The Royal al-Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain for the past 200 years. Like many other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Bahrain joined the Arab Spring. Protests began at the countries landmark Pearl Roundabout on February 14, 2011. The Shia majority wanted reforms and democracy. As most know, the authoritative regime shut down the mass protest with violence and oppression. For the past two years the country has continued to see violence and civil unrest.
An important event in Bahrain is the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix car race. It was brought to the country in 2004 by Crown Prince Salmon Bin Hamad al-Khalifa. This international event brought a lot of global attention to this small country. Then, in 2011 the event was cancelled due to the protests and violence taking that the country was experiencing.
The event is set to return this year but there is a lot of controversy over the issue. “For the government and its supporters, holding an F1 race demonstrates that the kingdom is stable and back on track. For the opposition, the race is little more than an attempt to conceal what they say is the ugly truth of daily life in the country” (BBC News) The government feels as though the media is wrongly portraying the current situation in Bahrain, saying it is more violent and unstable than it really is. The opposition sees this event as an act of propaganda. It would portray stability in a country that is far from it.
“For ordinary Bahrainis and members of the large expat community, F1 is a way of putting aside, at least for a few days, the road blocked b y burning tires, the police checkpoints and the whiff of tear gas in the air” (BBC News). In other words ordinary citizens see this event as a brief escape from the harsh realities of their life.
So is the Grand Prix an act of government propaganda, or is it simple a car race that the citizens can enjoy?
"Bahrain: Police 'fire Tear Gas' at Boys' School." BBC News. BBC, 16 Apr. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.
Law, Bill. "Bahrain GP: The BBC Explains the Background to the Protests." BBC News. BBC, 16 Apr. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.