3 thoughts on “Repression in Bahrain”

  1. Many thanks for this comment. It was not my intention to give a partial view, but in a hot situation it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to avoid an impression of partiality one way or the other and sometimes both (as was often the case in Northern Ireland). My practice is to quote sources wherever possible, taking into account the possibility that even generally respectable sources such as Amnesty or the BBC (on which we relied for some of the facts) are accused of partiality by some of the players, possibly with justification. It would not be practical to accept that I should not use sources before checking whether they have been independently substantiated.
    Of course what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: allegations that policemen were lured into a trap, or that Wifaq collapsed because of its own incompetence, or that the insurrection is funded and equipped by Iran also need to be substantiated.
    It is correct that the police at first gave the number of protesters killed in Diraz as one, but later they gave it as five. I quoted a BBC source for this, but it is confirmed by the Bahraini Ministry of the Interior at link. http://www.policemc.gov.bh/news/ministry/62896

  2. Geoffrey Tantum

    I think your posting ‘Repression in Bahrain’ gives a partial view. Above all it fails to mention at all the fact that Bahrain is facing an armed insurrection that is incited, funded, trained and equipped with the latest weaponry and military-grade explosives by Iran. There is a close parallel with what we in the U.K. faced at the hands of the IRA. This is the context against which your posting should be assessed.
    The three policemen mentioned whose killers Waad called ‘martyrs’ were lured into a trap and blown to pieces. Many Bahrainis find the term ‘martyrs’ outrageous seeing it as a direct encouragement of terrorism and thus believe that the application of the law to WAAD was reasonable.
    You quote the number of protesters killed in the police raid on Diraz as five; the police previously gave it as one.
    You quote a claim by a Shi’a lady that during the raid she was detained, tortured and sexually assaulted. If so her claim should be investigated and any official found guilty subject to due legal process. But she made the claim to Amnesty International. Did she also make it to the Bahraini authorities? She may not have wished to do so to the police she accuses of the crime but did she contact the Ombudsman? That independent office, the result of Bahrain’s subjecting itself to the Independent Commission of Enquiry and the only one in the GCC, is widely respected including by the Shi’a. If she did not, why not? Did she attend a hospital to deal with any injuries caused by the alleged torture or obtain proof of sexual assault? Again, if not, why not? The point is that allegations of torture are now commonplace amongst activists but evidence is rare. A young Shi”a man who recently came to London and claimed to wide publicity to have been tortured, had had four meetings with the Ombudsmen without mentioning any such claim. In the wake of the notorious Leigh Day/ Shiner Iraqi episode I think you have a duty to make clear whether any such claims have been independently substantiated before giving them wider circulation.
    It is disingenuous to link the rise in violent Shi’a activism to the demise of Wefaq when the main cause of that demise was the incompetence and indecisiveness of Wefaq itself despite the Crown Prince’s best efforts to encourage them to engage in the political process.
    Finally, as well as Iran’s central role in the unrest, you might have mentioned that a large number of Shi’a support the authorities’ action. Many in the villages suffer enforced restrictions on their movements and violence for failure to conform to the activists’ demands. They are tired of the disruption to their lives and disagree with the violence. Calls by the activists for demonstrations over the house arrest of Sheikh Isa Qasim were minimally attended despite claims to the contrary.

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