Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How the Al Khalifahs are spreading hatred in Bahrain

Pulitzer prize winner Caryle Murphy offers a distressing report from Bahrain, where the Saudi-encouraged monarchy is bent on fomenting sectarian enmity.  The Al Khalifah's path will undermine and discredit precisely the opposition figures that are potential interlocutors.

[Added] Mahmood al-Yousif, the veteran Bahraini blogger was arrested today, March 30, 2011, in his village outside of Manama.  His Mahmood's Den has offered commentary since 2003.  Writing in a gentle tone he has published news of protests, official misbehavior and improprieties by one and all.  He has also shared his affection for Bahrain. Two other respected bloggers were arrested: Sana Abdul-Razzaq Zinedine and Ayat al-Qurmozi.

U.S. Department of State on bloggers' arrests:

QUESTION: -- Bahrain, it seems like they’re continuing a crackdown on Shiite opposition despite your calls, and they’ve arrested a well-known blogger, a Shiite blogger. First, do you have any reaction to the arrest? Secondly, do – have any – can you give us any sense of whether you think things are going in the right or wrong direction in Bahrain? And there’s also – was a report by Human Rights Watch that they are actively targeting people who are injured in these antigovernment protests, who are in the hospital – beating them up and so on. Do you have any information on that?
MR. TONER: Well, in your first question concerning the Bahraini blogger, Mahmood Al Yousif, well, we’re deeply concerned about his arrest. He’s a prominent and respected blogger. We’re also concerned about reports of the detention of two other Internet activists who have expressed their views on recent events in Bahrain. We hope that the Bahraini Government’s decision to arrest bloggers and Internet activists will not make it more difficult to resume a national dialogue that solicits the views and opinions of all Bahrainis.
And I think that pivots to your second question, which is – and you mentioned about the – going into hospitals and other places --
QUESTION: The Human Rights Watch report.
MR. TONER: Well, we’ve been – right. I think we’ve been clear in previous statements that we’re obviously very concerned about those kinds of reports. We condemn the violence against civilians and peaceful protesters, and we continue to call for a credible political process. As the Secretary said many times, there’s no security solution to the situation in Bahrain. It needs to be a political one.
QUESTION: You said, in relation to the arrests, that you hope that it will not make it more difficult to engage in a national dialogue. Does that mean that you’re telling the protesters that they should basically turn the other cheek and ignore this?
MR. TONER: Well --
QUESTION: Or are you telling the government that they should be released?
MR. TONER: I think we’re saying that the Bahraini Government needs to engage in that kind of national dialogue, as does the opposition, in order to move this process forward, and that arresting bloggers doesn’t help in that respect.

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