Published on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 by The Guardian/UK
Let Them Eat Doughnuts
: The US Response to 's Oppression Bahrain
While the west averts its eyes,
's people are subjected to brutal suppression Bahrain
by Mehdi Hasan
Pity the poor people of
It hasn't been.
The Sunni Khalifas have ruled Shia-majority
The Arab spring reached
Since February at least 30 protesters have been killed and more than 500 people detained, four of whom died in suspicious circumstances. Meanwhile, up to 2,000 people across the country have been dismissed or suspended from work – almost all of them Shia. According to an investigation by al-Jazeera, 28 Shia mosques and religious institutions have been destroyed by the authorities.
Few have been spared the wrath of the Khalifas. Last week friends and relatives of the Bahraini football stars A'ala Hubail and his brother Mohammed claim they were beaten and threatened in custody after being arrested in March for their participation in the protests. "You are British
The Orwellian regime in
Yet western leaders and journalists continue to callously avert their eyes. Those who itched to drop bombs on
Since September 2001
Since February, the failure of western governments to do anything more than go through the motions of "condemning" the violence by Bahrain's rulers has been a dismal vindication for those of us who have long maintained that in the clash between our interests and our values, the former almost always trump the latter. Nonetheless, the sheer brazenness with which our elected leaders have continued to cosy up to, and apologise for,
Meanwhile, our queen invited King Hamad to the royal wedding in April, and our prime minister, David Cameron, welcomed Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to London in May, greeting him on the doorstep of No 10 with a firm handshake and bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase "blood on our hands".
The blood, however, is on all our hands. Successive British governments have supplied the Khalifas with submachineguns, sniper rifles, smoke canisters, stun grenades, tear gas and riot shields. These have been deployed, with murderous effect, against unarmed civilians in
Defenders of the Khalifas say it is wrong to compare countries in the Middle East;
It is bad enough that we helped arm and equip the brutes of
© 2011 Guardian News and Media
Mehdi Hasan is senior editor (politics) at the New Statesman and a former news and current affairs editor at Channel 4. His New Statesman blog is here
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs