What Happens In Bahrain ... Angers Allah
Bahrain is among the few places in the Middle East -- Israel being the main exception -- where they don't live under the puritanical Sharia law. Well, looks like the parties ain't gonna rock like they used to, according to the Wall Street Journal:
With few other attractions, Bahrain's booming tourism industry thrives on the island's reputation as a freewheeling oasis just a short drive from major Saudi cities. Bahrain has little oil of its own; tourism, mostly by the four million Saudis who cross the causeway each year, accounts for a tenth of its economy.The article goes on to say that sheiks who run the country hope to turn it into a family-style resort destination. I dunno if that'll help. Seriously, if there is one place where people really, really need to blow off some steam with a few stiff vodka tonics rather than blowing the holy fuck outta things it is the Middle East. I mean, you never saw Dean Martin strap on a dynamite belt, did you?
All of this is endangered, as Bahraini legislators press to scrap the country's drinking laws -- currently the most liberal in the Persian Gulf -- and to impose near-total prohibition.
"I'm sorry to say, but Bahrain has become the brothel of the Gulf, and our people are very upset about it," says parliamentarian Adel Maawdah, one of the promoters of the new legislation. "It's not only the drinking that we oppose, but also what it drags with it: prostitution, corruption, drugs and people-trafficking."
The Parliament's elected lower chamber unanimously approved a motion last month to prohibit alcohol in hotels, restaurants, duty-free shops and aboard Gulf Air, the national airline. Lawmakers acted amid outrage over a widely circulated men's Web-site article placing Bahraini capital Manama in the world's "top 10 cities to pursue vice and debauchery."
Bonus Borat-of-Arabia quote:
"Do you think the tourists come here to Bahrain to see my face? There are tourist places in Saudi Arabia that are one hundred times better than in Bahrain," exclaimed Ahmed Sanad, president of the Bahraini Society of Hotel and Restaurant Owners. "They only come here to drink, and to have happy time with a Chinese or Thai girl."The pic is from a Newsweek story about booze in Iraq. Yay freedom.