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.

Bahraini human rights activist speaking

This video, recorded in Italy, says about itself:

When I saw courage: Maryam Al Khawaja at TEDxLecce

2 February 2014

By Maryam Al Khawaja from Bahrain, in the Providence Journal in Rhode Island state in the USA:

Maryam Al Khawaja: Fighting my country’s rights abuses

Aug. 24, 2015 at 2:01 AM

Last September, I was sitting in a Bahraini jail. I had been arrested for my advocacy of human rights, which, over the past seven years, has led me to the halls of Congress, the United Nations and around the world in an effort to publicize the abuses committed by the Bahraini government and other repressive regimes in the region.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is one of the few U.S. leaders who wrote to the Bahraini government urging it to drop all the charges against me and to let me leave the country.

The government of Bahrain treats human rights defenders as criminals. In an attempt to silence the peaceful movement for democratic reform, the authorities harshly punish those of us who work to advance liberty, democracy and free expression with lengthy prison sentences and no due process. I was eventually released, but sentenced in absentia to a year in prison. I have been effectively exiled from my home. If I ever go back to Bahrain I could be sent straight to jail the moment I step foot off of the plane.

When Senator Whitehouse stood in my defense, it was an important statement of support and encouragement. I’d taught at Brown University in 2010 and still have close connections with the school. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., has also condemned government violence in Bahrain and has been outspoken about the need to protect peaceful protesters.

But there are many others in the U.S. government who simply don’t understand the situation in Bahrain. They focus mainly on Bahrain as a military ally, host of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, an ally against Iranian aggression, and falsely conclude that it is better for U.S. interests to avoid criticizing the regime for its awful human rights record. In June, the State Department decided to lift the ban on arms sales to Bahrain’s military that it had imposed in 2011, citing “meaningful progress on human rights reforms” that remain unseen. Reforms promised by the Bahraini government have yet to materialize, the jails are full of political prisoners and reports of torture in custody are rampant.

Bahrain, the smallest country in Middle East, had the largest pro-democracy demonstrations of all the Arab countries in early 2011. However, while Egypt removed its dictator, President Hosni Mubarak, and Tunisia managed to achieve a fledgling democracy, the Bahraini regime violently suppressed peaceful calls for change and continues to do so.

Human Rights First and other U.S.-based organizations have been documenting abuses by the Bahraini regime for several years. In a country ruled by a family where the king’s uncle has served as the un-elected prime minister for 43 years, the State Department is clearly wrong to claim there has been meaningful progress, and Congress is right to challenge the lifting of the ban.

Last week Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced legislation to ban the sale of tear gas, small weapons, ammunition, Humvees and other things that might be used against protesters until all the recommendations on reform made to the Bahraini government by international lawyers at the end of 2011 are fully implemented.

This is a smart move and an important opportunity for Senators Whitehouse and Reed to engage on a larger scale on human rights issues in Bahrain. By signing onto the bill, S.2009, they can help to persuade the government of Bahrain to reform, while showing that the United States won’t reward human rights abuses with weapons. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., has said he will introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives, which also gives Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, both Rhode Island Democrats, the chance to support this ban.

I know from my time in jail, and from years of documenting unfair trials, arbitrary arrests and torture in Bahrain, that the regime needs more than gentle encouragement to reform. There must be consequences for its criminal behavior, and Rhode Island’s members of Congress now have the chance to do something about it. I hope they will do the right thing and continue to stand up for Bahrainis’ achieving their rights.

Maryam Al Khawaja, a former Brown University teaching assistant, is co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights and a Bahraini human rights defender.

Saudi Arabian repression in 2011

This 2015 video is called The Indian Maid Who Had Her Arm Chopped Off In Saudi Arabia.

5 December 2011: A report by human rights organization Amnesty International records the wave of repression unleashed by Saudi authorities in response to the “Arab Spring” uprisings: here.

Yemen dictatorship’s crimes should be investigated, November 2011


Nobel laureate Tawakkul Karman urges probe of Yemeni dictatorship’s crackdown on dissent: here.

United Arab Emirates repression in November 2011

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates, five pro-democracy Internet activists have been sentenced to prison sentences between two and three years for criticizing the absolute monarchy: here.

Bahraini pro-democracy demonstration in London, 2011

This video is called Australian family happily taking part in 9 March [2012] Bahrain pro-democracy demonstration.

On 26 November 2011 in London, England, Bahrainis demonstrated against the dictatorship in their country.

The march went to the embassies of Saudi Arabia and the United States (both countries have soldiers in Bahrain). The demonstrators also stopped at the embassy of Egypt to express solidarity with pro-democracy Egyptians.

Virginity test” ruling in Egypt this Tuesday: here.

The London demonstration was especially against death penalties for three Bahraini democrats, convicted by military courts in show trials.

Tunisian solidarity with Egyptian democrats, 2011

This 2011 video from Egypt says about itself:

Egyptian Body Politic: Adaptation of #Tahrir

from Laila Shereen

AN ANIMATED ADAPTATION OF “The Dream” by Alaa Abd El-Fattah, translated by Lina Attalah, 2011. Voice narration by VJ Um Amel.

A SOUNDTRACK REMIX OF “Immortal Egypt Revolution Dub” by DJ Zhao, “Amble ambience” by VJ Um Amel, KPCC radio interview of VJ Um Amel on November 23, 2011, and voice overs.

A VISUAL REMIX OF YouTube videos, Twitter data, R-Shief’s visualizations of 1.25 million tweets on #Tahrir over 23 days in November, and 1.23 million tweets on #NOSCAF over the same date range. Cartoon by Carlos Latuff, “in honour of martyr Shehab Ahmed, killed by SCAF forces in #Nov20″.

In Tunisia, demonstrators express solidarity with Egyptian democrats, attacked by the pro-United States military junta.

Egyptian workers’ solidarity with Tahrir Square: here.