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Oct.29, 2014 | INTERNATIONAL

Elections in Bahrain: Flight of Democratic Fancy

Ladies & gentlemen, my name is Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and I'm your chief election attendant. On behalf of Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the King of Bahrain, and the entire ruling elite, I welcome you aboard Bahrain's quadrennial flight of democratic fancy.


Please note that the King of Bahrain has turned on the time-of-elections sign. If you haven't already done so, stow any anti-governmental material inside the nearest garbage bin or furnace. Please, make sure your political affiliations are on the government's side and your pre-printed ballot is correctly marked.


As of this moment, we request that any activity critical to the King, his government or the electoral process be turned off for the full duration of the electoral period as it might interfere with the desired electoral outcome.  We will notify you when, if ever, it is safe to turn them on.


At this time, we remind you that this is a non-oppositional election. Opposition groups are to be suspended for the full duration of the election period. Opposition is restricted in the entire country, including the internet. Posting, tweeting or commenting negatively about the King or his government will be picked up by our censors and offenders will be prosecuted.


Ladies & gentlemen, I'd like to now direct your attention to your television, monitors or tablets. We will be showing our voting demonstration video and would like the next few weeks of your complete attention. When the voting sign illuminates, you must mark your pre-printed ballot as per the accompanying instructions, proceed to your allocated polling station and cast your vote in the boxes provided. We suggest that you keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself as you might otherwise experience turbulence.


There are no emergency exits from this process except arrest and subsequent imprisonment. Please take a few moments to think about that.


Communications are always being monitored. In an event of dissemination of inflammatory information communicating gags will automatically appear in front of you. Place firmly the gag over your mouth, secure the restraints around your hands and breath normally. If there are other people living at your household, please secure your gag on first before assisting someone else. In case you are unable to follow these instructions a government representative will be there to facilitate the process.


In the event of an emergency, please assume the bracing position. (Clear away from any protest, demonstration or other kind of public gathering, return immediately home and stay there with your hands away from any internet connected device.) A snitching pre-paid mobile phone is located under your bed or between the tea bags in the kitchen. Switch it on, press the call button to dial the dedicated snitching line and report any suspect person or activity. Use the Taser function of the phone to knock out anyone who wished to obstruct your snitching efforts.


In a few days, government officials will be passing by your place of work and/or home to offer you pro-ruling-class promotional material (pamphlets, pins, banners and t-shirts), as well as vouchers to spend at government-sponsored merchandised stores.


Now, sit back, relax and enjoy the elections. Thank you.


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