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Monday 20th of May 2019
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Bahrain, a complete pariah state

Bahraini officials complained that Reuters lacked balance in its reporting during the Saudi-backed regime crackdown on opposition protesters.

We interviewed Professor Rodney Shakespeare, chairman of the Committee against Torture in Bahrain, in London, regarding Bahrain's clampdown on the media and how the regime there is becoming increasingly isolated. What follows is the text of the interview (also supported by Richard Becker)

Q: I am going to quote a statement that was issued by the Bahraini King [Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa] on world Press Freedom Da. Endorsing press freedom, he said “A free impartial and independent press is the backbone of democratic development.” How does one marry this statement with the reality on the ground in Bahrain?

Shakespeare: You cannot marry this statement because the reality in Bahrain is that Bahrain has become a complete pariah state with no honor or respect anywhere, except of course with the other pariah states, examples are North Korea, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia. A pariah state is totalitarian, self-righteous, violent and generally hideous. What is going at the moment is of course an attempt to intimidate the press because the killer Khalifas are scared of the press but they will not intimidate the press.

What is happening there now is a complete disconnect between the regime and anything to do with the decent ordinary people in the world. Even if apparently welcomed in other courtiers on a visit, the killer Khalifas are going to be despised, there is no love for them, there is no honor for them. People don't like them...

Their mind is so twisted that they think that they might be democratic because their version of democracy means of course that they control and own everything and that they allow no sort of difference, even the differences between Muslims. But the most disgraceful aspect of all this is that they are actually committing genocide against fellow Muslims. So I am afraid that you have got a predator regime, a pariah regime, a repressive regime and a deeply hideous regime trying to intimate a free press.

Q: Bahrain has been a financial hub for the region, this media blackout has been a major push on its part to show a sense of normalcy returning to the tiny Persian Gulf Sheikdom. Do you think that investors are going to come back and the heed up propaganda that the regime is spreading?

Shakespeare: Earlier on today, I just by chance came across against this advertisement for a conference in Bahrain later in the year. Now nobody in their right mind will be attending that conference and if anybody actually does trade with Bahrain and is known to be trading with Bahrain, others will in fact reject them and will reject them with contempt. Richard [the other guest on this interview] mentioned the support by the UK and US for this hideous regime.

That support comes from, in the case of the UK, in the belief that it is actually protecting its economic interest by supporting the killing and the tortures and the same with Catharine Ashton, a supreme hypocrite who is prepared to make some weak words of condemnation but she is not actually prepared to do anything and Europe also could do something, exactly the same way as they are doing for example in Libya. They could get involved in the physical way if they wanted.

But I am afraid the reality is that the economic future of Bahrain is going straight the way down the tubes. The US thinks that it is severing its long term interest in the Middle East but it is doing nothing of the sort and it is hated. It is very interesting that in the past few days, when I talked to people, it seems to be just the last week, the contempt, perhaps since Osama bin Laden business, that the contempt for the US is astounding; yet they are so stupid that they think they are serving their long term interest.

They are just as stupid as the British foreign office, another lout who thinks they are serving their interest, they are not, they are on the wrong side of the history, they are against democracy, they are complete hypocrites and more and more people are waking up to it and I do hope that the viewers of this program do a bit to contact their political representatives and their foreign office and say that we've had enough, that we demand democracy in the Middle East and if that means that Americans and the British have to betray their present crony friends, then so be it. America and the UK have already betrayed democracy and this is the reason why they should stand up and start betraying their crony friends.

Q: Speaking of spreading awareness, we do know that a number of medical staff including doctors and nurses face arrests and also military trials in Bahrain for carrying out their ethical duties of treating the wounded that were coming in from the crackdown on the protesters. You are in the UK, how do you feel that the medical community has responded to such a blatant attack on a humanitarian issue?

Shakespeare: We know how they have responded: they are shocked. Every medical person, as part of their training or education, takes either the Hippocratic Oath or a version of that or a similar statement embodied in their training. As a result, any decent, any ordinary human being is shocked when there is somebody who is sick or is injured and a normal decency instinct is to help that person. When you prevent people and you condemn people and you arrest them or torture them for just helping other human beings who are sick, then you yourself in doing that, you have gone way behind..., you are no longer human you are sub-human, your mind is not just corrupt, you are a perverse that is exactly what is happened in Bahrain and the world is waking up to it and I appeal to any medical person listening to this program to get onto their unions, to get onto their organizations and demand that... they stand against this hideous regime.

Q: We have seen a policy of tolerating repression in the name of strategic interests and bilateral relations constantly coming from the West. Now considering the media blackout with regards to Bahrain and the influence over the mainstream media these governments have, how long will it be before the people in a larger percentage of the population wake up to this fact on the ground and the support for suppressive regimes, not just Bahrain but throughout the socio-political dynamics we have in the world?

Shakespeare: Richard is right on several points, one of them of course he was mentioning is the mainstream media which do not deal with this subject. On the other hand, the message is getting out. In the US, AFLCIO, the organization of American trade unions, is indeed waking people up and doing its best to affect the situation. Richard is also right in saying that there is no will and very interestingly he set his response in the wider context of the interests of all those big corporations, which do so well out of existing regime.

But then I would say, yes this is not just Bahrain but a state in the world economy, and the change that I am certain to come, may be coming very rapid and very quickly and that would be a further downshift in the global economy. When that happens, the British and the UK and the US positions will go straight out of the window. So you see, they are clinging on to old way of thinking, they are clinging on to old way if viewing their self interests and they are not actually understanding one the great tides of the history which is certainly democratic, it is Islamic, it is demographic, young people, educated without any jobs, rising food prices ,wanting their political rights.

So those wider issues are marching on and the trouble is that these political masters in the UK, in Europe and in the USA, their thinking is probably paralyzed, they are not just out of date but it is just paralyzed. They just simply don't understand the true significance of what is going on and the true significance is we want these regimes straight away out of the window and in due course they become balanced reasonably democratic countries and there is no need to be scared of what the long-term developments are. The trouble with the UK and the US is that they are fundamentally anti-democratic themselves, they like the great extremes of the rich and the poor so they don't understand, they don't like it and they are completely out of touch.


source : http://abna.ir
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