From the Washington Post in the USA:
By Marc Fisher, Wednesday, December 21, 3:11 AM
At the dawn of the first winter after the Arab Spring, Bahrain is an island of sadness. Every few minutes, U.S.-made Apache helicopters buzz Rula al-Saffar’s suburban walled community, a collection of pleasant, sand-colored stucco houses that is home to teachers, engineers, nurses and other middle-class families. Black armored vehicles filled with commandos stand guard at checkpoints along quiet lanes.
On a bucolic December morning, sun-drenched and warm, Saffar steers her Mazda SUV past the evidence of last night’s confrontations — fresh graffiti denouncing the king; spent tear-gas canisters fired at the teenagers who take to the streets in protest each night.
Saffar, 49, is a petite nurse who spent 18 years working at a Dallas hospital and came home to Bahrain with more than a little Texas twang to her English. She wears a brave smile with her jeans and favorite Christmas shirt from Dallas, but any day now, the security police could show up to take her away. Her crimes, best she can tell, were to join multitudes of Bahrainis who demonstrated for democracy early this year and then to treat protesters injured by police and military forces.
The Arab Spring arrived in this island nation with picnics and parades. Saffar, who works at the country’s biggest hospital, reveled in “the beauty of the Pearl Roundabout,” a reference to those days in February and March when tens of thousands — young and old; rich, poor and in between — gathered at the vast traffic circle in the center of the capital, Manama, encouraged by their own crown prince, who had declared protests a worthy expression of democracy.