Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Death in Sitra

I've mentioned before that Bahrain's protest movement remains alive outside Manama. The New York Times reports the latest:
"A 14-year-old boy was killed as security forces in Bahrain violently broke up a small protest in a town south of the capital on Wednesday. Witnesses said the boy was struck in the head by a tear-gas canister that the security forces fired directly at the crowd at close range, and died shortly afterward at a hospital.

"The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights published photos of the dead boy, whose name was given as Ali Jawad Ahmad, and of the blood-stained sidewalk in Sitra where the incident took place...

"Sitra, an oil hub six miles south of Manama, the capital, is known for its activist Shiite population. It was a stronghold of antigovernment activists at the height of demonstrations earlier this year. The government of Bahrain, with help from Saudi Arabia, violently put down the country’s peaceful protest movement in March...

"Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, wrote on his Twitter account in Arabic that video of the boy’s dead body was 'a gift to the people' from the government during Id al-Fitr, the festival celebrating the end of Muslim holy month of Ramadan."

Rajab's statement definitely seems tone deaf. Even if the martyrdom does rejuvenate the protest movement, you don't announce it that way. Sitra is an old center of Shi'ite religious learning on Bahrain's main island, much like Bani Jamra.



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