Tag Archives activism

Martyr’s Day

Dec 17th is quite contentious in Bahrain, on one side it has been recently declared as Accession Day celebrating His Majesty’s accession to the throne, while on the other activists chose it to celebrate and commemorate the tens of martyrs who dearly laid down their lives in order to demand parliamentary life and democracy in Bahrain.

I believe that both occasions are important to inculcate the spirit of Nationalism which is very important to the country as a whole as there are quite a few things which are dividing us rather than bringing us together. However, unfortunately the rulers regard this clash as an affront to their authority, which of course does not land very happily with the other side who look at this opposition as a complete disregard for the lives wrongly lost under torture or murder by the authorities.

A very explosive mix and as both side are adamant to “win” rather than find accommodation, or rather, why the rulers do not recognise that celebrating those who did lose their lives for the country and its people is the ultimate thing they can do to bring the people of Bahrain together and increase the respect they would have for the rulers is beyond me. No country exists in the world whose people did not sacrifice dearly to gain and keep their freedoms. Those countries not only celebrate those lost lives, but canonise them by naming streets, public buildings, universities and even put their images on their currency to remind people of those sacrifices and through that, get people to become truly nationalistic and increase their love they have for their countries.

We are quite a way away from those principals in Bahrain, what we have instead is the refusal of the authorities to allow a peaceful demonstration to celebrate those martyrs and immortalise them, even though the organisers complied with all the legal requirements to do so. The organisers obviously thought that this refusal is unconstitutional and that their cause is noble; hence, they just wanted to go ahead with their march starting at 3pm this afternoon at Ras Rumman mosque in Manama. That, would have been on the authorities dead bodies, and fights between riot police and demonstrators ensued in this rather charged atmosphere of Bandargate, the alleged fraudulent elections, and the Al-Wefaq boycott of the inaugural parliamentary session.

The demonstrators retreated and declared that they will regroup and launch the demo this time from Al-Khawajah Mosque in Manama after Maghreb prayers at 6pm. That was not to be, and the demonstrators were prepared for that eventuality and disbursed to various places in Bahrain to demonstrate in smaller groups. Chaos continued to ensue because of both sides just won’t give ground, the most skirmishes happening as I write this are in both Sanabis and Daih, both very militant areas neighbouring Dana and Bahrain malls.

The last I heard is that there are hundreds of riot police engaged right now with hundreds of demonstrators by using rubber bullets and tear gas in copious quantities.

What’s the end result?

It’s becoming like a scratched record now; they will be a lot of people hurt, emotionally and physically, there is going to be even more militancy because people are not allowed to show their respect for their martyrs, the authorities will be even more belligerent and arrest quite a few kids and throw them in prison because of them contravening the Gatherings and Assembly Law passed by our dear departed parliament of 2002, and the whole of Bahrain will continue to reel in the aftermath of this chaos for quite a few months to come.

What should happen, as far as I am concerned is rather simple:

    1. Partnership. This should be the operative word in the minds of both the rulers and the ruled. Thinking always of “them and us” does not help this country and history proved this time and again.
    2. For a country to move forward, its history must be celebrated and resurrected, or at least respected and learnt from. There is nothing wrong with celebrating and commemorating the lives of our martyrs. They paid for our current freedom with their very lives. Us acknowledging them is the very least that we, the people and the authorities can do.

There must be a mutually beneficial and agreeable way forward for both “warring” parties, because carrying on with the “us and them” mentality is stupid, tiring and detrimental.

Get with the program, both sides. Please. For the sake of Bahrain.


Flashmobs, Saudi Style

Not accepting defeat, the extremists became violent, started beating the actors and whoever stood between them and between achieving their goal of destroying the night, including audiences and students.

Gun shots in the air, the security officer decided put an end to this mess and bring back order.
more on SaudiSphere

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what is awaiting Bahrain.

Prepare yourselves.


Voldemort demo tomorrow

The permit has apparently been given, probably under the duress of the international press and media presence in Bahrain to cover the elections, and in spite of Ahdeya Ahmed‘s affirmation that we do not have any sectarian problems in Bahrain, a vast swathe of political activists and organisations have called for a demonstration tomorrow afternoon to demand a thorough and independent investigation into the Bandargate affair to take place from the Ras Rumman mosque in Manama at 3pm.

Good luck guys, you’re doing the right thing.


Bahrain re-introduces arrests of political activists

Dr. Mohammed Saeed Mattar - detained by Bahraini security due to his political activism in Nov 06Everybody’s hope, the king’s reform program’s success, is hanging in the balance due to various issues shaking Bahrain. What has started in 2001 with king Hamad releasing all prisoners of conscience, and his affirmation that this will never happen again in Bahrain, one which will hold the rule of law and its fair application at the head of its priorities, is about to come crashing around us, signaling the end of the belief in such reforms.

The various things happening here are not helping this country and its people in the slightest; the parliamentary elections gerrymandering attempts, the direct and indirect support extremist Salafis and other Islamists are getting from the government against national figures, the iniquitous distribution of land, wealth, opportunities and electoral districts, the marginalisation of the Shi’a, the abject refusal of the government and the ruling family to face the consequences of the Bandargate scandal or even honestly initiate a thorough and impartial investigation into its claims, the continuation of those implicated in the scandal to continue to roam the Earth with impunity and their continuing employment in sensitive government positions unmolested, the restrictions exerted by law on freedoms of speech and assembly, the closure and/or blockage of websites, and various other ills which have surfaced over the last four years.

Now we get to know that not one, but two Bahrainis have been detained (Arabic) by the security forces under the guise of “incitement and distribution of illegal pamphlets calling for an unauthorised demonstration.” Both appear to belong to the Haqq splinter opposition movement who are boycotting the forthcoming elections.

The demonstration refers of course to the one announced by political activists a few days ago to demonstrate against the government not opening an investigation into the Bandargate scandal this afternoon in Manama.

This further strengthens my belief that the government is trying to hide facts, or rather, acknowledges the fact that it has been caught with its pants down and are desperate now to cover up by using force, threats of force, coercion and that infamous Press & Publications Law of 2002 to do so.

Gentlemen, this is not how things are resolved.

Release Dr. Mohammed Saeed Mattar and his compatriot immediately!

update [email protected]: a Free Mohammed site has been started. Go there please for latest info. The site doesn’t work very well in FireFox, but should work ok with IE. That’s stupid “Jeeran” for you. The other person detained is one Hussain Abdul Aziz Al Habshi.


Possible fine souvenirs to be given away in Manama tomorrow

Bahrain police brutality effectsBut don’t hold me to the promise, you need to go there and find out yourself, who knows, you might be lucky to get a few lasting souvenirs like those shown in the picture… and that is due to what exactly?

Fear and reprisal for holding a demonstration demanding action into the Bandargate affair.

Rally for investigation into Bandargate scandal

Fear of violent attack by anti-riot police

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

A group of Political and human rights activists as well as religious figures issued a public call yesterday for Bahrainis to participate in a demonstration calling for an investigation into the Bandargate scandal. Two months have passed since a former advisor to the Bahraini government issued a 214-page report revealing allegations that some high government officials have been conspiring to rig next week’s parliamentary elections. Yet the government has remained silent on the issue, refusing to launch an investigation or even comment on the validity of the allegations. Therefore, many figures and activists are organizing a public demonstration to insist that the government investigate the scandal. There are fears that the government may use violence to prevent it from going ahead, so we request local and international media and rights organizations to monitor the demonstration.

The rally will commence at 3pm on Friday, November 17th near Ras Al-Rumman mosque in the Capital Manama, heading towards the Financial Harbour.


Release Abdelkareem Soliman

Abdulkareem SulaimanAbdelkareem Nabil Soliman is a 22-year-old Egyptian blogger who has been arrested by authorities in Alexandria, Egypt.

Abdelkareem first received international attention in early 2006 when he was kicked out of Al Azhar University for posts he wrote on his blog. During that first incident, he was detained by police but eventually released. Despite his first arrest, he has continued to speak his mind on women’s rights, religious freedom, and academic freedom.

On November 6, Abdelkareem was again interrogated over his blogposts. A human rights lawyer from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information was present to represent Abdelkareem. But the police still decided to arrest him.

Please sign the petition directed to the relevant Egyptian authorities to demand Abdelkareem’s immediate release.

A “FreeKareem.org site has been created to act as a central point to disperse information about Kareem’s case.

Thank you very much for supporting the freedom of speech in the Middle East.


Step 2: Take Mahmood Al-Yousif to court


And now you know what value it is to be an anonymous coward in this country, you will always be safe. But call a spade a spade, let people know your name, your address, your contact details, and criticize in the open and what do you get? You get dragged to court.

This is the value of being a concerned citizen.

This is the value of being courageous enough to stand behind your words and your criticisms.

In this country, it seems that the good old ’90s and underground political activism, or activism of any kind, is the only thing to do.

But come out in the open and you get this thrown at you.

Will YOU let this happen?


Authorities block access to influential blog covering Bandargate scandal

Posted on

Access to one of Bahrain’s most influential blogs, http://mahmood.tv, which openly criticises government and parliament members and has of late being covering the “Bandargate” scandal currently shaking the country, was blocked yesterday.

The blog’s author, Mahmood Al-Yousif, has nonetheless managed to move it to a new address, http://alyousif.tv/, which has not yet been blocked. The authorities already blocked several news websites on 26 October in a wave of censorship taking place less than a month before parliamentary elections.

In RSF’s latest ranking of press freedom, Bahrein was ranked 111th out of 168 countries.
Reporters sans frontieres 30 Oct, ’06