"Bahrani Chicken Nugget" Video Spreads Widely on Social Media: I'm Afraid of Speaking in My "Bahrani" Accent

2020-06-28 - 11:03 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Young Bahraini lady Mirium Al-Zeera spoke innocently and sincerely in a recorded video she posted on her YouTube channel under the title "Bahrani Chicken Nuggets" about the difficulties she faced as a "Bahrani" speaking in her accent.

The video spread widely on social media outlets and gained more than 10,000 views with more than 70 comments. Although Al-Zeera confirmed that the video is stemmed from her own experience, far from any political biases, the comments carried many political remarks.

The word Baharna or Bahrani is a linguistically correct word for the people of Bahrain, but it has later become a term that refers to the Shiite sect, and the word Bahrani was changed to Bahraini.

In her YouTube clip, Mirium highlighted the issue of racism and said that she used to feel ashamed of her accent. She stated that since she was young, she realized that she would be treated differently if she speaks in her Bahrani accent, so she preferred to speak in English in order not to face such treatment or discrimination. As a child, she changed her accent and spoke in another accent.

She said that she doesn't hear her accent in the media or the national television, adding that some people change their attitude in job interviews when they know that the applicant is Shiite, and that sometimes applicants in job interviews are asked directly whether they belong to the Shiite or Sunni sect.

According to Al-Zeera, this reality has made her insecure of herself, making her not want to speak Arabic. She stressed that she has nothing to do with politics and advised everyone to steer clear from racism.

Opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif shared the video on his Twitter account, commenting that "70 years ago the word Bahrani was common in the national literature. In universities, Arab students used to call us Baharna. Unfortunately, discrimination and sectarian sensitivities have undermined our social fabric, and dialect and sect have become a condition for some jobs."

Adnan Sheikh Sharif, former director of media and public relations at the Ministry of Housing, disagreed, saying, "I wish we do not speak about topics like these so that they vanish. If we analyze everything and link it to sectarian differences and cry over what it has done to our social fabric, then we are helping the inciters of sectarianism achieve their aim. The Bahraini accent is not more than a dialect, it has nothing to do with nationality or job opportunities".

Activist Mohammed Al-Bouflasa also objected to Ibrahim Sharif's statement and said, "The word is Bahraini, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Libyan, Egyptian, why didn't you say Saudawi, Kwaitawi, Libawi and Mesrawi?"

However, tweeter Mohammed Al-Madawi was more explicit in his opposition to Sharif. He commented "Everyone does what is suitable for him."

"This video is unfortunate on many levels. The first is that some have to protect themselves using a language other than their mother tongue to hide their sectarian identity revealed by their local dialect; second, the word Bahrani being a definition of a sect rather than a nationality that includes all sects; third, capabilities shouldn't be considered to be limited to a sect; fourth, the fact that it's normal to ask anyone about their sect in an official interview or any other occasion; fifth, that answering this question might determine your fate and future and the way people treat you; sixth, which is the most important, is having to feel weird and uncomfortable to talk in your own accent in media outlets affiliated to your country," tweeter Soad Al-Khawaja wrote.

Kuwaiti human rights defender Hadeel Buqrais supported the tweet by saying: "I noticed the absence of the Bahrani accent from Bahraini television stations for years."

However, human rights defender Yousif Al-Muhafda stressed that he has never changed his Bahrani accent in every company he worked in or in every conference or seminar he attended. He said he has never changed his accent to consider sectarian sensitivity or to finish any transaction at any government body.

Media person Rim Khalifa reposted the video commenting: "This video is of a Bahrani female speaking about our reality in Bahrain? Would you get a job if you speak in your Bahrani accent? Do you hear it on the national television? Has anyone who changed his dialect become accepted? These are the murderous identities as Amin Maalouf wrote."

Arabic Version