The Folk Culture as a Strategic Dimension of the National Reform
A branch of a political association that holds its activity in Bahrain has called for a preliminary meeting with a distinguished group of researchers in the field of the folklore culture with the aim of making the necessary arrangements to organize a high-ranking seminar on the state-of-the-art of the Folkloric Heritage in the Kingdom of Bahrain. It was remarkable that a political association takes the initiative to care for the folklore culture within the framework of a local political atmosphere, which is abound with various political groups that hold different orientations, interests, objectives and goals, in an open environment of democracy. When the guests of this meeting were certain after deliberations that the purpose of organizing such a seminar is just to contribute to the public cultural activities, which is, undoubtedly, a noble purpose, they all agreed that this activity, or any other similar one, can be organized by a small club in the town or the village, and they therefore suggested that the possible role of the cultural, political and social institutions, which are firmly-established and have a deep-rooted history, should much more exceed this initial stage of work. For four decades, since the regional organizations have realized the importance of this aspect in their local and national cultures, and since some Arab countries initially recognized the scientific necessity of dealing with this cultural material, which is subject to transformation, deterioration and loss, numerous and costly lectures, symposiums, conferences and training sessions were organized with the aim of gathering, recording and storing the materials of folkloric heritage. Despite the fact that they managed to carry out their enlightenment role on a relatively wide scale, their efforts were, however, useless, which means without any real achievements to be mentioned, except for some deeds that were rarely accomplished voluntarily, thanks to the efforts of some individuals. The field that deals with gathering the material of folk culture remained desolate and this valuable material became a victim of loss of vision and sight, scattered efforts and the lack of seriousness in dealing with the culture. Had a percentage of these huge finances been spent from the beginning in preparing academically specialized cadres in a way that goes beyond what prevails in Arab countries, the region would have obtained a reasonable number of experts and consultants, who, in turn, would have prepared numerous researchers, who would be highly motivated to work in the field. The materials of the folklore culture, would have then moved to their presupposed place in thesauruses and electronic databases, and would have been available on internet for various uses, which would have been possible, thanks to the prospective memories of knowers by heart and to the efforts of practitioners, narrators and informants. Any activity in the present time, regardless of its type and its organizing body, will repeat over and over what had been done in the past years, and we, thus, shall consider it as just a waste of time, effort and money. It is enough what was lost from the folkloric material and what was neglected and thrown away since we lost the reliable narrators and knowers by heart of that material, the glorious practitioners and the original artists of the field. If there are authentic efforts and serious intents to work in or to contribute to this field, they should be directed to the practical research, its instruments, scientific methods and ways of inquiry, in order to keep up with what has been left from the materials of folklore heritage. Anything except that would be invaluable and fruitless. This matter might not be included in the urgent priorities, as seen from the point of view of any political association, whose leaders may even consider it outside the framework of the political activity! As for us, we consider it as a strategic dimension to any kind of policy. Isn’t our folklore culture the culture of ethnic groups and multiplicity, the essence of the interaction of our experiences in the Arab World with their counterparts of the neighboring civilizations? Isn’t this distinctive folklore culture the strong prop of the supporting beams of our national culture? Isn’t the national culture an essential component of the national identity? Isn’t the culture a strategic dimension of Project of National Reform? Isn’t the “Folk Culture” Journal, for example, a result of the shrewd political vision of His Majesty, The King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which is aimed at consolidating our national culture and confirming a message of national heritage from Bahrain to the World?? The accumulation, record, and storage of the National Culture is an important issue that, in the first place, concerns the relevant state apparatus, along with all institutions of the civil society, including clubs, cultural, scientific, political and social associations. It is a concern for every family and every person. It is the issue and the task of all of us.