“We don’t recognize leaders!”

When someone got onto the make-shift podium, already occupied by some turbanned gentlemen and started reading “The Youth’s Demands” he was shouted down by the crowd that they do not recognize him or any others who install themselves leaders. One shouted “our movement does not have leaders, get down!”

That made my day, especially with the turbanned lot wanting to take centre stage in this event.

Click for more pictures

There were thousands of people on and around the iconic Pearl Roundabout in Manama. There were even tens of people standing on the flyover looking down with banners hanging from the railings as well as a huge Bahraini flag.

I went there this afternoon to distribute what remained of the “Just Bahraini” buttons and wrist bands. I have to thank my friend Mohammed Al-Maskati (emoodz) who rose to the mark and helped me distribute them to the crowd as well. I have to thank a few people at the site who also helped distribute the bands and the buttons. I h0pe not only for them to enjoy them, but heed the message.

I have to once again thank those generous people who supported the cause by donating money to allow the buttons and the bands to be printed. You people, just like Bahrain, rock!

NOTE: The Just Bahraini site is STILL blocked in Bahrain. To side-step that block, please use the secure protocol to access it at https://justbahraini.org


  1. Mahmood A.

    Sweet Jesus, you truly are demented beyond repair. The poverty stricken youth of Bahrain are dying left, right, and center and all your egotistical fucked up self can worry about is handing our your stupid badges.

    Turbans or not, this movement has nothing to do with the likes of you who only a few days ago mocked Feb 14 and presented a supposedly academic thesis on why it would never work.

    You never cease to amaze me by always jumping on the social/political bandwagon whenever it is the popular thing to do and backing away once you start feeling the heat. What a hypocrite.

    1. collegekid

      Wow…February 14 was originally advertised as a Day of Rage, with trailers of clergymen,people marching to Aza as if they were going to war,and images of blood.

      The demonstrations that are going on right now do not match the description of how the movement was originally advertised.People are standing together, forgetting impersonal differences. What is going on right now is directly to related to the messages the No Shi’e No Sunni badges represent.

      If you think that unification and the Just Bahraini message should be the least concern then let me say I am truly amazed by your intelligence. Want people to worry about solving problems of poverty without the people being united in the first place to solve them?

      1. Mahmood A.

        You must suffer from chronic tunnel vision.

        “It was advertised…” Really? I thought the movement was leaderless? Or does a small set of videos on YouTube that actually did what you describe now constitute “It” in your eyes?

        No one is against unity. God knows that’s the only way this uprising will succeed. But I hate it when Mahmood does what he does best and that is hijack a political or social situation for his own egotistical goals.

        No one gives a damn about the Just Bahraini campaign/phenomenon/era/call it whatever the f*** you want except the readers of this blog. A good number of Bahrainis were unified before those POS badges and more so are now. Don’t confuse yourself and everyone around you with moronic logic.

        1. Post

          All I got when I distributed them last night was thanks and appreciation for the message it propagates. If you want some, please let me know, I’ll find some especially for you.

    2. anon

      Please let us focus on unity here. We do not need divisions. We need to focus on the common enemy which is the government. Just like the slogans are saying – unity unity unity. Mahmood supported the protests throughout as you can see from his previous posts but then was shocked when he saw some of the sectarian postings on some of the sites. As you can see from the comments he and many commentators quickly became positive again when reassured by the people of the movement. Don’t be quick to judge and stay positive. We are all with you and we stand united. Also just because some people (and mahmood isn’t one of them) didn’t support the protests in the beginning doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to change their minds. Thats what happens in a successful uprising such as egypt – once people become braver and realize that what the protestors are saying are right, then they start joining until the majority of the people are with the cause. And what is wrong with the badges? They reflect the slogans of the movement. Also religion is not good to emphasize in protests because then the tensions that already exist between the different groups (sunni and shia in bahrains case) and this will distract the protestors from the main goal. Also we need to make our sunni brothers feel comfortable about joining – thats why it is good that the protestors are emphasizing unity. It was the same in egypt. The muslim brotherhood members and other religious egyptians were actively protesting but they did not use muslim slogans because they wanted to encourage the christians and non-religious egyptians to join the protests. Let us emphasize unity and a common cause. Inshalla if we continue on this path we will achieve our goals. The governments biggest tool is scaring the sunnis and the nonreligious by telling them if you support these people bahrain will become like iran. This is like Mubaraks tool which was to scare everyone including america by telling them that if you don’t support me the muslim brotherhood will take over. Let us remember that bahrain is for everyone. What is important is that we have a democracy where we can express our opinions even when we disagree without having to worry about going to jail and where the government doesn’t discriminate against one sect and support another (like it is now).

      Peace and let us keep the focus on our goal – democracy is near inshalla

      1. Post

        Thanks for your support. Just to be clear, my objection was specifically due to the sectarian and religious tones of the clip I displayed, and in the post as I have always I emphasised that the protest should be irreligious and encompassing all sectors of society in Bahrain. Be inclusive rather than exclusive. But as Mahmood A. has a problem with me personally – goodness knows why – he objects to everything I stand for! If that rocks his boat, then he can be my guest.

    3. Nhusain

      You have to give credit to the guy for putting his neck on the line. What have you done? He has to walk a fine line due to many reasons which you know about. I think a reasonable demand would be the call for a purely independent judiciary where anyone can be sued including the PM etc. A second demand could be a change in the PM. The interior minister really needs to get the police to back off.

      1. Post

        and what fine line pray tell us? if that was talking in my stead, please stop. I can do that just as well myself.

    4. Post
  2. UnEasy Expat

    What’s the liklihood that all this will not boil down into an unholy mess, while I would not like to panic but I am here to do a job against a legal contract and not a free visa type…so should I be worried….will some Bahraini Friends guide us expats…atleast those of us who are legally here and have nothing against anyone….

    1. Post

      Bahrainis have always been peace loving and have always welcomed foreigners. I had friends (from the UK) walking right into the Pearl Roundabout last night and were not accosted nor made feel uncomfortable. So my opinion would be there is nothing to be worried about. Just exercise caution and don’t get caught in the tear gas clouds!

  3. Sara

    Hi UnEasy Expat,

    Don’t worry, business remained stable even in the difficult time of the 90’s. The protestors are not calling for overthrowing the king but want the Parliament to actually be a real and effective body and many want the resignation of the Prime Minister. They also want freedom of speech, the release of political prisoners and the end of political naturalization. Go speak to the protestors themselves at Pearl Roundabout. I am sure they will put you at ease

    1. Mahmood A.

      Well, photos splashed across Yahoo News to Reuters to CNN seem to disagree. I counted more than 6 banners calling for the overthrow of the monarchy held up by the protesters on the Lulu roundabout.

      Nothing less would do. Hamad and his family have ruled for two and half centuries and the people, with the exception of a very small minority, have seen nothing but corruption and lost opportunities. It is time to pack his bags and leave.

      As for expats, although we despise the fact that most of you are doing jobs that could well be done by Bahrainis if not due to the government’s sectarian policies, we don’t have anything against you personally. You don’t need to worry for your safety.

  4. Indian In Bahrain

    Indian. Born in Bahrain. Raise in Bahrain. ANd wil be damned if anyone so much as tries to demean its soil.

    If change is what the country needs, i pray it gets it. As you said on an article before, the oppurtunity for a win win situation exists, lets just hope the decadesto come provide countless others the joy of the childhood ive had here.

  5. Dear Mahmood A

    And what about the jobs Bahraini’s wont do? Laying the roads, cleaning the skyscrapers, building the towers that dominate the skyline. The country wont develop until we can look beyond our pride and do the jobs that allows us to take bread home.

    If Mahmood wants to change *or try to* change the country, its his call to do it how he pleases. For someone with such strong opinions where is the action you evidently feel you are so capable of ?

    I respect the king,, i respect the cosntitution. But for parlimanent to work, they shoudl want to. Theyre running arouund now showing ‘unity’ and ‘solidarity’, but have we forgotten the months they spendt debating on ‘extended holidays’ or ‘foreign trips’. Seemed happy enough in thier new (govt paid) bmw 740’s then. Not to mention the decent salary they command for restricted change.

    Bahrains time is coming, and there is no doubt in my mind that the country has great places to go. But it needs to be done slowly, a transition must come with time.

    Long live the King. more importantly, long live the desire for change that brought thousnads of souls to the streets.

    1. Mahmood A.

      Well Bahrainis are much better at doing “lower” jobs than their neighbors, and that is something to be proud of, but yes I agree that there are jobs that would not be done were it not for expats like construction. And there is nothing wrong with that.

      I disagree with your last statement. I do not wish the king to live for long. It is the 21st century for God’s sake. Everyone else has moved beyond kingdoms except our region it seems.

  6. jhubers

    But will the protestors be able to sustain the protest. Early word said tens of thousands gathered. Now I read hundreds. Will it fade away before anything is accomplished?

    1. Reader911

      Protests against the government have always been marginalized by the other side in terms of size in the media.

      I remember around two years back a protest was so long and consisted of thousands maybe ten thousand was mentioned by a major newspaper as hundreds !! and the picture that accompanied the article showed on one side of the protest that does not convey the original size

  7. Carsten Agger

    Here’s something I found in the BBC’s coverage:

    “Journalist Reem Khalifa, a senior editor with the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat, says this time the protests are different.

    “Young Sunni and Shia are marching together and they are shouting ‘neither Sunni nor Shia but Bahraini’. We have not seen this before,'” she says.”

    Well done! I wish all the best to the people of Bahrain in their efforts to improve their government.

  8. Robok

    Awesome, this is all just awesome, I didn’t think it would go down this way, but you guys managed to stick together as one throughout this thing so far, I only hope you will be able to continue down this road and get rewarded with well-earned change and reforms that we’ve all been asking for since forever.

    Good luck everyone, and god bless this country!

  9. Joske

    I think Mahmoud A is living in a dream. The number of expats in Bahrain has nothing to do with “government’s sectarian policies” you moron!

    @ Uneasy Expat, is this idiot MA gets involved be very afraid and it’s this type of bigotry that will move Bahrain off the map.

    MA might just want that, leave him to wallow in his own self pity and then see how the Bahraini economy survive. Just look to your neighbors up north see how their revolution has worked, or maybe that’s what you want!

    1. Robok

      Most Shia believe that the government is naturalizing in order to marginalize them, which is a fair claim as I recall leaks confirming that a few years back.

      But I dislike his “You’re a fake, we’re the originals!” attitude, who gives a flying f%$@ if you didn’t think this would succeed but later joined them? Hell, Mahmoud’s attitude wasn’t uncalled for, I despised the sectarian posts from people on the web, but now their actions on the streets proved me and everyone else wrong, which is a pleasant surprise.

      I can’t believe he’s condemning Mahmoud for giving out badges that encourage UNITY! What sort of an idiot _wouldn’t_ want that especially at a time like this? And what goddamn agenda would anyone have giving out those badges? What possible gain can anyone get from them AT ALL?

    2. Mahmood A.

      You make an array of points that have nothing whatsoever to do with what I wrote, so I won’t even take the time to reply to them.

      You obviously need to do better research and ask around to see that Indians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Europeans (I don’t have anything against them, I am not a racist) getting put in managerial positions when there are Bahrainis that could have been promoted to those jobs is a systematic policy nationwide.

      1. Nhusain

        Most of those people mentioned get their positions on merit and because they are cheaper. Correct me if I’m wrong. Not taking away from the fact that measures need to be taken deal with the unemployment of the locals.

        1. Post
          1. Are they?

            Keep in mind that we cant generalise that easily. Within the pay scales there’s HUGE discrimination within nationalities and races. For example a British Charted Accountant would get paid significantly more than a Bahraini one, WHO IN TURN would get paid more than an Indian one. The scope of this issue goes well beyond Bahraini vs Exaptriate. Its the issue of a premium paid on westerners with the view that theyre doing us a ‘service’ and living in the ‘oppressive and regressive middle east nations’.

  10. Reader911

    The F1 is a joke and is a burden to Bahrain’s budget.

    About the naturalization, you should see the report published by Al-Wasat newspaper

    in one year, that is from 2010 to 2011, there are 30,600 new Bahraini’s !!!

    If we imagine this as “normal” birth rate, that means every day there are 85 new births!! 2000 new babies every month !!! and Bahraini population at max. is 600,000 only

    So this can only be the naturalisation of the security forces and trying to overcome the Shia population which at minimum are 70% of the Bahraini population.

  11. Louis

    Mahmood, on twitter you talk about how we dont need to remove the regime but instead need reform. Reform would include returning the land the regime stole. Do you really think the regime would be willing to do that?

    1. Post

      Of course they won’t be willing. But if a constitution is approved and a court of law instructed everyone who benefited from corruption to return the ill gotten gains, what choice would they have?

  12. Anonny

    What do we want? GRADUAL CHANGE!
    When do we want it? IN DUE COURSE!


  13. Post
  14. exclamation mark

    Is there any news about negotiations going on? And where did they reach?

    1. Post
  15. Steve the American

    I see lots of enthusiasm but few concrete tangible goals. You’re picking up speed, driving down the road, but what is your destination? What is your business plan? What exactly do you want your protest to accomplish? How about taking a day off from protesting and writing down the details of your dream Bahrain? Seems like what this movement needs is some thoughtful analysis, debate, and setting of goals.

  16. Steve the American

    Just came home here in Washington, DC to find the demonstration in Manama being played on CNN.

  17. Mahmood A.

    Apologies to anyone I offended including the owner of this blog, Mahmood. I’ve seen your updates on twitter and thank you for them.

    I cannot hold back the tears as I read about the deaths of 3 (some mentioning up to 5) protesters this morning while they were asleep. Some report that the army got involved in the attack.

    I pray that all Bahrainis stand side by side in protest against this uncalled for aggression by the government before more of our sons and brothers fall.

    1. Post
  18. Dan

    I remember several years ago when I used to frequent this blog. Several times I mentioned the “New World Order” and how they are trying to take over the world and install a one world totalitarian government. I voiced warnings of their goals and methods. I was pooh poohed for this.

    I returned to this blog when I heard there is social unrest in Bahrain to find out first hand what is going on. Thank you for posting about this.

    Now, as violence and turmoil grip the Middle East, including Bahrain, their plans are rapidly nearing completion. They are instigating chaos to lay the groundwork for their New World “Order.” Order out of chaos.

    It is unfortunate that various factions, often orchestrated by the NWO, are arguing over which brand of faith should prevail as a clear call to REASON, as opposed to faith, is what is necessary to re-establish peace and justice.

    I wish you the best, Mahmood.

  19. Desert Island Boy

    Ministry of Interior claims to Al-Jazeera that they attempts for dialog were unsuccessful before they raided Pearl Roundabout. At 4am local time.

    Really??? At 4am. Were they negotiating with alarm clocks?

    So now they’ve cleared Pearl Roundabout, and killed two more souls to boot. What’s the exit strategy?

  20. Desert Island Boy

    I just posted this on The Washington Post:

    Tunisia happened because the local potentate, Ben Ali alienated his own political base.

    Egypt happened because the Egyptian army decidedly stayed out of the fight. Additionally, you had a symbolic leader in Mohammed Al-Baradei who helped keep things focused.

    These were not the case in Bahrain. The ruling family has support where it counts, financially with the merchant class in Bahrain, and militarily through the regional alliance of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is in turn backed by the US. That’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a fact – The GCC was set-up in 1981 to counter threats by a newly militant and belligerent Iran.

    In the next few days you will see what the GCC was really meant for-protecting each other’s thrones. Last week’s threat was an Iranian nuclear missile. This week, it is a tiny island nations own people.

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