I live in Hidd as I may have mentioned a time or two...that in itself is enough to give you some sleepless nights...some tightly wound individuals living throughout the alleys and by ways of this little town. Whatever faults I may find with it pales in comparison to the latest addition to my neighborhood...well actually two additions...one awhile back and one more recently. The two additions are not more than 10 steps from my door and their proximity to my house is now my number one concern...and is the cause for some more sleepless nights.
I might mention first that something I notice that occurs like clockwork in this neighborhood are the dozens of little shops that dot the streets...some of them are fairly fixed in what they offer but others seem to be confused about exactly what they have for sale or their actual purpose in life...and so go through quite a few changes until finally settling down to real business. Some of these shops never seem to find a purpose and are constantly going through changes...at one moment a laundry...then a few months later its all cleaned out and a phone shop in its place...only to be cleared out again and its filled with vegetables which spill out into the street. Its actually an interesting process which keeps one guessing as to what the next Big Idea might be and if it will benefit the neighborhood in anyway.
Now back to the two new additions...right across from my house...one such shop has gone through a myriad of changes until apparently finding its true calling...at last! When it first went through the process of tearing down the old and setting up the new...it gathered quite a crowd when games and a billards table were brought by a lorry and dumped right in the street awaiting its owner...who came running just in time to save them from possible destruction at the hands of inquisitive neighborhood kids. The kids were delighted...whooping and shouting at the new Taslyah, or Games Room. that was being opened right under their noses. No need trekking to Muharraq or Magic Island when you could spend your change on a few local games. So all looked good...in the beginning. A few months later and it has changed once again...from a Games Room that was full of boys ranging from the very young to teens(or maybe older...who can tell)...into a HangOut for older boys...not only have they taken over the place they have introduced a new game apparently....huffing! For those that dont know...huffing is when you inhale chemical smells such as glue...paint etc...anything that gives you a feeling of being high. Most of these boys can be seen with kleenex or pieces of cloth forever gripped in their hands and constant "huffs" are taken. To describe these boys as walking zombies hardly paints and accurate picture. If that werent bad enough...some of these boys sit outside on the steps that are practically in the street and pester passerbys...cars...and little kids. I recently witnessed a large boy grab a small boy and try to force him to huff on the kleenex jammed to his nose. My friend shouted at him to stop and we called the little boys father to rescue him. A lot of shouting...but no real action taken.
Its an outrage when these boys do not even try and hide what they are doing...anyone can see them...and everyone does...and nobody is doing a thing about it. No complaints to the police...no lectures from the minbar on Friday...no action taken at all. Presumably these boys are someones sons...yes? Where are their parents then...is this the life these parents dreamed about for their boys? Have they given up all hope and just pray it will go away...or do they hope the boys themselves will eventually go away and take the burden of "raising" a drug addict off their shoulders? Huffing is a deadly addictive habit...will one of these boys have to die before parents...citizens...local authority, steps in to stamp it out and treat these boys for their addictions? Its only a matter of time...and I know what the outcome will be...if a death occurs...momentary outrage...a closing down of the Games Room...and all the other addicts will fade into the alleys and go huff somewhere else...but they wont stop....without help.
The other addition, which I find extremely awful as well, is a tobacco shop...right across from my house. Considering Hidd is quite conservative...Im surprised the darn thing is there at all...the more conservative Muslims view smoking as haram. Not only is it a disgrace and an eyesore...the boys next door include it now in their "territory" and so more boys gather and roost like ravens all along the steps. Cat calls and horseplay...and the occassional honking from an irate...or possibly scared, motorist ...who narrowly missed hitting one of the rough housing boys...I fear its only a matter of time here as well...until one of these boys are hit by a car...and then more outrage and I hope to God the motorist in not a Hindi or someone non Bahraini cause he will be dragged from his car and beaten no doubt...so much anger and outrage that a "child" was run over...and yet no outrage for lives that are being lost to this addictive sometimes fatal past time.
I hope someone opens their eyes soon and takes action against this disaster waiting to happen. These boys need someone to show concern for them..they need guidance and treatment...what happen to the "good old days" in Bahrain when neighbors had genuine concern for each other and never hesitated to take action when it was needed? I miss those days...I hope they come back.
btw in case anyone wonders...I have complained several times to many different people here in Hidd...nobody wants to know...is not "their" problem...I just hope none of their kids get taken in by the new game being played in the Games Room.