BAHRAIN: The Bahraini Spring

AHMAD ALKHUZAM WRITES – Protests continue in Bahrain as the authorities prepared for the Muslim holiday on October 15.

The recent unrest has caused several serious injuries to civilians. One such case is Abdullah Yassin, who was hospitalized after suffering a shotgun wound from the authorities.  The recent demonstrations, which started on October 12th, were sparked by the funeral of Bahraini prisoner Yousef AlNashmi who was arrested mid-August. These are just a couple examples of the rampant injuries and arrests witnessed since the start of this Bahraini spring.

The uprising in Bahrain started on February 14, 2011 after the Arab Spring, triggered by the sectarian based social inequality faced by the Shi’a majority. The Sunni monarch comes from a dynasty that has ruled the country for over two centuries. Consequently, the Sunni minority are the only ones that can hold positions of power. It works as a glass ceiling that is solely based on ethnicity. Religion simply stands in the middle as a litmus between Persian and Arab cultures. The Shi’a primarily descend from Persian ancestors, while the Sunnis are Arab descended. This sectarian conflict has brought the Middle East down for centuries, and modernized tribal regimes are inflating them. Illustrating this circumstance of propelling ancient tension is the old Arab proverb of “adding water to the mud puddle.”

These uprisings first started as demands for a constitutional monarchy, but were crushed with the help of other gulf monarchs who sent troops to assist the Bahraini government. The squandering of these initial demands led to further uprisings and the complete overthrow of the regime. Over 80 people have died since February 2011 in violent protests and from similarly violent responses by authorities to crash these protests. The regime continues to point to Iran for its “imperialistic” intentions, and in some ways there is some truth to these accusations. However, if the inequality is solved, no finger pointing can be done.

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