Bahrain in the "Arab Spring"
Bahrain: Shouting in the dark - Programmes. Bahrain: An island kingdom in the Arabian Gulf where the Shia Muslim majority are ruled by a family from the Sunni minority.
Where people fighting for democratic rights broke the barriers of fear, only to find themselves alone and crushed. This is their story and Al Jazeera is their witness - the only TV journalists who remained to follow their journey of hope to the carnage that followed. (Un)Historic Errors: Bahrain One Year On. On the eve of the first anniversary of the uprising in Bahrain, it might be time to step back from our usual celebration of the opposition’s “good fight” and take a more critical look at its discourse to date.
So enamored was the world with the fact that a wealthy Gulf Arab state was about to rise in revolt, so shocked were we with the brutality of the government’s response, that the leaders of Bahrain’s uprising have since been held in a halo of untouchability. Their movement—as admirable as its democratic ambitions may be—has been spared the necessary reflexive critique. Still, there are less savory elements of the opposition’s political battle cries and several abject political failures in its record.
Yet critique has thus far only come from the political right in Bahrain, from angry conservatives still in denial of the bankruptcy of their political stance and bent on delegitimizing the opposition as sectarian, backward, unpatriotic, and violent. Bahrain charges medical staff - Middle East. Bahraini police have clashed with Shia marchers at religious processions in villages across the country, the country's opposition al-Wefaq movement and residents say.
Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, sound grenades and birdshot to break up Sunday's marches, which were taking place in several Shia villages around Manama, the country's capital, the witnesses said. Residents said some gatherings were purely religious, while at others marchers shouted slogans against the ruling al-Khalifa family, including "The people want the fall of the regime", a chant that has become the symbol of similar protests in Tunisia and Egypt which dethroned long-time rulers. In Sitra, residents said several people were injured and that a house was set on fire. "We condemn this attack, this kind of attack will make the situation even worse," said Sayyed Hady of al-Wefaq.
A criminal for witnessing: A US activist's deportation from the Kingdom of Bahrain. This photo was taken shortly before the author was arrested.
The riot police is shooting his tear gas gun point blank range at accredited journalists and non-violent protesters. (All Photos: K. Poet jailed in protests claims she was beaten by Bahraini royal - Middle East, World. In an interview with The Independent, Ms Gormezi, who became a symbol of resistance to oppression in Bahrain, said that although her interrogators had tried to blindfold her, "I was able to see a woman of about 40 in civilian clothes who was beating me on the head with a baton".
Ms Gormezi later described her interrogator to prison guards, who, she said, promptly named the woman as being one of the al-Khalifas with a senior position in the Bahraini security service. "I was taken many times to her office for fresh beatings," Ms Gormezi said. "She would say, 'You should be proud of the al-Khalifas. They are not going to leave this country. Bahrain activists jailed for life - Middle East. Police and protesters have clashed in Bahrain after eight Shia Muslim activists accused of plotting a coup to overthrow the Gulf Arab state's Sunni monarchy were sentenced to life in prison.
The court also sentenced on Wednesday other defendants - from among the 21 suspects on trial - to between two and 15 years in jail. Saeed al-Shehabi, the only defendant to be sentenced in absentia, told Al Jazeera that the charges were false and called the government's response "draconian". "The world has seen how peaceful the demonstrations were, for a month-long period ... yet, they were condemned as being terrorists," he said. Bahraini activist serving life sentence writes letter from prison. By Sara Yasin / 13 February, 2012 Prominent Bahraini human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja has been serving a life sentence since April 2011 for his involvement in anti-government protests last year.
Al-Khawaja, who is also a Danish citizen, recently wrote a letter from prison to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to push for his release Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja’s letter to the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs from prison, 8 Feb 2012. Torture in Bahrain Becomes Routine With Help From Nokia Siemens. The interrogation of Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar followed a pattern.
First, Bahraini jailers armed with stiff rubber hoses beat the 39-year-old school administrator and human rights activist in a windowless room two stories below ground in the Persian Gulf kingdom’s National Security Apparatus building. Then, they dragged him upstairs for questioning by a uniformed officer armed with another kind of weapon: transcripts of his text messages and details from personal mobile phone conversations, he says. If he refused to sufficiently explain his communications, he was sent back for more beatings, says Al Khanjar, who was detained from August 2010 to February. “It was amazing,” he says of the messages they obtained. “How did they know about these?” Bahrain Center for Human Rights Report on Human Rights Violations Since the BICI Report.
[The following press release was issued by Bahrain Centre for Human Rights on 26 March 2012.]
BCHR publishes today its new report, Post BICI Report, presenting the key findings from the ongoing effort to document human rights violations occurring in the state of Bahrain since the publication of the Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November 2012. Our investigative report supports the rights of victims, no matter their political or religious background. It is unaffiliated with the Bahraini government or any foreign government, and is firmly centered on domestic civil society advocacy of human rights.
Pakistani troops aid Bahrain's crackdown - Features. In March, as a government crackdown on pro-democracy protestors intensified in Bahrain, curious advertisements started appearing in Pakistani media.
"Urgent requirement - manpower for Bahrain National Guard," said one. "For service in Bahrain National Guard, the following categories of people with previous army and police experience are urgently needed," said another, with "previous experience" and "urgent need" underscored. Bahrain's Revolutionaries - By Toby C. Jones and Ala'a Shehabi. Bahrain's February 14th movement has become a symbol of resistance and fortitude...and the most powerful political force in Bahrain today.
This confederation of loosely organized networks, named after the date of the beginning of Bahrain's revolution, is faceless, secretive, and anonymous. Its tens of thousands of supporters have abandoned the failed leadership of the country's better established, but listless, political opposition. They have suffered the most and have weathered the worst that the regime has so far meted out. Most outside observers, particularly policymakers hopeful that a political resolution is still possible, have mistakenly ignored the February 14th movement or deemed it irrelevant. The Bahraini government is not interested in reform or reconciliation. Bahrain's Revolutionaries Speak: An Exclusive Interview with Bahrain's Coalition of February 14th Youth.
In spite of claims that Bahrain’s revolution has failed, the reality is that peaceful protests, a campaign of civil disobedience, and anti-Al Khalifa energy is at an all-time high. The regime’s reliance on heavy-handed violence has failed to quell the country’s revolutionary spirit or stamp out the opposition. If anything, the yearlong brutal siege against its own citizens has strengthened the resolve of anti-regime critics and their determination to carry on.
Among the most determined to keep the revolution alive is the Coalition of February 14th Youth, an anonymous and decentralized political network that has coordinated months of activism and protest. While Bahrain’s older and more visible political societies, including al-Wefaq and Wa’ad, have sought and failed to negotiate with the government over the last year, the Coalition of February 14th Youth has steadily earned popular legitimacy for its commitment to revolutionary principles and action. Brace for the worst in Bahrain. The stage seems to be set for February and March to be the scene of a significant intensification of tensions in Bahrain. The period will mark the one-year anniversaries of the protest movement, the government crackdown, and the “Peninsula Shield” intervention by Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council forces. More importantly, recent developments have pushed almost entirely away from substantive moves toward national accommodation or reconciliation.
In the Kingdom of Tear Gas. The talk of Bahrain at present is talk -- the possible renewal of dialogue between the government and the opposition -- but the reality is that street protests, after simmering in outlying villages for months, have begun to heat up in the capital of Manama. Opposition activists staged a large rally in the first week of April in support of jailed human rights activist ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Khawaja, whose nine-week hunger strike has turned him into a symbol of resistance to the government in the eyes of many Bahrainis. Khawaja was arrested a year previous as part of the crackdown on the popular uprising that began on February 14, 2011 and became centered in Pearl Roundabout on Manama’s outskirts. He was moved to a military hospital on April 6 because of his rapidly deteriorating health.