billboard as a necessary tool for advertisers specially when one considers the constraining characteristic of marketing in an underdeveloped country such as Bahrain. But what was that the royal trio wanted to market? Love us? Fear us?
No one would argue with the fact that billboards are part of the urban landscape. Mysteriously, the billboard has placed itself in our minds as the must-have add-ons to ‘modern’ towns. But do modernising and urbanising the towns of the kingdom of Bahrain require erecting additional traffic hazards?
Before we left Bahrain I managed to have few photos of those urban eyesores.
I chose the billboards in which HM is attired in his admiral uniform. I simply love it. After all these years I have finally become a true patriot. Unlike Robert Fisk who does not like our king in his admiral attire. But that is Mr. Fisk's problem.
in case any one wondered what they do at the Bahrain Research Center