One wonders if the unwaveringly anti-Bahrain NGOs and human rights groups which have the ear of the United Nations panels ever give thought to, or get in contact with, the suffering majority of common people living in the country’s villages.
These are villages populated nearly entirely by what the opposition and anti-government elements claim are their adherents and yet those villagers have been shedding tears of blood in the face of falling business and impending ruin.
Going back in time, the troubles really started in Bahrain in earnest in February 2011 in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring. That turned out to be a flop show in the country. Over the years, the desperate Iran-funded thugs chose to go beyond unruly street demonstrations and took to burning tyres and planting fake or real bombs in the middle of highways, destroying ATMs and power transformers, vandalising schools, setting garbage skips on fire and barring the entry of garbage trucks into their localities. They also attacked security personnel with Molotov cocktails and indulged in a variety of other anti-national, anti-business, and disruptive activities.
The thugs also tended to block the approach roads to their villages with garbage skips, wooden boxes, bricks and stones to ensure the police patrols could not chase them into their localities. The security authorities reacted by placing barriers and check-points, mostly near the villages dominated by a particular community from where the majority of trouble-makers would emerge.
These things disrupted civic life there, since a good number of those living in villages believed in running honest businesses, going to offices, sending their children to school and taking time to visit parks and shopping malls with their families. In other words, leading a normal life. But six years of silence by a majority in villages, fearing reprisals by the thuggish minority of wayward juveniles, is now breaking down and they have begun to openly express their concern, disgust, anger and frustration since they are often late for office due to checkpoints, their children tend to miss classes, they suffer from electricity and garbage disposal issues, and their social life is in ruins.
“My shop is on the roadside and I have lost all my customers as the roads are closed with cement blocks,” said one woman running a tailoring establishment, as quoted in the local daily GDN. “I had to approach many people and police to finally get permits for my employees who live outside the village … I may soon end up with no money to live.” Another woman, running a beauty salon, said: “No customers come from outside the village and business is dull … We are people who are running businesses for a living and we need a solution to this as it is not fair to drag common people into this.” Others claim they are unable to directly speak to trouble-makers in their localities for fear of reprisals and being targeted as pro-government elements unsympathetic to their ’cause’!
Have any NGOs or human rights organizations chosen to visit this suffering majority and if not, why not?
Or is it left to the local press to put forward their side of the story. The reason is not far to seek. Voices of such common people disrupt the narrative of government repression broadcast by those outfits and used to prepare voluminous dossiers. This truth may never reach the United Nations but the residents of the country know about it through the local Press.
Bahrain has extended an open invitation to the United Nations Human Rights officials to visit the kingdom and have unfettered access to places of their choice to see and gather facts for themselves but they have yet to react.