Are Rights Bodies Turning a Deaf Ear Against Bahrain Government?


While it is good on the part of human rights organizations to take the side of the so-called oppressed classes, it brings them no credit when they deliberately ignore to take note of, and publicise, the other side of the story as well – when the so-called oppressed classes are unmasked as thugs, lumpen elements, terrorists, rogues and oppressors themselves infesting society.

This is precisely what has been happening in the case of Bahrain. So much so that the country’s Interior Minister had to point out that some human rights organisations were basing their reactions on one-sided information and turned a deaf ear to official responses. Whereas human rights workers are expected to listen to both sides and present the truth objectively.

The Interior Minister was compelled to react following a speech made at a Geneva forum by the President of the Human Rights Council on the alleged threats facing NGO representatives in Bahrain. A surprised Minister said he had received no complaints from the persons concerned. “In order for the Ministry of Interior to act on these claims, an official complaint must be filed,” he said, adding that the speech presented a one-sided view without verification of the truth behind the allegations.

There are a number of dimensions to this bias which becomes quite obvious and irritating as one looks at them closely. To begin with, the rights organizations continue to define certain elements in society as “peaceful protesters” despite the fact that in most instances there exists clear and unequivocal video evidence showing them as throwing Molotov cocktails, iron rods and stones at security men in the street, burning tyres in the middle of roads, setting public transport ablaze, menacingly and abusively forcing expatriate shops to pull down shutters (thus forcing customers to flee and create fear psychosis so they would avoid those markets in future), setting schools on fire, attacking the living quarters, restaurants and small-time shops meant for low-paid and defenceless expatriate workers with Molotov cocktails and attacking them with knives and swords.

Since such incidents are not far and few between but rather daily and multiple occurrences in all parts of the island state – in villages, in markets, in shopping malls and on highways – by no stretch of imagination can their perpetrators be defined as “peaceful protesters”. The only definitions the dictionary would have for such people are “thugs”, “terrorists” and “arsonists”. Yet, day in and day out, human rights organizations based in the cosy nooks of Europe continue to call their reprehensible activities “peaceful”. Even where the minders of these lumpen elements obtain permission to hold “peaceful” rallies these invariably degenerate into a tug of war with the security forces within minutes of their start.

Those criticizing the Bahrain government need to explain as to which civilised country would allow such activities and then agree to have them defined as “peaceful”. There was a small conflagration in London last year in the wake of the police killing of a black man and one has only to see the language in which the British Press chose to describe the riots and arson that followed across the British capital and certain counties to understand the double standards being followed by these smug human rights outfits. Those lumpen elements in the UK were the mirror image of the lumpen elements active in Bahrain. Yet, one wonders why the human rights groups were silent while the British Press defined them as thugs, rioters, terrorists and so on. Does the English language alter its meanings east of Suez?

In fact Bahrain’s security forces, in the last many months, have been at the receiving end with some two dozen of its personnel having being seriously injured thanks to the armed misguided miscreants out in the street. And an equal number of expatriates have suffered a similar fate.

The truth of the matter is that Bahrain owes apology to no one. In fact as recently as yesterday the government has once again invited the opposition for talks to sort the matters out. It is another matter that there has been no reaction from the opposition in the last 48 hours. They seem to have determined that carrying on their own brand of “peaceful” activities was more likely to serve their purpose.

Brij Sharma is an Indian journalist and editor based in Bahrain. Brij tells us the interesting stories we don’t usually hear from the middle east country.