- Revisit information gathering channels as they are obviously flawed and one-sided
- Study the situation in greater depth and understand its dimensions
- Acknowledge the positive moves made by the Bahraini government and the measures it has taken to ensure that all that have been wronged are compensated
- Acknowledge approximately half the population of Bahrain who disapprove this so-called revolution and instead call for reform through civilized dialogue
- Issue a statement against the violence and vandalism incited by the main opposition bloc in Bahrain (Al Wefaq Society)
- Issue a correction to the resolution on Human Rights in Bahrain of 27th October 2011 bearing in mind all of the above.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
It's been a while since I've written anything, partly because I've been busy at work and unable to find the time or inspiration to write anything meaningful and partly because what I've been hearing, reading and seeing (sometimes even smelling) has just exacerbated the stress and writer's block I've been having lately.
Daily riots and demonstrations have become business as usual in Bahrain and I can't help but think, "when were they ever NOT?" We have always had the occasional burning tire or the frequent demonstration until it was recently called "the land of the million marches". But recently it has reach ridiculous proportions. Those constant promises of returning to the promised land and consequently ruining every possible happy occasion you can think of have raised the hate guage to maximum levels and hostilities have increased exponentially on social media. And the trouble is it is no longer just two groups of people fighting to impose their views on one another but each of these groups now has several groups within themselves...
So many categories of people have arisen with each side representing a new school of thought (sarcastically speaking) with their initial affiliation still intact.
1. The hard-core loyalists: these are the people who would give their left eye for the ruling family and primarily the Prime Minister. To them the government is always right even when it's not. They abhor the opposition of all kinds and with no exceptions.
2. The conditional loyalists: They are hard-core loyalists until the government does any positive move towards bringing tensions down that might have the smell of leaning towards pleasing the opposition however minuscule it may be... And then they turn to sarcasm and condemnation and will criticize the government till their heart's content.
3. The loyalist opposition: they have pledged full allegiance to the Government but if they see an opportunity for improvement they will voice it out even if it goes against what the government's wishes. They are often called the positive opposition because they believe in keeping and reforming the existing system rather than the toppling calls of some other categories. They attempt to make sense of the government's moves possibly for their own peace of mind but mostly to calm down the previous group and to prove good will to the world.
4. The reformists: they try not to cloud their purpose with any sort of loyalty but rather focus on political and social reforms whoever they may serve. They believe that they have the best interests of Bahrain in mind and as a result manage to anger both sides of the spectrum even though they don't intend to. They also refer to themselves as "moderates".
5. The moderate opposition: they are a confused bunch; while they vehemently support the Feb14 movement which calls for the fall of the "regime" they have been seen to oppose some of their practices but some think they only do so to appear moderate. They never praise anything good that comes out of the government and they hardly ever comment on the illegal actions of the destructive opposition and even defend them at times. But they're moderates by self proclamation so let's leave it at that.
6. The negative opposition: this is where most of the opposition societies and human rights activists fall. They are the puppet masters behind the movement and have launched a full-fledged cold war against the government with the sole aim of seeing it removed from power. Their war is made up mostly of negative publicity and economic destruction and they will lie through their teeth to achieve their objective.
7. The destructive opposition: this is the rogue group thought at first to be the small fraction that has hijacked the original protests and caused all the violence at the beginning. But now we see that it is a disease that has spread throughout the opposition villages causing daily destruction and violence against property, civilians and police. They often come out at night masked and hardly clothed. They burn tires and blow up gas cylinders and throw bricks at policemen. They graffiti property and burn schools and run over policemen with their cars. These people have completely lost their sense of purpose and have taken the streets as their home and have become immune to tear gas.
So with this 7-point scale If each person in Bahrain assesses him/herself according to their "school of thought" what will the demographics of this conflict look like? What if instead of Sunni/Shia statistics, we could fall under one of these categories and see who "wins" the numbers game? Obviously the answer is NOBODY.
Loyalists have turned against each other and have lost sight of the big picture. Where the ultimate objective of the loyalists or "pro-govs" as we are often called was to restore confidence and stability to Bahrain and basically bring it back to the peaceful and quiet island it always was, the groupings have obstructed their visions and different groups started having different objectives. The focus has completely been lost and instead of all of us pulling into the same direction, we started pulling in different directions and as a result weakening our position in the eyes of the world.
All the while, and even though the opposition has also broken up into different categories, they are still aligned in their goals. They still know what they want and they are using each others strengths to achieve it. Their messages to the world have been consistent and they have never lost sight of the ends they have been trying to reach however much they may disagree with the means.
Dear categories 1 to 3 and even 4: our cause is a good one. We are the non-violent peaceful parties, we keep our neighborhoods clean and our walls free of graffiti and our tires on our cars instead of burning in the middle of some road. We never hit anyone with Molotov cocktails or bricks and we certainly didn't lay down any metal rods and spikes and spilled oil on roads to cause harm to others. We did not lie or distort facts or kill each other to prove our point. We didn't plot for coup attempts for decades and we did not commit 1000 legal and social violations like stop teaching our kids or leave our patients to go out to protest or turn our schools into political arenas and we certainly didn't set out to cause major material harm to Bahrain's economy.
It's time to realign and refocus and be more consistent. It is time for people all over the world to remember the newly awakened Giant and the force behind the number. The Gathering Of National Unity is more than just Sh. Abdullatif Al Mahmood or a name registered now as a political society. It is what brought us together and put our voices out there in the first place and the spirit is what needs to be kept alive.
And I pray for the day when 1 to 7 become ONE...
Monday, August 22, 2011
And as we went on and on condemning, denouncing and judging these activities, we woke up the next day to this:
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I just wanted to share with you a letter that Nabeel Rajab has sent to Cherif Bassiouni accusing him of basically not doin his job with integrity and with it I attach Bassiouni's response which made me want to give him a standing ovation...
I want to draw particular attention to the language of Rajab's letter and if you have ever heard him on TV you will quickly discover that there is no way he could have written this himself. I'll leave the pondering up to you...
Nabeel's letter (which was published on the BCHR website)
09 Aug 2011
Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni
Commission Chair, Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry
Subject: Your interview with Reuters on 5 August 2011
Your appointment to the independent commission tasked with investigating recent human right abuses in Bahrain was encouraging news for all those involved in the field of human rights. It is, therefore, with deep disappointment and regret that we at the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) read your recent comments. The comments suggest that, without completing anywhere near a full investigation, you are willing to espouse the view of the political establishment whilst paying lip-service to the concept of a fair and independent enquiry.
This is all the more surprising as your hasty comments contradict a vast range of published reports by well respected human rights groups who have spent time and resources investigating the situation in Bahrain. Indeed, your comments that “there was never a policy of excessive use of force” in Bahrain contrasts grimly with the news, published just days before, of an armed raid on the offices of Médecins Sans Frontières by the Bahraini authorities. Claims of torture by detainees are so widespread that it is hard to believe that they were carried out by a few bad eggs within the security forces.
Countless reports catalogue a range of human rights abuses which targeted specific segments of society, most notably medical workers. The well respected human rights group, Physicians for Human Rights, published a thorough report which detailed the systematic persecution of medical workers. Such organised, wide scale discrimination strongly indicates the collusion of high ranking government officials and renders your initial judgment that such abuses were “a case of people at the lower level acting, and there not being an effective chain of communication, control" premature and, potentially, extremely damaging to the credibility of the commission.
Even if we were to accept the extremely unlikely situation that the Minister of Interior (as currently suggested by you) was unaware of the actions of lower level government officials, Bahrain is still subject to the obligations outlined in the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which requires it, in Article 16, to prevent acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. Bahrain has clearly failed to maintain its obligations under this Convention.
Your current views seem to be based on a range of false assumptions. Most notably, that “it’s totally untrue that people are afraid of coming forward”. These comments are surprising, as those interviewed by the commission thus far are not representative of the vast range of people affected by the governmental crackdown on protestors. We are aware of a number of individuals who, initially subjected to torture, have since been subjected to further torture as punishment (and as a warning to others) for speaking out about the treatment they received. Whilst we, and a number of other organisations, are strongly encouraging individuals to come forward and speak to the commission about their treatment, the off-hand comments of the commission are insulting to those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, under the policies of the current regime and discourage participation in the commission’s investigation.
These concerns lead us to seriously question the legitimacy of this commission and its ultimate findings. You appear to have accepted without question the assertions of the government as to the number of political prisoners, the treatment they received and the governments “willingness” to rectify the mistakes of “rogue” individuals within the government framework. Because the Ministry of the Interior is ‘extraordinarily willing’ to listen to the commission, it does not follow that there was not a systematic policy of violence. This argument is a non-sequitur and questionable at best.
This defies the very objective of the commission; to reach an independent and impartial conclusion as to the human rights abuses committed in Bahrain and the cause of such abuses. Recent news regarding the release of prisoners, whilst encouraging, should in no way subtract from the commission’s stated goal.
Bahrain center for Human Rights
09 Aug 2011
Cherif Bassiouni's response:
Reply of the Head of the Bahraini Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) to the BCHR Open Letter
August 9, 2011
Mr. Nabeel Rajab
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Dear Mr. Rajab,
Thank you for your letter of August 9, which states your concerns with the work, but more so the integrity, of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
1. The BICI does not espouse the government’s views or any other views. The statement I made was that so far we have received the cooperation of the Ministry of Interior, and that is borne out by the facts. I am attaching a self-explanatory statement that will soon be posted on the Commission’s website.
This allegation insults the Commissioners and staff who are working 14 to 16 hours a day to serve the cause of human rights in Bahrain. All of us have well-established records in the field of human rights and this speaks for itself. We are neither bought by nor at the service of anyone. We are at the service of human rights and will continue to act as such.
2. There is no doubt that there have been a large number of reported cases of human rights violations which include: deaths, torture and physical mistreatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, wrongful dismissal of public and private sector employees, suspension of students and termination of scholarships, destruction of mosques, and destruction of private property. As we now know it, 35 people have been killed, and one is too many. We estimate from the more than 900 emails and 200 complaints, as well as interviews with over 300 victims and witnesses, that the possible number of physical abuse and torture may well reach into the hundreds, but we still do not have a complete picture of these violations. We need the cooperation of everyone in order to ascertain that information.
3. Once we have concluded our investigations, it will be possible to determine whether such a large number of violations are the product of “state or organizational policy” (see the definition of crimes against humanity in the ICC’s Art. 7, para. 2; see also M. Cherif Bassiouni, Crimes Against Humanity: Historical Evolution and Contemporary Application (Cambridge University Press, 2011). This is separate from the individual determination of individual cases of torture under the Convention Against Torture to which Bahrain is a state party. (See Nigel Rodley & Matt Pollard, The Treatment of Prisoners Under International Law (Oxford University Press, 3d ed. 2009), and M. Cherif Bassiouni, The Institutionalization of Torture by the Bush Administration (Intersentia, 2010)).
4. As a lawyer, you know that each of these crimes has separate legal elements that need to be established. Moreover, I am sure you know the legal differences between individual criminal responsibility and the responsibility of superiors, which is more difficult to establish. In particular with respect to the latter, we need to establish whether superiors in the chain of
command failed to take appropriate measures to prevent torture when they knew or should have had reason to know that torture took place. There is also command responsibility, when those in the chain of command failed to investigate and prosecute those who commit such a crime.
5. These considerations of international criminal law are not exclusive, since the Bahrain criminal code contains two provisions criminalizing torture (namely, Arts. 208 and 232). These provisions also apply with respect to torture and other forms of physical mistreatment which may be of a lesser nature, and we are not ignoring this source of national criminal responsibility. The BICI is diligently pursuing all of these leads, and it is premature at this point to reach any valid legal conclusions.
5. With all due respect to all the international human rights organizations you have mentioned, I am sure that as a lawyer you will agree that their reports are considered secondary evidence. We need to either have access to the facts upon which they reached their conclusions, or to be able to determine those facts on our own. Since we are not a human rights organization, as you yourself stated, we need to ascertain the facts not only for their broader significance, but also with a view to determining where the system went wrong, who in the system initiated wrongful policies or carried them out, and how to correct these wrongs.
6. In light of the scope of what has happened, the polarization and radicalization that exists, the climate of suspicion and distrust, and the scale of the violations claimed, I am sure you will agree that it is premature to reach any conclusions. Any focalized or limited statements such as the one I made to Reuters cannot be used as a basis for the type of generalizations to which you and others have arrived.
7. Lastly, I understand that you were interviewed in an online newspaper article today in which you claim that the BICI is not looking into the deaths of persons. This is simply incorrect and you know this, since you yourself have an appointment with the BICI to accompany witnesses with evidence concerning deaths. Furthermore, I found it disheartening that you deemed it necessary to personally attack me in that interview.
The BICI will continue its work as an impartial, fair, and neutral body dedicated to the service of human rights, irrespective of any criticism or any political perspectives that are at play. We are here for the truth and nothing but the truth. We remain open to any constructive criticism and to any constructive ideas that may improve our work, and we welcome everyone’s cooperation in the pursuit of these goals which we are all pursuing.
Trusting that you will publish this reply to give it the same publicity that you have given your open letter, and that you will see fit to continue to cooperate with us and to help us in achieving our mission. We look forward to cooperating with civic leaders like yourself to successfully accomplish our mandate.
M. Cherif Bassiouni
Chair, Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry
Friday, August 5, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
They say that where there's a will there's a way, which implies that the precondition of a "way" is the will itself... Speaking in less cipher; one can say that if you want something to happen badly enough, you should be willing to do what it takes to get it. It is not enough to just will it but this will must be accompanied with the willingness to take action. By no means does this imply that any ends justify the means. On the contrary, the will has to be one such that laws of integrity and humanity apply and where the end is one that suits all and not some.
Ends vs means
To place this subject in the context of the conflict in Bahrain, the opposition's motives had been clean and legitimate at the beginning of their protests asking for political and social reforms (the ends). However, they used illegitimate means to reach these ends (i.e. Unauthorized demonstrations). Soon after the authorities made an attempt to restore order and dismantle these illegal protests the ends of the protesters have begun to change erratically and they started using unruly means to reach their ends. All the while Bahrain has been at a war of wills in which it was proven that those with the biggest will won each battle.
With a revolution three decades in the making it is obvious that the will is more than strong and the creativity in the means used to reach these objectives has been found to grow exponentially throughout its phases. What started out as defamatory graffiti on the wall evolved into burning tyres to Molotov cocktail attacks on police cars ended in exacerbating wounds for dramatic effect and faking own deaths. The will has become so strong that the means, however horrendous or preposterous they were had become justified to reach the ends. The result is a fabricated and amplified revolution that has caught the attention of the world simply because of this strong will.
Wills, means and consequences
"accusing #Bahrain's conduct of being unjust shows a belief not in democracy but that actions don't and shouldn't have consequences" -
This tweet from my dear friend sums up the situation today quite effectively. After the sentencing of 21 instigators of unrest to prison terms ranging from 2 years to life, unrest resumes as vandals block minor roads with dumpsters and spill gasoline on the roads to express their objection to the verdicts.
The will translates into radical means to reach an impossible end has earned these figure heads their deserved penalty in the eye of the law and in the most transparent and legitimate process possible. Yet Ali Salman is still in his state of denial and the concept of justice remains a one way street in the eyes of the opposition. Consequences mean nothing and retaliation is the predominant means but to what ends we have yet to discover.
Fe Fi Fo Fum
On the other hand, the rest of Bahrain had been taken by storm unable to process what happened fast enough to build a will or a means to an undetermined end. Amidst this rude awakening arises a force appropriately dubbed The Sunni Giant by the esteemed Ms. Sawsan Al Shaer when more than half of Bahrain while still in its dazed state got swept away by The Gathering Of National Unity and led into the largest assembly in the history of Bahrain represented by all sects, religions and affiliations all united under one common message of unity, progress and reform. The will emerged when there was a need for a united front against the atrocities of the roundabout and to counter the sectarian detour the demands had taken. In only days The Gathering Of National Unity has assembled hundreds of thousands of people at Al Fateh mosque which was chosen for its size and symbolic value. Unprecedented in the history of this island, the 52% Sunnis who have never before united so solemnly for a single cause have made their way from all corners of the island to pledge their allegiance to its monarchy and to present their demands in a civilized and orderly manner. Accompanied by their fellow occupants of bahrain who have been marginalized by the protesters for their nationality and non-Muslim religious affiliations, these people grew in strength and will. The will: to be heard and for their existence to be acknowledged. The means: a large gathering out of the way of major roads, no slanderous slogans, no tyre burning, no graffiti on the wall and no beating and killing of expats.
The will has now evolved into a desire to reach beyond the geographical realms of Bahrain after attempts to connect with the opposition in some kind of reconciliation had failed miserably due to their preoccupation with spreading their libelous messages to the west and tarnishing the good name of this country for their selfish gain. The TGONU spark has ignited a flame that has been simmering during the first days of the revolt looking for that fuel to light it full force. The will has increased exponentially and people were looking for the means through which they can realize their ends and consequently individuals and small groups have emerged, scattered as they were, but united under one goal which is to defend the honor of their home.
As the groups start to familiarize themselves with the monster within and the enemy without we slowly see their messages aligning and the effectiveness of it all was witnessed when a certain human rights activist was denied access to certain forums and was then given the third degree by the US congress. The means have finally seen an end and this encouraged thousands upon thousands to jump on the bandwagon and to join the media crusade to bring truth back home. Very quickly niches have been filled and efforts have found unison and what was a small voice of a few turned into the loud roar and the result has become mergers between groups, reference points for facts and figures and subject matter experts. Now we see better coordination and leadership spring from nothing only to become the front line defense for bahrain. Leaders and intellectuals have come to the surface and set the bar so high that the rest are striving to reach it. The Giant's size and voice, so large, is now giving the opposition something to think about and bringing them out into unchartered territory actually having to defend themselves to someone and justifying their actions after being unquestioned in the past.
And so we will
And thus there is a great lesson to be learned here. With a strong will one can achieve in 3 months what took 3 decades to fail. With a strong will the means find their way into our world and all pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Similar wills bring together people with similar means to achieve similar ends. There is strength in numbers but groups are made of individuals with small efforts so let us be this individualistic group of strong wills and let us unite towards achieving the ultimate end: to bring back the Bahrain we know and love and put it back on it's journey of reform and prosperity under the leadership of his majesty the king...
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I met with a young doctor just making her way up the medical ladder and striving to go through her residency program when she met with a strenuous series of events that have forever changed her life. For the purpose of maintaining her anonymity I will call her "Amal"...
Amal gives a detailed account of her first hand experience at Salmaniya Medical Complex starting from february 17 which was the day the security forces made their first attempt to clear the roundabout from its newly formed colony of protesters.
"The following is a description of my experience as a health professional at the Salmaniya Medical Complex during the period of protests and unrest that occurred n the kingdom of Bahrain.
Since the beginning of the protest, an atmosphere of unrest and instability filled the hospital. The attitudes of some of our colleagues changed dramatically. Many of whom we thought were our friends became hostile against us just because we are from a different sect. or as they defined us "agents and spies for the system"
It is a sorrow feeling that I felt when lifelong friends disregard and ignore all the pleasant times we have spent together for political or sectarian conflicts.
As part of the residency program, I am required to complete rotations at the Salmaniya Medical Complex.
I was rotating in the Accident and Emergency department during February 2011.
On the February 17th, I arrived at the emergency department at 7 am
The first thing I saw was total chaos. A lot of people were running around, shouting and screaming. I approached the Shift In Charge doctor who instructed me to put on the disaster team apron and I was assigned to the "B" area. He instructed us to attend to cold cases as the injured protestors will be treated in the other areas.
The accident and emergency department was over crowded with hospital staff, nurses and an even larger numbers of cleaners, bystanders and photographer. Antigovernment slogans were shouted, rumors were spread about government officials resigning, ministers abandoning their posts and about mass murders and crimes being committed against "innocent people"by law enforcement personnel.
With every rumor spread, the rage and anger of the protestors increased. The antigovernment chants turned into outrageous threats against Sunnis.
A group lead by a hospital janitor and a male nurse were shouting "no mercy for foreigners or Sunnis"
many people were gathering at the reception and triage desks to register themselves as patients and from what I saw, they were neither injured nor sick. An action that only leads to piling up records and increasing the number of casualties in the registers
As our instructions were given out to us, our designated area was to receive cold cases only, hence it was quieter than the other areas. A staff nurse came into the room and started cursing us and called us traitors because we were not treating injured protestors. At that time we had a patient who was suffering from a heart attack and we were managing his condition. The patient's condition was completely unrelated to the protests yet Photographers stormed the room and started taking photographs of the patient and talking to news reporters that he was a victim of police brutality.
They had not consented the patient to do such actions, they have not asked permission from the medical staff treating him. This is a sign of violation of patient rights and privacies.
Then a large group of protestors brought in a few of the injured and many nurses were tending to them in a chaotic manner that I have not seen like before.
Medical consultants from different specialities walked into the room and were talking to the press about the nature the injuries, which were a lot less in extent and nature than the description they gave. The injuries were no different nor more than the cases that we see every day.
Once the protestors started to gather in the parking lot for mass riots, the crowds began moving out of the area i was working in. Then a nurse approached me with a paper and demanded that I sign my name on it. She said it is a petition against his majesty the king. I refused to sign on the grounds that [it was a clear defamation of the king].
The nurse became violent and shouted curses and foul language at me. The same attitude seems to be contagious as many hospital staff have done the same when they saw us.
I ignored the incident and tried to focus on my tasks but the fear that I might be assaulted by these radical protestors was great.
With every minute that passed, I could see the expressions on the people around me change. They were looking at me with anger and they started talking in very disrespectful manners.
Despite the fact that I was taking care of them, they began cursing me and calling me names. I feared that their aggression might escalate so I took permission from the in charge doctor to leave the hospital.
I was terrified to go back to the hospital the following day.
The next day, february 18th, I went to the hospital. My family insisted that I stay home as the conditions were not safe and taking into consideration the events that occurred they day before. But I still went as I had duties towards my patients.
Once I reached the hospital, saw huge crowds protesting in the parking lots. The corridors were full of angry rioters and many photographers were taking photos of this chaos.
I went to the emergency department. One of my colleagues who signed the petition that I turned away the day before was in the corridor. I approached her to say hello. She did not greet me back. I was shocked to see such change in her behavior and asked her about the reason behind this change. She boldly said that it is bigger than what she had thought was happening.
I would like to shed some light on the cases that we saw that day. Most of them were anxiety attacks and not serious injuries or life threatening conditions as what they have been claiming.
This summarizes my experience during the unfortunates events that befell our beloved kingdom. I know a lot of my colleagues who have been either harassed, insulted and a few who have been assaulted.
May my words help expose the truth of what really happened."
I didn't want to change any of Amal's words, even where there are typing mistakes because I wanted to maintain the integrity of the story and to keep it as "real" as I possibly can. It is a shame that Amal has to live in fear of her life day in and day out. It Is a shame that she cannot publish her story herself and go on CNN and BBC and openly and confidently tell her story herself. However, the trust in media has diminished in a rapid manner since February 14 in Bahrain and especially among those who were not protesters calling for the fall of a government.
I asked her permission to tell her story because even though it is not controversial or sensational, it deserved to be told because it is the truth; something that has become a rare commodity in this day and age...
Monday, May 23, 2011
At first it was thought to be a case of temporary insanity and many of us thought it would be fun to take a closer look just out of curiosity and see what is going on down there. I personally took a few rounds on some occasions and was in shock at the organized state of the place and the speed at which all the tents and structures had been erected; organization which I have later come to discover its spillover effect into their outcries to the foreign media.
On February 17th I was among thousands of Bahrainis shocked after the deaths at the first attempt to clear the roundabout and from the Blackberry broadcasts I was receiving from friends of "other" opinions it felt like the roundabout was attacked in the middle of the night and people were brutally killed by "merciless" members of the security forces. Despite the strength, persistence and what I thought was the credibility of people I thought I knew I still refused to believe blindly and decided to go on a quest for knowledge and decide for myself what was true and what wasn't.
That was the moment when I discovered The world of Twitter and the wonders it has shown me about the events of the world. I created my account on February 17th mainly for the purpose of getting the live tweets that I had heard about from so many people and it quickly grew on me and had become my main source of information. I was there when the #UniteBH hashtag was created and I was so proud of my fellow Bahrainis for taking such an initiative to reunite The people of this island under the same common grounds that have always held them together...
From then on I started noticing tweets from the opposition that have struck every nerve in my being accusing the "regime" of attacks against the Bahraini people and "brutal murders" and "rape" and "torture" and things I never thought for a moment that I'd hear being spewed out to the world about Bahrain! Day by day the tweets grew in number and frequency from hundreds of aliases and some even from the same people but with different accounts and I was speechless by it all with a feeling of helplessness and loss... I was unable to think and react and I remember all i could think of was "this is not happening to this peaceful land"... In my mind I started to mourn my country thinking that it was the end....
I then decided to take things into my own hands and began responding to the likes of Nabeel Rajab and Maryam Al Khawaja who after being bombarded by myself and many like me decided to block any account that opposed their views and threatened to expose their lies. However, I didn't let that stop me or discourage me... My mission became an obsession and all of us who have dedicated our time and effort to defend this country began to find different ways for our voices to reach as many people as possible. My efforts increased as events unfolded and while I tweeted and BBMed and occasionally emailed and "facebooked" I tried to maintain a neutral attitude and report facts and cast doubts on certain tweets that seemed a bit fabricated to me. I challenged people from the opposition and tried to find flaws in their reasoning and attempted to share this with the world all in hope of salvaging some of the damage to bahrain already caused by the opposition's lies and false reporting. Later on I found that I've morphed into someone I did not want to be... Spiteful and sometimes hateful but never racist. It was taking its toll on me and I could not be myself for too long. I started ridiculing at times and challenging them directly at others. I did not like what I had become but it was a necessary evil at times and it was getting increasingly difficult to maintain my positive outlook and openness to other people's views...
A network of "defenders" started to take shape, some of the individuals in it I know personally and others who decided to remain anonymous; some for fear of their lives and that of their families and others who just did not care for any credit... One motive unified us all: damage control and defending the honor of this kingdom... The number of "defenders" increased exponentially after a successful campaign against Maryam Al Khawaja in one of her jet setting excursions to spread lies about Bahrain; there were the occasionals and the usuals and the aggressive and the positive but it was clear to everyone why they were there and that what motivated them to be there was nothing more than their unconditional love for their country and their quest for seeking and disseminating the truth about Bahrain's events...
I kept the same account all along. I put real information, my real display picture and spoke of real events that have been happening in my life. I purposely did that so that anyone who wishes to check into my background would be free to do so and believe that I am who I say I am and that I have not been contracted by the government to do it's PR work on Twitter. I showed the world my true self and yet the world has let me and many others like me down by accusing us of being paid PR agents.
So now I declare it to the world, and on behalf of my fellow defenders: My name is Nouf, and I am NOT a paid PR agent!