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Domino effect continues… who’s after Egypt?

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With the collapse of dictatorial rule in Tunis and the running demonstrations in Egypt since 25 Jan with Friday the 28th culminating in the biggest series of demonstrations for decades, which other country could follow this popular domino effect? The regular culprits and the most shaky governments seem to be Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and Yemen, most of which witnessed significant demonstrations since the Tunisian popular uprising. Whether those demonstrations would be sustainable is anyone’s guess. The …

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From one extreme…

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Whenever something gets banned, people will find a way around it. Simple human nature. This is even more so if the entity doing the banning is a government. Tunis – yes, the laundry is being well and truly aired about that oh-so-stable country aplenty now – has not only banned the call to prayer on their official TV channels, but has also banned all religious programming on them too. Guess what happened immediately after their dictator …

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Mixed messages

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This is on Al-Wasat‘s front page this morning: On the right, the Crown Prince inaugurates the building of a low income community of 444 much needed houses in Malkiya, one of the Bahraini fishing villages. While on the left, a picture of two children of 12 years old sitting on a bench inside the court in which they were convicted of the crimes of possession of inflammable material, rioting and participating in an unlawful gathering. Twelve …

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An Arab Revolution! WTF!

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Tunisian Ex-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country Bye bye dictator. Good luck to Tunisia and Tunisians over the critical coming few weeks and months. Keep your head, for goodness sake and don’t turn it into a North African Iraq. You have an unbelievable chance to make things better and inculcate popular modern democracy. Don’t fall into the theocracy trap, it won’t do you good. One Iraq and one Iran is enough for …

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Torture in plain daylight, and in front of a sitting MP

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While the US Ambassador was assuring us that human rights is very important to the political leadership in this country in an interview released today in Alwasat, it’s ironic that in the very same issue a news article confirms the torture of a citizen in front of a sitting MP! قال رئيس كتلة الوفاق البرلمانية النائب عبدالجليل خليل إنه شهد تعذيب اثنين من الشباب الساعة السادسة …

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The Ambassador Speaketh

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Interesting interview in Al-Wasat this morning in which its editor-in-chief interviewed the departing American Ambassador to Bahrain Mr Adam Ereli. The interview had three axes: reflections on his tenure in Bahrain, Freedoms of Expression as exercised (or lack thereof) in Bahrain and the Internet in particular and lastly human rights. It’s surprising and refreshing to read some straight non-diplo talk once in a while, and this interview is largely that, though judging by some of the …

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“It’s a snafu, honest!”

BAHRAINI authorities yesterday claimed to have blocked a number of websites and blogs by mistake. The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) claimed a technical error resulted in blocking of several sites, but said in a statement it was fixing the problem. […] She said her site www.sillybahrainigirl.blogspot.com was blocked on Tuesday after being incorrectly categorised as pornographic, but she was told during a meeting at the IAA yesterday that it would soon be accessible. GDN Oh yes, …

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The efficacy of Internet filtering

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If there ever was a reason not to trust Internet filters, even from a world authority like McAfee in this case, then the blocking of my friend Amira Al-Hussaini’s website is a case in point. For some reason, the “smart filter”, which is purportedly used by most telcos in the Gulf, has mistakenly categorised her site as pornographic! How utterly ludicrous. What’s even more ridiculous is the government’s insistence on a big-brotherly attitude and its taking …

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Another site blocked in Bahrain

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With the strange blocking of Silly Bahraini Girl, I can no longer speculate as to what the government’s policy, standards or strategy employed other than a heavy handed approach in stifling speech and them hoping – or actually believing – that such methods actually work in this day and age. Amira Al-Hussaini’s blog’s content is varied but none of it threatens national security. Unless of course the escapades of Persian kittens are constituted as such! Amira …

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Confused about Human Rights Societies in Bahrain?

I was a bit confused reading the newspapers this morning regarding two human rights societies. You might’ve been too, so let me remove some of the confusion: There is the National Human Rights Commission which is different from the Bahrain Human Rights Society. The first is a government organisation established by Royal Decree and the BHRS on the other hand, is a registered and independent and highly regarded civic society which has long been involved in …

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