Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Stifled Revolution

One year ago today was the start of the uprising in Bahrain against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty, an uprising which stands out as the one which has been successfully suppressed through Saudi Arabia's military intervention and the indifference of the American government to a Gulf ally. This is not to say that people aren't still resisting:
"In the early morning, youths wearing white shrouds indicating their willingness to die ran en masse towards the fenced-off area. Witnesses said dozens of young men and women ran through the streets of Sanabis, before being repelled by policemen using rubber pellets and sound bombs...

"Teachers at the local primary school said five out of 500 students had shown up for classes on Tuesday, with reports of similar absences from colleagues in other schools across Shia villages. Some places of work warned staff not to be absent on the anniversary of the uprising.

"In the afternoon, Nabeel Rajab, the prominent Bahraini human rights activist, walked with international observers along Bahrain’s main highway in an attempt to return to the roundabout."

In reading the entire Financial Times piece linked above, one is struck by the ongoing regime violence against protestors, a violence those same protestors continue to resist. Why, then, have the Al Khalifa survived where Ben Ali, Mubarak, Qadhafi, and Saleh did not? The answer is sectarianism, a sectarianism cultivated and used by the government to stay in power. Bahrain's largely Shi'ite opposition cannot bring change when the country's Sunnis fear another Iraq, an American-instigated experiment which is widely perceived in the region not as a democracy to emulate, but a sectarian tyranny of questionable stability. Bahrain's opposition knows this, but their voices have been seldom heard and even more rarely believed. Thus, youth keep the villages restive, but cannot overcome the effectively mercenary forces of guest workers being used against them.



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