Bahrain: Kvinde går i sultestrejke, indtil hendes familie er løsladt

AFK og Bahrains udenrigsminister
NATOs generalsekretær Anders Fogh Rasmussen og Bahrains udenrigsminister diskuterer Bahrains rolle i befrielsen af Libyen.

Zainab al-Khawajas far, ægtemand og svoger er alle blevet anholdt i myndighedernes seneste offensiv i Bahrain. Zainab har besluttet at gå i sultestrejke, indtil de bliver løsladt, og hvis det ikke sker snart, har hun i sinde at fortsætte, til hun dør, erklærer hun:

Zainab al-Khawaja, 27, will today enter her fourth day without food in protest at the violent arrest and subsequent disappearance of the outspoken dissident Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, 50, along with her husband and brother-in-law.

Zainab, who was brought up in exile in Denmark, is taking only water, and told the Guardian she is already feeling weak, with breast-feeding sapping her strength faster than she had expected. She says she will leave her 18-month-old child with family members if she dies.

Around a dozen masked and heavily armed soldiers, apparently from Bahrain‘s special forces, stormed her apartment in the capital, Manama, at 2am on Saturday. Her father had previously called for Bahrain’s king to face trial for murder, torture and corruption.

Asked whether she was willing to die, she replied: “Yes. It is difficult with a child but I am willing to make that sacrifice. My daughter has great aunts and grandmothers who will look after her if anything happens to me … We have the feeling that sacrifices are necessary to bring changes to our country, but what is making it harder is the way the world is reacting. Still the US administration is standing with the dictator here.”

Zainab forklarer mere om baggrunden for den desperate aktion i et åbent brev til præsident Obama på sin egen blog, Angry Arabiya:

Although they said nothing, we all know that my father’s crime is being a human rights activist. My father was grabbed by the neck, dragged down a flight of stairs and then beaten unconscious in front of me. He never raised his hand to resist them, and the only words he said were “I can’t breathe”. Even after he was unconscious the masked men kept kicking and beating him while cursing and saying that they were going to kill him. (…)

When you were sworn in as president of the United States, I had high hopes. I thought: here is a person who would have never become a president if it were not for the African-American fight for civil liberties; he will understand our fight for freedom. Unfortunately, so far my hopes have been shattered. I might have misunderstood. What was it you meant Mr. president? YES WE CAN… support dictators? YES WE CAN… help oppress pro-democracy protesters? YES WE CAN… turn a blind eye to a people’s suffering? (…)

I am writing this letter to let you know, that if anything happens to my father, my husband, my uncle, my brother-in-law, or to me, I hold you just as responsible as the AlKhalifa regime. Your support for this monarchy makes your government a partner in crime. I still have hope that you will realize that freedom and human rights mean as much to a Bahraini person as it does to an American, Syrian or a Libyan and that regional and political considerations should not be prioritized over liberty and human rights.

På billedet ses vor ven og allierede, udenrigsministeren af Bahrain sammen med NATOs generalsekretær Anders Fogh Rasmussen. De er uden tvivl midt i vigtige diskussioner om Bahrains rolle i “befrielsen” af Libyen. De har nok en torturbøddel eller to, de kan sende. Hvor er der en spand, man kan brække sig i?

De bedste ønsker herfra til Zainab al-Khawaja og hendes familie samt til alle andre gode og frihedselskende mennesker i Bahrain og omegn.

Foto fra Angry Arab.

Undertrykkelse i Bahrain

Hærdede læger bryder grædende sammen over den rå politivold, og bøllerne går til angreb på frivillige læger og sygeplejersker, der forsøger at hjælpe de sårede. Imens opfordrer Hillary Clinton “begge sider” til at vise tilbageholdenhed.

Og hvad der det da, de væmmelige demonstranter forlanger, siden denne vold kan være berettiget? Mahmood Al-Yousif formulerer det i Bahrain-termer:

1. Bilateral Constitutional amendments which are binding to address the contentious current Constitution of 2002
2. The immediate release of political prisoners, some 450 are incarcerated many of whom are children under 18 years of age
3. Release and increase press freedoms, repeal Law 47/2002
4. Guard and increase personal freedoms and freedoms of expression
5. Investigate corruption and return stolen wealth into the state coffers
6. Repeal Law 56/2002 and bring torturers to justice

Kort fortalt – ytringsfrihed, forfatningsgaranterede menneskerettigheder, løsladelse af politiske fanger, stop for tortur, stop for korruption. Indtil videre har de ikke krævet kongens afgang. Men hvor længe varer det?

Filmklip via 3arabawy.

Update: Nicholas Kristof fra New York Times skriver, meget passende og som supplement både til Al Jazeeras dækning og Mahmoods opsummering af demonstranternes krav:

Bahrain’s leaders may whisper to American officials that the democracy protesters are fundamentalists inspired by Iran. That’s ridiculous. There’s no anti-Americanism in the protests — and if we favor “people power” in Iran, we should favor it in Bahrain as well.

Walk with protesters here, and their grievances seem eminently reasonable. One woman, Howra, beseeched me to write about her brother, Yasser Khalil, who she said was arrested in September at the age of 15 for vague political offenses. She showed me photos of Yasser injured by what she described as beatings by police.

Another woman, Hayat, said that she had been shot with rubber bullets twice this week. After hospitalization (which others confirmed), she painfully returned to the streets to continue to demand more democracy. “I will sacrifice my life if necessary so my children can have a better life,” she said.

America has important interests at stake in Bahrain — and important values.