Al-Khalifa despots run Bahrain.
State terror is official policy. Washington supports it. Generous aid
is provided. King Hamad remains a close US ally. Double standard hypocrisy
defines America's foreign and domestic agenda.
Bahrainis want democratic change. They want popularly elected leaders.
They want despotic monarchal rule, ruthless persecution, widespread corruption,
and Shia discrimination ended.
For many months, they've braved tear gas, beatings, rubber bullets,
live fire, arrests, torture, imprisonments, and disappearances. They won't
quit. The price of freedom is high.
King Hamad calls peaceful protests "foreign plots." He banned them
earlier. Unauthorized public meetings and seminars were prohibited.
On October 30, public gatherings were again banned. Authorities
call them illegal. Participants face severe harshness. That's how police
Fundamental rights are criminalized. Daily nonviolent protests still
continue. Participants brave severe repression. Some end up dead.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) works for "a prosperous
democratic country free of discrimination and other violations of human
It "encourage(s) and support(s) individuals and groups to be proactive
in the protection of their own and others' rights; and to struggle to
promote democracy and human rights in accordance with international norms."
Its four objectives include:
(1) Promoting civil, political, and economic freedom.
(2) Ending racial discrimination.
(3) Disseminating human rights culture.
(4) Supporting and protecting victims' rights.
Bahraini human rights activists risk life and limb. Pro-democracy
supporters are terrorized. Some have their citizenship revoked. Others
face arrests, beatings, imprisonment, torture, and at times death.
On December 24, BCHR headlined, "Bahrain: Escalating state violence
against peaceful protesters in lack of international accountability and
using western arms."
BCHR expressed grave concern about about ruthless state terror.
It documents those affected. It discusses injuries from rubber bullets,
shotgun pellets, tear gas, toxic chemicals, sound grenades, beatings,
and live fire.
Injured victims avoid public hospitals. They're militarized. Arrival
for treatment risks arrest and imprisonment.
Collaboratively with doctors, BCHR discussed recent examples of
injuries sustained. It did so "to present the most thorough and accurate
description" of serious human rights violations.
On December 16, King Hamad called Bahrain "a country of law and
freedom." Repression is official policy. On December 17, BCHR's acting
vice president, Sayed Yousi, said authorities made 27 arbitrary arrests.
Mass protests occurred. Bahrain's Martyrs Day was commemorated.
Excessive force was used. Numerous injuries followed.
A one kg tear gas canister struck a young woman. She sustained a
three-bone foot fracture. Urgent treatment was needed.
She feared arrest. Doctors operated on her at an undisclosed location.
Her prognosis is poor. She's expected to endure long-term pain. Her foot
will remain deformed.
Security forces open fire at point blank range. A tear gas canister
struck a young man. His forearm was fractured. Severe bone damage resulted.
He required secret surgery. Doing so involves unsanitary conditions. Infection
risks are high.
BCHR discussed a protester injured by multiple shotgun pellets.
Many remain lodged in his body. He's in pain. His injuries are severe.
"Several teenagers were shot in the face with shotguns and are at
risk of blindness in one or both eyes."
One remains in serious condition. He'll possibly go blind. He's
seeking private medical care. Three other protesters sustained eye injuries.
They're in critical condition. Their prognosis is unclear.
Illegal weapons are used. Excessive force targets all protesters.
Bahrainis brave state terror. They demonstrate actively anyway. They risk
injuries, arrests, imprisonment and death.
Many protesters sustain serious chest, head and face wounds. Pellets
penetrate lungs. Breathing problems result. Medical care is sought secretly
in private homes.
Anyone seen injured in public risks detention. Some seek hospital
treatment anyway. Doing so assures arrest. BCHR discussed Shamsan Mohammed.
On November 2, he was outside his home. Twenty people gathered nearby.
Riot police attacked them. Metal shotgun pellets were fired.
They're 2.2 - 3.8mm in diameter. They're fired at point blank range.
They cause serious injuries. Multiple ones occur. Chests, heads, and faces
are most vulnerable.
Shamsan sustained eyes, chest, waist and leg injuries. He sought
hospital care. On arrival, he was arrested and detained. He disappeared
for four days.
Family members learned he was at Dry Docks prison. He was given
a choice. Provide information about protesters or face torture and imprisonment.
He explained he was unable to help.
He was electroshocked and severely beaten. He received constant
threats. Many others are persecuted the same way.
Ahmed Aoun is a seventeen-year old student. A shotgun pellet remains
lodged in his eye. He sustained it while peacefully protesting. He received
private hospital treatment.
Police arrested him. He needs follow-up surgery. He's denied. He's
been beaten and sexually harassed. He's in severe pain. He's expected
to be tried and imprisoned.
On December 19, armed police in civilian clothes attacked a young
Al Duraz resident. They raided his home pre-dawn. He sustained multiple
deep forearm wounds. His left hand remains numb.
Excessive force is standard policy. Bahranis are ruthlessly terrorized.
Peaceful protesters are targeted. "BCHR regularly receives a large number
of reports of injuries." Many are serious. Seeking treatment is hazardous.
BCHR expressed deep concern and disappointment about international
community silence. It holds America and other Western countries most responsible.
It urged all nations stop supplying Bahrain with arms, ammunition,
and political support. It demands long overdue condemnation and isolation
of a rogue regime.
Zainab Alkhawaja is a prominent Bahraini human rights activist.
She's Abdulhadi Alkhawaja's daughter. He co-founded BCHR. He was its first
He served as Front Line Defenders' Middle East and North Africa
Protection Coordinator. He worked as a member of the International Advisory
Network of the Business and Human Rights Resource Center.
He's one of Bahrain's best. He remains imprisoned for life. He risked
everything courageously supporting human rights.
Zainab was arrested. She protested outside Abdulhadi's prison hospital.
She wouldn't leave. She called out her father's name. She demanded he
be released. Other protesters with her were also arrested.
She was lawlessly detained. She was sentenced to one month imprisonment
and fined. She was denied counsel and family contacts. She was accused
of "inciting hatred against the regime through chanting political slogans."
She was arrested numerous times before. Thirteen cases remain active
against her. She spent months in prison earlier. She's vulnerable to rearrest
Current BCHR president Nabeel Rajab was imprisoned numerous times
for supporting human rights. He was targeted again after being interviewed
on Russia Today.
On December 25, The New York Times provided rare op-ed space. Truth
got a rare opportunity. Zainab's commentary was featured. Her outspokenness
leaves her vulnerable. She may face arrest like Nabeel.
She headlined "Bahrain, a Brutal Ally," saying:
In early December, nineteen-year old Aqeel Abudul Mohsen protested
peacefully. Security forces shot him in the face.
"He was covered with blood, with the lower side of his face blown
open, his jaw shattered, and a broken hand hanging awkwardly from his
"It's one of those images that you wish you had never seen, and
can never forget."
He needed 10 hours of surgery. Police stood guard. Until he regained
consciousness, he couldn't be interrogated.
"Others have lain bleeding without medical attention while government
security agents asked questions like: "Were you participating in a protest?
Who else was with you?"
Al Khalifa monarchs ruled Bahrain for over two centuries. It's home
to America's Fifth Fleet. Oppressed Bahrainis began protesting after Mubarak's
"With newfound hope, (they) took to the streets. Rich and poor,
Shiite and Sunni, liberal and religious, they felt what it was like to
speak freely for the first time."
Manama's Pearl Roundabout symbolized Bahraini activism. Freedom
expressions "didn't last long." Security forces cracked down. The Pearl
monument was demolished.
In March 2011, Saudi troops entered guns blazing. UAE ones joined
them. Pro-democracy supporters were attacked.
"Going out on the streets, carrying nothing but a flag and calling
for democracy could cost you your life," said Zainab.
"Chanting 'down with the dictator' could lead to your being subjected
to electric shocks."
"Giving a speech about human rights and democracy can lead to life
"Infants died after suffocating from toxic gases used by riot police."
"Teenage protesters have been shot and killed."
Many Bahraini families have multiple members imprisoned.
"My father, Abdulhadi, was beaten unconscious in my apartment in
front of my family."
"He was taken away with my husband and brother-in-law. They were
all tortured" and imprisoned.
"My husband was released in January. My brother-in-law was released
after a six-month sentence in late 2011. My father was sentenced to life
"He staged four hunger strikes." One lasted 110 days. He almost
died. He was painfully force-fed.
Despite enormous sacrifices, freedom struggles face long odds. Al
Khalifa despots have powerful allies. Washington, Britain, Saudi Arabia,
and others provide support.
Bahrainis see little difference between American and Saudi brutes.
They're concerned only about their own self-interest. They deplore democracy.
They crush it when emerges.
American double standards are especially galling. Washington abhors
human rights it claims to support. It condemns regional violence. It turns
a blind eye to horrific Bahraini crimes against humanity.
It fully supports its regional ally. Double standard duplicity "cost(s)
America its credibility across the region." It's understood that "if you
are an ally of America, then you can get away" with murder and other human
Al Khalifa despots believe they have international immunity. They
commit "widespread human rights violations." They conduct business as
They buy arms and negotiate lucrative deals. They govern with impunity.
Bahrain's best languish in prison. Change remains a distant hope.
Bahrainis struggle courageously anyway. Freedom is too important
to sacrifice. It's outrageous "that America continues to back a regime"
it should condemn. It's official US policy.