I doubt there is much else anyone in Bahrain is talking about.
(For those outside of Bahrain, a total electricity blackout covered the whole of the island yesterday, resulting in the loss of electricity everywhere from 8:00 in the morning to about 7:00 in the evening, with even longer periods depending on the area you're in.)
Thank god I was already up when the electricity went out. I can tolerate just about anything, even torture, as long as no one disturbs me while sleeping. If those guys had woken me up before I get up on my own (especially if I had slept at like 4 in the morning), heads would have definitely rolled.
Anyway, what did most people do during the blackout? I just went from place to place in the car with friends, and ate an unbelievable crappy meal at Al Safir Restaurant in Sheraton (BD 9.9 +++ for the worst buffet I've ever had, and since when do you pay 15% service charge on a buffet??) Anyway, if anyone has any interesting stories about the blackout, please do share.
Not surprisingly, people are calling for heads to roll. Unsprisingly again, the blood call is for the head of the minster of water and electrticity. Although I am in no way trying to defend him, I don't think this is mainly his fault. Ask anyone in the know about that ministry, and they'd tell you the main cause of the fault is simple and has been known for a long time: the rediculously underqualified, ill-trained, and worthless workers he has under him (who have been there long before he arrived, and of course, since they work in the public sector, cannot be fired.
The total blackout may have come as a suprise to a lot of people (including me), but apparently experts have been warning about this for a long time, and precisely because of the illqualified and sometimes even corrupt personnel we have working in the ministry of electricity. For example, Saeed Al Asboul, a former president of the Bahrain society of Engineers, has been warning about such an even for some time. He has sent many letters, including one to the king two years ago, warning of the devastating consequences of the poor manpower (managerial as well as technical) that we have in that ministry, and of the perilous consequences it may have on the country, and he even explicitly states in the letter that there is a real danger of this reaching the stage of a total blackout on all the country. Other people have sent many other letters including to MPs (who'll probably now play the role of the champions of the people in the next few days).
Do you think people with authority listened?
I mean, come on, any alert and decent superviser knows that there are precautions a person has to take to prevent a total blackout occuring like it did. If one station overloads and shuts down, you don't allow the excessive load to travel immediately to the other stations, or they will shut down as well! You practice the containment of electricity, where you shut down the power on some areas of the country and you allow others to receive it. I mean, I'm not in anyway an expert for the subject, but I do know for a fact that there are procedures to deal with such events!
Anyway, as usual in Bahrain, we need a dramatic event, one where business activity and millions of dinars are lost on a grand scale, coupled with the serious possibility of some death cases, to be triggered into action. Taking precautions to prevent something occuring before it wrecks the country? Hah. No chance. We still stick to the mentality of it's not a real danger until it happens. The same story could be repeated about the imminent danger of our water supplies being seriously depleted in Bahrain, or the fast approaching crises about natural gas, which generate electricity in Bahrain, finishing (due to us pumping it into that ever wastful factory called Alba, which by the way might be the main cause of the blackout) and having to import it from Qatar. Nope. We'll deal with these crises when they hit us smack in the face.
Even more, one might wish that the authorities might head from this crises and reform the inept workers in the electricity ministry. I hope that this will happen, but this also might be daydreaming. Firing a hoard of inept government employees is not very popular nowadays, and that's probably the last thing a government would do in such a crises. The more likely turn of events if for the minister to be fired, while the people under him (the real cause of the problem) will stay. This might be done through a parliamentary enquiry or something, and the MPs will start boasting that they have achieved something big. People across the country might rejoice, thinking that their democracy is working amazingly, while the real cause of the problem remains.