from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by firstname.lastname@example.org (As’ad AbuKhalil)
K. sent me this: “Tomorrow Bahrain will definitely face even more media restriction than those seen in Cairo. The counter-revolution has already started with ‘Day of Happiness’ parades held on Saturday, (staged, perhaps to celebrate the promise of BD 1,000 (around $2650) handouts announced) and set to continue tomorrow, a Ministry of Interior twitter account – who knows which unfortunate has been given the honour of tweeting “Illegal rally in Karzakan 3 policemen attacked, Police had to fire 2 rubber buttons 1st as warning shot 2nd bounced & hit a demonstrator” on behalf of possibly the least respected and most notorious, corrupt, and brutal institution in the country.
To get some sense of the trajectory leading to this day, you can see elements of inspiration taken from the Egyptian people’s revolution, rising up from mud that a stick wouldn’t stir – formally known as the ‘reform process’. As well as stagnant democratic development, see discrimination, corruption, gradual erosion of already limited freedoms in media, association and expression, the expropriation of public land and sea, authorized police brutality, unwarranted sweeping arrests, a draconian ‘anti-terror’ law, the silent relegation of women’s rights in exchange for a political settlement with opposition forces, the state’s promotion of sectarianism, political naturalization of Sunnis from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, and Pakistan (who, with the exception of the Saudis of course, are largely recruited into the Interior Ministry, given passports, public housing and meager salaries to enforce the word ‘police’ in police state)… and more.
As noted, however, the Feb 14 demonstrations appear to have drawn in Bahrainis from a more varied demo/psychographic than the usual suspects (read: Shia youth) arrested in an ascending spiral of (police) violence and (public) disenfranchisement. Demands broadcast on one of the several Facebook pages include a new constitution, and a national consensus based on universal human values of equality and justice. Other pages have attracted more than 14,000 followers.
But one thing the Bahraini government is becoming more and more adept at is good PR. From free concerts to disconcertingly politically correct (euphemistic?) tweets from senior government officials and concerted efforts not to reveal the regime’s repressive apparatus by promising future media freedoms, ostensibly to avoid repeating one of the former (makes me so happy to use that word!) Egyptian regime’s biggest blunders. Enough to wipe out the Cheshire cat’s grin, unconfirmed reports have it that Saudi troops have already been deployed across the 20-minute causeway between the two countries.
And the state violence has already begun (see the initial Ministry of Interior tweet for a sense of how media management of the days’ events is going to work).
Please, support the people of Bahrain by following (these are just a few suggestions) and sharing/ emailing/ re-tweeting/ Facebook-liking/ calling from the rooftops: http://twitter.com/BahrainRights