In Bahrain, the absolute monarchical regime uses lethal teargas and guns against people demonstrating for democracy, injuring and killing them. It jails human rights activists for twitter messages or for poems. It jails doctors for treating injured people. It jails small children. Regime agents, including royal family princes and princesses, torture prisoners of conscience.
Nevertheless, the pro-dictatorship Gulf Daily News proclaims that there is “freedom” in Bahrain. I might say that is so obviously a lie that I don’t have to mention it.
However, today the Gulf Daily News mentions a peculiar kind of freedom in Bahrain. They call it “economic freedom”.
What kind of freedom might that be? The “freedom from want”, one of the “four freedoms“, proclaimed by United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and recognized in international law? The right of people to decent housing (not in a car, or in a torture cell, like in Bahrain, but in a home), to a decent overall standard of living? Workers’ rights? Small businesspeople’s rights not to be strangled to death by multinational corporations?
No, it turns out that that kind of “economic freedom” basically does not exist in Bahrain; and the Gulf Daily News does not mean that kind of “economic freedom”. Bahrain is notorious as a center of forced prostitution and other forced labour. Workers get jailed as “runaways” for trying to transfer from a boss who treats them badly to another business.
The kind of “economic freedom” which the Gulf Daily News means, and which the Thatcherist foreign think tanks on which they base themselves mean, is not freedom for people, but freedom for big corporations. And corporations are not people (though small cliques of billionaires profit from them). In Bahrain, “freedom” for, mainly foreign, big oil, big banking and other corporations and for rich royal family members goes hand in hand with oppression of people.
From the Gulf Daily News in Bahrain:
Bahrain ‘most economically free in Mena region’
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2012
MANAMA: Bahrain is the most economically free nation in the Middle East and North Africa region, and the seventh freest economy in the world.
This was revealed in the Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report, published by the Fraser Institute, a leading international think-tank.
The index measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. Bahrain achieved an overall score of 7.94 out of 10, marking it ahead of the US and Japan. …
So, some more dictatorships with high scores on “freedom” for corporations and rich local monarchs.
Earlier this year, Bahrain was ranked first in the Middle East and 12th place worldwide in the 2012 Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index.
So, Mr Phone Hacking and Mr Burglary Rupert Murdoch of the
War Street Wall Street Journal also thanks the absolute monarchy of Bahrain for “freedom” for people like him, and unfreedom for everyone else.
Bahrain: UN human rights review must spur action not hollow pledges: here.