The Awakening of Manama ; Personal Reflection
The regime may hold billions of oil dollars in it’s bank accounts, seal arm deals in millions to repress it’s own people, play with the judiciary system and control the media with a strong fist, yet, steady footsteps of few hundreds of peaceful freedom seekers raising their arms and chanting loud in the capital Manama, cause the regime a massive heart attack that paralyses its entire system!
The opposition political parties have announced that a pro-democracy march will be held in the capital of Bahrain, Manama, at 4:00 PM. The Ministry of Interior as usual broadcasted: “The protest in Manama is illegal and all those participating will be held accountable.”. (Yah, Right!).
There will be many posts that will write about the Human Rights violations and how the regime continue to be as dark and brutal as it always was. But here I will write about my personal reflection e,about something bright, about the overwhelming humane side of the people.
For me, Manama protests have always been the most tricky ones, because once it is announced, Ministry of Interior blocks all entrances, and I am no expert in all it’s secret narrow alleys to get in .
“The massive traffic jam on the main highway caused by police blocking all roads”
This time, I picked up a dear friend who knew the secret maps of Manama that newly recruited “mercenaries” who came from foreign countries have no idea about. As we drove to our capital, it was evident that we live under a militarised regime! Policemen/women “mercenaries” with their arms, police jeeps, cars, tanks are blocking and surrounding Manama and its outskirts, someone tweeted saying “I bet the Ministry of Interior is absolutely empty, even the building security officers are sent to Manama”!
“Police blocking roads with jeeps and police tanks”
One thing you need to know, Bahrain is a very small island, and we live in the small percentage of that small island since the rest is taken by the “ruling” family -Don’t believe me? check Google Earth :) – , so when I say the “outskirts” of Manama was blocked by police , it literarily means that the ENTIRE COUNTRY got blocked!
De spite of it all, we succeeded to to enter Manama.
Once we entered Manama, we were invited into a house along with many women awaiting the time of the protest. I was able to recognise a number of them, a wife of a human rights activist who’s in hiding, a sister of a detainee who is sentenced to 15 years, two women who were detained previously.
When I read pro-regime newspapers and media outlets describing protestors as : “Teenage rioters who are misled by the political leaders”, I don’t get upset or angry, I simply laugh at this blunt lie. Because the protestors I was among were women from all ages, some of them were grandmothers wearing sports shoes and fired up to join the protest at any moment.
Because the massive march was not allowed due to the extensive presence of mercenaries , people decided to initiate smaller protests whenever a good number of people gathered, un-announcing the time nor the street.
And just like magic, at the most important spot in Bahrain, the roaring chants of peaceful protestors started and people came from unexpected places to remind the regime once more, that its our country and our land long before they invaded our soils.
Soon after we protested, police started attacking us and we were chased. And doors suddenly opened up offering a refuge to protestors to prevent them from being killed, beaten or arrested by the mercenaries.
Personally I had to seek refuge for 4 times each time a protest emerged. But what was astonishing for me is, I am being rescued by people I have never met in my life, people I do not know and they do not know me, they don’t know my sect, they know nothing except that I might be in danger and I need help.
Once we are invited in a house, cold water is given to us and a place to allow us catch our breath. People were reading the updates on the twitter but my mind was somewhere else.
“The tea I was offered by one family”
I was wandering my sight inside the small houses of Manama with their old doors, walls and furniture. I don’t know how can such a small house be inhabited by an entire family and in some cases families. it seems like celling is about to fall, any moment! The mother in the house offered water and tea, guided us to the room. And again, I don’t know them, they don’t know me! The modest hospitality of those families overwhelemed me.
@JamilaHanan tweeted something today that hit the exact overwhelming sense I felt yesterday in Manama and could not find the words to described it, she wrote:
“Sometimes the world seems such a horrible place, but the more one exposes evil, the more one discovers that love is even stronger”
And it is very true, the hospitality, care and their act of kindness was more powerful than all of the repression happening outside. They help people in need in spite of the danger of being raided and attacked any moment.
The cracks on the walls invited the teargas inside the packed houses, children came in running shouting “TEARGAS, TEARGAS”. A little girl did something astonishing, she instantly covered her nose with her dress. I bet she did not understand what “teargas” is, yet she has experienced it a lot before to make her know its bad and deadly.
“The child covering her nose to avoid teargas”
The graceful hospitality of the people in Manama at times where most people would close their doors, kept me thinking about our own history in Bahrain and about the native Bahrainis, who were invaded by the current ruling family from Zubara “Qatar” just 200 years ago. Was our ancestors’s genuine hospitality without discrimination played a fatal role in accepting to be ruled under outsiders who made us believe that they are part of us?? .. I can only wonder ..
“Spy Ballon in Manama”
I have heard and seen photos of the “Spy Balloon” but never saw it until this Friday. The regime claims that the balloon is used to check the “pollution” in the air, yet, I wonder, what was it doing in Manama, where the most polluted village “Ma’ameer” never witnessed it! (Hard to believe official statements, isn’t it??)
Near magreb prayer, I had to leave, I thanked those who opened their hearts and homes for me, found the friend I’ve lost when the protest started. On our way out, police were in every turn, and when you drive a car there is no escape in the small narrow roads, the scene was crystal clear. On one corner, we saw mercenaries ambushing a group of protestors, on another we saw them arresting a young man.
“Mercenaries arrested a young man from the protest”
On my way home, the traffic was horrible. Police had checkpoints in all the main roads till night. The laughable joke was in today’s newspaper where Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior and “crippled” parliament were accusing the political parties of obstructing traffic and causing the economy to collapse!
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha ! Are they serious?
Now the public persecution “funny to know, sometimes my autocorrect changes its to prostit**” is filing a case againt “Al-Wefaq” for the calling for the illegal protest. I have two comments on this :
1. Why only Al-Wefaq??? All opposition parties called for the protest? why only pick Al-Wefaq??
2. The Regime is saying that the protest is illegal and all those participating are accountable, May I remind you and remind myself that the Pro-regime protest “Al-Fateh” called by Mahmood Abdul-latif leading the National Unity Gathering was in fact ILLEGAL !
292. Despite the fact that this gathering was not authorized, there was no record of attempts by the police or government security services to disperse the crowds gathered at the Al-Fateh Mosque. Later, small rallies described as supportive of the King and the GoB were reported in the Sheikh Issa bin Salman Road and the King Faisal Highway. No information is available regarding any attempts to confront or disperse these unauthorised demonstrations.
The above gathering was not authorized and was an illegal gathering! I heard no one was accused of illegal gathering! I heard no one was in prison, attacked, killed or received a letter from a court! Not even people faces being circled on National TV for breaking the Law, the Head of that gathering was not accused, Newspapers promoting the gathering were not stopped! (which they did and more to Pro-Democracy Supporters) yet, it was celebrated by the Government of Bahrain and started financing them handsomely!
Which is something I am not against at ALL ! They have the right to express their support to the Government in any peaceful mean they can. I believe that they should not take permission from the Government either, it’s their right. And the Minister of Justice every time he appears on a media outlet he is desperate to convince us that the law applied is “not biased”..
“Free Nabeel poster in a wall in Bahrain”
Good also to remember that “Nabele Rajab, president of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights” is sentenced to 3 years in prison for calling illegal protests. hmmm .. where is Abdulatif Al-Mahdmood?? * Food for thoughts*
In Manama protest, 6-10 people were arrested, among them a dear colleague of mine. As much as it aches to know that he is behind bars, as much as I know that he is proud of every step he took in Manama, of every breath he inhaled, every shout he raised and every sight he witnessed. He may be subjected to torture and his body aches, but secretly I know, he is smiling somehow from the inside. Freedom to you my friend.
Manama, has finally been awakened by a big alarm, a successful march to be added to our victorious milestones on our revolution.
We shall meet soon our beloved Manama.