The saga continues in Bahrain. I just got a phone call from a former Bahrain resident, who had lived there for 30 years, asking ME of all people what was happening back home.

Shrug. I really don't know. Does anyone out there have a logical explanation to what exactly is happening there and why???

24 comments:

Waffles said...

Are you asking whats going on in Bahrain in general? or just this specific demonstration that happened in Dana Mall?

Chanad said...

Given the pattern of events over the past two years, this latest violence should hardly be surprising... and the worst is yet to come if something is not done to change the situation.

It is my opinion that things will continue in this direction until and unless people in the middle are willing to get involved. I am referring to the middle and upper class civilians, civil societies, mainstream clerics, and especially the business community. Until these parties recognize that this is everyone's problem, the regime and the angry youths will continue to take more extreme stances and use increasingly violent means. It is the folks in the middle who have the ability to bring both sides back from violence. The business community especially has the ability (and the responsibility) to make the govt be more careful about how it behaves.

Last night there were several burning tyres blocking village entrances, and I heard the sound of an exploding gas cylinder for the first time in many years.... ahh the 90s.

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Sigh!!

You talk sense Chanad.. but who's listening??

Waffles.. Bahrain in general..especially if the latest episodes of violence seem to be the tip of the iceberg.

Balushi said...

someone farted out too loud and the cops thought it was a bomb blast!


Its all ok. undercontrol

Cerebralwaste said...

Nah balushi that smell was the last two synapses in your brain fusing together in one last big BRAIN FART. So Congrats to you are in order! You are the newest winner of my patented award: CerebralWaste's BRAIN FART du jour!!!!

wertello said...

Nice blog, i'm still reading it, greetings from Poland, city of Gdansk

tooners said...

Chanad, when you say that something needs to be done to change the situation... what situation are you referring to? Unemployment? or what? I'm confused about all of this. I was told by an official in the govt sector that this is basically happening because the poor look across the street (figuratively speaking) and see all of these high rise bldgs., all the foreign investors coming into Bahrain but they are getting nothing.

But... I read in the paper that the riots are happening because they want those ppl released from prison (from the riots at the airport).

What is true?

doriangray said...

There are protests in Bahrian because:
1. the Gov. invested .5 milj BD for a fontain, while a lot of locals are living in poor houses
2. because protesters, who were arrested 3 months ago, got 3 years of prision! Imagine...
3. the F1 is one piece of glamour, parties, big cars, rich people. And who is enjoying this glamour weekend? Not the lower class bahraini's...

Maybe that is an answer on your q.

an expat,

Chanad said...

Tooners: The protest at which the riots broke out was to demand the release of those jailed in connection with the airport clash. But the protesters in general are angry about a whole range of issues related to politics (the king reneging on his 2001 promise, the political societies law), economics (unemployment, land hoarding, the distribution of houses, corruption, financial mismanagement), and human rights (compensation for torture victims, or the trial of torturers, disproportionate use of violence against protesters).

The recent use of violence by some of the youths is because the police has repeatedly used violence on peaceful demonstrators (starting in the summer of '05), but no one has held them accountable for it. Some of the youths began to question the rationale of non-violence if the result was that they were just getting beaten up and the cops were getting away with it each time. So in November some of them came ready to protests to fight back with rocks if the cops confront them. The violence continues and most of Bahrain does not demand accountability from the police. By January some of the kids start coming prepared to fight back with molotov cocktails... but everyone in Bahrain is still completely apathetic to the situation and don't seem to care. And then we had the violence of this week.

To answer your question then, in the long run, the deeper questions of economic inequity and political participation will have to be addressed more genuinely of course. But in the short run, the people of Bahrain need to demand that the cops stop confronting protesters with disproportionate use (or threat) of force, and to hold them accountable if and when they do. This WILL bring an immediate end to the sporadic riots.

The problem is that most people aren't aware of what actually takes place at these protests. On every occasion where I have seen violence break out it has always been the cops who start it. But the govt always issues statements that cops had to step into "keep the peace" and to stop the protesters who were vandalizing public property, or some other bs, which just isn't true most of the time.

Waffles said...

I Agree with you Chanad, wisely spoken. What i think, or what i hope , is that the people will continue to protest and demonstrate against the government till all demands are reached. and i do mean all. the people of bahrain have been living basicaly like crap over the last decades, and this should stop at once.

The government had enough time to fix the situation, but refuced to do so, and i believe they wont do anything. All we see and hear are promises, thats it, no action.

And chanad is right, things will get worse. This is just the beinging, unless the government starts doing something about it.

And the king should pay more attention to his kingdom and whats going on withen it walls. If he cant do his simple job, let him leave the chair.

doriangray said...

In addition to that:

1. Expats are not informed. If you don't read arabic, GDN and Bahrain Tribune (expat newspapers) don't report. So how can you make up an opinion?
2. For a "strange" reason I got feedback from my embassy: Bahrain becomes dangerious. Don't go out if it's not in the center city or your compound. Why? Let me check the GDN :) ... LOL

tooners said...

I usually get reports from the Embassy about violence here but haven't in a long time.

I find it incredible that so much money is spent on things that aren't "really" needed here. I see reports and hear ppl talk (at my job) about money being allocated for certain projects or funds are being given to a group of ppl, but then... nothing. I can see where that would piss ppl off especially when they have ziltch.

I will say this tho - from my limited amount of knowledge on these subjects - the govt does give homes here to the poor and that's a lot different than the U.S. The Habitat for Humanity builds homes for the poor or destitute in the U.S., but the govt doesnt really give a rat's ass about the any of those ppl. They walk a good walk but that's about it.

So, on one hand, Bahrainis are lucky in that regard. Look at all of those ppl that were living in the shanty town that got homes. Yes, the homes weren't big enough but at least they're not living in filth now.

The U.S. does have unemployment pay tho.. even though it doesn't last long.

This may be a rumor - my husband heard that the King is giving or is buying/financing a huge fountain (bigger than the one here) to Egypt. He presented one to them years ago but he's giving them another one.... like the one in Vegas w/ lights and such. If this is true... where is the logic in that?

In my last job, I was privy and did work on a lot of confidential stuff from the office of the 2nd in command of this country.... and I'll say this - a LOT of money is being spent on things that.... well, it's just wasteful (and that's a light term). But... I'm sure it's mere pennies to some.

Cerebralwaste said...

Tooners basic unemployement benefits last for 26 weeks and can be exteneded to 52 at times and there are massive programs for public housing in the US as well. You need to update your blog posting facts. The simple fact is most in the US that are destitute and poor are in that situation by their own accord. There will always be the true "hard luck" cases but the vast majority need to learn to HELP THEMSELVES.

I see it every week when I volunteer at the local food bank. Scores of people coming in for free FOOD, taking the food and leaving in $50,000 autos.

tooners said...

Well, I've seen just the opposite. I've done a lot of volunteering - for the church and for orgs - worked at food banks, delivered food at christmas and thanksgiving, and I'm here to say that I've seen something completely different. Yes, there are many who can help themselves, but... there are those that could benefit from some help from organizations and/or the govt and they don't get it, so I do completely disagree w/ you.

Yes, there are programs in the U.S., but there should be many more... for the number of poor in the country.

And yeah, SS is good as long as you find another job. I'm not advocating going out and using SS to get money and I don't believe in it, but I do think it can help.

But... maybe you're doing ur stuff in NYC. I don't know, but I know that I've seen just the opposite. So Sorry!

Cerebralwaste said...

It is not many Tooners it is MOST can help themselves, They don't because someone is doing it for them. We now have THREE GENERATIONS of the same families living in public housing. 3!!! This is very common from LA to NYC. Why should they leave when they aren't paying SHIT for rent when it is FREE. Welfare is no different than DRUGS. People become dependant on something and in this case it is MONEY. FREE MONEY that comes in the form of housing, food and general relief.

There if course are people who need assistance and society should help them and it does. Your contention that government should do more might have some merit IF the programs in place NOW where run in a manner assuring the benefits are distributed in a fair manner. However this is a PIPE DREAM for the most part because governments are inefficient and generally UNABLE to do so. Try looking at things in a NON EMOTIONAL perspective and when you get down to the bare facts LESS is actually MORE. You looking for a utopia and utopias don't exist.

tooners said...

There are a lot that abuse the system... get pregnant just to get welfare, lie to get welfare, lie to get benefits when they don't need it, but... there are those who are in a class system w/ a stigma attached to it, and w/ that comes an inability to find work in some areas... they don't have medical insurance and therefore many can't get medical help because most drs require you to have medical insurance. Yes, there are hospitals for those that have nothing, but they are few and far between.

Do I look at things from an emotional viewpoint, yes, at times, but I have also seen things w/ my own two eyes. I've seen how ppl live and the distress many are under. I've lived in Calif., and I've seen the homeless... many of which need to be in hospitals but many hospitals have released these ppl because the State could no longer afford to pay for their care.

Are you a Republican? You sure sound like it...

Bitterness won't get you far in life... I tend to get bitter and aggravated because I've seen the abuses in the U.S. I've seen non-U.S. citizens getting benefits that Americans should have and that erks me...

Nothing against you, but to spout statistics doesn't change the prob in the U.S. There are tons of ppl that could use help... lots of help, and they're not getting it. Money is shifted thru hands and the poor never get a penny.

Organizations take their fare share (not all but many) before ever releasing funds to the needy. The rich have benefits to help the poor while ppl are lying out on the street in the freezing temperatures w/ no place to live...

But.. there are those in the U.S. who do help, and they make a difference; albeit small, but they do make a difference.

tooners said...

Btw, are you a social worker? I'll have to admit, I wouldn't want you working on my case if, Lord forbid, it ever came down to something like that. Maybe you should have a few more "emotional" feelings towards ppl. Might do you some good.

tooners said...

You know... if there was better schooling in areas, maybe you wouldn't see THREE generations of the same family living in the housing projects. Many of these ppl don't want to live there and it's really sad that you take the stance that you're taking. The schools that many go to are crap, don't have adequate facilities and the teachers try to do their best, but when you have limited funds to help the children, what happens? Many in these projects turn to a life of crime because it's the easiest way to get money, many turn to drugs because they get money fast and isn't that what it's all about? MONEY?!!

Are there social programs to help ppl, yes... but you are FAR from right in saying that it helps most of them. That is soooo untrue. If it was, then why is there such a problem in the U.S. w/ poverty? I guess because everyone is living off the welfare system and using it like a drug, eh?

Have you ever been to Kentucky? What about Mississippi? What about Georgia? I guess when you live in that kind of poverty then it's so easy to go out and get a job to take care of the family, have a house, have food on the table and make ends meet.

Cerebralwaste said...

The shallowness of your arguments are as transparent as Glad Wrap. Tossing political labels into the fray is akin to childhood name calling done on the playground. At no time did I ever say those who need help shouldn't get help. Despite your best attempts to paint my comments as such. Obviously my comments must have struck some deep seeded emotional nerve with you for you to make 3 attempts to rebut them.

I am for the record an ardent supporter of social programs and will continue to so. What I have seen through years of experience is, and the facts can only be denied by those themselves who are in complete denial, is all of the current social welfare programs are rife with abuse and most people on these programs can better themselves if they, to be blunt, would come off the welfare TIT and stop sucking their life blood from the overburdened taxpayer. If you need help then GET HELP. Social welfare should not be a means to a permanent end. 3 generations of a family on the DOLE is a statistical improbability yet they are there. LOTS of them. To take a quote from the back woods of Kentucky... "THAT DOG DON'T HUNT Girl.."

Taxpayers pay more for public housing in rents than it would be to BUY these people a home. Food banks continue to give and deliver free food to people who truly don't need it. REFORM is the issue and you know it. Sadly reform comes with a price that is too high for many to swallow. People have to take responsibility for their own actions. PERIOD. I am not bitter, I am realist. Look at things from a logical viewpoint and you can only conclude the best thing to do is to help those that need the help and help those to help themselves.

Anyway regardless you have right to your opinion but I do have a suggestion for you. Jump in your car and take a drive over to BurgerLand and have a Shawarma or two or three and think of poor me being unable to dine on any right now. Though I promise I will buy you a dozen as soon as I am back in Bahrain!!! mmmmmm shawarma mmmmmmm

tooners said...

Thanks dear but I don't like shawarma! eat all you want tho.

You can say all you want but I know, as well as you, what is happening in the U.S. Go ahead and spout a bunch of mumbo jumbo for the sake of everyone reading.... all anyone has to do is live there to see what's actually happening. Btw, how long have you lived in the States? Are you even American?

Not all ppl in the U.S. can better themselves, that's just the way it seems to work... no matter how hard they try. There are just some places and cities that don't have the funding... and if you know anything about it, you know that what I'm saying is the truth. Funny how you ignored several of the points that I mentioned... but hey... I'm not surprised.

You are entitled to your opinion, as I am, and I know what it's like, I've seen it. But, I've also seen abuse.... but there are those that will abuse any and everything they can in the States... not only Americans.

Abuse of the social programs happens from every end of the stick... not only by those wanting help.

I think you are bitter. It's very clear in the words you write. But... you are entitled, aren't you?! For God's sake... you are living in the hell hole, right?! Having to live w/ all that scum who are abusing the system.

Hurry back to Bahrain my dear.... the life is so much easier here, isn't it... for the less fortunate and especially for those that need help.

I think you should get a job in social work here so you can teach everyone the RIGHT way to do things. Since you know so much.

MuppetLord said...

Hmm....how sad.

Cerebralwaste said...

Tooners

How quick you are to jump on someone who only desires to see those that need the help get it and help them better themselves by removing the rampant abuse that even you argee happens. If your defintion of being bitter entails not liking abuse of social programs then you must be one bitter soul yourself.

As far as being an American you damn right I am one. Born and bred and proud of it.

Your blogger profile does say you are "Drama Queen" does it not? Are you trying to amp up the drama a bit?

tooners said...

I love being a drama queen, don't you?! You far outweigh me on my best days.

Cerebralwaste said...

Only my acting is based on real life events, my lady, that impact me in the dearest of places...... MY WALLET!!!!! Call it "Method Posting"...

Sorry you had a bad experiance with a shawarma. Hate it when that happens. I promise I will take you and your husband to my secret shawarma shack for a dozen or so very soon.

Anyway I am thinking you need to step up to the CerebralWaste hotseat and submit yourself to an exclusive CW Interview.

I smell a good interview with you from a unique point view... An American and admitted Drama Queen, who dislikes shawarma, who is married to a Bahraini and living in Bahrain ... Hmmmmmm What do you say o opinionated one? Not just anyone gets asked to be interviewed by moi....

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