Bahrain Je’taime!

17 Feb, '11
J'taime Bahrain!

This was the scene on the roads leading to the Pearl Roundabout last night. This was the last picture I took as I left the roundabout to head home. People were jovial, happy and most certainly peaceful. I remember greeting the marshals guiding people and traffic and telling them well done.

But I fear the gentleman carrying his bedding to the roundabout is anything but that. Though I doubt very much that his love for his country is anything less this morning after being probably brutally attacked with his compatriots before the crack of dawn than what it was last night. That poster behind him summed up the feeling we both have about this country and its people. All of its people.

What’s ahead for this country?

Well, let’s review the demands of those protesting:

  1. Bilateral Constitutional amendments which are  binding to address the contentious current Constitution of 2002
  2. The immediate release of political prisoners, some 450 are incarcerated many of whom are children under 18 years of age
  3. Release and increase press freedoms, repeal Law 47/2002
  4. Guard and increase personal freedoms and freedoms of expression
  5. Investigate corruption and return stolen wealth into the state coffers
  6. Repeal Law 56/2002 and bring torturers to justice

Are any of these demands unreasonable? Do they differ from the aspirations of any human being?

Unfortunately rather than the government reacting to these demands by offering dialogue, what they did instead is kill seven people in three days and caused the injuries of hundreds more. They attacked peaceful demonstrators, like the gentleman you see above, and the hundreds of women and children at the Pearl Roundabout and at various processions. It’s as if the demands are a serious slight in the face of the government and the ruling family. Why? Is this not the celebrated “modern country” that prides itself as being “business friendly”? How can it be business friendly if it’s hostile to its own citizens?

If with what’s happening they even think that they can convince the “free world” that what’s actually happening here is “just a skirmish and nothing serious” they’re just as disconnected with reality as the rest of the government seems to be. Nor will those the country is pitching to stupid enough not to have their own sources to ascertain claims. All you have to do now is simply search for Bahrain on Google News and see what you get. How many positive articles would one find?

The situation is dire. Even the medical personnel are not only under extreme pressure to care for the injured and wounded, they are reportedly being obstructed from doing their sacred duty by the security forces and are being severely beaten for it to boot. No wonder they’re demonstrating in anger at their situation.

I fear for this country.

I have never witnessed protests such as these in my life in Bahrain. I’ve most certainly did not witness the level of determination to wrest those demands either. And from what I can personally see, people no longer care if they’re killed while trying, so much so that they are more than happy to get their wives, sisters, mothers and children accompanying them while protesting. I’ve personally seen disabled people at the Pearl Roundabout, some on crutches, in wheelchairs or pushing their Zimmer frames. All of whom didn’t come out to have a picnic, they, instead firmly believe in the sanctity and genuineness of their rightful demands.

Yes, the demands of the protestors are understandably more resolute. They’re no longer calling for the reform of the government, but its removal. Such is the effects of brutatlity against unarmed civilians. Although the situation is very serious and tense, heightened no doubt by the army taking to the streets with their armoured personnel carriers, we are not yet beyond the abyss. Or at least I fervently hope not. This “conflict” cannot and will not be solved with military or police force. It will only be resolved with genuine dialogue and the offering of concessions, which, ironically, is going to ensure that longevity of the ruling family in Bahrain.

Al-Wefaq, the largest political bloc in parliament with 18 of 40 seats have announced the suspension of their parliamentary membership and strongly denounced the violence and killings, but people see that this is not enough and they demand a stronger stance, nothing less than their immediate resignation from parliament will satisfy them. That and the resignation of the full government as it is fully their responsibility for the deterioration of the situation. That is, if the country is genuinely to be saved.

The alternative is too painful to consider.

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Comments (46)

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  1. God save this beautiful country. I hope reason prevails soon. Am praying and praying.

  2. Arthur says:

    When all is said and done…there is more to be done and less to be said. We all pray that Bahrain come through this in one piece.

  3. Fred Willie says:

    two side to every coin found these very valid comments on another blog

    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/16/live-blog-bahrain

    musaafirdis [Moderator] Today 02:40 AM
    Dear Journalists at Al Jazeera,

    I respect the channel and have admired its courage. However your coverage from Bahrain is turning into one sided coverage and bias. The reasons are following:-

    1. These protests are different from the protests in Egypt and Tunisia. In the former two cases the whole population was united. It was not secretarial . The protestors owed their allegiance to the country. Not to another country or ideology and to true equality.
    The protestors here are totally different. Their allegiance is not to equality of all humans rather to a single sect and to a different country , Iran. All the disturbances precipitated in this country have been directly and indirectly instigated by Iran.
    2. The many opposition parties under the guise of opposition, Al Wefaq, Al Waad and various other human rights organsations need to answer one question, why do all their members belong to a single sect, the shia’s and are not inclusive of other sects or nationalities. The so called democratic organsiations are based on a single ideological basis of superiority of one Islamic sect over the others.
    3. These same organizations cite human rights abuses. However they fought heavliy for the acquital of youths responsible for burning of a security personal by a Molotov cocktail. These organizations and their followers used every tactic to delay or disrupt the course of law for the dead security personal ( is one human life inferior to another). This is a single incident . There are others. Unbiased journalists have a moral obligation to look at both sides of the story.
    4. These protestors and their representatives should be asked about the killing of poor foreign workers living in their areas. What was their crime ?
    5. Rumors have surfaced of two Pakistani men having their ears chopped off in one of the shiite villages. What was their crime?
    6. Journalists should also question the biggest minority here , the Sunni’s , why are they fearful of the Shia’s gaining ground? The Ruling family alone is not Sunni.
    7. The question arises again and again of naturalized Sunnis’ from other backgrounds. A majority of these people were who lived here for 25 years or more. So , are they not entitled to be citizens of this country. It is not as if they weer brought in overnight.
    8. The Shia’s are not exactly the oppressed here, unlike the African Americans in the USA, who were totally devoid of power. The Shia’s control Public Health, The Ministry of Electricity and Water, businesses, Batelco ( Bahrain’s Major Telecom Provider). They control the biggest Civil Hospital In Bahrain, Salmaniya, where corruption is rampant.
    9. Ask these protestors about the discrimination they institute on an ideological basis again the Sunni’s in the above mentioned ministries. Sunni doctors find it difficult to get a job in Salmaniya. Sunni patients especially if they are of other nationalities are discriminated against . I ask the Journalists of Al Jazeera and BBC to interview these people.
    10. Do not be deceived by the so called innocent demands of these protestors. They have 18 representatives in the parliament. During days of Asshoura their areas become no-go areas for other sects. Their demand is not for a fair soceity. Their allegiance is to Iran and hence a Shite Tehocratic State.
    11. The Al Jazeera and BBC Journalsits should ask the common Sunni, why do they fear a Shiite majority? Becuase of its inherent discrimintaion against sunni’s. The sunni’s know it.
    12. If Al Jazeera and BBC want to find out about the discrimination against sunni’s , visit the website SunniOnline of the current oppressed state of sunni’s in that country. Howcome Al Jazeera and BBC missed that oppressed community.

    *

    Basmah [Moderator] Yesterday 05:25 AM
    Dear Al Jazeera,

    You are missing out on the voice of a big SILENT MAJORITY in Bahrain. Maryam Al Khawaja, and Nabeel rajab are representing a political group , and do not even represent the majority SHIA in Bahrain. So basing all your reports on what Maryam Al Khawaja says is really not valid and very Bias. Why don’t you consider interviewing Sameera Rajab? Why don’t you take other point of views?

    You are posting all these images & you do not know how valid and true they are. They are covering one part of the story. Did you mention that on the 14th of FEB, there was a march for the country and unity of our beloved kingdom , where over 4000 cars came out? Each car having an average of 3 people, makes that 12,000 people.
    Did you listen to the reports that came from the Ministry of interior last night?
    The first guy that passed away, WAS NOT PART OF THE PROTEST, and there are sayings that he killed himself with a molotov bomb. The 2nd guy that passed way, attacked a POLICE CAR, do you want the police to watch him attack and stay quiet?
    We are Bahrainees, and we live here. They have riots all year long. More riots than the days of the year, they burn stuff, they break things, they vandalize properties. Do you want us to watch them do that? Sorry we do not accept that as Bahrain and our security comes first. If they have a message to deliver , let them go through their reps at the parliament , they have the majority of seats, and they voted for these reps and it has not even been 6 months, they don’t have faith that their reps can represent them? Why did they choose their reps in the first place if they can’t deliver their message?

    Al Jazeera, we urge you to look at the story from two parts, and stop ruining bahrain’s image in the media. Did you even see whats going on at the pearl roundabout? Its packed with women and kids, having popcorn and drinking tea, and a tv projector for entertainment. Seriously? What protest is this if they need entertainment from day one. Or is this Maryam Al khawaja’s plan to keep people there? As she knows no one will stay with no entertainment and food.

    Bahrain is a civilzed country, we are not Egypt or tounis, and people here are NOT HUNGRY.

    We demand to see the other part of the story.

    • mahmood says:

      These are all oft-used excuses to exclude a large part of society, and those who are sympathetic to these views demonstrate their sectarianism which alienates not only those whom they accuse of allegiance to an alien power, but their very own co-confessionalists too. I am most certainly offended by this.

  4. Eman says:

    I do agree with you to a certain point ,it is true Bahrain forces have brutally used force to clear the ‘sacred pearl roundabout’ however there is no mention at all in the media nor on the sites for the reasons. If you decided to turn a blind eye upon what really happened in there I think with no offense meant that your article is not reliable. All I saw today on the news are people from the Shia’ sector talking ; how come no government officials or the other half of the population spoke. In the pearl roundabout Protestants also brutally harmed the police forces using weapons to fight back. Would it not have been safer to leave instead of going into a blood fight. I do condemn both sides for not broadcasting the entire events that are occurring.
    P.s I think that the Bahrain J’taime is for the festival occurring with France and Bahrain which was broadcasted way before these events occur but I guess that gave you an idea to start up an article presenting your lover for Bahrain ^^
    Again I repeat no offense intended am a great fan of your site.

  5. peacefulmuslimah says:

    Dear Mahmood,

    I hope you and yours are well. I have been watching events unfold in Bahrain (especially since I recently visited friends there and had a great tour of the Island’s development) and naturally came to see your perspective.

    I have to say that from what I have seen and heard, although many like to paint this as a united Bahraini front pushing for reforms against a corrupt government, I think they are whitewashing over the fact that this is overwhelmingly a Shi’a organized and manned protest. It is understandable that many Bahrainis would be fearful of a sectarian uprising and the potential for Iran to gain a greater voice in the Gulf.

    I do think the basic demands as you have laid them out are reasonable enough for consideration. I hate to see what is happening in my neighboring country and hope that a peaceful resolution will be found soon.

    Salaam Alaikum,
    PM

  6. observer says:

    Mahmood,
    As much as I personally respect and believe in you as one of the most influential bahrainis, I have to admit that you got it wrong, I also have to tell you that you have blood in your hands!!
    It was extremely iresposible to provoke young people who do not even know what they want.
    there were no real demands, every day the demands were changing and getting more provocative and extreme, every single guy who come to the stage highjacks the movement and add more demands, some want an islamic country, some want a secular counrty and the people there cheered everyone without even knowing what happened.
    they wanted one thing and it was to copy the egyptian and tunisian model, they didnt even bother to make up their own slogans.
    You and your beloved twitter heros ike maryam alkhawaja, nabeel rajab and amira alhusaini, and the other opera wanabes added more fuel to the fire. hiding behind ur keyboards and letting ppl there sleep until they get killed.
    im not pro government and i disagree with many policies, please dont be very emotional and unrealistic. look at the way you live, do you want everyone to live in heaven?
    you will be the first to regret another system once the turbans gain control.
    im not racist person by the way, my father is shee3y and my mother is sunni, this makes me less racist than most people protesting for equal rights.
    spell checking sucks cuz im typing this from my mobile. sorry about that.

    • mahmood says:

      Thank you for your opinion observer, I much appreciate your time in responding.

      I’m not sure how you purport that I provoked people and equally don’t understand your assertion that I have blood on my hands. Please explain if you would.

      As to your fear of the result of these protests or the change of the regime – should that ever happen – the country will revert to a clerical state like Iran, the head of the largest political society in Bahrain is on record to specifically state their complete rejection of the Welayat Al-Faqih in Bahrain and has also gone further in confirming that the only workable rule in Bahrain that they are looking for is civil government. Your fears, therefor, are misplaced.

      I think only the uninitiated would even dream of saying that Bahrain is copying the Tunisian or the Egyptian models of demonstrations which resulted in government change and you do the Bahraini society a grave injustice. Bahrain has been fighting for political rights since the 1920s with a road paved with the blood of many martyrs, believing in anything else is an insult to their memory.

      What I and many people want in Bahraini ultimately resolves into one thing and one thing only: social justice and equality.

      What’s so wrong in that?

      • CB says:

        Mahmood my friend,

        Enjoy your pipe dreams, the turbans want to rule. We heard similar assertions in the 70’s from Mr Khomeini.

        Quotes before the revolution:

        “After the Shah’s departure from Iran, I will not become a president nor accept any other leadership role. Just like before, I limit my activities only to guiding and directing the people.” — Interview with Le Monde newspaper, Paris, January 9, 1979

        “The foundation of our Islamic government is based on freedom of dialogue and will fight against any kind of censorship.” — Interview with Reuters news agency, Paris, October 26, 1978

        “Women are free in the Islamic Republic in the selection of their activities and their future and their clothing.” — Interview with The Guardian newspaper, Paris, November 6, 1978

        “The ranking Shiite religious clergymen do not want to govern in Iran themselves.
        — Interview with France Press news agency, Paris, October 25, 1978

        Quotes after the revolution:

        “This nation exists and clerics exist too. You all must know that in every place in this country only clerics can get the job done. Don’t show so much prejudice that you want to put the clerics aside. What have you done for your country in all these years that now you’re saying clerics should not be in charge? Appreciate these clerics. You do not understand correctly! If you put this group aside, no name or sign of Islam will remain. Imagine one cleric has done something wrong somewhere. Why can you do something wrong and some cleric cannot do anything wrong?” — In a meeting with the Islamic Parliament, Jamaran (2), Tehran, May 27, 1981

        “Don’t listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. We will break all the poison pens of those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things.” — In a meeting with Iranian students and educators, Qom (3), March 13, 1979

        “We have to warn these intellectuals that if they don’t stop their meddling, they will be crushed. We have treated you gently so that maybe you would stop your evilness, and if you don’t stop, we will have the last word. These American sympathizers and others must know that in just a few hours we can throw them in the trashcan of annihilation any day that we wish to do so.” — In a talk to the Iranian people, August 8, 1979

        Careful what you wish for…

        • mahmood says:

          Fair warning. Hence drawing up a good binding and bilaterally agreeable constitution is a must to prevent such an occurrence in the future, and that my friend is the fundamental demand of all the opposition societies and the public. Would you support such a move?

          • CB says:

            Dear friend,

            Look at current models of democracy. The US constitution was drafted by 55 people that represented the colonies.

            Similarly, the National Charter of Bahrain was drafted by a committee representing all parts of bahraini society. This was then raised to the king who raised it (without changing it) to the people of bahrain for approval, and was ratified by an overwhelming majority (98.4%)

            Having said that the constitution is not set in stone and is open to change with legislation from an elected parliament.

            We have a working frame work that is amenable to change.

            Redrafting and redrafting will put us on an endless wheel.

            I will support a move to amend the current constitution by our elected government.

  7. Observer says:

    Thanks for responding Mahmood,
    I truly believe that the that Al-Wefaq and every civic movement in Bahrain could have saved us from the unrest, the moment the 14th of Feb date came to light, by simply arranging a “legal” movement with unifying needs, housing, wages for example, not equality.
    Do you think 14Feb events will even happen if Egyptian and Tunisian events did not take place? I don’t think so.

    Young people are vulnerable to such movements, they want to change the world and they will require someone sane like yourself or an influential figure to target their effort somewhere were will there be no violence, backlash or a sectarian conflict.
    Feb14 resulted in loss of life, sectarian tension, economic meltdown and uncertainty.

    You are responsible for tweeting out of anger, and reqtweeting unverified angry tweets. inviting more people to an illegal sit-in, under the impression that you can make this a 500,000 strong demonstration. Why don’t you feel responsible when Wael Ghonim did?

    I really champion the idea of unity, but it doesn’t happen if you only have people from once sect gathering in a roundabout, chanting Egyptian slogans, smoking sheesha.

    If someone wants to show me how accepting he is to the principles of unity. I wanna see how will they react if someone from their family is trying to marry someone from the other sect.
    I will only believe Ali Salman’s welayat alfaqeeh claim if he engages his daughter or son to a Sunni. the people will need to be united first to demand their rights, and that doesnt happen within 2 days in a roundabout, this requires a lifetime.
    Being both sunni and shia I spoke to people using both identities and I can tell you we are no way near unity.

    God bless Bahrain.

    • mahmood says:

      But you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, and don’t expect change driven by older people. Change will happen by people who don’t fear it, and it’s mostly the youth who are more likely to do it. Also, keep in mind that it’s not the majority who effect change, it’s the passionate minority. So forgive me for once again disagreeing with you and invite you to not be too afraid of Al-Wefaq taking control. What you should concentrate on is a much more fundamental question which is the creation of a binding constitution which represents the aspirations of the people. With that, you will have nothing to fear as the form of government will have been defined there. Al-Wefaq, just like Asala and Waad and Minbar are part of this society whether you like it or not, so learning to live with them and respect their contributions. They’re as much Bahraini as you or me.

      • Observer says:

        A fundamental change driven by Islamists is a change to the worse.
        You will be the very first to leave this country by that time.

        If you want to bake eggs, there are many legitimate ways to do it, copying Tahrir Square is not the only method.
        This way you’re only adding human blood to your omelet recipe.

        bon appetit!

        • mahmood says:

          You’re doing your country a great disservice if you think that what is happening is simply copying Egypt or Tunisia. They are an inspiration without a doubt, but the sacrifices that Bahrainis have given since 1920 with their very lives is what resulted in the Charter.

          Please also stop using the “islamist” ogre. It’s not scary any more but I know that it once was a very expedient excuse. That fell on Dec 17th, 2010.

  8. ihath says:

    My heart goes out to all the people of Bahrain

  9. nhusain says:

    This is an interesting post. I just have a question. Can you explain how you are both Sunni and Shia. Maybe we can learn something positive from your approach.

  10. Observer says:

    My father is shia, a practicing Shia.
    My mother is Sunni, a practicing Sunni.

    I have respect for both sects and I see that both sects are compatible in all broad principles.

    I respect and love the prophet’s followers (Al-Sa7abah) and love the family of the prophet (Ahl Al-Bait).

    You want a more confusion scenario? my wide is also half Shia half Sunni 😉

  11. Bahraini says:

    Bravo Observer well said.
    I wholeheartedly believe that had the demands of the so called “Pearl Roundabout” gathering were anything but sectarian, things would have progressed more smoothly.
    Governments don not resort to violence unless threatened by greater violence. In the case of Egypt’s uprising, when it was all clear that the demands of its “UNITED” people are anything but violent, the government backed down and demonstrations were allowed to carry on peacefully.
    In the case of Bahrain, however, and as all observed, the demonstrators belonged to one sect. Chanting and raving with the government’s demise and termination.
    Discrimination does exist in Bahrain, against Sunni’s and foreigners in Bahrain more than Shia’s, given the fact that the majority in Bahrain are Shia’s. So I say until Shia’s assure themselves before anyone else that if they ruled the country there will be no discrimination- Impossible to achieve, I say more power to the ruling family.

  12. voice of reason says:

    I wish to see this country a truly unified country with no sunni no shia just Bahrainis. We all have our “special thing” so what if that be we pray on a piece of clay or sajadah. But to get there we need to be honest and transparent. Are we honest when we say that the protestors were unarmed? are we honest when we say that there are no reforms in this country over the past 10 years??
    I claim that there are SIGNIFICANT improvements. The fact that people can protest and get their word out there for all to hear is a giant step forward, as long as u get a permit to do so so long as it is done pecfully. To have a say in running the country via our elected reps is another giant step forward.
    Are we there yet? no. we need better reps at parliament. people who truly elected…without turbaned interference. Reps that will stick by the people no matter what when the going gets tough. not ones that up and leave!
    we also need some basic needs to be resolved….housing, better standards of living, more accountability on the part of the government and on the part of the people. we all must work to make this country a true beacon for education, for banking for culture for business…..singapore did it without resources why cant we with all the resources we got do the same?

    one final question. who is going to pay for this mess we are in? why do we allow a mere 1000 at best disrupt the lives and livelihoods of over a million here in Bahrain.

  13. Observer says:

    Few more things I wanna add…

    Today’s events:
    1- Why there were women and children in the first place? I bet Ali Salman will not leave his wife and kids sleeping in a roundabout. Any responsible parent and husband will not do that. women and children were “indirectly” used as human shields.

    2- Protesters were awake when the police came, look at the MOI and even unofficial videos captured by the protesters themselves, there were wild and high chants that can wakeup the dead.

    3- There was excessive force used, I believe that tear gas was enough, no human can survive that for a long time without a gas mask, unless you are a superhero. But I’m shocked that protesters are not believing that they were met with this kind of reaction since they were complaining about this for years.

    4- Salmaniya Hospital staff leaving sick people unattended and protesting was shocking and extremely disrespectful for the sick already there.

    5- The entire thing was driven by raw emotions.

    6- If American Muslims protesters are occupying the Statue of Liberty, What kind of response do you expect? You can apply this to any other western country if you wish.

    Bahrain in General:
    1- If protesters want better jobs, they better get them. It’s time that we don’t ask the government for every single thing. We want free housing, we want our personal loans dropped, we don’t to pay for electricity.

    2- We want to be ruled like a GCC monarchy (free stuff and no taxes) and in the same time we don’t like it.

    3- If you really don’t like how the government is run there’s a governance entities to take care of that. EDB, NAC and other semi-government entities that are there to monitor the quality of services in Education, labor and soon health.

    4- Please compare the economic figures of Bahrain against every single non-oil driven Arab country.

    • Robok says:

      @Observer

      1- Because most of those women had an opinion and they _wanted_ to come? And what makes you think Ali Salman wouldn’t bring his family there if they wanted to come? It’s not like everyone was dragged there.

      2- A guy talking about dealing with people of special is chanting?

      3- Wouldn’t say shocked, but the government bared its ugly face to the entire world. And to think people said the protesters besmirched Bahrain…

      4- Reports claim the Minister of Health issued an order to stop treating patients which resulted them protesting about it which then lead to rumours that he resigned.

      5- And that invalidates their demands how…?

      6- Bad analogy, really bad in fact. Lulu roundabout isn’t visited by tourists on foot, and the impact it had on commerce or traffic wasn’t the issue, the tribal mindset of our government was the issue.

      Bahrain in General:
      1- Look at other countries’ minimum wage, now look back at Bahrain, you’ll realize why everyone with a low to medium paying job is complaining. I’m guessing you aren’t one of the people who had to work real hard their way top, so you probably wouldn’t know how hard the way is.

      2- Wait, what?

      3- You’re kidding yourself if you think our autocratic government answers to any of those.

      4- What does that have to do with anything?

      You accuse the protesters of not having clear demands, yet, you’re not making yourself much clear here, are you blaming both parties but acknowledging that the government isn’t corrupt or are you saying that it is and we need to deal with it progressively?

      • Observer says:

        1- Would you let your family stay there? just requires a little bit of risk assessment. A 2 year old doesn’t know his right!

        2- Most people were awake, it wasn’t clear from both videos if they were surrounded however. I leave that open for speculation.

        3- Didn’t you see images from the 90’s? people should know what their dealing with. This is no justification for the police violence.

        4- There were endless claims and rumors that day, still a responsible nurse will treat the people in front of her.

        5- The move was emotionally linked to Egypt and Tunisia. Young people were emotionally driven to achieve the end result (removing the government).

        6- I know a lot of people who were avoiding Manama because of that. read US Embassy warnings.

        Bahrain in general:
        1- You don’t know me, I worked 7 months below minimum wage, then 3 year slightly above it, then I managed to bring my wage up to an acceptable level.

        2- Read response from Alwasat readers on what they demand from the government, most of them even want personal loans dropped and want a 1000 for each citizen like Kuwait. I don’t think any non-GCC country does that.

        3- You don’t know the real EDB puts to government bodies, ask someone in Education about Quality Assurance. NAC is another thing, ask any government body about how they grill them.

        4- We are not Egypt, Tunsia, Yemen, Algeria!

        Again, I’m not taken sides and I’m saddened by what happened and I think the people in the roundabout were misguided by politicians and super utopian intellectuals.

    • Steve the American says:

      “6- If American Muslims protesters are occupying the Statue of Liberty, What kind of response do you expect? You can apply this to any other western country if you wish.”

      I can guarantee you we would not shoot them. Since Liberty Island, where the Statue rests, has no restroom facilities, the police could merely wait until they were sick of their own crap.

      Mass protests in the US are very nearly a parody. When protestors marched against the Capitol a few years ago, the police arrested those who hopped over the wall. The cops rather gently pushed some protestors back over the wall. Some of the old or female protestors they helped over so they wouldn’t fall. Some of the female protestors made a point of falling into the cops arms.

      Protesting is an old habit here. The cops see it as opportunity for overtime. And nobody gets shot.

      The Bahrain cops panicked and overplayed their hand by storming the Pearl Roundabout, tear gassing the protestors, and killing them. That inflames the issue. The parade of Saudi armor inflames it further. Stupidity piled upon stupidity.

      If your government was smart, they would have pitched a tent next to the roundabout, served everyone sharwamas, and invited everyone to air their grievances. That probably would have spent a large part of the protestors fury. Instead of dissipating it, they stoked it. A foolish move.

  14. CB says:

    Observer you made my day! very well said

  15. youtube says:

    @CB & Observer:
    You may not see it but it is sick that you two are hijacking this blog and making excuses for the brutal killing of civilians…

    sectarian hatred shows behind your lines…it is hard for you two to hide it whatever you say as what’s in your hearts shows… and when your hearts cannot feel the pain of those who were killed or their families then that is because sectarianism blinded your hearts..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf9jL__s8eY

    reem khalifa… a real non-sectarian voice.. she made this country cry rivers of tears..

    • Observer says:

      Youtube,
      I didn’t say that people deserved to die. My blood was boiling when I woke up yesterday.
      I said that the entire situation was not necessary, since most people know that there is a possibility that that would happen.
      There is no sectarian hatred behind my lines and if there was I would actually hate my own father.
      I’m shocked that Al-Wefaq, Waad and all of Bahrain intellectuals did not try to control the process from the beginning, setting common demands and objective that no one can ignore.

    • YoYo says:

      I fear for Reem’s life. The Bahraini “Royal” royal family do not take someone standing up to them lightly. Let us all hope she safe and continue to keep us informed.

    • reem al khalifa says:

      at youtube… but the problem is that every body WANTS to cry in bahrain, and they seem to like to use words like blood, tears of blood and wear black… this cozy blanket of victomness is really easy to dwell in, and it can only escalate, and it has already escalated to this horrible level!

      It takes a little psychology education to know that we cant dwell, and loath, and insult, and point fingers.

      i was a teacher, and i have taught some great shia girls under very islamic dress codes, to see the spark in their eye when i inspired them made me feel like i won the lottery, they were extremely creative and beautiful and switched on, and i have positive affection for them, i wish they would get a chance to flower and flourish, dont let them get wasted in this anger….

      i am not saying there is no corruption, but there is also a lot going for you that you are turning a blind eye on and taking advantage off… if people want to work they can get a loan from Tamkeen with low interest rate….

      i think what is lacking is creativity … seriously where is the creative juice… u want to waste it on rage.. go ahead and burn it like that….

      people please lets start using our energy for more positive change… get busy with your endeavors… lets stop franchising.. i support all bahraini products!

  16. Ash says:

    Mahmood, I followed your blog a few years ago until you stopped blogging. Lately with the news from Bahrain I have been thinking of you and your family every time I see a news report. I’m so happy to see you blogging again and I wish you and your country all the very best.

  17. Fredwillie says:

    from Bahrain tv

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHfq_-Rxg-I

    another perspective right or wrong there are no winners here

    • Bahraini says:

      •100% of the protesters belonged to one sect and yet it was compared to Egypt’s uprising.
      •Protesters were caught with weapons ranging from pocket knives and swords to machetes and handguns and yet it was compared to Egypt’s uprising.
      •Protesters were freely getting to the Pearl roundabouts in latest model vehicles and yet it was compared to Egypt’s uprising.
      •Not one legitimate or specific demand was presented as the reason for the demonstrations and yet it was compared to Egypt’s uprising.
      It is beyond vilification and libel what claimers had in mind when comparing this to Egypt’s revolution. As an Arab first who yearns to see equality and justice to all one day be the norm on the Arab street, I urge all to stop comparing this to Egypt’s uprising. This is merely a sectarian agenda fueled by anger and hatred towards all who do not belong to that party.

      • Robok says:

        Yes, they had guns, knives, and swords and yet didn’t use them. And nice playing with the words there, they only “caught” one guy who apparently ran over some of the riot police and ended up cutting one guy’s fingers (I don’t even want to start with that).

        If you believe them for their word, and sorry for offending you, you are an idiot. They could have put those weapons or brought them from “Ramez” which was next to the place and took pictures, nothing proves the demonstrators had those except that report which tries its best to besmirch the protesters.

        And you’re fooling yourself if you think it’s 100% from one sect, or you aren’t and you’re just deploying the good ol’ “Divide and conquer” tactic to win this argument, since the only way to divide a group that large is to just point out their differences and let them fight, but nice one.

        • YoYo says:

          Very orchestrated video and possibly the injured; what a comparison between the fully kitted soldiers/police in riot gears & protection and the protesters who were wearing only normal clothes to keep themselves warm; the poor protesters had no chance in resisting and defending themselves; couple of knifes vs gas and guns.

          What is the guarantee that these were not planted by the police; they did not allow the media in.

          • Bahraini says:

            YoYo, the reason media and reporters were not allowed is for their own safety. Protesters in Bahrain have shown aggression against all time and time again, against policemen and the media. A fact which has been well reported and recorded for all to see.
            As far as I, and most of the readers know, neither “Ramez” nor any other entity in Bahrain is allowed to sell handguns, swords or machetes. The sale, position, use of such weapons -unless permitted by the authorities, is prohibited in Bahrain. Those weapons were smuggled into the country via illegal and illegitimate avenues. This fact only shows that the intent of the demonstrators was ill from the get go. If the intention was to transmit an innocent and a legitimate message to the authorities, taking a legal and permitted route would have been the right thing to do.
            Robok, it’s perfectly fine to call me whatever you will. I have been called worse only because I speak my mind. Disagreeing on issues and the ability to discuss them freely is what makes this fine country what it is today.
            “And you’re fooling yourself if you think it’s 100% from one sect, or you aren’t and you’re just deploying the good ol’ “Divide and conquer” tactic to win this argument, since the only way to divide a group that large is to just point out their differences and let them fight, but nice one.” I rest my case.

  18. Steve the American says:

    The Bahrain revolution is playing in long segments on CNN and probably the other news channels. It’s pretty clear that the riot police ambushed the protestors in the Pearl Roundabout with malicious intent to wound and kill them for little more reason than to demonstrate the government the master, the Bahrainis subjects.

    It aggravates the situation that these police are apparently a foreign legion to protect the royalty from its subjects. That is an intolerable situation.

    However, inviting Saudi armored personnel carriers and tanks, TANKS, to fight ordinary Bahrainis is beyond the pale.

    The government minister who claimed this government attack was proportional and necessary is a liar.

    I don’t think you can negotiate with a government that has such distrust and contempt for its own people and has such a callous disregard for their lives. They simply need to go by any means necessary.

  19. Abraham says:

    Hi Mahmood, I’ve been reading your website now for years. I lived in Bahrain as an expat and went to Bahrain School in Juffair. Your website has been a way I could see the familiar culture I was exposed to while I lived there.

    Naturally in school, I made friends with some of the guys from the Al-Khalifa family. Just like any family, they have different kinds of different kinds with different personalities. Some are hard as a wall and are totally for the status quo and will do anything to maintain it. They used to act like they were mobsters and even had nicknames from the Godfather movies etc. Others have strong consciences, depend heavily on alcohol or other prescriptions to deal with their insomnia and other symptoms when they got into their 30s. I’m not exaggerating.

    We’re all naturally different and when you hear the stories from the inside lines, you will either accept the reality as the norm or subconsciously reject and resist it.

    Like you said, the protestors aren’t asking for much.

    Within the Al-Khalifa tribe, there is a divide on ideology and approach to governance. The problem is those ones who understand principles of social equality and democracy are kept under tight control by the old generation and are lucky if they’re even given control of a corner store.

    The older guys, especially those who are old enough to remember the British days and training from them, have this belief, (pardon my language)…

    “If you give a nigger a rope, he’ll want to be a cowboy.” So, they cut everything at the bud or attempt to.

    That is why the clampdown has happened and that is why they’ve approached this problem the same old way.

    What they haven’t taken into account is that in the old days, even the horrible mid 90’s riots, there wouldn’t be a line printed about the incidents on anything but the VOB website. Neither the Americans or the British would care to drop a line. If you were lucky, the liberal Australian ABC would have a small snippet. Today, it’s different. There is plenty of chatter and it’s only getting louder. The blocking of journalists happened a day ago at the airports and those that are in Bahrain are already being harassed including some prominent ones, and the part that is different is that the editors back at home are allowing them to voice those complaints on record.

    I really pray for the stability of that small and friendly nation.

  20. Ekke says:

    Can you tell me where exactly the funeral processions will take place any moment? I need to travel urgently…

  21. Mercurious Georg says:

    Briefly, in regard to statements to imply that the protesters were armed, attacked the police (who defended themselves), etc. – Reality check: *Nobody takes their family to a riot.*

  22. Michael says:

    Hi mahmood
    Thank you for all your reports helping to ctach up with what we all knew and love as the “kingdom of smiles”.
    I like to comment on the people who suspect the recent demonstrations not representing all citizes but only shia people. I don’t know if its true or not, but even if it was the case – what is the point? If over 70% of bahrainis are shia, their joint requests do matter and should make the government rather listen than shoot to the messengers.
    This overnight attack on pearl roundabout is a shame, and the regrets for victims from king and ministers mentionned in gulf daily news of the same day show a cynism which will not be forgotten. Keep on going, Bahrain! The world supports you and wishes you all of luck and success!

    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      I don’t think anybody thinks that they (the 70%) of the population shouldn’t have a voice). They have that voice in their elected officials who I think make up a significant proportion of the parliament (correct me if I am wrong). I suspect that at the root of this is the deep mistrust between some Shi’a and Sunni, and that presents a much bigger problem to try to resolve than who should be PM.

      Just my opinion….

  23. reem al khalifa says:

    the demands of those protesting: from a-f were not stated clearly.

    i dont think you understand here is a list:
    – your roads are clean
    -your health care is better than the strongest country in the world.where they are still scratching their head about it.
    – your mail delivery works
    – you phone lines work – no tricky free plan like UNITED STATES phone plans
    -you dont have taxes
    -you have housing
    -you have better saving skills than any sunni who is at -2000 dinars in bbk account.

    – everyone should be taxed after baby number 4 !!!! no more babies otherwise no jobs!!!!

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