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Bahrain: Western hypocrisy and government oppression

Yusur Al Bahrani

May 16, 2012

The government of United States resumed arms sale to Bahrain, which is also the home for US Fifth Fleet, while condemning Russia for selling arms to the Syrian government.

Demonstrators continue protesting against the crimes of the Al-Khalifa regime that has been ruling Bahrain for more than 200 years. However, activists and protestors have changed their approach and demands as oppression in Bahrain increases. A new series of campaigns, protests and rallies has been launched after the announcement of the US arms sale to Bahrain. “America—your arms kill us” is the new message of protestors, activists and even ordinary citizens who have been continuously attacked by Bahraini and Saudi forces using US (and Canadian) arms.

Young protestors angry at their oppressive regime and the hypocrisy of the Western governments, have no other choice but to face the Bahraini forces with rebellious new techniques. Burning vehicle tires and gas cylinders is their only way to defend their villages from the continuous armed attacks by the government forces and Saudi troops. So far gas cylinders and vehicle tires left no life causalities, but the military forces raid Bahraini cities and villages every night in search for activists. Some of the young activists are arbitrarily arrested, while many of them are tortured in front of their families in streets and homes.

In addition to the arms deal, some Arab reporters and analysts anticipate the announcement of a union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Last year, on March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates joined Bahraini forces in attacking peaceful protestors — killing, injuring and arbitrarily arresting thousands. Any union formed between the Bahraini and the Saudi states means more oppression and brutal crackdown on opposition in both countries.

The crackdown has targeted leading activists. The Bahraini human rights defender and activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawajah who was on a hunger strike has not been released yet. His wife, Khadijah Al-Mosawi, says that his life is in danger, and he was force fed by prison guards. His family also confirmed that he resumed his hunger strike and his message remains “death or freedom.” He has been sentenced to life in prison for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

In addition, the President of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, was arrested on May 5 and remains detained at the time this article was written. He is accused of “inciting illegal rallies and marches online by using social networking websites.” Bahraini forces raid Rajab’s home from time to time threatening his family even after being detained. Before his arrest at Bahrain’s International Airport, Rajab could be found at the forefront of all peaceful opposition protests. Rajab and Al-Khawajah were continuously attacked and even arrested before the revolution. Reports and photos show that they were tortured during detention in 2005.

With the imperialist hypocrisy and support for the Bahraini government, pro-democracy protestors and activists feel abandoned as their key figures are arrested, their families are teargased daily, and their youths are arbitrary arrested and tortured. Recently, the Ministry of Interior in Bahrain published photos of twenty young men who participated in peaceful protests and accused them of committing “terrorist acts”. If Western governments abandon people in Bahrain, it is our solidarity that will encourage them to keep fighting for real democracy, independence, and freedom.

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