Sunday, April 3, 2011

'West media silent on Bahrain atrocities'

Saudi-led forces in Manama (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Political observers say the violent crackdown by the US-backed Bahraini regime on anti-government protesters is not given adequate coverage by the Western media.

In an interview with Press TV, Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, outlines the atrocities on a massive scale being committed against the unarmed population of Bahrain:

Press TV: We know that the Bahraini ruling monarchy is committing crimes against its own people. It is a war targeting the Shia population majority, which represents two thirds of the total Bahraini population.

Nabeel Rajab: They have terminated hundreds of people from their jobs and withheld salaries from employees. 400 people so far it is estimated have been detained and this number is increasing -- many of these detainees are women; doctors too have been detained or arrested, unionists; they target people at checkpoints based on their last name or the village they come from -- these people are then humiliated and beaten badly by thugs wearing masks.

It is a very dangerous situation; people cannot go to a hospital particularly if they have been injured as a result of being attacked by the army because they are targeted there.

Both Sunni and Shia Bahrainis are very much aware that the monarchy is trying to pull them into a religious conflict or crisis, but it is very clear to the Bahraini people that they will not allow the government to play this card anymore.

All the attacks against the Shia population are not made by the Sunni population it is by thugs hired by the government who have been brought in from outside the country and of course Saudi troops.

The government is not keeping any way back for themselves (to retreat). The gap between the ruling elite and the people of Bahrain is getting wider and wider. I don't know how the people, seeing the crimes committed against them on a daily basis; on an hourly basis, can live again with the same system. People who started their demands for reform are all now saying they want to change the regime because this regime... is beyond reform.

Press TV: How much US influence do you see in the Saudi forces' actions in Bahrain?

Nabeel Rajab: It is becoming clear that after the US green light for a crackdown on Bahrain that the Saudis have continued support from the US administration. Certain statements from the UK administration minister of state have urged constraint and for having a dialogue. We have seen their reaction toward Libya and Syria and the other countries, but in Bahrain it is very clear that Western countries don't want to see a democracy because a democracy may have a negative impact on their presence in the area and this is why they see democracy as a threat and hence they don't support the movement by the people in that direction.

Even in Tunisia, media outlets have been told not to highlight any issue of human rights in Bahrain. And this is why obviously we've seen the media in the US ignoring what is happening in Bahrain. We have seen some independent newspapers writing about it, but when it comes to TV or radio, they have been told not to embarrass the Obama administration.

Everyone is asking the Obama administration why there are such double standards between uprisings in Libya and Bahrain. Bahrain has done more in terms of brutality against their own people than any other regime in the Middle East and the Obama administration has no answer for that.

Through these revolutions, the Americans are losing friends; they are losing the hearts and minds of people everywhere. It is very clear that the people of Bahrain want to see democracy.

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