The late Sheikh Abdulamir Al Jamri (1938-2006) stood out among the pioneers of reconciliation and tolerance in Bahrain, as he represented a religious symbol with a history of strife, hardship, and bias towards the choice of the people . One may identify a person’s characteristics from his first milestones or turning points in life, though the most indicative may come from late in his in life. In the last years of Sheikh Al Jamri’s life, he was concerned with abolishing tension and the roots of disparity and hatred. On the domestic front, he led the reconciliation movement with the late Sheikh Sulaiman Al Madani, during which he ended the amassed hostility between two political movements entrenched in conflict and dissension in the 1990s. On the national front, however, he proved to be a bright light to guide people from the delusions of triumph and inherited monopolies .
Al Jamri was a committed to conciliation, within which his affection for others and charisma blossomed. Al Jamri never separated his symbolic and spiritual representation from his impassioned feelings towards these people . They would travel from far to his open arms in search of compassion, overwhelming him with joy. He would be distraught in tears when they are faced with adversity or when distance came between them. He did not regard this yearning as a vice not worthy of leaders. As such, he would convey his feelings, which echoed in the hearts of people who reciprocated his longing. He attended the funerals of martyrs and etched patience and hope onto the hearts of victims. His empathy to people’s suffering stems from the need to save them through the light and rid them from the dark. He never regretted his work, nordid he preoccupy himself with the blind rhetoric of mobilization. He wanted their campaigns to bear fruit and blossom, no matter the present cost and agony suffered.
Prison shackles, a sham trial, moral assassination and house arrest failed to instigate feelings of dark revenge within him and failed to frighten him into abandoning reform. Al Jamri was a well-known orator in gatherings and events, as his words were free from whimsical speculation and hypothetical rhetoric of superiority. A true reformer is driven by action and ruled by reality. His reformative standard was never that of bellowing and momentary provocation. In this leader’s view, gain is found from good deeds and useful action. He cannot enter the minds and hearts of people unless they are represented with delicate humility and are free from affectation and pretentious protocols.
Al Jamri was an exemplary model in all that he represented. He led reconciliation efforts with the government, paved the path to dialogue with the noble Sunni sect, and fought the concept of hatred with people of different ideologies. He invited Sheikh Al Madani with the rest of the Shiite leaders to his home and insisted on turning over a new leaf on a conflict caused by sedition. His open arms extended to nationalist activists and Al-Islah Association, as he established a strong rapport with Sheikh Isa bin Mohammed Al Khalifa. During that meeting, in March 2001, Al-Jamri laid the basis for balance between the path of reform among the people and the path of reconciliation with the government. He underlined “unity and dialogue, as well as bridging the illusive gap that separates brothers.” He believed in attaining such goals peacefully, as it is “the most successful way to reach the goals set, even if solutions were delayed.”
The bitter conflict that arose from “delayed solutions”, should not justify the eradication of progress, elimination of logic, and the plunge into chaos. Al-Jamri praised this thought, as he believed “no one has the right to monopolize the truth” and that it is rather everyone’s right to be diligent in saving the nation, each in his own way. Reform and reconciliation, according to Al Jamri, is only achieved by “announcing programs and action plans publicly, which would allow others to voice their opposition and criticism with full freedom, without marginalization and exclusion of any party.” Reconciliation cannot be attained without disclosure, and reform without transparency.”
Al Jamri was the Sheikh of reform, a symbol of dialogue and a noble expression of dignity and reconciliation. Such was the case yesterday, when he stood amongst the people, and remains more so today, as he has passed to the heavens.