The post title is somewhat misleading for two reasons. First, although I have been aware of Bahrain's activists since early 2011 and keep up with what's happening there from a couple of Twitter feeds, I have not posted or reported simply because it seems to be a protracted stalemate, with non-violent activists pushing the civil disobedience envelope to attract outside support as the authorities remain tough and unbending. Second, except for a few blips, there has been little in the way of news.
A column by Glenn Greenwald on Tuesday accusing CNN of journalistic malpractice drew a defensive response from CNN the next day. Then yesterday the Guardian joined the narrative with a look back at events that took place last year culminating in the detention of several prominent activists.
Last year, the Bahraini government praised the findings of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) into institutional failures that caused the death of 35 individuals between 14 February and 15 April 2011. It committed to the professionalisation of the police force and the introduction of greater accountability for those charged with torture. Ten months on, the BICI's recommendations read as a hollow reminder that little progress has been made. On Tuesday, an announcement was made that the convictions of 20 prominent dissidents were being upheld, despite widespread condemnation over the politicised nature of the judicial process.
The CNN-produced documentary, iRevolution, pictured the use of extreme brutality and violence by the Manama regime against peaceful anti-government protesters in Bahrain.
The program was however banned from being broadcast in the international network, with the editorial staff citing "purely editorial reasons” for the decision.
A Tuesday report by the British daily Guardian, however, linked the network’s move to ban the show to what it described as the CNN’s “aggressive pursuit of money” from the Bahraini government.
The report cited the CNN’s pursuit of “a business strategy of extensive, multifaceted financial arrangements” with several of the repressive Arab regimes, disclosing CNN’s “financial dealings” with the US-backed regime of Bahrain and branding the dealings as “deep and longstanding.”
According to the report, CNN’s reliance on revenue from the dictatorial Arab regimes increased significantly after the 2008 financial crisis.
“It (the CNN) thus pursued all-new, journalistically dubious ways to earn revenue from governments around the world. Bahrain has been one of the most aggressive government exploiters of the opportunities presented by CNNi (CNN International),” it said.
Interested readers can go to the links to get informed. Since little has changed there is no reason to imagine that being informed will make you any more intresting next time you talk politics or international relations with your friends. But somewhere in the back of your mind make a note of what's happening (or more accurately NOT happening) in Bahrain.
Meantime, here is a Chirpstory with photos that came from this morning's Tweet stream from Maryam Alkiwaja in Bahrain, opening with a few retweeteed messages from CNN reporter Amber Lyon who is clearly irritated by what she has read.
Reading Twitter messages as a narrative does not make for smooth reading. It is certainly not prose in any traditional sense. But once the reader gets used to the abbreviations and other limitations of the medium, it is something like poetry. Haiku comes to mind, but with a prosaic theme. I have curated away hashtags and other distractions in the same way one might shake off the sand from a shell found while beachcombing.
Click on images to enlarge. See what you think...
Amber Lyon says: #CNNi trying to distract from real issue of taking $ from regimes, by assaulting my character & trying to make my journalism seem sophomoric.--- Hey Tony Maddox, plz answer: How much $$ does #CNNi receive from oppressive regimes in exchange for positive coverage? ---Hey Tony Maddox, activists who risk lives to expose truth to #CNN, that u later nullify with dictator-sponsored content, deserve an answer.
I haven't wept when I was arrested
I haven't wept when I was tortured
I haven't wept when I was physically and sexually humiliated
I haven't wept when I first saw my family after more than two months
I haven't wept when I was sentenced for four years imprisonment
I haven't wept when after ten months I was released
Now I weep because I see Jude without her Mother on her Birthday
Happy Birthday My Beloved Jude. Soon You Will Be Free
Also absent from her birthday is her mother @angryarabiya who celebrates her daughters birthday [behind] bars
Jude's grandfather also celebrates her birthday serving a life sentence for his activism #happybdayjude
Large protest expected in capital Manama today, regime very sensitive about that #eyesonbahrain
@MARYAMALKHAWAJA tight security cordon is applied on the capital. Checkpoints have been set at all Manama entrances. Many ppl already in.
Last year @angryarabiya had 2 explain 2 jude why her father @fetusbahrain wsn't at her birthday, this year its reversed
Many children in bahrain celebrate their birthdays away from thr loved ones who r in exile, jail or hiding , my heart goes out to them all
Protest in Sanad now participated by men & women, despite the hot sun (42 degrees)
These children r tmrws human rights defenders...and they willl be Stronger, more persistent and more determined then we ever were
These messages and photos were sent just a couple of hours ago as I write. The activists in Bahrain, like those in many other parts of the world, remain strong in their determination to bring about changes in places where change is a helluva lot harder to implement than here in the US.
More videos and backstory is available at the "Bahrain" section of Amber Lyon's blog. Here is one of several reporting on Zainab, Maryam's sister mentioned in the above narrative, showing pictures of Jude whose third birthday is mentioned. At the end of the video is an interview with Zainab herself.