This allows the local population to see migrant workers (often South Asia) as the enemy, rather than people that also stand to gain from social revolution.
During the uprising in Bahrain, Pakistanis enlisted in the police were hated so much that gangs of Arabs slaughtered migrant worker families with machetes. Protesters chanted “the police are Pakistani.”
Only an appeal to class politics could cut across this nonsense.
It’s also been used in an attempt to skew demographics because these security forces imported from abroad are often times given citizenship, as in the case of Bahrain, especially. And the citizenship is usually given on the basis of sect, which helps the regime peddle the sectarian narrative. Then mainstream media adopts the narrative, despite the fact that from the very beginning, the uprising was always about class politics and demands for human rights.
These Gulf regimes never want to show it, but the levels of poverty that plague the Gulf are not a myth and not just limited to migrant worker populations. Just because these regimes don’t need to tax their populations from all the rent doesn’t mean economic opportunities are dispersed equally even among their own populations.
Why else would the Saudi government, for example, react so forcefully against the Saudi filmmakers who documented cases of poverty among Saudis in their own country?
(16# Bahrain) Zainab Abdulhadi al-Khawaja: Why she kicks ass
“When ur in chains, living with no dignity or rights, bowing to criminal dictators, the first step is to forget ur fear & realize that its ur right.. to be angry.”
- She is a human rights activist, and a participant in the Bahraini uprising, who rose to prominence after posting tweets online about the protests under the name AngryArabiya. She continues to champion her desire for democracy and freedom for her family, and promotes the Bahraini protest movement internationally via her Twitter feed, written in English. As of December 2012, she had 48,243 followers.
- She is the daughter of prominent Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, because of her father’s political activism, Zainab was brought up in exile in Denmark. She is also well known for protesting her father Abdulhadi Alkhawaja’s detention during his hunger strike.
- In April 2011, she went on a ten day hunger strike to protest the arrests of her father, her husband, and her brother-in-law Hussain Ahmad. She stated that though she had a one-year-old daughter, she preferred death to living under the current government: “If my father is going to be killed, I want to die as well…. We’ve always been taught by my father that dying with dignity is better than living as slaves”. She also criticized the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama for “standing behind the dictator”.
- Along with two other women, she was detained for seven hours on 15 June after trying to hold a sit-in at a United Nations office; having held onto her phone in the detention center, she continued to post updates to her Twitter feed, such as, “I think the UN might have misunderstood, we wanted the release of political prisoners, not to join them ;)”. She later stated stated, “Our goal was never to get home safe, but to get protection for all political prisoners in Bahrain.”
- On 26 November 2011, a U.S. journalist witnessed Alkhawaja standing her ground alone in front of oncoming riot police; he reported that tear gas shells were being fired just past her head. Because of her fame, officers were ordered not to remove her from the road, and were finally forced to advance their vehicles by another route. She is notable because she has often stood her ground alone.
- She was arrested again on 12 February 2012, as she tried with other female demonstrators to reach Manama’s Pearl Roundabout. While the twelve women arrested with her were released on 20 February, Alkhawaja remained in detention and was charged with “illegal gathering of more than five people” and “participating in an illegal march”. Amnesty International designated her a prisoner of conscience ”detained solely for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression and assembly”, and called for her immediate release. She was released from detention on 21 February. She stated she had not been mistreated while in detention, attributing it to the government’s fear of “bad media” rather than respect of prisoners’ rights.
- In April 2012, she was arrested twice more for protests against her father’s ongoing detention. The first arrest occurred on 5 April following a sit-in at the offices of the Interior Ministry. On the 21st, she was arrested for sitting on a highway close to the Financial Harbour in protest. She was formally charged with disrupting the traffic and insulting an officer. On the 23rd, her detention was renewed for another seven days. Amnesty International called for her immediate and unconditional release, stating that she had been “detained solely for exercising her rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and urging her immediate and unconditional release”
She is a hero.
And her hijab looks so perfect in this picture omg.
President Barack Obama’s administration has been delaying its planned $53 million arms sale to Bahrain due to human rights concerns and congressional opposition, but this week administration officials told several congressional offices that they will move forward with a new and different package of arms sales — without any formal notification to the public.
The congressional offices that led the charge to oppose the original Bahrain arms sales package are upset that the State Department has decided to move forward with the new package. The opposition to Bahrain arms sales is led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), and also includes Senate Foreign Relations Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee chairman Robert Casey (D-PA), Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Wyden and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) have each introduced a resolution in their respective chambers to prevent the U.S. government from going through with the original sale, which would have included 44 armored, high-mobility Humvees and over 300 advanced missiles.
The State Department has not released details of the new sale, and Congress has not been notified through the regular process, which requires posting the information on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) website. The State Department simply briefed a few congressional offices and is going ahead with the new sale, arguing it didn’t meet the threshold that would require more formal notifications and a public explanation.
At today’s State Department press briefing, The Cable asked spokeswoman Victoria Nuland about the new sale. She acknowledged the new package but didn’t have any details handy.
Our congressional sources said that State is using a legal loophole to avoid formally notifying Congress and the public about the new arms sale. The administration can sell anything to anyone without formal notification if the sale is under $1 million. If the total package is over $1 million, State can treat each item as an individual sale, creating multiple sales of less than $1 million and avoiding the burden of notification, which would allow Congress to object and possibly block the deal.
We’re further told that State is keeping the exact items in the sale secret, but is claiming they are for Bahrain’s “external defense” and therefore couldn’t be used against protesters. Of course, that’s the same argument that State made about the first arms package, which was undercut by videos showing the Bahraini military using Humvees to suppress civilian protesters…
Read More: Foreign Policy
~*~Leaders of the Free World~*~
but what about the SECTARIANISM that is surely RIPPING Bahrain APART
THESE SHIAS WANNA CAUSE NOTHIN’ BUT TROUBLE
Bahrain. A police officer talks to activist Zainab al-Khawaja (@angryarabiya), then arrests her and drags her away for demonstrating at a roundabout on Budaiya Highway, Manama. Police dispersed hundreds of protesters along the highway in the capital today with tear gas and stun grenades.
Photo Credit (first photo for sure, probably both photos): Hamad I Muhammad/Reuters
Shit, they arrested Zainab? Shit shit shit. Fuck everything.
Little Arab Spring update
Syria - as the death toll continues to climb and the situation increasingly resembles a civil war the Arab League, who suspended Syria from their organisation this week, hope to send monitors to the country
Bahrain - despite violent crackdowns by authorities thousands once again take to the streets (pictured)
Downfall of the despots. A Lebanese activist carries a caricature as Lebanese policemen stand guard during a protest in solidarity with anti-government protesters in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, in front of the Arab league headquarters in Beirut. The caricature depicts (from right to left) Tunisia’s former President Ben Ali, Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. [Photo: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]
Muammar Gaddafi’s violent end a warning to Syria and Yemen, Arabs say
For many Arabs, the humiliating capture and killing of Muammar Gaddafi, the longest-serving Arab leader, is a lesson to other tyrants in a region that has overthrown three long-serving rulers this year.
But some said on Friday that Libya would have been better off if its former leader had been given a fair trial for abuses committed during his 42-year rule, which ended when rebels captured the capital Tripoli in August.
“The world now has one less dictator,” said Ziad Khalil, a Beirut shopkeeper, a day after Gaddafi’s death. “This is the end he deserves.”
The revolutions and crackdowns in MENA met with a success yesterday with the official liberation of Libya. There are, however, still a number of countries facing a long and difficult struggle.
Bahrain. An international probe into human rights abuses in spring of this year has postponed the release of its report until November 23rd. Meanwhile, the US has suspended arms sales to Bahrain pending the release of the investigation’s findings.
Syria. There were violent clashes yesterday between security forces and men believed to be deserters from the army in Qusayr. Several soldiers were killed and water, power and communication have been cut off to that town. There are reports of six civilian deaths yesterday: one in Homs, one in Damir outside of Damascus, one in Hama (and five wounded), and three in Daraa. A sixth person died of injuries sustained the day before. On Monday, Syrian tanks are reported to have killed 25 people in Homs.
Today, spurred on by events in Libya, protesters have come out to demonstrate with renewed vigor. Already there are reports of two killed during protests after Friday prayers. They chanted “It is your turn now, Bashar!”
According to a recent statement by the UN, the death toll in Syria has surpassed the 3000 mark and the country is potentially on the brink of a civil war.
Yemen. Gaddhafi’s death yesterday and the Libyan victory in Sirte inspired messages of “You’re next!” from protesters to Saleh. The Security Council is expected to vote today on a resolution calling on Saleh to accept a transitional deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperative Council. The UN Security Council’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar returned from a two week stay there, saying the situation in the country has “deteriorated dramatically.”
Photos: Protesters outside a public school in Taiz, Yemen on Oct 20. Reuters/Stringer. Protests in Damascus. AFP File Photo/YouTube. Tanks in Pearl Roundabout in the Bahraini capital of Manama on February 17th of this year. Joseph Eid/Getty.
Important not to forget the people of these countries and their daily struggle.