Category Archives: #BCCLive

Bahrain: one step forward, two steps back (video)

Zainab Al Khawaja remains “samood” after being targeted and hit by Bahraini security forces today (photo by #BCCLive correspondent)

There was good and bad news out of Bahrain today.

On the good news end of things, the human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was released from prison today after being detained on June 6 for comments he made on social media.  However, the bad news is he still faces charges on several counts associated with what Americans would consider expressions of free speech.

The government of Bahrain announced it would present compensation in the U.S. equivalent of $2.6 million dollars to the families of 17 victims killed by police, and charged three members of its police force with murder in connection with deaths during the crackdowns.  However, the bad news is that more than 50 people have been killed, and the violence against Bahrain residents continues.  The latest fatality is an 18-month old boy who lost his life after exposure to lethal quantities of tear gas that was fired around his home.

Human rights activist Zainab Al Khawaja, also known as @AngryArabiya on Twitter and the daughter of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, was targeted and shot with a projectile by Bahraini police today and sustained an injury to her leg that required her hospitalization.

March for Freedom in Bahrain today — slideshow #BCCLive

Hundreds of people joined a “March for Freedom” in A’ali, Bahrain.  Riot police attempted to block the roads, but the demonstration continued.  Participants included Said Yousif and Zainab Al Khawaja, as well as our own #BCCLive witnesses, who took these photographs and videos today.

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Meanwhile, we wait to hear word of the conditions of Ali Al-Mowali, who was seriously injured while peacefully protesting yesterday, after being shot in the head, and who is, we understand, undergoing his second surgical operation, and of Syed Hadi, who was arrested on the scene yesterday and was reportedly taken to the Dry Dock Detention Center.

Around Bahrain

There were many attempts to sit and write the first blog, but the overwhelming feeling always wins. Not knowing where to start and how to tell all the stories you hear on a daily basis — there are so many.

More than one year later, Bahrain is still struggling, the people are still fighting, they didn’t give up. The world gave up on them. Realizing that what we get in America and other parts of the world are only headlines and bullet points, famous names, and some pictures here and there. In reality, the headline we get once every two weeks, is the story of people’s lives every day here.

The crackdown took different approaches here; it’s not only limited to tear gas, bird gun shots, and arrests. The crackdown became a lifestyle. Even worse, a lifestyle people are getting used to.

Nothing looks different on the surface, everything looks normal on main roads and highways, with pictures of the King, Prime Minister, and Crown Prince hung up everywhere. In villages, however, things are anything but calm.

One of the first experiences we came across, was getting stuck in traffic. All we could see was smoke, as we got closer, we realized that protesters blocked the street with tires and lit them on fire. Minutes later, about 5 police cars were parked, and riot police rushed into village alleyways firing sound bombs and tear gas. It was strange to see everyone calm and just waiting, no honking, no wondering. Everyone is used to it, I was told, “This is normal, this happens everyday in different areas.”

People here are always excited to tell their stories, and recite incidents. Everyone is always talking and discussing the situation, not just in Bahrain but even in Egypt, Syria and around the region.

The sense we got is that youth and activists are organized, and task oriented. It’s a collective effort to plan, document and produce to get their voices and news out there.

Costa Coffee carried the spirit of the Pearl Roundabout, there is that sense of freedom, and determination to keep going. It’s the focal point for activists and journalists, and also secret services!!

The stories we hear every day are shocking and heartbreaking. There is the latest story of Mohamed Al Buflasa, a Sunni activist who was arrested before. Apparently, his relatives didn’t like his activism, so the story as we heard it from people goes like this:

His wife’s sisters brainwashed his teenage daughter and tricked her into filing a case against her dad, accusing him of sexually harassing her, which she did. So Al Buflasa was taken to prison. His sister, and some say his wife, too, stood up for him and denied the accusations. So, police take the girl, as well, for a hoax — without questioning the aunts who pushed her to act.

There are the stories of the kids, one who got shot in his left eye and lost it while he stood by his dad to sell fish — Ahmed Nasser Alnaham. Another 11 year old kid, Ali Hasan, who went to court for being accused of taking money from people to block roads, according to the Ministry of Interior.

So many stories of families who lost a father, a brother, or a son.  Families who lost their jobs and are on a daily hunt for food. Kids dropping out of school to work and bring food to the table.

A woman told me that a man in his late 40s offered to wash her car for her. She said that she doesn’t need it watched, but then looked at his face, and couldn’t bare to leave him like that. She told him you can just wipe the windows and I’ll pay you. She says, he ran to my car, to clean it just to get money. She was explaining to me how much it hurts to see the Bahraini elderly unemployed and helpless, trying to bring food to the table in any way possible.

We will follow stories of families and try to go to their homes, and shed light on their struggle. Follow our Twitter @connect_bahrain for live updates and news.

New updates to the Twitter and our blog from our “on the ground” blogger

As you know, the Bahrain Coordinating Committee serves to both educate and promote the causes of human rights and democracy in Bahrain.

To that end, we are pleased to announce a series of tweets and blog posts which will appear over the next few weeks.  Our undercover witness, a Bahrain Coordinating Committee member, will post updates from Bahrain on Twitter and on this blog, presenting you with a timely and authentic view of the situation “on the ground.”

For security reasons, the identity of the blogger will remain anonymous.  Visit our Twitter account @Connect_Bahrain and follow the hashtag #BCCLive to see up-to-the minute reporting from Bahrain, starting today.

Blog Posts will appear on this blog under the “Bahrain Coordinating Committee Administrator” account.

Follow us on Twitter and subscribe today so you don’t miss a single tweet or post in this interesting series.