"Karim" Tragedy, the Decent Bahraini Man, Symbol of People’s Revolution
Two years have almost passed since the first uprising of the brave people of Bahrain against the ruling minority. Since 14th February 2011, when these uprisings began, the people and political activists of Bahrain have suffered all kinds of inhumane suppression including murder, torture, rape, prison, exile, threat, revocation of citizenship and civil rights, dismissal from job, destruction of personal properties, etc. But the al-Khalifa, despite all the promises and domestic and international commitments, has not rendered minimum concessions to the people. In spite of the inhumane, violent and hypocritical behaviors of the government in fulfilling its commitments, the slogan of the opposition and people of Bahrain is still the peaceful struggle and negation of violence. The opposition and people of Bahrain exonerated themselves from even a few dubious and small violent incidents in last November which led to the killing of two Asian sanitary workers and the opposition coalition signed and published a document entitled Nonviolence Principles Declaration. Although at least 80 people have been killed either in the streets or in prisons under the tortures and thousands have been injured due to the beatings , breathing poisonous tear gas and bullets of police hunting rifles, no just tribunal has, hitherto, been held to try the criminals.
This is while the king of Bahrain in November 2011 announced his commitment to the recommendations of Judge Bassiouni. Last week, those responsible for the killing of Karim Fakhrawi, the well-known Bahraini businessman and publisher who had numerous friends in Arab and non-Arab countries, went on trial and were sentenced to only 7 years in prison! Fakhrawi was the symbol of a decent, peace-loving, tolerant and charitable human being. His horrific murder in the prison shocked the people of Bahrain and his friends in other countries. On April 3rd, 2011, when Karim left his house to file a complaint in the police station for demolition of his house by the security forces, he never came back. 9 days later, his corpse was delivered to his family and the Interior Ministry declared that Karim Fakhrawi had lost his life in prison due to kidney failure! But, when his family saw his body before his funeral, they were shocked at the numerous signs of inhumane tortures on his body, because Karim was neither an armed guerrilla nor a violent man. Nobody had even heard his loud voice. Despite being a member of al-Wefag opposition, he was known for his politeness even with Bahraini officials and his opponents. It was his reputation that caused many human rights organizations during the past two years to repeatedly demand the trial of those who killed him. But, the ceremonial trial of several low-ranking security forces and the unjust verdicts once again proved that al-Khalifa is not committed to any of its promises.
The story of torture, murder and hypocritical trial of Fakhrawi murderers is the symbol of the people of Bahrain's struggle against the al-Khalifa. On one side, there are decent, peace-seeking and oppressed people of Bahrain and on the other side mischief, violence and hypocrisy know no boundaries. If a fraction of the crimes which happen every day and night in Bahrain had happened in any other corner of the Middle East, the Western and Arab mass media would have cried out loud. But, Bahrain is where the US Fifth Fleet is stationed and according to Senator John Mc Cain ( in the Conference of Manama Dialogues in December)"the US has “too much invested” in Bahrain to consider shifting the Navy’s 5th Fleet to another country". The al-Khalifa are also the friends and allies of Great Bahrain and the al-Khalifa princes have all graduated from St. Harris Royal Military Academy, the expenses of which are provided from people's pocket . All of these reasons suffice the elimination of Bahrain from the map of democracy, human rights and civil liberties. Last month, Britain's Foreign Minister visited this country which, based on the statements of more than one hundred defending democracy and human rights' NGOs, has greatly violated human rights and in his speeches and interviews blamed the people and the opposition instead of the government of Bahrain.
During the past two years, CNN has only reported a handful of times about the situation in Bahrain and dismissed one of its reporters, Ms. Amber Lyon, who had prepared a courageous report from Bahrain and insisted on its broadcast. It was later revealed that al-Khalifa had bribed CNN.
The positions taken by the well-known Arab media are worse. The dominance of oil dollars of Saudi Arabia over the media networks and Arab rulers has prevented the people of Bahrain's cry to be heard by the Arabs. Unfortunately, even new elites of the Arab World have become involved in sectarianism and have victimized justice-seeking and freedom- seeking for tribalism and sectarianism. The Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and Tunisia must not forget that the people of Bahrain, along with other Arabs, also had sympathized with their revolutions and showed their solidarity celebrating with them the downfall of Mubarak, Bin Ali and Qaddafi. The Bahrainis have tuned the date of their uprisings with the clock of Egypt's revolution and always point out that February 14th means three days after Mubarak's downfall. This volume of silence and ignoring the call for justice-seeking by part of the Arab nation does not conform with ideals of a justice-seeking movement like Muslim Brotherhood. Worse than silence is the cooperation of Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain in suppression of the people.
The Al-Manbar society and Al-Eslah society are the political and cultural branches of Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain. Everybody knows that during the four decades which has passed since Bahrain's independence, the Muslim Brotherhood has not been able to enter the government, but following February 2011, the secretary general of Bahrain's Muslim Brotherhood, who was not voted in 2010 parliament, was able to put his steps in the government and became the newly-founded Minister of Human Rights. His mission is to defend the anti- human rights actions of al-Khalifa in international arena. This is while the Muslim Brotherhood has not stood in line with the dictators in any other Arab country. Even in the Persian Gulf states, and at least in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, the Muslim Brotherhood have stood by the opposition against the traditional and undemocratic governments. It is not worthy of the Muslim Brotherhood that while achieving the power in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco and God-willing in other Arab states, the hands of their members in Bahrain be stained with people's blood.
Today, the small and beautiful island of Bahrain with its people famous for their peace-loving mentality calls the conscience of the world community and Arabs to be awakened and tested. The international and Arab NGOs have come out victorious from this test and with their limited possibilities have tried to reflect the crimes committed against the defenseless people. These efforts along with the bravery of the people of Bahrain have led to daily posting of films and pictures in the social networks which brings tears to everyone's eyes. Slapping women in their faces in front of their husbands, slapping a young man while holding a baby and firing tear gas at a child are scenes that have been posted during the past few days in these virtual networks.
Two years of suppression and violence against the people by a corrupt minority government, in a world where dictators have not been able to resist more than one month against the widespread street protests, is not a short period of time. It is obvious that the number of Bahraini protesters is not comparable with the number of protesters in any other Arab country. But, the question is why al-Khalifa, after two years, still resorts to violence against the protesting majority and does not concede to the people's demands. The answer lies in its relations with the West, particularly the US and Britain.
Soon those who, for more than two years, have supported the oppression and brutality will be tried by the public opinion. The people who have resisted two years against suppression and violence will not leave their struggle and, if necessary, will continue it for ten more years.
Initially posted on www.bahrainobserver.com on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013