BAHRAIN/Saudi Arabia: Who is the Gatekeeper?

 

 

The following is a “ground truth” report which American Bedu has been given permission to share.  This info is extracted from an email received the evening of 18 February (local Bahraini time) of an individual who is a personal friend of American Bedu, an individual who after working in Saudi Arabia, now works in Bahrain.  Not everyone may be able to view coverage of events taking place in Bahrain or only see and read snippets and snapshots.  My friend is on site and sharing first hand views and perspectives.

On Sun we received an Embassy warning via email about possible disturbances on Sun eve and Mon 14th. Mon was fairly quiet, we did see some black smoke whilst passing one village, but that was all. Of course Mon eve we got news of the first death – a relative of a friend of mine, so that brought it home right away. Tues was a public holiday and peaceful protests were planned so we stayed home. News went round of the second death at the funeral of the first killed, which was alarming. However the protests remained peaceful by all accounts. Wednesday seemed to be “life as normal” with almost a kind of Woodstock (although an Islamic version – segregated areas for men and women in places, even segregated sleeping areas, some areas where families could be together) atmosphere surrounding the ‘camp’ at Pearl Roundabout. We all went to work. Some colleagues had been at the Pearl Roundabout the night before and showed pics of singing and signs reading “No Shia, No Sunni, Just Bahrainis”, everyone draped in Bahraini flags and bringing their kids. The mood was optimistic and inspired – educated people asking for more say in their govt, a separation between public and private funds in govt, with public money going back into public infrastructure. Strong support for the king and govt in general, merely a request for more reforms. Similarly pics of the funeral on Tues morning featured mostly people carrying signs in Arabic saying “Peace, Peace, Peace”. A very very strong emphasis on peaceful protest, with internal control over those who tried to make things more aggressive.

What was most impressive was the non-sectarian nature of the protests. Many pictures of Shia and Sunni praying together at Pearl Roundabout and a strong emphasis on the “We are All Bahrainis” slogan. Several prominent Sunni liberal politicians were reportedly present at the Roundabout. What was described to me (and shown on mobile phone videos filmed by colleagues) was a gentle scene of families bringing their kids to a historic occasion, hopeful that their reasonable requests would be heard. I am sure that a rougher element was also present somewhere as they almost always are, but they were not in any way representative of the overall picture.

Everyone seemed to be heading back to the Pearl Roundabout on Wed afternoon and the plan for Thurs was for people to gather there wearing Red and White and waving Bahraini flags. Instead there was what can only be described as the Night of Horror, when the families camping at the roundabout were attacked in their sleep. I know someone who lives in flats overlooking the Pearl Roundabout and who has been traumatised by what she saw that night before she managed to escape from her building just after dawn. I’m sure many people have seen the news footage. Reputable international news correspondents present at the Roundabout that night make a nonsense of the ‘official version’ of events. This was a swift and brutal attack on mostly sleeping peaceful people. More than 300 people were treated at the main hospital, at least 4 deaths, although there are stories of refrigerated trucks taking away many more bodies and unofficial counts of “missing” people stand at around 60. Doctors and nurses were traumatised by what they saw. Some were attacked and severely beaten whilst trying to tend to injured at the Roundabout. Ambulances were banned from entering the area of the Roundabout, hindering treatment of the injured. Later in the morning medical staff started their own protest against the Ministry of Health in retaliation for what they had experienced that night.

Many protestors reconvened at the hospital in support of injured friends and relatives. I ventured out that morning in a state of high alertness, round the corner to the local small supermarket to stock up on tinned food and other supplies, and join the queues of expats doing the same. It was clear that this was going to be bad and long-term. Later footage of tanks and armoured vehicles locking down the CBD confirmed this impression. It is unbelievable that this is Bahrain. Of course the military is not comprised of Bahraini citizens and it is recognised in the international media that the ordnance displayed is more than is possessed by the Bahraini army. We all know that the Saudi causeway was closed for a while early on Thurs morning whilst “heavy vehicles” were crossing. From at least Wed all people crossing the causeway were even more carefully checked than usual and only certain nationalities/groups were allowed to cross.

Thurs was relatively quiet as the military cordoned off the central city and people dealt with the shock of the night before. Word went out of a pro-govt rally planned for the “Al Fateh” (“The Conqueror” – the Khalifa who conquered Bahrain in 1783) Mosque on Friday after Juma’a prayer. Of course Friday morning would see the funeral of the 4 killed on Thurs morning. The Embassy updated its warning to be careful and take heed of local road closures and advice, exercise “extreme caution and high security alertness” and avoid trouble spots if at all possible, preferably stay home.

Police and military stayed away from the Friday morning funerals, the rally went ahead as planned at midday. People heading away from the mosque were carrying thobes and Bahraini flags, which seemed to have been handed out at the mosque. Later footage on Bahrain TV showed a mix of pro-govt Sunni Bahrainis and many who seemed to be Indian or Pakistani in the crowd of people holding pictures of the king and other royals and chanting loyalist slogans. I commented on this whilst watching at home and later saw other people had Tweeted the same thing on the web. In the late afternoon the local Shia village, who have always been very quiet and peaceful and renowned for being particularly non-political, staged a protest. The streets filled with mostly women holding placards and chanting something like “the blood of Bahrainis stains our soil”.

Later news arrived that protestors in other villages were being fired on with live rounds and tear gas. Some protestors headed to the Pearl Roundabout, where as I type, what can only be described as a massacre seems to be taking place. There is no pretense at using anything other than live rounds against the unarmed protestors this time. The main hospital reports the same obstrucution of ambulances as on Thurs morning as well as a predominance of head wounds and the use of live rounds. The hospital itself has been under attack and tear gas used there as well. Some villages are still under attack.

It does not appear that this will end in anything less than a complete bloodbath or genocide. People now seem to be content to march knowingly to their deaths, although many have reported being too afraid to venture out.

It is surreal and impossible to believe that this is Bahrain!! This has always been such a happy, peaceful, friendly country! I think everyone who knows Bahrain is shocked and horrified to the core. What has happened here is beyond inexcuseable.

I weep for everyone involved in this from the top to the bottom. What is happening scars the humanity of everyone involved. Something has been lost in Bahrain, that I fear may never be re-found, it may be innocence, it may be trust, it may be security, but something large and important is gone.

 

American Bedu has the following questions for discussion:  What do these events mean for the future of Bahrain and its strategic neighbor, Saudi Arabia?  How should America respond given that the U.S. 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain?  How can America respond where its interests are protected yet not harm or jeapordize the relationship with Saudi Arabia?  Is Saudi Arabia now the Gatekeeper for peace in the GCC?  Could Saudi Arabia and Kuwait be the next countries with demonstrations and uprising of its people? Are the protests and uprisings in the Middle East and Africa prophecy in action? What is Iran going to do?  How might Israel respond to present uprisings and unrest?

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57 Responses

  1. “What do these events mean for the future of Bahrain and its strategic neighbor, Saudi Arabia”?

    The beginning of the end of the illegitimate and ruthless nomadic chieftains.

  2. Quote: “non-sectarian”? Good, may it stay that way!

    Quote: “It does not appear that this will end in anything less than a complete bloodbath” Not good!

    The issue is that the government (King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa) crossed the line when he let his goons kill his own people. This means it is all or nothing.

    I guess the guy’s title says it all – al Khalifa – and this for a piece of ground hardly bigger than a park in Phoenix. What presumption and vanity!

  3. I was very sad to read about and see video from Bahrain today. Thank you for this report.

  4. “Of course the military is not comprised of Bahraini citizens and it is recognised in the international media that the ordnance displayed is more than is possessed by the Bahraini army.”

    Bahrain has always used foreigners to oppress its people. The government is supported by only a small minority so such actions is required to keep control. For anyone interested look up the name Colonel Ian Henderson (otherwise known as the butcher of Bahrain). A British former officer who ran the security services of the country for over 30 years and tortured its people to stop them from uprising.

    The Bahrainees had suffered crack downs from their government in the past resulting in many deaths, mass arrests and torture. The difference this time is the world is watching and Western governments cannot continue their policy of support for such ill treatment. The reputation of the system has suffered a strong blow and its legitimacy is in question.

  5. This is so surreal and scary! And to think I was just in Bahrain with my husband 2 weeks ago. Everything seemed normal and everyone just living their normal daily lives. May Allah (SWT) bless all the innocent lives lost with jenna and give ajr and patience to their families.

    Thank you for posting this information.

  6. What amazes me is that with the sheer amount of footage showing precisely what the govt is doing to the protestors (shooting into crowds without warning…live ammunition…etc etc) the local papers and tv are STILL trying to put forth a completely corrupt version of whats going on.

    Really? Is that still the only option corrupt arab regimes can do when the shit hits the fan…cover it with perfume and call it “youths gone wild”…Im disgusted with the country for reasons Ive mentioned in the past…but this is something else all together.

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karen, toot. toot said: Toot featured: BAHRAIN/Saudi Arabia: Who is the Gatekeeper? http://bit.ly/iiqPhy […]

  8. I am an American living in Bahrain with my husband and to say that I am shocked is an understatement. I have not seen the solidarity that your friend speaks of when it comes to Shi’a and Sunni. All I see is a divide…a HUGE DIVIDE. I watch the state run TV and hear the “Police side of the story” from friends/family members and I just shake my head. Maybe being from the United States I realize that some Governments are corrupt. It seems some people here, my husband included, feel the inherent urge to support this Government that insists on shooting live ammunition at its own people. Crazy…

    With that being said, on the flip side of things…The Shi’a were warned yesterday, by the crazy people that shot them the day before, NOT TO GO TO PEARL ROUNDABOUT…..This was Friday evening. They were shot at. I think they were trying to prove a point but at what point to you cross over to insane? You have people ready and willing to shoot you without hesitation and yet you still embark on them? Cameras in hand.

    **Big Sigh…. I cant wait to go back to the US next week for a vacation. This place is just too much right now..

  9. @Ayah, ‘They were shot at. I think they were trying to prove a point but at what point to you cross over to insane? You have people ready and willing to shoot you without hesitation and yet you still embark on them? Cameras in hand. ‘

    I believe they call that ‘bravery’. You will find that a common denominator in most successful revolutions. Cowards do not deserve freedom. 😉

  10. I do not know what to say but I ponder why did not these, so thought of as, poor people raise their hand to be seen before! why did not they raise their voice to be heard before! why now! Do not even tell me that they were encouraged by what just happened in Tunisia and Egypt because this attitude does not prove anything but meekness. This philosophy of the “mob” is not civil at all. It is a very cheap, deceptive, coward attitude.
    If they were true no matter how much they claim they suffer, they would’ve done it the right way. They are not denied. They have their piece of the cake as well as their compatriots. I mean their voice is heard if they just spoke instead of scheming and playing the role of the innocent sheep, they got tongues! They got hands! Brains!! If they just followed their common sense, if they got any, they would’ve followed the rules and achieved so much in peace instead of the mob and all it entails!
    What do you think the mob entails but anarchy, specially when the mob is nothing but a mob! If they cannot locate their rights, they got a king who would show them the right path to their rights and it is for sure they way they, the mob, choose it.
    I really feel sorry for them! Pathetic!
    I just pray that our brothers here are much enlightened, aware, and educated so they won’t fall in the same prank.
    I know what I know, what I know is more than you think and what you think is very important but not as much as the truth which is the most valuable currency in all times.

  11. Also Ayah, you should be thankful to all those insane people that gave you a sane place to go to when living abroad gets to be ‘just too much’.

  12. Reemie…these protests did not just spring from nowhere. Shiias have long been discriminated against in Bahrain. This is a KNOWN fact…not something they invented or trumped up as cause for this round of protests.

    And calling this whole event of chaotic blood shed and horror a “prank” …well…I have no words to describe how I feel about your use of that particular word. sheesh

  13. I was not at all “shocked to the core” to hear about this. And given the oppression so many Bahraini’s have been under it was only a matter of time. Besides which it was all over the social media that protests were being planned for mid- February.

    Any government that fires live ammo at it’s own people for peaceful protest deserve what they get.

    I hope Saudi authorities learn from what is happening and stop oppressing their own population so severly and take serious steps to curb the corruption and lift the unneccessary restrictions on their people. There have been two protest here already- one in Jeddah and one in Riyadth that have had little to no press coverage and I have read on blogs they are gearing up for Bahrain/Egypt style ones in March.

    I hope the rulers here take concrete steps to change things before it gets ugly. And if they merely talk no one will believe them. It has to be concrete.

  14. These are very critical times. I’m waiting to hear about the anticipated appearance of King Abdullah and what he has to say.

  15. @Reemie,

    “so thought of as, poor people raise their hand to be seen before! why did not they raise their voice to be heard before! why now!”

    “I know what I know, what I know is more than you think and what you think is very important but not as much as the truth which is the most valuable currency in all times.”

    You claim knowledge, but you are as ignorant as they get. A little research about the history of Bahrain and you would have discovered that Bahrainis have been asking for their rights since independence from Britain and have been oppressed by their government for 40 years now. They have been jailed, tortured and killed for this cause. The difference is this time even ignorant uneducated people like you can see it on TV screens.

    Read some history will you. I gave you a start of a name that you can google in my first comment here. Do the right thing this time and research a little, before you start your accusations of the brave people of Bahrain who are rising to get basic human rights against an oppressive corrupt regime.

  16. reemie, they did raise their hands before.
    And got shot.
    Difference is, this time the world is watching.
    You think there is peace in Bahrein? With foreign mercenaries imprisoning, torturing and killing the Bahreinis? Have you got any inkling of what’s going on there?

    Of course the events in Tunesia and Egypt gave people courage, it is giving all the downtrodden Middle Eastern people courage, and all the Arab dictators are pissing their pants! And killing the people they should be protecting, just to keep their butts entrenched and enthroned on their plushy lucrative thrones!

  17. American Ayah, let me explain some basics to you:
    Standing up against an evil oppressive regime is courageous
    Shooting down unarmed civilians is murder
    “Warning” people that you are going to shoot them tomorrow is a threat to murder them in cold blood This is not meant as friendly advice, and people who use these threats are people who should be fought every inch of the way.
    Of course you need noble and courageous people for that, which brings me to the next fact:
    People, or ”shiat” as you call them, (they are really still human beings), so human beings who defy that cowardly murderous threat and still go and protest an evil corrupt government, are called Heroes

    Hope you have a clearer vision of the universe now…

    Oh yes, and there is also a word for people who sneak off to have a nice peaceful luxury holiday while other people suffer, spill their blood, and forfeit their lives to fight for freedom and liberty. I am sure you can find it for yourself.

  18. @Lynn and Aafke-Art…. First off….I do not need a “clear picture of the universe” I live here. I see what is going on here first hand. I do not condone the governments approach to the protesters. Never once did I say that this is something I approve of. As for them being warned… yes they were. That is a fact. Courageous…yes, I agree they are standing their ground to keep the demonstrations peaceful despite being shot at. Insane to bring small children with them? Yes… Completely insane and irresponsible..You have an army that has no second thought to fire on unarmed citizens so lets take our kids down there???? COME ON! Correction.. I did not call them “Shiat”.. They are Shi’a. Bahrain has a 70% Shi’a population in a Country run by a Sunni Government. This is a recipe for disaster I am against murdering people in cold blood just as much as I am against intentionally putting yourself in harms way. As for sneaking off for a nice peaceful holiday???…..Check yourself there…There is a death in my family so I doubt I will be having a good time. So please … enlighten me Aafke…what is that name you would call me??????? Is it necessary to be so sarcastic and spiteful?

  19. Ah yes, what will be the gist of king Abdulla’s speech?
    Let me see, his men were scarce when people were dying in the Jeddah floods, but all over the place arresting everybody when some citizens staged a peaceful protest…
    And he promised Mubarak money for his army so he could keep on shooting Egyptians, if the Americans would stop giving money to him when he continued shooting Egyptian citizens..
    He then was all ready to help out his Bahraini buddy by sending troops to push down those pesky bahreini people demanding justice and freedom…

    I am sure we are going to be in for a big surprise…

  20. Ayah, you wrote: **Big Sigh…. I cant wait to go back to the US next week for a vacation. This place is just too much right now..

    So don’t blame me for thinking you were happy to go away for a vacation because the place is getting too much for you.

    Look, I can’t stand uneducated people who are heartless and devoid of basic human feelings for others.
    So it has to be a choice between sarcasm or the blunt axe.
    I though I was doing rather well and being all diplomatic and constrained using the sarcasm.

  21. @Ayah,

    You made a very bad comment about people who are getting shot by an oppressive regime. The fact that others have a bad opinion of you is based on your utterly ignorant remarks. Next time you write a comment think of how that make you look to others. You have been judged, based on what you wrote. Do not play the victim card, you had a choice not to add your condemnation to the bullets being shot at these people. You were unwise in your choice pure and simple….

  22. Eyewitness Accounts From Bahrain
    <<<<>>>>

    http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=705188&page=9

  23. hugs to you all. Everyone has an opinion, I am following this story every minute of every day. I am in the middle of it. If you feel that my words were harsh, that is your opinion. If you have a bad opinion of me, that is your choice. I stated I was going on “vacation” cause that is how I am dealing with my situation. Not playing the “victim card”. Like I said, everyone has their opinion. Think twice before you judge other people. You dont know their situation. I am done with this conversation. I pray for peace for all that are involved and wish you all a good night.

  24. @Ayah,

    “Think twice before you judge other people. You dont know their situation.”

    but earlier you threw the Insanity title on demonstrators to minimize the degree of bravery they showed. You know you were also proven wrong as their actions cleared the way for the army to withdraw and now the government is willing to talk.

    You even reused the same terms in your second comment. That is a sign of a person that does not take responsibility for their unwise choices (hence the victim card)

    I am sorry for your loss of a family member and wish you safe travels.

  25. Harry Guggen, I have read the thread of the link you provided,
    Waw, as if shooting unarmed civilians isn’t enough, they are stopping people from going to hospitals to get treated, and they are beating up on paramedics to stop them from treating the injured?
    How utterly barbaric!

    But also very interesting to hear reports from people who are actually there! i wish I could read Arabic so i could also read the Bahraini people’s comments and tweets.

  26. Report on the badly wounded in the hospitals and the paramedics being beaten up to prevent them from helping the wounded.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/opinion/19kristof.html?_r=1&src=tptw

  27. “It is surreal and impossible to believe that this is Bahrain!! This has always been
    such a happy, peaceful, friendly country! ”

    Spoken like someone in true denial and out of touch with the common folk

  28. People are protesting all over the world. I am not against freedoms and democracy but such protests, many which do seem more spontaneous, are perpetuating a growing trend in the region…Bahrain, Tunisa, Egypt, Kuwait, Libya, Yemen, Iran and even Saudi Arabia. (forgive me if I omitted any countries)

    I do not want to see unnecessary bloodshed or martyrdom. I ask how many of those who join in a protest putting their life in the path of danger and perhaps their families too (such as case when families with children have been in Bahrain protests) think about the future from these actions? Where and what are the plans? Is the desire to topple the leaders of countries under protest? But with what and whom?

    This domino effect of protests, in my view, is too much too fast with a devastating ripple effect across the globe. I attribute a factor of the ripple effect due to social media and traditional media.

    Reforms can be initiated but I doubt that they can be implemented as fast as people demand.

  29. I just read Ayah’s comments and I honestly believe it is just her American way of speaking. I’ve heard many Americans use the term “insane” to describe important or even foolish things that happened. I don’t believe she is negating the courageousness of the protesters, just disagreeing that their children were involved. Sometimes I think people are too quick to dissect others comments on this site without really listening. The defensiveness, rudeness and sometimes plain antagonism here on this blog is a major put off. Isn’t there enough of that in the world already?

  30. You left out Morocco.
    But it went pretty fast in Tunesia and Egypt didn’t it?
    It is clearly inspiring.
    To both ”the people” and ”the oppressors”.
    For the leaders in the Middle East can only be classed as oppressors, otherwise they would not feel obliged to kill ”the people” for voicing their opinions and wishes.

    I think people came as families because, especially at the start it was meant to be a friendly peaceful affair. The first days Sunnis and Shias were standing together asking for change.

    It is the leaders of the country and the military force who could think of nothing better than to respond with extreme violence. Who ordered their foreign mercenary troops to shoot and kill innocent protesters indiscriminately.
    It is the leaders of Bahrain who choose to shoot the people they should be serving rather than listen to their wishes.

    It seems the Bahraini people underestimated the callous selfishness of their leader, the number of murders he is willing to commit to stay in power.

    I agree I think they may not be prepared for what to do when they do topple the regime. These uprisings are grassroot, they are not organized take-overs by competing political faction.

    They do make one thing clear: The vast majority of populations in the Middle East are totally sick of their leaders, whatever these do to further oppress their fellow citizens, they can never again claim their reign is by the will of the people. Nobody can deny anymore but that they reign by brute force, oppression and a satanic disregard for human lives.

  31. @AB,

    “Where and what are the plans? Is the desire to topple the leaders of countries under protest? But with what and whom?”

    You have to think of these uprisings in the same way as the fall of the East European regimes. All of those countries had a 1 party oppressive system. They got toppled in light speed for the time. There was no plan, there was no strong organizing parties, etc. The people knew what they wanted and knew that their current rulers will not get them there. They toppled the systems and each country figured its path for the future. All of these countries are still building their democracies and systems. Some have been more successful than others, but all are better off than remaining under communist dictators.

    Same applies for the ME and North African region. The people of these countries will figure out their future once they gain their freedom.

    We need to stop thinking of how changes in the region may impact our interests. What matters at this point is the interest of the people who are demanding their freedoms. Thinking of the impact of change on us at the expense of oppression is a little selfish in my point of view…

  32. “Thinking of the impact of change on us at the expense of oppression is a little selfish in my point of view…”

    Too right! Yes, I do think a lot of these attempts to discredit protestors derive from a fear of having rulers who know longer do the bidding of the US. There’s a lot at stake in the Gulf region, especially, given all the American bases.

  33. Well, if you have been following the news you will know that’ it’s peaceful now and the people are back in the Pearl Roundabout, with a guarantee of safety from the Crown Prince, who gave a very impressive speech last night. He denied nothing and Apologised. in politics that’s Huge, people!! Took a change of govt to get an apology for the Aborigines in Australia!
    If you can read Arabic (or even English) and are looking at the photos from the Roundabout you will see that the non-sectarian stance of the people continues, which in the face of everyone else trying to make it sectarian and the response they faced, is impressive. In Arabic the signs talk about a “brotherhood” of Sunni and Shia and a single nation together. Well done, Bahrain!!

  34. Dear AB,

    “Where and what are the plans? Is the desire to topple the leaders of countries under protest? But with what and whom?”- These people who take to streets are simply civilians, living under centuries of depression that they see revolting against the Rule is a way to freedom. They seldom have the insight of what next, because they are so bugged up by the unemployment, shooting prices, inequal wealth distribution and rampant corruption everywhere. All they know is, if they don’t raise their voices, it might be never, with the World actually watching the Middle East. The future course might unravel as the struggle progresses- God willing.

    “Reforms can be initiated but I doubt that they can be implemented as fast as people demand”- This is indeed very superficial comment. Reforms were long overdue, more than 40 years. Is 40 years not enough time to implement an elected Constitution??? Is it enough if you simply provide education and housing grants? What about the out-dated education system that is simply incapable of technical expertise? What about the rights of women? How long can their voices go unheard???

  35. Please!

    Coolred38,

    I believe I was clear enough. I’m not denying the fact that those people have the right to look for their best. All I’m saying is that people all over the world are looking for change, but the difference and the “prank” is that it never includes blood, violence, it never turns into anarchy when it is (((civil and done right.)))

    MoQ,

    “Bahrainis have been asking for their rights since independence from Britain and have been oppressed by their government for 40 years now.“
    I already mentioned that I know more than You think, so you should’ve thought twice before throwing stones. Whispering is not as speaking the words aloud and speaking the words aloud is never as screaming. Am I clear?

    “Do the right thing this time and research a little, before you start your accusations of the brave people of Bahrain who are rising to get basic human rights against an oppressive corrupt regime.”
    I was not accusing anyone at all. I was only sharing my point of view which is that Bahraini people can gain their rights without the need to sacrifice more than they ever did.

    “oppressive corrupt regime” why would I believe that when I see with my won eyes other Bahrainies marching the streets praising their King! I do not believe they are satisfied to the extent that they need nothing more because all their rights and desires are fulfilled and even their dreams came true! I also do not believe it is because their “regime” is “corrupted” or “oppressive”, and this for sure does not mean that there are not holes that should be patched. Well, we still live on earth and did not reach paradise yet. Additionally, the holes are not exclusive to Bahrain, Tunisia, or Egypt, or even the Middle East, I think there are holes in the others’ shirts, too.

    Aafke-Art,

    “You think there is peace in Bahrein?” YES I DO.
    “With foreign mercenaries imprisoning, torturing and killing the Bahreinis? “ This is not true.
    “Have you got any inkling of what’s going on there?” I got more than an “inkling” dear.
    When the rope gets tighter around your nick, you should always be rational and use your reason to get rid of that instead of growing emotional and act hysterically. Haven’t you ever told yourself, your brother, sister, mother, friend, partner, in a moment of critical times “don’t panic! Don’t panic! Think, yes think, everything is gonna be alright.”

  36. Sudan is also having troubles due to an oppressive leader. There are ongoing protests always ending at the point of the gun by the army thanks to Bashir.

    Generally supporters of bad and cruel regimes are ‘paid supporters’. That has been common in Sudan and I believe that’s the same story in Libya right now.
    Reemie, protest marches and mass protests are the main way people get reform. Think about the Industrial Revolution protests (if your history can take you there) and then think of how life have been Europe and North America if people hadn’t stood up for their rights.

  37. @Reemie,

    “I already mentioned that I know more than You think”

    but you said this earlier

    “I do not know what to say but I ponder why did not these, so thought of as, poor people raise their hand to be seen before!”

    If you knew just a little about Bahrain then you would have known they Bahrainis have been raising their voices and their hands for 40 years. You are either ignorant or complicit in spreading lies. Pick one and spare us the arguments about judgement. We are not going outside what you said here. These judgments are based on evidence of your comments, nothing more nothing less.

    ” and this for sure does not mean that there are not holes that should be patched.”

    Shooting at your own people who are peacefully voicing their opinion is not a small hole to be patched. You need to develop a conscious, that is the big hole that needs to be patched in your thinking…

    “I got more than an “inkling” dear.
    When the rope gets tighter around your nick, you should always be rational and use your reason to get rid of that instead of growing emotional and act hysterically.”

    You are standing in the wrong side of history. The events have already proved you wrong. The bravery of the people of Bahrain had already made the government pull its forces and they are are starting to meet the demands for negotiations. Next the Prime Minister will gracefully resign. Drop your unmanaged arrogance, then watch and learn a little.

  38. ditto what MoQ said.

  39. This government is shooting at their own people. And I think they are savvy enough after what happened in Egypt to send people out on the net spreading the government propaganda, how people are lying, how there is nothing really bad going on, how it is the demonstrators own fault that they get shot, how nothing bad ever happens in country ”X”, no torture, no people killed etc.

    But we see these unarmed protesters being shot on the streets. It is really too late to come up with this crap.

    And you can easily recognize the ”paid supporters”, as Wendy calls them, by what they claim and who they are trying to protect.

  40. Reemie…the people didnt turn it into anarchy…the people were peaceful and unarmed. The Crown Prince is the one that turned it into anarchy when he ordered them to be shot. His apologies fall short of remorse when he calls those he killed “sons of our nation”…would he order his OWN sons to be shot in cold blood if they stood defiantly against him?

    All my years in Bahrain I NEVER heard the people speak lovingly of their King and Crown Prince..and especially their Prime Minister…unless of course they had cushy jobs, expensive cars, and were Sunni. Go figure.

  41. Wendy,
    “Reemie, protest marches and mass protests are the main way people get reform. Think about the Industrial Revolution protests (if your history can take you there) and then think of how life have been Europe and North America if people hadn’t stood up for their rights.”
    Well, the Industrial Revolution was the heap that broke the camel’s back. While what is going on in Bahrain is not even close. You should do your researches and investigate every little demand they made, you will be impressed, I assure.

    MoQ,
    Seems like someone is finding attacking others in words is easy!

    well, I am neither ignorant, nor complicit in spreading lies.
    What I meant by what I said is as clear as the sun in the sky which is in other words: I simply put myself in their shoes. I found it really painful (this is why I said I don‘t know what to say). Yet, no matter how long their suffering lasted why did not they say their word to the king in their annual meetings with him? They are part of the parliament and other effective departments, too, why did not they use their brains and found their way to their rights as they found it to their chairs? (this is why I was pondering)

    Let’s say that I believe I’m oppressed and I got no patience, not anymore. I will not stand and watch, I am certainly going to do something to fix my situation! I’ll protest. I’ll show my regime that the time is passing by and I’m still in the same spot for long, but now things changed and the world is watching etc. however, I will never act in a way that will give my regime a chance to take advantage of the situation this time, too!

    The hole I was talking about is not the shooting, but the issue regarding which people are protesting.

    “You are standing in the wrong side of history. The events have already proved you wrong. The bravery of the people of Bahrain had already made the government pull its forces and they are are starting to meet the demands for negotiations. Next the Prime Minister will gracefully resign.”
    They could’ve won that without the need for shedding a drop of any citizen’s blood.

    “Drop your unmanaged arrogance, then watch and learn a little.”
    I am not arrogant and I’m all eyes and learning a lot though still a little. These words are very important . I always appreciate valuable advices. Thank You.

  42. American Bedu has the following questions for discussion:
    What do these events mean for the future of Bahrain and its strategic neighbor, Saudi Arabia?
    It means an additional first hand experience for Bahrain and a reminder for Saudi Arabia.
    How should America respond given that the U.S. 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain?
    America should act as expected, prove why it is there.
    How can America respond where its interests are protected yet not harm or jeopardize the relationship with Saudi Arabia?
    As usual.
    Is Saudi Arabia now the Gatekeeper for peace in the GCC?
    Not literally.
    Could Saudi Arabia and Kuwait be the next countries with demonstrations and uprising of its people?
    Not impossible.
    Are the protests and uprisings in the Middle East and Africa prophecy in action?
    Sure.
    What is Iran going to do?
    Play its role perfectly.
    How might Israel respond to present uprisings and unrest?
    Seizes the chance.

  43. Coolred38,

    Do you think the king had no idea that the world is watching when he “ordered them to be shot”!

  44. @Reemie,
    “What I meant by what I said is as clear as the sun in the sky which is in other words: I simply put myself in their shoes. I found it really painful (this is why I said I don‘t know what to say). Yet, no matter how long their suffering lasted why did not they say their word to the king in their annual meetings with him? They are part of the parliament and other effective departments, too, why did not they use their brains and found their way to their rights as they found it to their chairs? (this is why I was pondering)”

    Hmmmmmmmm, when so many people perceive your words earlier as different from what you stated in your last statement, then you either are flip flopping or do not have simple communication skills. Again pick a choice….

    “Yet, no matter how long their suffering lasted why did not they say their word to the king in their annual meetings with him?”

    Because the dear king is presiding over a regime known for torturing people. The change in constitution was declared by the king and his goons as red-lines that could not be negotiated. Note now he is willing to talk once the people rose up. I encourage you to watch and learn again…..

    “Let’s say that I believe I’m oppressed and I got no patience, not anymore.”

    You are obviously not oppressed. So you cannot understand what these people are thinking. I am still awaiting for you too dazzle us with you claimed knowledge. All what you have shown us so far is intellectual masturbation.

    “They could’ve won that without the need for shedding a drop of any citizen’s blood.”

    Yes if the goons of the government did not decide to shoot at unarmed civilians. You are pointing your finger in the wrong direction.

    “I am not arrogant and I’m all eyes and learning a lot though still a little.”

    Hmmmmmmm, Arrogance is about how others perceive you, based on how you talk to them. Let’s see if others agree with your statement above or mine.

    And finally,

    “Seems like someone is finding attacking others in words is easy!”

    I judge people by what they write and only based on the specifics of their writings. And yes I am direct and do not hold back when I encounter such evils, because this is not an issue of intellectual discussion. This is an issue relating to people being shot dead in cold blood by trained armed people. You are standing on the wrong side of morality. So far in your many comments you never condemned the killings. All what you found time for is blame the people for not being fast enough to dodge these bullets when woken up at 3 in the morning with fire, tear gas, and armed troops. I think you need to extend your research to include finding definitions for words like Humanity, Equality, Freedom Sanctity of Human lives, etc. If you do that, you may stop showing such despicable attitude towards victims.

  45. Remmie

    “Coolred38,

    Do you think the king had no idea that the world is watching when he “ordered them to be shot”!”

    As proven by the horrific and tragic events unfolding in the Middle East this moment…is it quite obvious that corrupt Arab leaders do not give a shit who is watching as they murder, murder, murder, one after the other, their own citizens.

    Now, the question is (one of many in my mind) how is it possible that Sunnis were able to muster up the required loyalty to their King and stage a pro-govt rally the other day? Do they not understand yet…if he can order Shiias to be shot and killed…he can very well order Sunnis to be shot and killed.

    Once humanity of others have been deemed irrelevant…the bullet doesnt really care where it ends up.

  46. On one hand what is happening in the ME region may be compared to the fall of Communism on the other hand or hand in hand, it can also be seen similar to apartheid.

    I have to agree with Ariel’s comment that dialogues jump too quickly to criticism and antagonism on too many subjects or postings. ):

  47. @AB,

    Yes, criticism can turn in judgement. It is all fair game as long as people are judged only on what they write.

    People are free to exercise their freedom of speech, but we are also free to criticize such speech. When a commentator blames victims for being shot, I and any decent human should point out the error of their thinking. I view some of these comments as similar to blaming a rape victim for her rape, because she wore a short skirt….

    “…it can also be seen similar to apartheid”

    May be in Bahrain you can call it that, since a minority is ruling over a majority. However as a regional change it is like the falling dominoes of the eastern European regimes …

    Cheers

  48. I agree with Moq. if you write on a forum you should realize your comment will be read by others, and you should expect people to comment back at you.

    If your comment shows a callous disregard for human life and suffering then criticism is not only justified, but a duty for those who stand for decency and humanity.

    To remain silent when you read a comment which blames victims for being shot makes one an accomplice to evil.
    We will not reach the Star Trek Universe by standing silently by while people are exposing their soulless cold hearts.

    And if such criticism is unjustified because a commenter has a very different train of thoughts than his/her written comment exhibits than they need to take a couple of English writing classes before they go out in the big wide world and leave their comments and claims of superior understanding all over the web.

  49. Apertheid? Fall of Communism a la 2011?

    It is anticipated that King Abdullah will return to the Kingdom this coming Wednesday. What and how he addresses the people I think will be pivotal towards what may or may not happen in Saudi Arabia vis a vis public outcry and protests or not…

    I thank Reemie for putting (albeit short) answers to questions posed. Anyone else care to respond directly to the questions? I think the questions and resulting answers merit discussion and food for thought too.

  50. Carol..given the sudden unexpected actions taken on by the people of those countries (taking everyone including leaders by surprise) it would be a tough call indeed to even presume to guess what will happen next.

    We are already witnessing “miracles”…..

  51. Firstly on the timing: the initial protest was staged for the 10th anniversary of the “National Action Charter” in Bahrain (14 Feb 2011). Which in turn was developed as a response to protests in the 1990s. It had diddly-squat to do with Egypt or Tunisia or anything else. It had more to do with people’s feeling that they hadn’t got what was promised 10 yrs before.
    If anyone noticed in the beginning all the signage was almost exclusively in Arabic. This was not staged for the international media, but aimed at the Arabic speaking govt of Bahrain. Later when everything did get international media attention some signs in English did appear, perhaps partly to address the incorrect (but somehow prevailing in the media) idea that this is a sectarian issue…
    Now before anyone says the police claim to have found some Hizbollah flags in the tents at the roundabout, I will say that yes, I’m sure Some people at the roundabout do support organisations such as Hizbollah. However, given the demographic that is there, it is indeed likely that More people at the roundabout support Mickey Mouse!! I’m not saying that with disrespect, merely to state that in any crowd of people there will be a range of opinions and viewpoints.

    That’s what Democracy is all about, folks!!

    In NZ where the entire population is only 3 million and so party registration is not complex, election time brings up the (completely legitimate in NZ) parties such as the “Lunatic Fringe” and the “Let’s Have A Party” Party…

    Any real democracy will represent All the people, even the terminally silly!

    The basic idea is that the majority of people just want the usual sort of things – to feed and house their families in safety and be productive in their society, which I think is being amply demonstrated at the roundabout where the mood is still mostly positive and non-sectarian, despite the terrible events of last week. If the majority is indeed sensible then democracy can work really well.

    Let’s keeping hoping for the best.

  52. “You are obviously not oppressed. So you cannot understand what these people are thinking”

    “OBVIOUSLY” -> I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH! I think I have no reason to go on with it now. 🙂

  53. To the questIons:

    Saudi showed it’s real colors when it backed the oppression of Mubarak in Egypt – concern for human rights and life is well behind concern for self preservation and absolute power, tho of course they called it “regional stability”. There is little reason to believe enlightenment has occured since then, and with wide-ranging reports of Saudi military equipment streaming across the causeway, it would seem Saudi is again backing oppression over freedom. Saudi is in denial believing they are insulated by money and that the rain can be returned to the cloud. It cannot. People across the region are waking up to change. That change surely looks different and means different things in each country, but it is change, nonetheless. Saudi and others need to wake up to that reality – and quickly.

    For her part, America needs to show some integrity. If we truly believe in freedom and human rights, we need to consistently act on those beliefs, and do it now. Surely we must condemn regimes firing on their own people! I love the truth of James 1:22 – Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. America needs to start consistently acting on her values and beliefs.
    In terms of the military presence and the relationship with Saudi, in many ways America is in an influencing position because she is not only protecting her own best interests but truly protecting the Saudi government. That’s gotta come with some leverage. It is time to use that influence, to move Saudi from denial to reality. Sure it might short term result in $5 a gallon gas, but if we as a people and a nation believe in human dignity, we will stand together in the same way we stood against south African apartheid.

    Saudi is delusional if it thinks it is the gatekeeper to the region. As the saying goes, you can’t buy happiness, and, although the king will surely throw money around now that he is apparently alive and back, it will be too little too late to stop the tide of awareness and thus discontent which is washing the region clean.

    Any speech will have to acknowledge he backed the wrong horse in both Egypt and Bahrain, that human rights are more than just words on a treaty to be ignored, and that people deserve better than they have gotten from their leaders for a very, very long time. Reforms must be written down and made permanent, change must be top down, real and immediate, and the voice of the people must be heard, even if it means loosening the death grip of government and emptying the deep pockets of leadership.

    Change happens the moment a decision is made. The people of this region have made that decision. The leaders just need to decide if they will be part of the change or left behind.

    Prophecy – yes. Read Isaiah.

    Iran will keep pretending they are a player, but there too, the decision has been made. Change will come. It will be bloody and it might take a long time, but the people have decided. Here, too, America needs long term integrity.

    Israel needs to remember not everything is about them.

    Apologies for the long answers!

    Israel needs to

  54. Agree with the Israel comment. I have yet to hear a single thing said about Israel by any of these Arab people dodging bullets and giving their lives for a taste of freedom.

    Pretty much what they do in Israel…but now its called “overthrowing a corrupt regime”…in Israel it’s called business as usual. Go figure

  55. SGMIE, thanks for responding to the questions at length, makes for some good discussions.

    While it is simple for concerned people to write suggestions of immediate reform and what stances, positions leaders and governments should take, turning these concepts into actions is not as simple. Even American leaders will rarely acknowledge making a wrong decision or taking wrong actions let alone an Arab leader. Instead, lots of finger pointing will occur on who is to blame.

    If King Abdullah does provide immediate funds for infrastructure development such as in Jeddah and elsewhere as well as more schools, those are not bad things. The actions would create needed jobs and make necessary enhancements. I think that he, more than other Arab monarchy, does want to keep his people happy. I don’t think he, as the leader, is disliked, as much as the “system” of restricted freedoms and muttawa…which is slowly changing.

    Would I and probably most others like to see faster changes? Yes.

  56. SGIME, I just noticed your blog is blocked now here in Saudi. 😦

  57. @Ariel, she’s been blocked for a while.

    I think that is an underlying fear any blogger in Saudi or who blogs about Saudi is whether the blog will get blocked.

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