Friday, February 18, 2011

Black Day In Bahrain; The Uprising Spreads.

BAHRAIN - People carrying men, women and children - some bleeding from bullet wounds, others overcome by tear gas - crowded into Salmaniya Medical Center, where the frantic, overwhelmed staff struggled to cope. Thousands of demonstrators demanding a proper democracy in place of Bahrain's U.S.-backed al Khalifa dynasty then converged on the hospital. That prompted security forces to surround it until some police officers began taking off their uniforms and joining the protesters, to an eruption of cheers.

"We are peaceful. We don't even have a rock," Mohammad, a 26-year-old laborer who was to afraid to give his full name, cried as the throng shouted, "The victory is from Allah, and it will be with us," "Down, down, Khalifa" and "The people want the regime to fall.”

Nicholas Kristof reports that in fact the bloodshed in Bahrain has been much worse: "As a reporter, you sometimes become numbed to sadness. But it is heartbreaking to be in modern, moderate Bahrain right now and watch as a critical American ally uses tanks, troops, guns and clubs to crush a peaceful democracy movement and then lie about it. . . When a king opens fire on his people, he no longer deserves to be ruler."

The Fifth Fleet is docked in Bahrain. The Yanks have no excuse this time. Aim the ships' guns on the presidential palace and send a note to King Hamad: Good morning. Look out your window. Have we made ourselves clear? Instead, the only thing Bahrainis are hearing from Washington is mewling and more mewling about the diplomatic and geostrategic importance of a "key ally" in the Khalifa dynasty.

Make the Bahraini people your ally, you thick Yanks. You'll not want to outstay your welcome there. Ha'aretz reports that two Iranian warships are making their way through the Suez canal, bound for Syria, and Iran may be on the verge of a civil war. Iran's opposition called for a nationwide day of protest on Sunday and Kurdish workers are calling for a general strike in the Kurdish provinces to coincide with it. "The Islamic Republic has already collapsed," Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi declared today. Karroubi and his fellow Green Movement leader Hossein Mousavi are now openly calling for a struggle against the country's "religious dictatorship."

It's their clearest statement yet that the movement must dedicate itself to the Khomeinist tyranny's overthrow, taking up the demands of tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters who took to the streets on Monday to demand "regime change." That's the term used nowadays for what used to be called "revolution."

The fire has spread in ways unthinkable only last week.

In Djibouti, a Friday demonstration that was said to have brought as many as 2,000 people into the streets was in fact much larger than that, says Mohamed Daoud Chehem of the opposition Djibouti Party for Development. The demonstrators in Djibouti will follow the lead of the Egyptians, Chehem said: "We have come to stay here. This freedom place. Like Egypt. We want to stay here." In Kuwait, more than 1,000 stateless bedouins staged a protest demonstration on Friday to demand citizenship. There were dozens of arrests. In Libya, it's hard to say what's happening. Social media sites like Facebook and other means of reporting and organizing by the internet have been shut down, but Agence France Presse reports that at least 41 Libyans have died in the violence over the past three days. Looks like 84 dead now.

In Damascus, responding to the call from opposition groups to rise up against the oppressive regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, hundreds of Syrians protested police violence Thursday after traffic cops beat a young man. The crowd chanted: "The Syrian people will not be humiliated" and "Thieves, thieves." The protesters blocked traffic for three hours, forcing the minister to come to the spot and talk to the victim's family.

Yes, even Syria, the dictatorship run by Bashar al Assad, "the last Arab ruler," as the pro-fascist 'anti-war' movement hero George Galloway called him not long ago, and Syria, "the last Arab country." Galloway is the Khomeinist tyranny's loudest propaganda agent in the English-speaking world, and he fairly boasted about it during the 2009 Iranian revolt, which he happily predicited would soon "fizzle out." Galloway calls the Syrian dictatorship "the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs.” It is at last possible to imagine that Galloway may be proved right in ways he wouldn't want, sooner than it was only recently impossible to imagine. Even Galloway's Syrian role model may fall. Even the Khomenists may fall. Where would Galloway and the Canadian Peace Alliance draw their sustenance from then? Belarus, probably.

This is Syria today:


Blogger Skookum1 said...

I remember when Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father, the Western media were full of glowing approvals, speaking of him as a potential reformer and liberalizer.....that fizzled pretty quickly as an idle dream, didn't it?

In an earlier post on your blog, Terr, I compared - speculated - that this was like 1917 in Russia, or the French Revolution (the first one).....tonight it occurred to me that the parallel is perhaps more to the Year of Revolutions, 1848, when democratic, liberalizing fever swept Europe - again from a French base, but without the bloodiness of the Terror. Not that all that much was accomplished that year, and very bad things came from it in the decades following, but the way the fires of revolt are spreading is very similar. It also occurred to me that at a time when the Western regimes, particularly the US, UK and Canada, are becoming more and more repressive and autocratic, the ideals of the American Revolution, as inculcated through the internet and foreign-educated young people, have caught on in places where it seemed nothing would ever change, that were doomed to rot and corruption and tyranny.

O Fortuna, velut luna
sors immaninis, semper crescis
et decrescis, rota detestabilis

O Fortune, like the moon always immanent, always waxing and waning, detestable wheel

That's the opening of Carl Orff's arrangement of the Carmina Burana - which not coincidentally was a collection of student songs of rebellion and freedom - from the Middle Ages. Smehow fitting; even as the sun of democracy sets in the West, its torch has been passed to the East.

"The Big One", where internet-based revolt might spread, of course is China, where despite a lockdown on the growth of the internet there the restive demands of its people for democratic change have not been stilled since Tienanmen; only muted. Makes me wonder how the People's Daily is presenting what's going on in the Arab World, and in Iran - if they're reporting on it at all. As in Iran, the risk of violent repression is very high - and the economic and political desperation not as pronounced as in the Arab countries; or so we are told in the glowing reviews of the Chinese economy and the modernization of its society.

You have to wonder, also, how many millions of people pushed onto the streets and into the breadlines by the ongoing financial/economic crisis in the United States - how many millions of those it's going to take before something similar begins to happen among the poor and disenfranchised in the US and, frankly, in certain parts of Canada. Of course, in the US, the people who would resist that are armed to the teeth; and in Canada, there is perhaps no other reason for the escalation of militarist and jingoist politicking about and within the Canadian Forces. Even in 1983, Bill Bennett publicly mused about putting down the imminent general strike in BC that year with troops....he would have had to call on the US in those days; had it come to that. Now of course they don't even have to be called, they can march right in if they want to, thanks to new security arrangements between Ottawa and Washington. But there's enough domestic troops now - sort of - to employ against any domestic uprising, should one occur.

A long ways off yet...the supermarkets still have food, and there's still enough hockey and donuts to keep everyone feeling loyally Canadian. For now. But should the US economy collapse, a few trillion dollars more down the drain than it already is, there's no way ours will float just because we're special and somehow immune from any difficult in the US (which is a favourite public myth in Canada, much advanced during the subprime catastrophe....).

Of course, it's a lot harder to do public sit-down protests in subzero's not like bankers and politicians are popular people in this country, and it's not like there's not corruption here, either......

11:13 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: Western regimes, particularly the US, UK and Canada, are becoming more and more repressive and autocratic

What a load of hooey. And as I told ?Dick Butthole in another thread, "elections" have this way of staving off revolutions.

11:15 AM  

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