Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The world stands by while Bahrain crushes its own citizens. What is there to do?

The outrage of the situation in Bahrain is that the world is standing by, watching the people of that country suffer terrible abuse, without a word.  The article below had to be produced without the author's name being revealed because it tells the story of cases of abuse for which there is no justification whatever, anywhere.  But the great nations of the world allow it to take place without comment. This is because the US needs to continue its use of the island as a naval base; Saudi Arabia thinks it must prop up this Sunni regime versus its mainly Shia citizenry lest the Shia of Saudi Arabia get similar ideas of expressing dissent; and the Iranians, who claim to care about Shiite minorities elsewhere, dare not provide too much help to the Bahraini Shia lest their own citizens, whose demonstrations they barely quelled in 2009, get even more restive. So the various parties who might have an influence on Bahrain are content with the system in place remaining unchanged.  
Of course we are outraged.  But what is there to do about it?  This is the world we live in, and we despise its many abuses and pious hypocracies.  At the same time it all too easy to be self-righteous about it.  We all want a better world; we are all against graft and repression and abuse and greed [at least in others].  But its hard to know how to object without simply being unduly pious about it ourselves.  
Thankfully, there is someone in Bahrain, who has done something about the abuses there:  he/she has told the world what is going on there.  But for that person, unlike me, merely to tell the truth as they find it entails a risk to life and limb, even possibly to family.  To them we say thanks; and we pray for their welfare.  And thanks to Al Jazeera.  [Click HERE for a link to the whole article.]

"Two weeks in Bahrain's military courts:  The families of six of the hundreds of people given long jail sentences speak out about the 'abuse of justice'".  Reporter in Bahrain 18 Oct 2011 

Protests which began in February continue despite the prison terms handed out by military courts [REUTERS]

Teachers, professors, politicians, doctors, athletes, students and others have all appeared in Bahrain's military courts. In just two weeks, 208 people were sentenced or lost appeals, leading to a cumulative total of just less than 2,500 years in prison.

Many of those imprisoned took part in massive pro-democracy protests earlier this year. Others, families say, were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were targeted by virtue of their religious sect.

One lawyer, who represents dozens of the convicted and who asked not to be named, told Al Jazeera the total numbers of how many have stood in front of military courts are not clear - but he estimates at least 600. Well over 1,000 people have been arrested since the crackdown began, he said.

In an attempt to quell the uprising, the island's rulers invited Saudi and other Gulf troops to Bahrain in March, and called for a three-month state of emergency, or what it called the "National Safety Law".

With the emergency law came the military trials of hundreds of people in "National Safety Courts". According to the lawyer, the courts were basically military courts, since both judge and general prosecutor were both drawn from the military judicial system.

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