Alwaght– 14 February 2018 marks the seventh anniversary of the popular uprising by Bahrainis against the Al Khalifa dynasty, which is backed by the West and despotic Persian Gulf Arab regimes.
Daily peaceful protests which have been gone on almost on a daily basis since 14February 2011 have been met with a brutal crackdown by the ruling Al Khalifa regime.
In the tiny but strategic Persian Gulf island of approximately 1.5 million citizens, the Shiite majority population have over the past decades faced discrimination in employment, education, housing and other state benefits.
US, UK backing brutality
The discrimination is perpetrated by the Al Khalifah regime which enjoys backing by the United States, Britain and the neighboring Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) regimes. Bahrain, homes the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base. Not only the US and Britain have failed to criticize Bahrain for the violation of basic human rights and violations of the freedom of expression or for its involvement in war crimes and human rights violations perpetrated as part of the Saudi-led coalition’s military campaign in Yemen, the two western countries have provided regime with arms and police training to crack down pro-democracy revolutionaries.
On 14 March, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the UAE were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama regime in its crackdown on peaceful protesters. Today Bahrain is an occupied land, ruled over not by the Al Khalifa family but the Al Saud tribe. The country is effectively a Saudi satellite regime.
Many people have lost their lives and thousands of others sustained injuries, tortured, detained while many have seen their citizenship revoked by the repressive regime.
According to the latest report by the Sweden-based human rights NGO, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM DHR), Bahraini security authorities have arbitrarily arrested 89 Shiite clerics and summoned 156 others over their political views since 2011.
Kingdom of Persecution
The report, titled “Kingdom of Persecution,” noted that the sentences against the Shiite scholars included three death sentences, eight life terms, 19 citizenship revocations, including that of Bahrain’s most prominent Shiite Islamic scholar, Sheikh Isa Qassim.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly expressed deep concern over deterioration of human rights in Bahrain, saying the situation reveals the regime’s campaign to silence voices of dissent in the sheikhdom.
According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, 500 Bahraini political prisoners have been in jail since November 22, 2011, making the tiny Persian Gulf country ranking the first in this regard in the world.
Civilians charged in military courts
On 5 March 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
Last December the regime’s military court sentenced six anti-regime protesters to death and revoked their citizenship.
Non-sectarian, peaceful resistance met with barbarity
While the Al Khalifa and Al Saud dynasties would like to portray the Bahraini uprising as Shiite and thus use the sectarian card to divide the country, the fact is that Bahrainis seeks not to impose any particular religious model but rather demand democracy, and celebrate diversity as their national identity.
An interesting aspect of the Bahraini uprising is that, the masses insist on avoiding violence, social chaos, and armed conflicts, rather pursue their rights through peaceful resistance.
However, the peaceful rallies and protests by the masses have been met with the sounds of US and UK supplied bullets and bombs and the brutality of Al Khalifa troops backed by Saudi and UAE forces. Bahrainis have remained consistent in their calls for justice and equality but their demands continue to be met with immense barbarity.