It seems that skepticism and being suspicious is firmly engrained nowadays in Bahraini society. I'm not sure why though.
No one really believes what the other side says. Everyone always thinks that whatever anyone says, never take it at face value, and that there must always be an ulterior motive. Of course politicians everywhere in the world have to couch their statements in certain politically correct "phrases", and thus the public views them with a bit of skpepticism, but in Bahrain, we do have an amazing extreme. Whatever the government says or does, it cannot be for the obvious or the stated reason. There must be another motive lurking furhter behind. Similarly, whatever the Shia opposition says, it cannot be the prime reason, but it is a cover for a hidden agenda.
For example, when the King sacked the interior minister, most people felt extremely suspicious. "This was done to save face, or to calm the situation down. It wasn't an issue of right and wrong." Or "The guy was old anyway. He was going to be taken off in the next ministerial shuffle anyhow." With the Shia opposition, whatever they say, it must be to further some kind of Islamic thuggish agenda. Whatever they propose, be it constitutional changes or end to discrimination in jobs, it must be somehow connected to them wanting to attack a couple of other French restaurants or to blow a salander (a gas cylinder). It cannot be because it is right.
These are just two examples in Politics, and the list can continue. Leftist opposition want to turn us into some sort of aethiest, blasphemist marxist country. Sunni Islamists want nothing but to lock our daughters up and bring Taliban in, etc.
I'm not sure how this skepticism and suspiciousness developed. One of the reasons is definitely institutional. People have been used to for the past thirty years watching or reading the state news and articles, and having to decipher the hidden missage. The stuff written was so pathetic, one sided and propagandist that no one can take it at face value. Naturally no one believed anything written, and people had to develop the amazing skill of reading between the lines.
One other reason might be societal. People, from the early teens, seem to get used to "hiding" stuff from their parents, family, teachers, etc. When you smoke your first cigarette, there's no way you'd tell anyone. When you go out with a girl, no one has to know either. If you ever try drinking, that's definitely a big no no. So people become experts at hiding things and telling "white lies" to hide them. However, the people on the other side, the people being lied to, also become experts in detecting lies. Thus, you have to always look for alterior motives. "If he says A, then A can't be true... but what does A imply?? What is B?" Thus, we develop an expertise in bending or hiding the truth, and also and expertise detecting bent or hidden truth.
This naturally needs to skepticism and suspiciousness all around. It might even occur between friends. If a friend for some reason doesn't show up to the yam3eh (the gathering) and you ask him where were you? He might reply, "Ha? Kan 3endy shaghlah." (I had something to attend to.) You can't help then but be a bit curious and suspicious of what he did.
I also think one of the reasons is that (I mentioned this in a previous post) people would have a preformed opinion, and they would not deviate from it. In fact they would only look for reasons and evidence that supports this opinion, and disregard everything else. People who disagree with the government would look for any example that supports the government being bad, corrupt, etc. and would disregard any examples that might support a good deed done by the government. Similarly, you might have some Sunni people who are suspicious of the Shia. Thus, any example that shows the Shia were acting suspiciously would be read with great attention, while anything else would be disregarded. The same applies to some people in the Shia community, where they'd disregard any Sunni with a balanced viewpoint and would only refer to examples of Sunnis oppressing them. This continues on. Each side finds biased examples that feeds his viewpoint, and disregards the rest. Thus, we end up with two polarized group that think that the opposite group is the devil. Whatever one group says, it is not believed by the other, and each group looks for alterior motives or conspiracy theories to explain these outward statements of the other groups.Just look at the latest demonstrations. One camp said that this is just another example of the Shia being rowdy. The other camp said this is another example of the government oppressing us.
This cycle of suspciousness continues upwards, and reahces the highest institutions. When someone of importance (whether in government or political parties) makes a statement, it almost is never believed. People start looking for hint words and allusions to decipher the message.
Maybe times have changed. Maybe people have actually started making statements that do somehow convey their true motives just a bit more accurately. The harder part will be to make people actually believe these statements. The mentality that arised from years and years of being accustomed to falsehoods and false propaganda needs time to change.
Maybe it's about time each person started stating what he truly believes, and maybe it's about time we started believing what people say.It's good to be skeptical, but it's good to give the other side a chance as well.