Bahrain’s Arab Spring, new book

This video says about itself:

The Revolt That Never Went Away — Bahrain: An Inconvenient Uprising

10 November 2014

Like many countries in the Middle East and beyond, Bahrain erupted with anti-authoritarian protests in 2011 when the Arab Spring took the region and many of its repressive leaders by surprise.

While Arab Spring uprisings found favor with many in the West, unfortunately for the people of Bahrain, their own revolution was largely forgotten. But it never went away — for three years, near-nightly protests have been brutally quashed by militarized security forces.

Earlier this year, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson travelled to London to speak with Nabeel Rajab, the unofficial leader of Bahrain’s uprising, and then headed undercover to Bahrain, where he met activists, protestors, grieving parents, and alleged torture victims.

Check out “Bahrain’s Human Rights Activist Faces Jail Time — for a Tweet” – here.

Watch “The VICE News Interview: Abdullah Elshamy” – here.

By Andrew Murray in Britain:

Timely reminder of Arab Spring‘s forgotten casualty

Thursday 14th January 2016

Bahrain’s Uprising

Edited by Ala’a Shehabi and Marc Owen Jones

(Zed Books, £18.99)

BAHRAIN, where more than anywhere else along the Persian Gulf the people rose up against their regime to assert their democratic and human rights, is the forgotten calamity of the Arab spring.

They were met by rigid repression on the part of the ruling Khalifa family.

But behind the Bahraini dictators stood still more potent opponents of democratic advance.

The Saudi tyranny sent its armed forces across the causeway connecting the two states to provide the military coup de grace to the democratic movement.

And then there is the British government. Under successive imperialist foreign secretaries William Hague and the incumbent Philip Hammond, every nerve has been strained to support the Khalifa regime and to rehabilitate its reputation as speedily as possible after the 2011 suppression of the people’s uprising.

British support is far more than diplomatic. A Scotland Yard policeman John Yates, who loomed large and obtuse in the Murdoch phone-hacking saga, has been dispatched to advise the Bahraini authorities on policing techniques.

The British navy has gone “east of Suez” by reopening its Bahraini base this year. And the present employment minister Priti Patel was a PR shill for the regime before entering Parliament.

As Hammond publicly assured the Bahraini ruler 12 months ago: “Your security is our security, your prosperity is our prosperity, your stability is our stability.” That is indeed the policy Britain has been following towards the notional rulers — marionettes, more realistically — of this Gulf statelet for the past 200 years. He could have added: “Your torturers are, in fact, our torturers.”

For Bahrain is ruled by terror and torture, as this excellent collection of articles on the country’s uprising for freedom and its repression amply exposes. Democracy activists are routinely tortured, sometimes to death, and almost all political activity crushed.

This is justified on the sectarian grounds that because most of Bahrain’s people are Shi’ite Muslim they are, unlike its Sunni ruling family, therefore susceptible to Iranian influence.

In fact, the sectarian game being stoked up across the Middle East by Saudi Arabia, with US acquiescence, finds little echo in Bahrain. The 2011 movement was explicitly non-sectarian, aiming to unite all behind democratic demands. No more was it “terrorist,” the catch-all smear of imperialism and its stooges to cover any and every movement for liberation in the region.

Bahrain’s Uprising details the aspirations and activities of the uprising which, as elsewhere during the Arab spring, aroused so much hope. It also outlines the continuing work being done, particularly among the large Bahraini exile community in Britain, to keep those hopes alive and maintain pressure on the regime.

Essays detail the history of British neocolonial supervision of Bahrain — which has really not changed essentially down the years — and the history of brutal policing there, generally under the watchful eye of Scotland Yard and other foreign experts.

This book is to be recommended as an introduction and guide to the struggle for freedom in Bahrain, one which the progressive movement in Britain has a particular responsibility to embrace and support. Democracy and human rights will come to the suffering people of Bahrain through the defeat of British imperialism.

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