On Bahrain and The Hague

I’ve only spent the last 24 hours with this group of 5 Bahrainis but it already feels like I’ve known them for weeks.

I decided to join this trip to The Hague because I, like many others, have been outraged at the treatment of the Bahraini people by the ruling Al Khalifa family. My anger also extended to the media outlets that refused to extensively cover the recent Bahrain protests, whilst championing other Arab revolutions. So I believed I could offer a small amount of assistance in organising media coverage of this attempt to bring the Al Khalifas to justice for war crimes.

So I knew the situation in Bahrain was a bad one. But nothing could prepare me for the experience of actually spending time with those who have suffered most.

This morning at breakfast one Bahraini was complaining his back was aching. “Did you sleep funny?” I asked. His response was chilling. “No I always get this pain since August when I was tortured for 40 days”.

What can be said to such a statement? But of course the scars of such brutality are not just physical but mental as well. And it is those scars that out last any marks on the body, in many cases they never go away.

Yesterday one Bahraini told me about how we was sexually abused by Bahraini police for simply organising a demonstration in support of the unemployed. Again, how do you respond to that? You can’t say anything. You just look away and say nothing.

And this is a repeated crime. It is why we have come to The Hague, to try to use international law to prosecute Bahrain for it’s crimes. The messages of support from people all over the world have meant so much to the Bahrainis. Everytime I read another message from twitter or facebook it receives huge cheers. And the few negative attacks I have received from the same 2 or 3 people would be laughable if they weren’t so offensive. So thanks to everyone who has supported us and please keep the messages coming in.

But this is not enough, alone. We need people taking to the streets, raising the issue anywhere and everywhere. Everyone knows there are powerful countries acting behind Bahrain and we need to mobilise everything we possibly can to counteract this wealthy and powerful elite.

It’s been an honour and humbling to be here with this group who have experienced so much. I have nothing but admiration and respect for their bravery and courage. They all know the punishment they will receive if they ever return to their homeland. Many of them have family in Bahrain that will be persecuted on behalf of their representatives here. It would be enough to make even the hardest campaigner stop.

But these guys refuse to give in. Because they aren’t just fighting for themselves. They campaign for the whole of Bahrain and the whole of humanity.

If it were possible to have an online round of applause I would request that now. Instead honour our comrades by campaigning on their behalf and doing whatever you can.



About dominickavakeb
Dominic Kavakeb is a recent Masters graduate in International Journalism from City University, London. He lives in London and is of British/ Middle Eastern origin.

One Response to On Bahrain and The Hague

  1. Allison says:

    It is a wonderful thing you are doing. Please know that many around the world are appreciative. I am part of a group who bearing witness at a site based in the United States. You can see some of our work here:

    The web site has over 350,000 registered users, so we hope that we are doing a little bit to make sure that people here pay attention to what’s happening in this Arab Spring.

    If there is anything we can do to support your work, please let us know.

    Peace, Inshallah.

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