Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bahrainian Police Officer Sentenced to Time in Prison: Lasting Effects of the Protests of February 2011

A recent article put of by the BBC explains why a police officer in Bahrain is has been served time in prison. Two years after the anti-government uprisings that took place in Manama, Bahrain, a policeman is being put in prison for the death of a protester. The man killed was the first man killed in the protests. When his funeral was taking place and protesters gathered in support the crowd was forcefully dispersed leading to another death. Many protesters were killed during the uprisings two years ago and even today the fatality rate of protestor’s increases. 

This is important because it shows that the protests that began two years ago are still holding weight over today. The state of Bahrain while not willing to give up power, is hoping that the action of putting a police officer behind bars will be seen as symbol of acknowledgement, that the way the state handled the protests may not have been appropriate. In hopes that this gesture will calm the protesters. As if the government is still naively hoping that this will fix it's civil unrest. When in fact this event clearly shows the opposite, that the state is still unstable and unsure of what to do.

The deaths discussed in this article are an excellent example of one-sided violence, where the state is targeting unarmed civilians. The government cracked down on protests with brutality, not only did they destroy the main protest area, but Saudi Arabia also gave the Bahrainian Monarchy military support. This is a strong indicator that defends the theory discussed in class, that revolutions can be dangerous for neighboring countries for fear of contagion. 

While protests still linger on today, the question is what should Bahrain do? Or even larger, what should the international community do? This question is difficult to answer, which is why there has been a lack action taken  by the international community to support the citizens of Bahrain. Bahrain is a major ally of the United States and holds a very large navy base there. Bahrain is also very closely allied to Saudi Arabia. Between these two allies it seems the international community doesn’t see enough drive behind the rebellions to support them. Since this is the case, the US and other close allies should strongly urge Bahrain to give the people some basic freedoms, and stop harassing them with brutal crack-downs. While this doesn’t fix the long-term problem of an oppressive regime, it eases immediate tensions and creates an easier life for the public. Do you have other suggestion on how this situation should be addressed? Comment and let us know!



  1. I don't think there is much weight with this actions. When I look at the revolution trying to occur in Bahrain it seems that the Bahrain monarchy is going to fight for its power until the last breath. Putting one cop in prison for the death of one protester isn't doing much.

    The Bahrain regime has fired upon protesters several times, inflicting multiple deaths. The government knows this is a fake gesture and I assume the public know too

    1. Totally agree. This action holds almost no weight at all, and although I don't know if these are the same police officers who are mentioned in the above article, the Bahraini regime is unwilling to even try to fake some sort of reconciliation:

      2 police officers were acquitted in cases involving protester deaths from Feb. 2011. (The ruling judge also happened to be from the al-Khalifa family--he found "no intention to use lethal force").

  2. Speaking of Bahrain, I just stumbled upon an interesting Aljazeera article ( reports of talks between the Bahraini government and six opposition parties. The talks, which began on Sunday, are aimed at solving the crisis that began in 2011 by “building the bridges of trust” between the various parties. While the government is not directly involved in discussions, loyalist groups will be representing the government.

    Negotiations between the government and the opposition parties have been stalled since the summer of 2011 when the first series of similar talks began. These new talks end an 18-month stalemate between the government and protesters.

    The opposition parties, according to the article, will continue to fight for a constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister. Even though the government has so far refused to implement reforms, talks of this nature could lead to minimal reforms.