Daily Archives: July 4, 2012
Regime launches new crackdowns
In spite of international claims for restraint, the Bahrain regime has actually intensified its attacks on citizens in recent days. Reports came in yesterday that security forces conducted a campaign of terror in more than 25 villages, including mass arrests, excessive tear gas, and home raids.
Peaceful protester still unconscious
Ali Almuwali remains in critical condition and on a respirator after undergoing three surgeries to treat the head injury he sustained by being intentionally fired on with a tear gas canister while peacefully protesting on June 22, 2012. His room in the Salmaniya Medical Complex is under heavy guard by the regime.
Regime attempts to influence children
Regime-sponsored media report that the government has sponsored a number of school programs and “Peacemaker camps” designed to encourage children to accept reconciliation and cope with the emotional impact of the violence they witness. In an almost Orwellian twist, the regime calls their effort by monikers such as “The Caravan for Peace” and calls participants “Knights for Peace.”
Well-intended outreach or state-sponsored brainwashing? You decide. But it seems specious that the regime would promote the concept of peace to the children of Bahrain while tear-gassing their neighborhoods and beating their family members. Surely that irony is not lost even on the very young.
15 Police Officers Charged with Abuse of Detainees
On a positive note, Reuters reports that 15 police officers have been charged by the regime with abusing detained prisoners during the initial crackdowns.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Today, the fourth of July, is the day Americans celebrate their independence.
Like many Americans, I am descended from men and women who believed in freedom and human rights, and fought for it, when necessary. I am proud that I am related to Virginia patriots who fought alongside George Washington. My mother’s cousin fought in World War II before he was 20 years old. He landed at Normandy and he saw his best friend get shot and die right before his eyes before he helped liberate occupied France. His service continued through Vietnam. My father served in the Korean War. They fought for the freedoms we hold dear in the U.S.A. and I think about their courage whenever I see our flag.
But I know and believe that any American who becomes a citizen today, as many people will, is just as much an American as I am and has every claim to our rights and freedoms. I wish everyone in the world did, as well.
Since I have started volunteering for the Bahrain Coordinating Committee, I never forget how lucky I am to live in a country where I can speak my mind, write about what I believe, and contact my country’s leaders without fear of being arrested and tortured.
I can stand in front of the White House or the Embassy of Bahrain and carry a sign or speak to passers by and no one will menace or prevent me.
I can go to church knowing that my government will not bulldoze it to the ground, as the regime in Bahrain destroyed mosques centuries older than the United States.
My teenage son can walk down the street without fear of being hit by rubber bullets or shot gun pellets. None of his school friends have been killed by riot police. He does not know that there is a country in the Gulf where enemies of freedom even desecrate the graves of young men.
When I retire for the evening, in my home, security forces will not rush into the streets of Falls Church, shooting tear gas grenades around and even into my home. That will not happen here, although it happens almost daily in Bahrain. My daily life is not filled with violence and fear.
Because I am free, I can fight for democracy and freedom for the people of Bahrain, not with a musket or automatic rifle, but with my words. When I watch the fireworks tonight, I will say a silent prayer that the day will come, very soon, when the people of Bahrain can live in a country free of repression.