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Is the #DurazSiege at an end?

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I woke up with a start two or three times last night and couldn’t figure out why…. Then it dawned on me. The quiet. No police helicopters buzzing overhead at low altitude. In the vicinity of Duraz, we see and hear helicopters flying at relatively low altitude day and night. Every single day since the Duraz Siege started almost a year ago exactly. Last night, I think, was the first time in a year that we …

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Shaikh Isa Qasim Sentenced. Now what?

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After more than a year or toing and froing, Shaikh Isa Qasim, Hussain Alqassab and Mirza Aldurazi get a suspended sentence of one year in jail, three years probation, the appropriation of over BD 3 million collected as “khums” – a religious tax of 20% of surplus profits given by followers of the Shia tradition in alms to be distributed to the poor via vouched for clerics – and the appropriation also of two properties registered …

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No Tolerance for Free Press or Thought

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Bahrain is not unique in it’s depressed ranking on the just released RSF Press Freedom Index. Many have suffered greatly depressed rankings due to opportunistic and knee-jerk reaction to malleable definitions of terrorism, readily penalising the press, photojournalists, bloggers and anyone with a dissenting voice. This year, Middle Eastern countries have further moved down the index and now occupy the bottom of the rankings. This is no surprise, as barely a day goes by without someone …

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DurazSiege True Stories: Day 301

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I was barred from walking through the checkpoint at Oxygen Gym to my house which is just 300 meters away last night due to the ongoing #DurazSiege. The policeman insisted that it is closed for all traffic, including pedestrians, and I have to go to the main checkpoint at the entrance of Avenue 36. That is a roundabout walk of about 3km to gain entrance to the besieged area. Where is the sanity in this? Explaining …

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False starts are common. Is this another one?

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Something’s up. I – like the majority of Bahrainis – have become pessimistic and always looking for hidden meanings. This latest feeling descended on me when I heard that a staunch loyalist MP invited the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Alhussein to come to Bahrain to personally investigate the situation here and thus be assured that everything is good and that reports of repression are exaggerated. This was swiftly followed up by …

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How to deal with hate

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Here’s a small example of how two brave women took it upon themselves to do the right thing and stood up to a hateful Islamophobe. They give us a clear and good example of how to deal with hate:Both the racist and the young woman were customers at this ice-cream parlour. But the women chose to return the man’s money and throw him out of their shop. “If you can’t be nice, we don’t want …

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The Hostility of the Middle East to Freedom of Expression

Here’s a riddle: if you heard the following, which country of region or the world would immediately jump up at you? A female artist and activist serving a 12-year prison sentence is facing additional charges, including “indecent conduct,” after shaking her male lawyer’s hand. South America? China? Belarus? Georgia? USA? No. I bet the region that popped up in your mind was the Middle East. As to the specific country, it most probably was either Saudi …

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Pop Quiz: How Sectarian are You?

How sectarian are you, is a question that I’ve often thought of and produced a few traits that might indicate the level of sectarianism in a person. A recent article by Ghanim Alnajjar in Alwasat newspaper; however, has written a good comprehensive list which could be used to judge the level of a person’s sectarianism much better than my attempts. Here’s my translation. Feel free to take the test and indicate your score in the comments. …

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The Death of Arab Consciousness 

So much unnecessary loss of life. At the root of it, one group believes they and only they are right. The others are worthless creatures who should be exterminated. Those people, who I believe fueled war and strife in Syria and elsewhese will not be moved by the horrible images and their conscience one single iota, that is, if their conscience existed in the first place. In fact, they’ll find a way to justify the exodus, …

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