Bahrain opposition movement issues F1 warning

F1 Fanatic round-up

Bahrain International Circuit, 2004In the round-up: Bahrain’s February 14th Youth Coalition says it cannot “ensure the safety” of F1 participants during the forthcoming race weekend.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Bahrain youth group targets Formula 1 (FT, registration required)

“The February 14th Youth Coalition, an online organising body for anti-regime protests, said it would not be able to ??ensure the safety?? of Formula 1 participants amid popular anger that would be triggered by the race going ahead.”

Mark Gallagher via Twitter

“The single (daft) protester who interrupted yesterday’s Boat Race makes you realise what several determined activists could achieve in Bahrain.”

Cartoon ?ǣ King Hamad, Bernie Ecclestone and F1 in Bahrain (Latuff Cartoons)

Another view on the Bahrain situation.

Ten alternatives to watching F1 highlights (Motorsport Musings)

“I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend my money on going to a circuit to see racing in the flesh – while inhaling the smell of burnt rubber and topping up my vitamin D levels – than I would on an expensive subscription to Sky.”

What?s the fuss over Sky?s Formula One rights deal? (Mancunian Matters)

“Whilst events on the track have been a cause for celebration for British fans, for many of the viewers at home it has been a cause for commiseration as they saw another of the jewels of live terrestrial sport begin to slip away.”

HRT asks FIA to probe Caterham (ESPN)

HRT has put the complaint in motion since it could stand to gain an estimated $26m in prize money by taking over Caterham’s championship position if the team is retrospectively removed from the standings.”

Comment of the day

Molino recalls hearing Gilles Villeneuve had died:

There is one thing I remember very well in 82, is the radio flying across the living room because of one my uncle who had heard enough when it said “the number 27 driver Gilles Villeneuve has been ejected of his cockpit and is laying unconsciously on the other side of the track after being involved in a crash with the car number 17″.

Both of my uncles got into F1 in ’77, and lost all interest after that day. I still don’t know what they admired the most in Gilles.

We lived one hour away his home town in Quebec and they never got to meet him in person. But they watched the entire race on the Jacques-Cartier bridge in ’78 because they couldn?t afford admission tickets.
Molino

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Happy birthday to 1997 world championship Jacques Villeneuve who is 40 today.

Today is also 90 years since former FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre was born. Balestre died in 2008.

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133 comments on Bahrain opposition movement issues F1 warning

  1. Jan Ryan said on 9th April 2012, 0:19

    The Government issued a similar statement recently. But you need to remember that it’s the police who have the weapons….. and they tend to use them indiscriminately. A few tips:
    * Don’t park anywhere near a car belonging to a protestor. The police like damaging them.
    * Don’t stand anywhere near protestors. The police like shooting ridiculous amounts of teargas directly at them. Along with stun grenades. And shot. And, sometime, live bullets.
    * If you see youths protesting, look around for the police and move away from them very quickly.
    * The protestors won’t attack you. They are more likely to help you if the police are attacking and give you good advice on how to cope with the effects of teargas.

    Have fun!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 0:48

      The police like shooting ridiculous amounts of teargas directly at them. Along with stun grenades.

      That’s how tear gas and stun grenades work. They’re considered to be acceptable crowd-dispersal tactics the world over.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 9th April 2012, 4:20

        considered to be acceptable crowd-dispersal tactics

        Yeah I hear China liked the idea in Tibet as well….

        • Mike (@mike) said on 9th April 2012, 4:21

          Apparently the Roman’s preferred crucifixion, But that’s a bit of a doddle, and at least it gets you out in the open air.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th April 2012, 9:56

            @prisoner-monkeys – where is the proof they were indeed violent enough and out of control to such a measure as to make it reasonable to use them in the amounts they have been used in Bahrain in the past couple of months.

            Its up to states to show they are not using excessive force, not protest movements. Not to mention that all substantial evidence points to there being rather much tear gas use lately.

          • Bri said on 9th April 2012, 16:56

            Proper jailers pet you are aren’t you!

            Ooh what I’d give to be spat at in the face!

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 4:36

          @mike

          Yeah I hear China liked the idea in Tibet as well

          Canadian police used CS gas on rioters during the 2011 Stanley Cup riots. Australian police used CS gas on rioters during the 2005 Macquarie Fields riots. I don’t see you criticising the Canadians or Australians for doing it. In fact, they’re used in just about any riot around the world. They’re not even the most-aggressive crowd-dispersal tactics police can use.

          CS gas and stun grenades are called non-lethal for a reason: they’re not lethal. CS gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the respoiratory system, prompting the person inhaling it to get into clear air as soon as possible. It has no lasting health effects, unless a person either experiences prolonged exposure or has an underlying health condition.

          As for stun grenades, they’re a little bit more aggressive, but still non-lethal. They disorient people by temporarily overwhelming their senses, particularly vision and hearing. It also affects the inner ear, which controls balance. Police usually use them when they want to arrest protestors, mostly because stun grenades are designed to incapacitate people. Like CS gas, they are non-lethal, and they have even less lasting effects.

          Apparently the Roman’s preferred crucifixion, But that’s a bit of a doddle, and at least it gets you out in the open air.

          Crucifixon was a form of execution. It was not used for crowd control.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 9th April 2012, 7:11

            Seattle police also used tear gas and rubber bullets against the WTO protesters. They have a reputation as a pretty out of control police force here in the US though.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 7:17

            @us_peter – Nevertheless, CS gas and stun grenades are considered to be practical, non-lethal and appropriate forms of riot control. So too are riot shields, rubber bullets, water cannons, pepper spray and the use of mounted police. So it’s very difficult to make a case for the Bahrainis having done anything wrong in using these tactics, considering that they are used all around the world.

          • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 9th April 2012, 7:47

            I think the difference is when it’s used. During out of control riots or peacefull protests?

          • mvi said on 9th April 2012, 12:32

            Well, teargas may not be lethal in small one-time doses, but intense, prolonged exposure is what is happening in some villages. It is used regularly, even being thrown into private homes, i.e. enclosed spaces, as a deterrent. The BICI Report criticized the excessive use of teargas, so there is worry about its effects, it is not a benign substance. And who knows what else is in the unmarked canisters?

            Have a look at:
            http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/04/201241122912440203.html

          • Mike (@mike) said on 9th April 2012, 13:51

            @prisoner-monkeys Yeah, PM, no offense, but I don’t think you grasp the “brutal repression” bit.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th April 2012, 13:55

            The Guardian reports teams are asking for the race to be postponed:

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/apr/09/formula-one-bahrain-grand-prix

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 13:58

            And who knows what else is in the unmarked canisters?

            If security forces were using chemical weapons, something would have been said by now.

            I don’t think you grasp the “brutal repression” bit.

            I grasp it just as clearly as I grasp your tendency to polarise the issue into moral extremes that are nowhere near representative of reality. You did, after all, just compare common crowd dispersal tactics with an archaic form of execution.

          • HewisLamilton said on 9th April 2012, 16:14

            I think that RIOTING and PROTESTING are 2 completely different beasts. Are you saying that the protestors in Bahrain are rioting?

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 9th April 2012, 16:26

            “Archaic form of execution” is a fantastic phrase. Of course I understand what you mean and accept that different types of execution vary in how acceptable they are, but it seems odd to hear one form being called archaic when most of the developed world thinks execution of any kind is out-dated. Looking it up just now I was quite surprised to see Japan still use capital punishment.

            Anyway, the issue with tear gas is not that it is an acceptable form of crowd control, it’s whether its use was justified at the particular times it was used, and that is something that doesn’t seem to be clear.

          • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 10th April 2012, 9:27

            Apparently the Roman’s preferred crucifixion, But that’s a bit of a doddle, and at least it gets you out in the open air.

            Crucifixon was a form of execution. It was not used for crowd control.

            Oh dear, PM. I think you missed the point there by a country mile. :D

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th April 2012, 7:38

          It might be hard to realise when you do not dedicate enough time learning about Bahrain and China, but the former is more similar to Swaziland than China. Believe me.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 7:55

          @verstappen – Where is the proof that these protests have been peaceful? There is a media blackout in Bahrain at the moment. We only have the protesters’ word that the security forces escalated. Take, for example, the reports of a protester being shot the other day. Witnesses claim that the shots were fired by civilians sympathetic to the government’s cause. They have no idea who was, where the bullets came from, or even who shot them – the car they allegedly came from sped away immediately. So how can we know for certain that it was someone acting in the interests of the government? With the total lack of evidence, isn’t it equally-conceivable that an over-zealous protester brought a gun to the rally, opened fire and hit a fellow protester by mistake, and then ran away in the midst of the chaos?

          The protesters claim that the government is trying to use the race for political purposes. But aren’t they doing the same thing, too? We know as much from their Formula 1-themed protests. And in yesterday’s round-up, there was an expert on the Middle East on the BBC who acknowledged that the protesters know the political value of the race. What’s to say they are not embellishing the truth a little to garner more sympathy from the West?

          On the one hand, we’ve got the government saying that everything is fine. On the other, the protesters are telling us that it’s about two steps short of anarchy. I suspect that the truth is that it is somewhere in between, albeit much closer to the protesters’ version of events than the government’s.

          • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 9th April 2012, 15:53

            Don’t get me wrong, @Prisoner-monkeys, I’m more or less on the same page here. Well, at least on the page where it all started last year: Sport should not mix with politics and safety is the only way out for the FIA.

            To everybody else: I know people have died and been tortured and that is horrible. Totally horrible and unacceptable. But you’re on a sliding path when you say that for these facts alone F1 should not go. Otherwise we should start questioning China and USA, to name a few countries. Or start questioning big companies, like Shell (hello Nigeria) or other oil companies. I’m afraid the world can be a horrible place. By the way, I own an iPhone

            However, I responded to your view that using weapons – which teargas is – on protesters is a worldwide accepted practice. I thought you cutted a corner here, since those weapons are used for riots, which is something different. Maybe you’re right, maybe the protests aren’t peacefull anymore, but that’s what they started out and the worldwide outcry came from weapons being used then – worse ones than teargas.

          • Nigel said on 9th April 2012, 16:43

            “Where is the proof that these protests have been peaceful? ”
            There is plenty of proof.
            Take a look at any of the dozens of youtube videos of the extremely large, and obviously peaceful protests.

            Everything clearly is not fine when such a large percentage of the population takes to the streets.

            If 10 million people in the UK called for Silverstone to be called off, I think we might take note.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th April 2012, 7:27

        My friend PM, your remarks on Bahrain mess are worrying me.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 7:36

          @jcost – Why? Because I’m not prepared to attack the Bahrani security forces for doing something that every other police force would do when confronted by an angry mob? If a riot broke out in the street outside my house an hour from now, I would fully expect the Australian police to use CS gas to break up the crowd. So how can I turn around and attack Bahrain for doing it?

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th April 2012, 7:47

            You should ask yourself why they’re angry first. The fact they’re angry doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Hopelessness make you go mad, lots of people went mad in US southern states in 1960’s, were they wrong to protest?

            The question is not tear gas my friend, abandon your simplistic view for the sake of your own values.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 8:00

            @jcost – My view is as it has always been: that local politics should not influence the sport. The only reason why the race should be cancelled is because of the safety of the teams and drivers, but the FIA needs to make this very clear so as not to be seen endorsing either side. There are two ways to do this: either come straight out and announce it, or wait for the Bahrainis to admit that the country is not safe and that the race should not come (which they did last year). I suspect that Bernie and the FIA are waiting for this second outcome.

          • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 9th April 2012, 8:50

            I think realistically, the reason why the race will be cancelled will be insurance. If the insurers won’t cover the teams then the teams won’t go there.

          • caci99 (@caci99) said on 9th April 2012, 10:15

            @prisoner-monkeys

            doing something that every other police force would do when confronted by an angry mob?

            Every dictatorship regime acts according to law. The first thing they do is making the laws that will allow them to do whatever they want. Your comparison of protesters as an angry mob, is very disrespectful, and it is the same words that a dictator uses against it’s own people who would protest against the regime.
            Apparently you know little about dictatorship governments who would use any mean to oppress anything that has the slightest color of anti regime. And, it is always according to their constitution, a constitution that they will always claim that is for the people and from the people.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 10:51

            @caci99

            our comparison of protesters as an angry mob, is very disrespectful

            How else would you characterise a large mass of people, united by equal outrage at a state of affairs, if not as “an angry mob”?

            Noble intentions do not compensate for emotional outbursts. The people of Bahrain are angry at the way their country is being run. Wouldn’t you be more concerned if they weren’t angry?

            Apparently you know little about dictatorship governments

            As opposed to you, who have demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding about how the concept of a protest actually works. According to you, the protests are actually a series of candlelight vigils by a group of people united by a sense of rational discourse. As is typical with people trying to present themselves as a moral compass, you demonstrate an acute naivety. For the past fourteen months, there have been countless instances of protesters being injured in clashes with security forces. But there have also been several episodes where security forces have been injured in those same clashes. What do you think happened – did the police somehow injure themselves? Last time I checked, Bahrain was not being run by Abbott & Costello. I may not share your views of the situation. That doesn’t make me wrong. And ironically enough, for you to think that it does lowers you to the same level as the government that you are attacking.

            In short, put your moral outrage to good use instead of attacking people on the internet who do not share your opinion.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 9th April 2012, 14:11

            PM, why don’t we see this kind of stuff in Australia?

          • HewisLamilton said on 9th April 2012, 16:19

            Again, Protestors are not rioting in Bahrain. You are justuifying your point of view with no factual basis.

          • caci99 (@caci99) said on 9th April 2012, 18:27

            @prisoner-monkeys

            you demonstrate an acute naivety

            Naivety, according to Remarque, is a gift, once lost can never be found again.
            And where did you found moral statements in my comments? I am giving you facts. Now you say that have been police injured during those demonstrations, proving that protestors where violent too, according to you. I would very much like to see your reaction if someone comes and gets you by the throat and threatens your life. I would like to see how peaceful you would be, just to prove who was the villain.
            Oh, and you seem to be on the same train as me, attacking every one on the internet who just does not share your same opinion.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 9th April 2012, 10:21

          @Prisoner-Monkeys

          My view is as it has always been: that local politics should not influence the sport. The only reason why the race should be cancelled is because of the safety of the teams and drivers, but the FIA needs to make this very clear so as not to be seen endorsing either side.

          I don’t get that. By going to Bahrain, F1 is actually endorsing one side, aren’t they? It’s pretty simple: Bahrain wants the Grand Prix because it will silence the opposition and activists — hence it’s a political tool for the government. Pulling Bahrain from the calendar, even if it was for political reasons, would not be at all bad.

          The difference between this and places like China is that the government in Bahrain is using the race as a political tool whereas China is not staging a Grand Prix to give the impression everything is OK. Even if they were, it’s failing miserably. So F1 has a choice; allow the race to go ahead and support oppression, torture, arrests, imprisonment without trial, police brutality (I’m not talking tear-gas, I’m talking rubber bullets and killing protesters — such as the raid on Pearl Roundabout) and preventing medical attention to the wounded — OR — cancel the race and say no to all of that. Either way, it’s a decision with political ramifications, so F1 should be setting an example and showing it has some morals or it will risk losing a huge portion of its fanbase.

          As far as I see it, it’s a complete no-brainer.

          • FlyingLobster27 said on 9th April 2012, 13:10

            “local politics should not influence the sport” – that depends, if the sport prides itself in defending a set of values that local politics contradict. If F1 does not pride itself in being openly promoting human rights, then it doesn’t have a moral reason not to go to Bahrain.
            But there is also the converse of PrisonerMonkeys’s statement: “the sport should not influence local politics”. Again, if F1 has no trouble with its image being used for politically partisan propaganda – as Bahrain is doing with its “uniF1ed nation” publicity, and has anyone else noticed the similarity between the F1 logo and the Bahraini flag? (that second part is said in jest) -, then there are no moral grounds for the race to be cancelled.
            As Damon states, the decision regarding Bahrain will ultimately tell us where F1 stands on ignoring the above issues or not. Whether or not that matters to each and every one of us is a matter of opinion…

            Personally, the poor show Bahrain’s track has given us so far is enough for me to not want to see it on the calendar. The political situation adds to the animosity, and I will be paying even less attention to the race than usual, but I reckon a race at Manama International Airport – like the ones CART used to have at Edmonton – would probably provide a better spectacle!

      • bobo (@bobo) said on 9th April 2012, 16:58

        I think it is not quite your canadian use of tear gas:

        Residents in Bahrain’s villages also say the government has started using a new chemical, CR gas, which is significantly more potent than the CS gas typically used against protesters. Physicians for Human Rights documented cases of patients with “atypical symptoms, including non-epileptic seizures and hysteria”.

        “The tear gas canisters, they used to be from the USA and India,” said a protester in Sitra who asked that his name not be used. “But these new ones have no labels… they’re trying to hide what they’re using,” he added, holding up an unmarked canister which carried no country of origin or other identifying information.

        The allegations about CR gas, and more generally about any new chemical, cannot be independently verified. Several Bahraini police officers declined to comment on the chemical being used, and the health ministry has barred doctors from examining the content of tear gas canisters.

        source: http://aje.me/HMQ0ks

      • bobo (@bobo) said on 9th April 2012, 16:58

        I think it is not quite your canadian use of tear gas:

        Residents in Bahrain’s villages also say the government has started using a new chemical, CR gas, which is significantly more potent than the CS gas typically used against protesters. Physicians for Human Rights documented cases of patients with “atypical symptoms, including non-epileptic seizures and hysteria”.

        “The tear gas canisters, they used to be from the USA and India,” said a protester in Sitra who asked that his name not be used. “But these new ones have no labels… they’re trying to hide what they’re using,” he added, holding up an unmarked canister which carried no country of origin or other identifying information.

        The allegations about CR gas, and more generally about any new chemical, cannot be independently verified. Several Bahraini police officers declined to comment on the chemical being used, and the health ministry has barred doctors from examining the content of tear gas canisters.

        source: http://aje.me/HMQ0ks

    • Matt (@agentmulder) said on 9th April 2012, 1:33

      This is all very true. It is also very true that protestors are defacing property, torching police cars, bombarding the police with rocks and molotovs, and could do harm to visitors. It take two to tango. Neither party is entirely clean and angelic, neither party is completely composed of rabble either.

      This whole post does what F1 should not do, it politicizes things. F1 is a sport at the end of the day, and should not interject it’s opinion into every political conflict that comes up where it goes. The key concern for the FIA should be the safety of the athletes, staff, and spectators that travel to a given venue, nothing more, nothing less.

      The key thing is Bahrain is unsafe right now. Thing are tense, and all it would take would be one unruly person, or small group of unruly people, be they security or protestor affiliated, to spark an incident.

    • LAK (@lak) said on 9th April 2012, 20:12

      Before I start commenting first of all I’d like to say that I do respect all your views about my country, government, etc.. but I feel I have to say something because as a local who has been living through all this, I do have firsthand experience that should help clarify things..

      You might have noticed that I’ve been quite quiet on the Bahrain situation on the blog simply because I realized that it is hard to compete with the media. Many articles have been exaggerating and highlighting certain aspects of the events to send out a certain message, while ignoring other events. So people end up mostly siding up with the rioters against the Government, and are mislead into the believing that we have a “dictatorship” like government – which just sounds ridiculous even typing it!

      No matter how hard I try to explain my views, people just dismiss my opinion by saying that I’m just siding with the government, or fail to see the other side, or that I’m not impartial enough.. Well obviously if I’m a Bahraini my opinion isn’t like an outsider’s, and although I try to be as objective, it still is subjective. But if I can get one message across it would be that things in real are not like what you read in the media. Which is why I truly believe that the only way anyone can be convinced that Bahrain is ready to host the race is if they come down here and see for themselves. Which is kind of hard to do but one journalist did come over from Abu Dhabi, let me share my chat with him..

      He came to attend the BIC’s press conference in February and when I asked him what does he think about the situation he said it looked like a “warzone” on TV, but he was surprised to see everything normal when he came to Bahrain. He went out for dinner, walked around Manama, and saw nothing at all.. He was surprised. I did tell him there are minor protests/clashes with the police in the villages but that’s basically it.

      Those mini riots do happen, but they don’t have any legitimate causes except to cause disruption and are violence – which hugely undermines their cause (even Nick Kristof who is the opposition’s biggest supporter attended one of those riots and he had to take shelter from the molotov cocktails that were being hurled at the police and said on twitter that the violence undermines their cause). So I think we can all agree that any use of violence by either sides the police or the rioters is not acceptable. Deal?

      Let me explain more how those small riots are like. It starts by a small group of 10-20 youngsters (and by youngsters I mean teenagers and younger! There are footage of kids as young as 5 year old being used by the opposition – which in any country is considered to be child abuse!). Where are the human rights organizations to stop the opposition from abusing these innocent children?! Nowhere to be seen of course because of people like Nabeel Rajab, who claims to be a human rights activist, is really nothing but a terrorist who controls the thugs and orders them around instigating violence. People outside of Bahrain don’t know that, we all do. He doesn’t even have an organization, his fake organization has been shut for years now, but who cares right? -.-

      These youngsters start the riot by attacking the police mostly by hurling burning molotov cocktails towards them. What do the police do? Nothing.. Literally they just stand by trying to avoid being hit and burned. If the crowd is larger and needs to be dispersed or if they are blocking a main road and have to be stopped then first use stun grenades, which usually do nothing. Then next tool they have is tear gas, it’s their only way of dispersing or breaking up a riot. They are NOT allowed to use live ammunition. They are NOT shooting at anyone. They may use rubber bullets if the person attacks them closely and are threatening the police – which are all legal International standards.

      What you all outside of Bahrain don’t know about is how violent these thugs are. And I am 500% sure that if the same thing happened anywhere else in the world, the police would have arrested thousands, and would have definitely used live bullets. Here in Bahrain the police are NOT allowed. Molotov cocktails may sound normal, but they are lethal. And when they are hurled at the police at close proximity they can kill and severely injure. Have you heard of the police who are severely injured on a weekly basis in the media?? NO because all you read is that the Bahraini police are brutal right? They are attacked daily, many have sustained severe injuries and burns.

      Another weapon they use are those huge long metal rods that are projected towards the police and can kill instantly if it hits them anywhere close to the head. They have already killed a woman who was on her way back home and that rod hit her directly in the head and she died a few days after that. Who’s fault is that? Where are the human rights?

      They also use smaller spears that look like darts and several policemen have been stabbed in their necks, legs, arms by them.

      Let me ask you all a question? What happens if a cop in the US stops your car and asks you to step out of the car with your hands above your head. And you come out of the car and put your hands in your pockets. Do you know that the police man has the right to SHOOT you in the leg? Just because there’s a possibility that you may be reaching for a weapon in your pocket so he has the right to defend himself by shooting first. In the UK I’m not sure what the rules are, but we all remember the South American guy who was shot at simply because they thought he was the suspect. The recent riots in London had 3000+ arrested. (FYI I’m not comparing the riots to ours because it’s totally different, I’m just talking about the arrests). If we did the same in Bahrain we would’ve been attacked. I don’t see anyone attacking the Met police?

      Do you know that Bahrain is the first country ever to call an Independent Committee to come judge and inquire about all the abuses by the Government. This is a very admirable and brave move by our King! Would a “dictator” ever do that? LOL And not only that but he accepted the result of the inquiry, believe me it was hard for us to watch Prof. give that speech accusing the government, but he took it bravely and showed sincere will to change things and has already begun to make the changes.

      The police who were found to be at fault were already punished by the Ministry of Interior even before the BICI report finished, and Prof. Bassiouni said that the big officials in the Ministry issued no order of abuse, what happened were individual mistakes and they already are punished. After last year’s mistake, the army, police force, and government have become very wary and careful not to do anything that is illegal or use excessive force because it hurt the country badly last year – even though what happened wasn’t intentional but it was wrong and everyone condemned that.

      Bahrain also went the extra length of asking the US and the UK for help in training our police forces to deal with riot control and they brought in 2 officials 1 from the US called John Timoney, who has worked in the police force for many years, and a former high ranking Met Police officer called John Yates. They both said that the police are not using excessive force and have agreed that the protesters are using violent and lethal weapons.

      Another thing people don’t know Bahrainis, specially those who are “Pro-Govt” is that even they have changed their views towards the Government! How? Last year we had people who were either pro govt or anti-govt. This year it’s a bit more complicated as we now have extremists on both sides and several middle areas. However most people who were pro-govt are still pro in the sense that they support the King, but what has changed is that they have been more critical of the Government. You all would be surprised to know that most pro-gov Bahrainis criticize the Government for being too LENIENT! Yes you heard me right.. They have grown sick and tired of the situation and want the government to implement stricter laws to put an end to this ongoing chaos! They want the government to give the police the right to use weapons to face the rioters who are already using lethal weapons. So far the rioters escape freely after attacking the police, and the police go back home with their injuries. I see their point, as I don’t know anywhere in the world where we see police defenseless against the violent rioters. So the ball game has completely changed. I don’t blame the government that much because they are dealing with so much pressure from all sides!

      It’s like a tug of war but with many more sides than 2, and the government is the rope. They’ve got the violent opposition on the extremists end, the pro-gov extremists on the other end, then the people who are anti-gov and pro-gov but are more moderate, then the International affairs and relations (mainly the US), then the GCC countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman) who have their own concerns for their safety. So as you can all see the government are under a lot of pressure to please all these sides and all I can say is I’m lucky I’m not part of them because it’s a very tough job!

      And I think they have been doing a great job so far in trying to calm the situation down. People have been criticizing them for being too lenient and not making swifter decisions but I can’t blame them. They have to think a billion times before doing anything. One thing I’d like to say is that I do believe that they are sincere in wanting to make the changes that the opposition are asking for. Our King has started the reform process 10 years ago and made huge changes towards making Bahrain more democratic. And they are continuing to do so step by step. The world needs to give Bahrain a chance because our rulers are good people and most International leaders know that. It’s just unfortunate (or wise from the opposition) that the unrest happened along with the Arab Spring so we were all grouped with them even though the situation here is not even comparable to countries like Libya, syria, egypt, etc…

      Sorry for this humungous long post but I felt I had to explain my point of view. Now back to F1, I personally believe that it should transcend all politics. I’m against the view that holding the GP means that it is supporting the government. Well yes it kind of but it is supporting the country! By having the F1 it will help Bahrain recover the immense economic losses of last year, which in turn helps us the citizens! Last year I was for canceling it the first time, but when it announced again I was for it. In hindsight I still think we could have pulled it off in October because other International events happened shortly after in November with no problems at all. We had Jewellery Arabia which is an Annual International Exhibition that has the worlds biggest jewellery names. It was also high risk because of the amount of expensive jewellery that is normally brought in is. Then we had the International Boat show which was a huge success. Then we had the BIGS Annual Flower show, and the International Air Show which is also a huge event, maybe a bit smaller than F1, everyone had a great time. We recently had an International Animal show as well. So why can’t we hold the F1?

      The opposition are obviously using the F1 to their benefit and are trying their best to escalate the situation and are working the media as they did last year to side against the government and cancel it. This was always expected, but this time around, they have no legitimacy at all. They have lost the respect of many here, even people from their own! Many from the opposition are now against them because they are taking them nowhere with their pointless use of violence. Nothing practical is being done, so they have lost thousands of supporters they had last year! Bahrain has changed, we have moved on. Our lives are back to normal and we will NOT allow them to drag us into the rut they did last year. This isn’t how we are used to live, this is not how we Bahrainis are. We are not sectarian people and we will not allow the opposition to spread their filth and hate anymore. We are looking towards progressing and aiming for unity to help build our country back regardless of what the govt does. The F1 is huge event that really affects the whole country, and we love it here when it’s around. Even people who are not into racing or motorsports enjoy Bahrain during the F1 because it becomes so lively and people really enjoy themselves. This year people are even more adamant on attending the F1 to make a point towards unity, reconciliation, and rebuilding our country and helping it move forward. It is such a beautiful feeling, the hype already started and the F1 fever is reaching it’s peak. Bahrainis are happy they have something to look forward to. Please I beg the F1 community, from team members, fans, drivers, and media, PLEASE DON’T take this away from us!! Give Bahrain a chance! I’m sure you all won’t be disappointed. We want the GP and we are ready for it!

      (Thank you to anyone who read this from top to bottom!)

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 9th April 2012, 20:32

        It’s very interesting hearing such a detailed account from this perspective. But didn’t you say last year that the violence was exaggerated too, and that the race shouldn’t be cancelled? And then martial law had to be enforced.

        Also, do you work for the circuit? Just wondering because you said you spoke to the journalist who was attending.

        • LAK (@lak) said on 9th April 2012, 23:22

          Hi Matt thanx a lot for reading. Yes I did say last year that they were violent, but the media exaggerated stories of the govt’s use of force because they were taking the stories mainly from the opposition’s side. I was pro holding the race in October last year because things have calmed down, and have calmed down even more now.

          Nope I wish I did work for the circuit lol. I just attended the press conference they had :)

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 9th April 2012, 20:56

        Also, I don’t really understand this point:

        The recent riots in London had 3000+ arrested. (FYI I’m not comparing the riots to ours because it’s totally different, I’m just talking about the arrests). If we did the same in Bahrain we would’ve been attacked. I don’t see anyone attacking the Met police?

        Nobody would complain about legitimate arrests against anybody committing a crime, particularly in riot conditions. The issues that people have is with illegitimate arrests, violent arrests, and human rights abuses during detention- not that any of these are necessarily happening at the moment.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th April 2012, 22:02

          Not to mention that there WAS a lot of verbal attacks towards the police. First saying they were using too much violence, then questioning how they could have let it escalate from being too weak in their reaction, as far as I remember @matt90!

          Off course its quite natural to have questioning of police actions and evaluate them afterwards in a democratic society

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 9th April 2012, 22:23

            Certainly, but nobody’s going to criticize based purely on the number of arrests, even if the manner of arrest is suspect- and like you say, that manner of arrest and the general policing will and should be subject to scrutiny. 3000+ plus may be a headline number, but that’s mainly because it reflects the scale of the situation rather than the quality or decency of the policing.

        • LAK (@lak) said on 9th April 2012, 23:25

          Well people condemned the govt’s arrests last year. Even before the unrest, the govt were always blamed for being too lenient because even when they arrest them, they pay a very low price to be released, and King often pardons the prisoners every year on certain occasions like Eid. People think that the rioters aren’t afraid of the law anymore, so nothing is really stopping them.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 9th April 2012, 22:47

        In the UK I’m not sure what the rules are, but we all remember the South American guy who was shot at simply because they thought he was the suspect.

        I’ll also hasten to add that that was a deeply unfortunate single incident that has no bearing on normal UK policing- not least because only specially trained officers carry guns, and are only dispatched in exceptional circumstances.

        • LAK (@lak) said on 9th April 2012, 23:30

          Completely agree, that was a one off incident and was an unfortunate mistake. Shouldn’t have said this example. But it shows that mistakes do happen and the Govt. did some last year but they weren’t intentional, which is a very important point.

  2. Sherlock said on 9th April 2012, 0:19

    Start the “omg, everything is bad and opposition is damn clear angelks” inm 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th April 2012, 0:33

      Instead of guessing at what everyone else thinks, why not tell us what you think?

      • JohnBt said on 9th April 2012, 1:56

        DON’T GO, that’s what me thinks. The threat this year seems a lot worse. Teams so far have not endorsed they want to race in Bahrain although there were talks of if we have to go we’ll go. My conclusion is the race In Bahrain will be cancelled!

        • Mikeycool said on 9th April 2012, 13:21

          I have to agree. I personally would like them to go to Bahrain as the more f1 action the better, however, f1 is only a sport and whats going on over there is no doubt a serious situation. If the big wigs have any humanity in them, they should cancel the event simply on the grounds of absolute safety. We know for sure what will happen if it is cancelled. But we WONT have a clue if it was to take place and something terrible happens.

  3. ivz (@ivz) said on 9th April 2012, 0:19

    Have the teams made a statement regarding going to Bahrain?

  4. David-A (@david-a) said on 9th April 2012, 0:23

    Happy birthday to former teammate @slr , as well as @dirgegirl and Mad Eric.

  5. Hola said on 9th April 2012, 0:27

    Nice COTD. Good that his son became a champion that he was not able to..

  6. Spinmastermic (@spinmastermic) said on 9th April 2012, 0:47

    Fair play to the Boat Race protester.

    • Lee Sharp said on 9th April 2012, 11:59

      No, just, no. I genuinely hope he was charge with “being a complete pr**k” by the Police. He ruined a sporting event that those rowers train at levels you are probably unable to comprehend. He also probably contributed to the state of the Oxford bowman at the end of the race.

      So i therefore hope his “cause” is flushed nicely down the thames estuary never to be heard of again.

  7. Does anyone honestly feel like this grad prix has any chance of happening at this point? I mean this as a serious question. It seems almost inconceivable to me…

    • George (@george) said on 9th April 2012, 1:10

      Well there’s not going to be much of a crowd, it wouldn’t be the first time though. Whether it happens or not depends on the FIA and the teams, I dont think there’s really much threat to them so long as they take precautions.

      • Spinmastermic (@spinmastermic) said on 9th April 2012, 1:33

        There will be a crowd. A very large, angry one outside the track.

        • xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 9th April 2012, 2:00

          Brazil manages to still make it happen.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 2:01

          @spinmastermic – If the race goes ahead, do you actually think the government will let anyone within ten miles of the circuit? As the protesters say, the government wants to use the race to make it look like the country is back to normal. Hoardes of angry protesters packed ten-deep outside the circuit is not normal. Therefore, they will go to great lengths to prevent it from happening.

          • Spinmastermic (@spinmastermic) said on 9th April 2012, 2:26

            And that’s why the race won’t happen.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 3:29

            @spinmastermic – Do you actually think the race will not go ahead because the government will not let people near the circuit? If the safety of the teams and drivers is the issue, then having a heavy police presence to keep spectators away is in the sport’s interests because it lessens the chances of anything happening to anyone. And with the eyes of the world on Bahrain, the government won’t resort to violence (unless the protesters attack first, and even then they will be hesitant) because they want the world to see that law and order have been restored to Bahrain. Cancelling the race because it is more safe with the police on-scene than it would be without the police is insane.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 9th April 2012, 4:25

            I think that if an exclusion zone around the circuit is necessary to try and get a Grand Prix to run safely, then an F1 race shouldn’t be attempted.

            Do you actually think the race will not go ahead because the government will not let people near the circuit?

            So yeah. A high police presence and somehow preventing any and all civilians from approaching the circuit are 2 different things.

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th April 2012, 7:35

            That’s what Damon Hill is saying. They do can make it happen safely for teams but it will take a huge and potentially brutal effort by the police and armed forces what would put F1 on one side of the argument which is not exactly what F1 would be seeking in terms of reputation.

        • reg (@reg) said on 9th April 2012, 2:47

          The track is on an isolated area of the island (and it looks like the teams could land at the Sakhir Air Base), I am guessing that access to get close to the track will be restricted.

          I wonder if JB still owns a place on the island? Probably doesn’t visit much anymore…

    • Gibo (@gibo) said on 9th April 2012, 7:18

      I have been in half a dozen grand prix in the last 15 years, all in Europe. For me when going to a grand prix is not only about going to the track on race day. It is equally fun to go around, enjoy the city and the environment overall, visit museums, etc. It’s not like match-day for example when you pop in the stadium for a couple of hours and try to have fun, F1 for me it’s more like a good excuse to visit places and at the same time have fun watching my favorite sport live. 

      All these articles about Bahrain maybe are exagerated, maybe not but it’s clear that safety can be a concern and that makes it potentially not a good place to be. I don’t put the race day higher than me and my friend’s safety and equally I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the race knowing I would have to only be shuttled in and out of the track and not being able to move about freely. 

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th April 2012, 7:44

        Well said. Why should you go for Spanish GP and skip Barcelona’s attractions? Go to Valencia and forget Calatrava has been there before?

        Bahrain 2012 is not certainly a GP to be proud of.

  8. Zadak said on 9th April 2012, 1:09

    I remember when Bahrain was considered the only place in the middle east you would actually want to visit.

    What’s changed?
    nothing

  9. MohdAmin said on 9th April 2012, 1:10

    The greatest threat to the history of this game deals that take place on the remains of the people of Bahrain peaceful, which is not hostile to one at all, but the repressive regime does not leave an opportunity to demonstrate the peaceful and practiced systematic repression and breaking into homes and stealing people’s property, greatly appreciate any human sympathy with the people of Bahrain ,

  10. MohdAmin said on 9th April 2012, 1:15

    Should show both the driver or his assistant or employee, his love of Formula, which prevents them from that stained with the blood of innocent people in Bahrain

    • F1FanInBh said on 9th April 2012, 10:25

      Melodramatic – ‘Stained with blood of innocent people’ – Innocent my bottom. In any country, angry mobs with molotov cocktail, stones and home-made weapons will be dispersed with teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. I believe the Bahrain Security forces are being unfairly scrutinized for doing the same (if not less) than other civilized countries. Stop damaging bahrain’s reputation with your rubbish ‘give me everything for free’ attitude. Rather finish school and get a job and grow a career like anywhere else in the world. You get housing, electricity, food etc. and you still complain. Try living in countries where there isn’t a royal family looking out for you. You’ll starve. Bottom line is you’re too lazy to get on with your life while expecting hand-outs from your government.

      • mvi said on 9th April 2012, 12:58

        You say “I believe the Bahrain Security forces are being unfairly scrutinized for doing the same (if not less) than other civilized countries.” Unfairly scrutinized? What’s unfair about having the Security forces scrutinized? Civilized countries certainly do get their Security forces scrutinized, and they are highly criticized when they abuse their authority, as they should be.

        Why do you think it’s so great to have a royal family looking out for you? Just thinking of having to keep on their good side, obedient and passively silent no matter what they did, sounds vomit-producing. Better to create a society with real rights and opportunities.

  11. MohdAmin said on 9th April 2012, 1:24

    Will crash and ends with the history of Formula One, the people of Bahrain are killed every day by bullets and gas 

  12. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 1:42

    “HRT has put the complaint in motion since it could stand to gain an estimated $26m in prize money by taking over Caterham’s championship position if the team is retrospectively removed from the standings.”

    Well, at least they’re being honest about why they’re doing it. Unlike, say, Christian Horner pretending his crusade against Mercedes is for the good of the sport, and not for the benefit of Red Bull.

    • Unlike, say, Christian Horner pretending his crusade against Mercedes is for the good of the sport, and not for the benefit of Red Bull.

      Do you have a link to something where Horner says anything like that? Because all I can remember him saying is stuff like this:

      “As with all devices like this it’s how it interacts with the rest of the car,” he added. “Of course I’m sure all the designers certainly at the front end of the grid have been looking at how the device works, how you would incorporate it into your own design. But before we pursue constructing parts and expense to it, for us it’s quite important to know that, yes, it’s going to be permissible for the rest of the year. And quite often we see technical clarifications come out that deem things to be not in compliance with the regulations.”

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 1:58

        That’s what I mean by Horner pretending it’s for the good of the sport. He doesn’t say it outright, but he’s clearly trying to shape an image for himself in the media where he is saving the teams a lot of expense – probably because Red Bull took so much criticism over the RRA last year. But Horner doesn’t care about costs. He wants to destroy Mercedes’ advantage, either by getting it for himself or having the system banned. It’s the same kind of rhetoric he was using in 2009 when he was lobbying for the double diffusers to be banned.

        • AJ (@ascar2000us) said on 9th April 2012, 5:58

          i think Horner makes sense here, given how EBD were handled last year.. banning it mid season and allowing it later. So its only fair to get clarification. Its a competitive sport. if all the teams built RB replicas last season and RB can gain by copying the Wduct i don’t see the harm.
          Sure Horner will look after the interests of his team. It is HIS team. Its is up to the FIA to come up with clear regulations which they fail to do regularly.
          RB received a lot of flack for pulling out of the RRA… but their reasons and proposal makes most sense… RRA cannot be policed as it stands today… I mean FIA did nothin when ferrari used a filming day to test new parts with Alonso.
          And thou his statement is in the interest of RB, it actually happens to be in the interest of the sport. a lot of money can be saved here.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 6:06

            @ascar2000us

            iven how EBD were handled last year.. banning it mid season and allowing it later

            The problem with the diffusers last year was in the way the ban was implemented. The teams agreed to the total ban, and then everyone started appealing to the FIA for concessions that would allow them to run up to 50% exhaust blowing. When they started attacking one another over it, the FIA repealed the ban and set it in stone for 2012.

            So its only fair to get clarification.

            Horner has asked for three separate clarifications of the rules. And the FIA have ruled the system legal on three occasions. When they haven’t done is released detailed information on exactly how the system works – which is what Horner wants so that Red Bull can develop their own system and introduce it to the RB8 sooner than if they tried to do it from scratch. Failing that, he wants the FIA to ban the system now, which is the same as saying “if we can’t have it, then Mercedes can’t have it”.

            I mean FIA did nothin when ferrari used a filming day to test new parts with Alonso.

            Yes, they did. They changed the rules to state that if teams want to hold a filming day, then they may only use parts that were used in the most-recent Grand Prix.

          • AJ (@ascar2000us) said on 9th April 2012, 9:05

            your statements regarding EBD and Ferrari only reinforce my thoughts that FIA are reactive and not proactive…. They always wait for a crime to be committed in order to enforce a rule…
            Do you have any proof that Horner requested details of how the system works?? that has to be the silliest thing i’ve heard. I don’t see why FIA would release such infomrtion. The point is simple. Is W-Duct to be considered an extension of DRS or a seperate drive operated Aero device. nothing more.
            Everybody knows how it works. The trouble for teams is packaging it around their current solutions. You really must hate Horner.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th April 2012, 10:04

      I agree on the first part of that @prisoner-monkeys, good thing we don’t get served concocted reasons by HRT for this, as its clear for everyone and why not. In the end it was taking a shortcut that possibly helped the team be better prepared for the season than their direct competitors.

      As for Horner, I don’t think there is that much need to highlight him here. He is just doing what every team principle in the past 30 years minimum has been doing. Although I do admit that I see it with a bit of “Schadenfreude” in his case after complaining about other teams doing the same he is now doing for the past 2 years.

      • Solo (@solo) said on 10th April 2012, 11:47

        Actually what i find most disgusting about Mr.Horner is the way he goes about saying things.
        Sure not the first time a team principal protest a device and he has the right to do so but what really annoyed me is that when asked his reasoning instead of simply saying his protest against the Merc system he throws lines like: “Well obviously some people see it as illegal, others probably more than us”.
        Not liking something? Fine protest about it but don’t try to do it while also trying to play that you are not the main guy with the problem and that others are the ones who are really protesting.

  13. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 9th April 2012, 1:57

    Ya know what’s funny about the whole Bahrain situation… Look at Egypt, look at Libya, look at Afghanistan & Iraq… Are those countries really any better off with their new Governments after the protest & wars? Not really.

    Look at us here in the USA and I’m sure many other “Free” countries around the world… We still have starving people, we still have mass poverty, we still have a Government that is corrupt from the local level on up to the top, we’re still told what is & isn’t good for us, what we can & can’t eat, what kind of energy we should or shouldn’t be using, who we can & can’t marry, who we can & can’t trade/visit with (Cuba), etc etc etc… The only difference between our supposed “Free” countries and the various Kingdoms throughout the Middle-East is we have to sit through BS Political debates & commercials where instead of actually trying to explain what their viewpoints are on things they just spend the entire time trying to attack their opponents. And that is something that goes on in the Local, State & Federal level.. I’d much rather live in a place where it’s one leader til he dies then his kid takes over just for the fact that we won’t have those “Elect Me” commercials.

    • Dane. said on 9th April 2012, 7:42

      Like North Korea?

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th April 2012, 7:58

      Maybe you should try live in Libya under Gaddafi of Iraq under Hussein. Decades long repressive regimes are not easy to reform, institutions are very weak and people lack references for modelling their new reality overnight. Adapting takes time and eventually more blood. What happening in Egypt and Libya should be expected, it doesn’t mean fighting to end Gaddafi’s circus was pointless. They will take some time to fine tune their nation but it has potential to normalize in the years to come.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th April 2012, 10:09

      You know, @Fisha695 I get what you are saying. And surely there are a lot of things far from perfect in just about every country.
      People in countries where they are oppressed manage as well, it shows how flexible humans can adapt and go on.
      I live in a country that was under communist rule for 50 years and is still struggling to overcome the long term results of how people adapted to not being free even more then 20 years after that.
      But really its not the issue weather we think people in Bahrain are having fine lives compared to others or not. The thing is that when a government stops looking at the whole of their peoples and starts oppressing violently it is just not the place to be for a major sporting event.

  14. Jose said on 9th April 2012, 2:29

    Isn’t Bernie said that he’s going to inspect the situation in Bahrain?

  15. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 9th April 2012, 3:05

    I read somewhere else that the teams are planning getting back to Europe before going to Bahrain, just in case.

    Seems odd for me as I thought the trip would be direct from China to Bahrain… but well. We’re close to the deadline anyway!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2012, 3:31

      @fer-no65 – If the situation in Bahrain is unsafe, then the teams won’t want to spend any more time there than they have to. If that means spending no time in Bahrain, then so be it.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th April 2012, 10:12

      I understood the normal route for just about everyone not flying with private jets is to go through the Dubai hub. So going to Europe instead of Bahrain means they more or less leave out the short flight from Dubai to Bahrain and back and just get on to Europe earlier.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 10th April 2012, 11:50

      Impossible to go to Europe and then back to Bahrain. No time when the races are back to back.
      The plans for Europe are probably back up plans in case the Bahrain GP gets cancelled.

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