Friday, July 14, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
"The Prisoners: Criminals or Victims??"
It is said that today there are almost 60 political prisoners in Bahrain.
Many of them have been charged with participating in an illegal gathering. According to Bahraini law, any gathering of more than five people in a public place without a permit is considered illegal and is punishable by law (upto 2 yrs imprisonment).
In the press, these prisoners have been shown as criminals. But do you think it is wise to depend only on the Bahraini press for information on this issue??
Do you want to know more???
"The Prisoners: Criminals or Victims??"
Organized by: The Committee of the Prisoners Families
Place: Al-Sadeq mosque (near Al-Salmaniya roundabout)
Date: Wed. 21st June
A documentary about the incidents which lead to the arrests will be shown. You will get a chance to see what really happened in the airport and Dana mall.
In addition there will be some speakers, including Hassan Mshaime3, and the mother of one of the prisoners.
Come to the seminar,
hear the other side of the story,
and have an informed opinion.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
What I Heard About Iraq
A month ago, on the 20th of March, it was the annivrrsary of the "Political Lie" In response, readings of the text "What I heard about Iraq" were organized in cities around the world, including Athens, Basel, Berlin, Bruxelles, Calcutta, Durban, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, New York, Prague, Zurich and other cities. One of those places was Beloit, Wisconsin.
I attended this reading, and now a month later there are parts of it that I want to quote here. You can read the whole text, by Eliot Weinberger, here. I must warn you that it is long, but totally worth it. It quotes the American administration's lies, and American soldiers, and ordinary Iraqi citizens. It's a good reminder of the reality of the what happened inIraq after 9/11.
Here are the parts that I thought were most important:
I heard the vice president say: "I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators"
I heard the president tell the Iraqi people, on the night before the invasion began: "If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you"
I heard the Pentagon spokesman say that 95% of the Iraqi casualties were "military-age males"
I heard the Red Cross say that casualties in Baghdad were so high that the hospitals had stopped counting.
As the riots and looting broke out, I heard a man in Baghdad market say: "Saddam Husseins greatest crime is that he brought the American army to Iraq"
I heard it would be a matter of months before Starbucks and McDonalds opened branches in Baghdad. I heard that HSBC would have cash machines all over the country"
I heard Colonel Nathan Sassaman say: "With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them"
I heard that 7% of all military American deaths in Iraq were suicides.
I heard the president say "I wouldn't be happy if I was occupied either"
I heard Makki Al-Nazzal, who was managing a clinic in Fallujah, say, in unaccented English: "I have been a fool for 47 years. I used to believe in European and American civilization."
I heard an American soldier say: "It's kind of bad we destroyed everything, but at least we gave them a chance for a new start"
I heard that the American ambassador, John Negroponte, had requested that $3.37 billion intended for water, sewage and electricity projects to be transferred to security and oil output.
I heard 100,000 Iraqi civilians were dead.
I heard the US military had purchased 1,500,000,000 bullets for use in the comming year. That is 58 bullets for every Iraqi adult and child."
Let's not forget what this political lie has led to!
If you havn't heard about this guy, its about time you do. Chris Hedges is a "Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran foreign correspondent, having covered foreign conflicts in Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Columbia, Guatemala, Bosnia, Iraq, Sudan, Algeria, India, Israel/Palestine, Turkey, and Kosovo"
This book of his is really interesting because it gives you insight on wars from a person who has experienced them and not in one region. I read this book in Bahrain and never thought I would meet the author. But last week Mr. Hedges came to Beloit Campus to speak out against the war in Iraq. Before comming here he was booed off the stage on another campus for being anti-war.
One of my favourite parts of his speech is when he answered one of the audeince questions, this is how it went:
"Why is the American administration trying to impose American style democracy in the world?"
"They don’t have any interest in imposing democracy at all.They don’t want democracy in Iraq or anywhere else. Democracy- that’s what they use to sell it. And if democracy ever is on the rise and it's not in their ineterest, you can be very sure they will work behind the scenes to crush it. All of these enterprises are given moral language, as a kind of cover. I mean what was the first Gulfwar about? We consume 25% of the world petrol, and that war was about our right to keep consuming a disproportionate share of the world’s petrol at a cheap price. And the message it gave to the dispossessed of the world, is that we have everything and if you try to take it away from us, we’ll kill you. Now they all get it, and we don’t."
I was lucky to meet Hedges personally after his speech, and I asked him about his experience in Palestine. He told me that he published his diary which he wrote in Gaza, and he got into alot of trouble here in the US because of that. I will quote a small part of this diary:
"Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered - death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo - but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport."
You can read his Gaza Diary here
I give all my support to Chris Hedges and all activists like him who arn't afraid to speak the truth.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I read these poems by the Yemeni activist Zain Alsaqqaf and I was really moved.
Zain Alsakkaf was a man who believed in freedom and fought for it, and his dedication to the cause will contnue to inspire people even after his death.
The dress of our illusions is worn out
Holes widened from every side
I begged her… mom, stop mending it
We need new attire
That’s fit for our glories!
He sleeps on the sidewalk
And when he wakes up from his heaven,
He wanders around the streets
Walks in the markets
His palm spread in front of him
Begging for an apple!
In the Cage
I know that the yearning comes with the clouds
It might rain here, or in other places
But I am not waiting for the clouds of nostalgia
I am waiting for my belovedI know the signs of her coming
From the color of the horizon,
And the smell of the wind,
From the shivering of my eyelashes
And the taste in my mouth
I know these signs are never mistaken
I am here,
Waiting for freedom’s arrival
full of the scent of dignity…
The Cave and I
It doesn’t make a difference for me
If u don’t come tomorrow
For you did not come yesterday
I have been waiting for a century:
For love, and bread
For work, and hope
Whether standing or walking,
I am still waiting
In this cave that’s called home
It doesn’t really matter
But what I am afraid of
Is that because of my long stand, waiting,
I’d grow a tail!
So, if you finally come,
And see what I fear you would,
Don’t be scared,
If I drag behind me,
A long tail… of disappointments...
note: the poems were translated from arabic.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Who's the Boss at www.bahrainblogs.org ???
Since I didn't get my last post on bahrainblogs.org I started wondering about this issue...
I used to have the understanding that earlier all Bahraini blogs were included in this site and whatever we post on our blogs automatically goes there. However, I think this is not true anymore.
So... this leads to many questions. Why has this changed? and if there is a good reason, who should decide what is worthy of making it to Bahrainblogs and what is not? and who decides which blogs will be on the list or not?
I personally thought it was awesome that everyones posts were included before, especially that we live in a country where freedom of speech is not enjoyed by many. I think all bahraini bloggers need to discuss this...
Monday, January 16, 2006
Action in London
I spent my christmas break in UK, 10 days of which I was in London. While I was there I met Moosa Abdali (the guy who was sexually assaulted by the Bahraini police). We heard of the demonstrations taking place in Bahrain and the protesters that were being held in detention and facing trials, so we decided to take action in London. It wasn't much but the main purpose was to support those people who get beaten up and go to prison for going on demonstrations, and to protest against the crimes of the goverenment.
First we went to Hyde Park, Speakers corner where we talked to people about human rights abuses in Bahrain. Ali Mshaime3 joined us to speak in Arabic. To my surprise there were many people who were very interested in the situation, and we had very long discussions about Bahrain in particular and the Gulf region in general.
Next we held a small protest infront of the Bahraini Embassy in London. For two hours the group that had come to protest shouted slogans like "Free our Hostages" and "We want democracy in Bahrain". Reports on human rights abuses in Bahrain were also distributed.
Finally we visited 5 different human rights organizations who have offices in London. We spoke to them and handed over the reports on the latest abuses in Bahrain. They were very cooperative and promised to do what they can to help.
I really hope that the day will come when every Bahraini has the right to speak his mind without risking his health and freedom.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Risk from Mobiles
A Detainee in Danger
After the airport incident, and the tragic breaking of the glass of course, 4 people were arrested. More protesters went to protest the arrest and beating of these detainees. This time not in the airport. More people were beaten up and arrested. Making them alltogether 15 detianees now. One of the datainees is Mohammed Abdulla Alsingais.
The riot police broke his leg while beating him up in the demonstration, then he got arrested. Last night his family was allowed a visit and they were shocked when they saw their son covered in blood, his face swollen, and ofcourse his leg broken. He could not speak much, but his family asked the police if they could take him to the hospital and they were denied.
There are reports that say Mohammed was taken to the hospital this morning but now he has disappeared and his family don't know where he is. They were told he was taken to Alhoora prison but when they went there they were told that he was never taken there.
Mohammeds family fear for their sons life.
As for the bloggers who replied to my last post, this post is not for you. After all, glass and tourist impressions are much more important than your fellow Bahraini brothers being tortured and arrested.