#Bahrain as the F1 approaches - Missing News from the Street
According to online activists the cry from the street as staging of the F1 approaches in Bahrain will again be “We want democracy, we want freedom”. The loudest voices will be naturally the Islamic societies led by the sectarian theocratic Ayatollahs aided by foreign activists who will turn these calls into the subject of an endless string of tweets, facebook pages, numerous sympathetic blogs and forums. Plump stories to be fed to the western media who will themselves add some spice and juicy headline to pass it on as disguised as news.
The rhetoric of the Ayatollahs comes neatly packaged, to be echoed in a hundred manipulative blogs and YouTube videos featuring staged street protests many cleverly edited to illustrate the peaceful nature of their demands. However the stark reality remains that the real demands of these protesters especially from those that will try to disrupt the F1, are as far removed from their claimed noble demands as chalk is from cheese.
As the F1 approaches it will be hard to find any mention in the media of the lack of transparency or democratic ideals of the organizations behind the protests. Missing will be any mention of the theocratic sectarian Islamist nature of the leadership of the protesting parties, as Ayatollahs don democratic halos, then preach reforms from their sectarian pulpits on behalf of the “People” in this secular multi ethnic state. Missing will be an explanation as to why it is that the Iranian News agencies report first every hiccup and burp from Bahrain but not anything that would suggest that for the Ayatollahs of Bahrain it is the ascendancy of the sect above all else that is the ultimate goal. That the role of the individual, the status of women is predetermined, is defined by the voice from the pulpit, Gods representative, with the ultimate aim being to achieve an Islamic Republic similar to that of Iran.
Missing, edited out, of the News will be any mention of the aggressive violence perpetrated against the rest of society by these so-called innocent and peaceful demonstrators. Supposed retaliatory state violence against the demonstrators will however feature for certain and be a central if not a key element in the Internet and media portrayal of events here. Missing of course will be any mention of stipends and monetary incentives, the use of fatwa’s, threats of violence or intimidation to subdue dissenting opposing sect voices. Protester violence will always be justified irrespective of circumstance. Legitimized naturally against a dictatorial regime or in response to police brutality and systematic state violence. All a consequence of the brutal government doctrine deployed against the "people". The Molotovs and home made weapons used by demonstrators are defensive, fashioned in the heat of the demo certainly never manufactured to precipitate a confrontation with the security forces. Missing will be any mention of the use of IED and small home made bombs targeting the expat community and security forces or the brazen murder of Asian workers. All such opposition negatives will be treated like an aberration ignored as it never really happened.
Missing from any news of course will be anything that could be misconstrued as praise for the efforts of a government that turned Bahrain from a state dependent on minimal oil revenues into the state that led the Gulf States into the 21st century as the financial capital of the Gulf. That ground breaking social housing, health care programs and full time education programs for all, enabled Bahrain to become the first country to attain and surpass its Millennium Development Goals. There will definitely be no recognition of the fact that none of these achievements, would have been possible without the vision of the Prime Minister, Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa. Irrespective of what people might think or say of his tenure, if it had not been for this mans vision, his hard work, and his dedication to the people and the country, Bahrain would not have achieved a fraction of the success that it has. Missing from the news will be anything that might reflect or hint his legacy. A long list of economic country achievements that even given today’s hardships sees Bahrain as the region’s top performer on the Economic Freedom index with a world ranking in 2012 of 12th, the only country from the MENA region to feature in the top 20.
Missing from the News and in the rhetoric will be any mention of the declarations made by the opposition should they gain power to the effect that the numerous cathedrals, churches, synagogue and temples will be closed, as will all the bars and night clubs. The sale of alcohol and pork products will be banned and that Sharia law based on the Iranian model will be applied. Yes there will be a lot missing from the news from Bahrain, about existing democracy and freedoms. There will however be plenty of rhetoric included that will imply the problem is definable in terms of intransigence in the corridors of power, or is a consequence of a lack of willingness by the government or an unelected official to accept change.Missing from any news for comparison, there also will be no mention of the harm done to the economy, the status and reputation of country by those that occupied the streets and its institutions and declared an Islamic Republic aligned to a foreign power. For certain missing from the news there will also be no mention of the fact that since February 2011 those political pundits that resigned from the countries institution and the online activists that malign the government and countries achievements have not created a single benefit only hardship for the majority by way of a contribution to the countries future.
Looking from afar ignorance is bliss. The international media will accepts the cyber rhetoric, define the regime as despotic, the government as dictatorial but ignore the fact that Bahrain has the freest society of the Gulf with more democratic institutions than all its near neighbours put together, institutions that are continuing to evolve despite the strife but ignore the fact that those protesting are not the majority, and the government is actually quite benign, most certainly benevolent.
The only threat to peoples freedom in Bahrain comes not from the government be it religious, sexual or personal, it comes from those that are behind the street protests, from those that cry out “We want democracy, we want freedom”, so far all they have achieved is to abuse the rights of all others in society. Bahrain is far from a perfect society but trust me when I tell you over these next few weeks in particular, missing from the News, News from the street, the most important thing that will be excluded, will be the truth.