In my post yesterday on the beauty of Damascus, there was something I really wanted to say but decided in the end, not to, as it would detratct from the topic of that post. Furthermore, I did not want to vent my frustration while it was still raw. It began with a scrolling news headline I saw the other day on Al Jazeera news,
"Bahrain recalls ambassador from Syria"
My initial thought was obviously that somebody had changed the channel and I was watching the Daily Show. After the absence of anything slightly humorous and confirmation on my cellphone that it was not bizarrely, April Fool's day, I resigned myself to the thought that I was sleep deprived one night too many and had finally lost my mind. Only after my father laughed at the story which was now being discussed, did I realise that amongst all the traits my father and I have in common, Mutual Concurrent Hallucinations, was not one of them.
Let me be clear form the onset. My personal bias towards Syria, and Damascus, in particular does not extend to the despotic leadership presently in power (Bye Bye Visa). The manner in which the uprisings have been dealt with has been excessive and the people of Syria are entitled to the same civil liberties that we enjoy. So, I am in no way, condoning the actions of the Syrian Government. I just find it insanely ludicrous that Bahrain has decided to publicly jump upon a high horse on this issue.
I know that I am generally critical of Arab monarchies so I have chosen to begin by quoting from the "Amnesty International Report 2011 - State of human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, January to Mid April 2011". I really wish I could quote the entire report on Bahrain but if anybody would like the report, mail me and I will send it to you. I am going to include excerpts detailing the response of the Bahraini military on recent protests in that country. It may be argued that these are excerpts taken out of context, but including all the text would just be too much.
" The worst violence happened during an early morning raid on 17 February on those camped at Pearl Roundabout. Massed ranks of riot police stormed the area to evict the mostly sleeping protesters, firing shotguns and using tear gas, batons and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Tanks and armoured vehicles later blocked access to the roundabout. Five people were fatally wounded and at least 250 were injured, some critically. Among the injured were people clearly identified as medical workers who were targeted by police while trying to help injured protesters in or near the roundabout, as confirmed by an Amnesty International fact-finding team"
"On 15 March, Saudi Arabia intervened and sent 1,000 troops in tanks and other armoured vehicles, reportedly at the request of the Bahraini government. Bahrain’s King imposed a state of emergency – termed the State of National Safety – and authorized the armed forces to take extreme measures to end the revolt. For the next two days, Bahraini riot police and soldiers fired at protesters."
"Since then, more than 500 men and women have been detained; at least 40 people were said to be missing and at least four people detained in relation to the protests died in custody in suspicious circumstances. The government said that all deaths were caused by illness. "
The last excerpt is important to my discussion and may seem familiar to most South Africans. In my opinion, The Kingdom of Bahrain is a modern era Apartheid state. The Al Khalifa Royal family has rule over Bahrain since the 19th century and have maintained their authority with the aid and support of the British Empire. What was it about Britain and it's support for minority led governments? In any event although there is no physical separation enforced (legally), the language of the ruling family is very similar to the Whites in Apartheid South Africa or the Zionists in Israel. According to them there cannot be a democracy in Bahrain because the Shia majority are uneducated and will undo all the prosperity and good they have achieved in recent years. How this kind of BS can be used to justify keeping out 70% of a countries population from seeking employment in the military or police force is a tall order. Why Bahrain would therefore try to publicaly rebuke Syria for the manner in which it treated it's protestors was puzzling? It is as stupid as the only country to have ever used a nuclear bomb in warfare, today being allowed to police the rest of the world on nuclear weapons.....perhaps not the best example.
Saudi Arabia has also recalled it's ambassador to Syria, with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz saying in a statement, " What is happening in Syria is not acceptable to Saudi Arabia". I am going to stop now because I am going to start fasting soon and I would be unable to discuss the hypocrisy and idiocy of Saudi Arabia without swearing. Suffice to say that the legs of the high horse that Saudi Arabia sits atop is a lot more shakier, than that of Bahrain.