Thursday, March 08, 2012

Remembering Bahraini people

"Over the past year, as cameras turned away, the Bahraini regime carried out some of the worst atrocities in its history. Much like the brutal killing of Khaled Saeed under police torture, an incident that ignited the fury in the Egyptian street leading up to the 25 January revolution, systematic torture in Bahrain has become common place. Many protesters are beaten, jailed, tortured and continue to die in police custody. Two activists, Yousif Almuwali and Muntathar Fakhar, have died in custody this past January alone. Similar to Egyptian state security fabricating Khaled Saeed’s forensic examination report to make the claim that he had died because he swallowed a packet of marijuana, the Bahraini Ministry of Interior claims that those who were tortured to death in custody died of “sickle-cell anemia,” when they were actually healthy prior to their arrests.
Despite the similarities between the state security’s crackdown on protesters in Bahrain and other Arab uprisings, the former is often overlooked. The reason lies in how Arab media, specifically Gulf-owned satellite channels, have justified this crackdown on activists by inaccurately portraying the Bahraini uprising as an Iran-backed Shia insurrection against Sunni rulers. This is, of course, a misrepresentation of the whole story, since the uprising initially called for reforming the system of governance through establishing a constitutional monarchy. It was only after security forces killed and maimed people on the streets that the protesters’ demands naturally rose, as they did everywhere else, to eventually call for the downfall of the regime. But, of course, the foreign conspiracy card, manifested in the claim pertaining to Iran’s tampering in Bahrain’s domestic affairs, has been conveniently used by the regime to delegitimize the uprising. Arab tyrants, Mubarak among them, were quick to resort to this foreign threat propaganda in order to sustain their authoritarian rule." (thanks Ala`a')