The Bahrain Grand Prix: A matter of conscience

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Bahrain International Circuit, 2011The protesters of Bahrain have taken a stand against a cruel regime. You can either stand with them, or with those seeking to make money out of their misery.

The violent past

In February 2011 many Bahrainis, inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, began a series of protests calling for democractic reforms in the country, which is ruled by a hereditary monarchy.

The peaceful protests were violently suppressed by the police, and several protesters were killed. As the situation deteriorated, the Bahrain Grand Prix scheduled for the following month was postponed. Shortly afterwards, the government declared a state of emergency, and brought in troops from overseas.

Thousands were arrested, and a commission of inquiry the following November determined many had been jailed “to punish those in the opposition and to deter political opposition”. The same report found widespread use of torture, and several deaths attributed to torture.

One such victim was Abdulkarim Ali Ahmed Fakhrawi, a founder of the Ali Wasat newspaper. After police surrounded the home of his relatives in Karbabad on April 2nd, Farkrawi presented himself at a police station.

Witnesses in the prison he was taken to reported hearing hearing him screaming in between blows. Then the screaming stopped, and a voice was heard saying “you killed him”. His body was returned to his family, who were told they would “end up like him” if they took photographs of it to prove he had been tortured. They did anyway (warning: graphic image).

The state of emergency was lifted on June 1st, two days before the FIA World Motor Sport Council met and restored the race to the calendar. One week later, the race organisers finally admitted it could not got ahead.

The stormy present

In the intervening months, little progress has been made. “The Bahraini authorities have been vociferous about their intention to introduce reforms and learn lessons from events in February and March 2011,” said a report issued yesterday by Amnesty International.

However, it added: “Reforms have been piecemeal, perhaps aiming to appease Bahrain?s international partners, and have failed to provide real accountability and justice for the victims. Human rights violations are continuing unabated. The government is refusing to release scores of prisoners who are incarcerated because they called for meaningful political reforms.”

Many in the country say the same. “There is still torture, still discrimination,” said one protester. “Everything we fought for on February 14th last year. It?s still just the same.”

The ongoing strife in the country has not prevented the FIA from trying to hold a race there this weekend. F1 team members and media began arriving in the country this week.

The government is clearly going to great lengths to keep areas F1 personnel normally visit quiet and ensure the continuing protests happen away from the track. Dozens of police vehicles line the road from Manama to the Bahrain International Circuit.

The continuing imprisonment of thousands of Bahrainis will make their task easier. This is a relatively small nation of 1.2 million inhabitants, more than half of which are expatriates. Even so, the regime has recently arrested another 60 protest leaders.

Despite this, the protests continue. Some are peaceful, but following the government’s violent response to peaceful demonstrations last year some protesters have thrown molotov cocktails.

There are threats of larger protests to come, and a growing sense that their anger is being directed at the race as well as the ruling Al Khalifa family.

The FIA gives political support to Bahrain

FIA president Jean Todt kept a low profile as the Bahrain row escalated. But German channel RTL managed to persuade him to speak on the matter last weekend.

Todt toed the FIA’s usual PR line: “There has been some controversy about it, but the FIA is a sports organisation,” he said. “We are only interested in sport – not politics.”

This is affirmed in the first article of the FIA statutes: “The FIA shall refrain from manifesting political discrimination in the course of its activities and from taking any action in this respect.”

However the advertising campaign for the Bahrain Grand Prix – “UniF1ed – one nation in celebration” – makes a mockery of the FIA’s claim of political neutrality. The race is being promoted as a salve for the social divisions that were exposed in the country last year.

The political value of the FIA granting the country a place on the world championship was highlighted by Bahrain International Circuit chief executive Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa when the slogan was launched in February, saying: “We in Bahrain should feel extremely privileged to be part of an exclusive club of only a handful of countries who can say that they are a host of a Grand Prix and are a part of the FIA Formula One world championship.”

In local reports in the country F1 drivers are being used – most likely without their blessing – to endorse the race’s political message.

Money and morality

Commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has used similar rhetoric to Todt. He insisted that F1 does not concern itself with politics and does not make decision on moral grounds.

However that has not stopped him claiming the exact opposite when it has suited his needs. In December he claimed, “we pulled out of South Africa years ago [in 1985] because of apartheid”.

It’s hard to find much evidence this was the case besides Ecclestone’s selective re-telling of history.

Rather, pressure from television companies who refused to air further races in the country, a boycott by some teams and sponsors during the 1985 race, and the refusal of workers in Australia to handle “tainted” cargo from the Grand Prix, led to the race being dropped from the 1986 schedule.

This serves as a reminder to treat Ecclestone’s words with caution. Recall that last year the FIA revealed he’d attempted an 11th-hour reinstatement of the Grand Prix on the day after he’d said the race was “not on”.

Ecclestone’s overriding concern in this matter is ensuring F1 makes its money from Bahrain. That will happen if the race goes ahead or, as was the case last year, the Al Khalifas call it off.

However while the race brought in around ??25m ($40m) last year in hosting fees, an estimated ??59.7m ($95.3m) was lost in potential advertising revenue.

The China argument

Some have claimed that as long as F1 races in other countries with poor human rights records, such as China, then it must also race in Bahrain.

This argument is flawed in several ways. Taking a broad view, it is a mandate for F1 to go racing in – and lend credibility to – any regime, no matter how oppressive. Make way for the Iranian Grand Prix, or perhaps a race through the streets of Pyongyang.

The Chinese Grand Prix is of negligible importance to the government of China, and F1 refusing to race there would make no difference to its people. The same is not true in Bahrain.

The ruling royal family who own the circuit are the same people who stand to profit from the race happening and who have crushed demands for reform over the past 14 months.

Furthermore, the timing of several key events in relation to the activities of the FIA remains suspicious and troubling. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a protester currently on hunger strike in a Bahrain prison who has attracted considerable media attention, has been told he can appeal against his life sentence on April 23rd – the day after the race.

A matter of conscience

The protesters of Bahrain have taken a stand against a cruel regime which denies them basic rights and has ruthlessly suppressed their just pleas for reform.

You can either stand with them, or with those seeking to make money out of their misery. Those who go along quietly with what is happening, or chime in with another naive chorus of “sport should not be political”, are giving tacit endorsement to F1’s support for Bahraini oppression.

The government calls the protesters “terrorists” because the word resonates with those abroad who are only paying passing attention to what is going on. The protests began peacefully and many of them still are. But the use of violent and excessive force by the government has in some cases provoked a response in kind.

The Grand Prix is being used as a political tool by the Bahraini government. Those who oppose the race should have no compunction about challenging those who support it. This is what social media is for.

The situation brings to mind F1’s repeated visits to South Africa in the seventies and eighties. During one of those races James Hunt, while commentating for the BBC, vehemently criticised the regime and F1’s presence in the country.

I hope some of his successors in F1 broadcasting today have the conviction and the courage to do the same. Already some broadcasters including Sky Germany, Japan’s Fuji TV and Finland’s MTV3 have said they will not send people to the race.

F1 Fanatic’s Bahrain Grand Prix coverage

One response to the situation could be to ignore the race entirely. Several people have already told me they will not be watching the race, and I respect that.

However, as Todt and Ecclestone have chosen to use F1 to give financial support and credibility to the Bahrain government, I have chosen to use this platform to condemn it. A message to that effect will feature prominently on the site throughout the weekend.

I will continue to listen to, research and read about both sides of this complex debate, give coverage to both in the daily round-ups (which have featured scores of pieces on Bahrain in recent weeks) and, I expect, in further articles as well.

And as always, I invite all F1 fans to share their point of view.

Comment


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353 comments on The Bahrain Grand Prix: A matter of conscience

  1. Good article Keith.
    I really see the idea of the F1 circus in Bahrain as a totally unneccessary security risk and it’s patently obvious that they have no business there in the current climate. The FIA should be leading by example and using the fact that the violent crackdown of protests there has become such an international issue to their advantage by doing the right thing: staying out.

    However, as so often is the case, there’s a lot of money at stake. For example, as many of you probably know already, a major Bahreini holdin company, Mumtalakat, has a significant stake ( I think over 30%) in the Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes team and of course Keith has already commented extensively on where the priorities lie for Ecclestone and the rights olders. Contracts of the powerful must be honoured and so voila, there they are in Bahrain.

    This is about money, pure and simple. It’s painfully obvious they shouldn’t be there but it’s the money doing the talking. I also don’t look upon this fiasco as a “moral issue” see it as more of a moral “dilemma” or a case of what one could call “distorted morality”. By that I mean that people often tend to stand up in favour of human rights based too often on an incomplete picture, or when it suits their agenda. So when there are obvious breaches of human rights taken place (ususally perpetrated by states on the otherside of the world) we are quick to invoke morality, human rights, boycotts etc. I don’t go along with that simply because many other countries wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny if you examined their record in detail (or even if you took 2mins on google to find out where the weapons are coming from). And in fact, this Bahrain debate is the perfect example for British readers of this blog. Would you be willing to boycott the British grand prix if you knew that much of the brutality and violence inflicted upon the Bahraini protesters are being supplied by British arms firms? (courtesy of Prince Andrew, and, of course, the taxpayer no doubt). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/14/bahrain-military-equipment-uk

    That’s a serious question one has to ask and again reflects the extent to which our “moral conscience” is often defined by the mainstream media’s careful selection of issues, framing of questions and bounding of the debate.

  2. Girts (@girts) said on 18th April 2012, 11:23

    A very well-written opinion. I fully respect and understand the opinions against the race.

    I have a different view because of several reasons. First, yes it is right that F1 does make a political statement by going to Bahrain even if it doesn’t want to do so. It more or less helps the current regime. However, not racing in Bahrain because of the ongoing human rights violations would be a political statement, too. It would help the opposition. While at the moment it seems the right thing to do, it is impossible to predict the possible consequences. What if, as a result, a revolution happened and radical islamists came to power? I don’t think this is a totally unreal scenario. Fight for democracy and human rights often isn’t just that, particularly in Arab countries.

    The problem is that governments and probably also people in countries like Bahrain, China, UAE, India etc. have different values and different understanding of what is right and what is wrong. For example, China still execute a lot of people each year – maybe only dangerous criminals are executed but, in totalitarian regimes, you cannot be sure about that. Tortures in Bahrain have been widely reported already before 2011. Terrible as it may sound, the governments of these states often torture and kill their people because these things in these countries aren’t considered as unacceptable as they are in Western democracies.

    FIA and FOM knew all this when they decided to go to Malaysia, UAE, Singapore, China and Bahrain (because of money) a few years ago and they have never cared about people being tortured, imprisoned and sentenced because of their political views, sexuality or whatever. If they had decided to call Bahrain off just because of pressure from fans, media and human rights activists, then that would be just showing off, without a true intention to change their attitudes.

    • Dal (@dal) said on 18th April 2012, 12:17

      Girts,
      You read my mind. If you actually step back and think about it from a neutral standpoint… why is it the West always feels the need to inflict its lifestyle on the rest of the world. It is how it is, and I totally value your point on revolution reforms.

      Its ironic, as the east probably looks upon European Human Rights laws as a complete joke regarding the case of ‘Anders Behring Breivik’ (norwegian massacre); He openly admits his crimes and smiles at evidence of the pain and suffering he caused…. and yet he will have a 10 week court trial….. for what, execute him already (or prison).

      Whether you agree with that ruling or not is purely an opinion, but from a neutral point, neither is right or wrong, thats just how it is.

      Unless your a well traveled individual, chances are if you hear the word ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, you’ll automatically associate it with the word ‘terrorist’. This is all down to social conditioning by the media, you only ever seem to hear those words when discussing something to do with terrorism or recent wars.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 18th April 2012, 13:48

        @dal The importance of a trial is not merely for the end result. It is enshrined as a right to access to justice in every European constitution and the ECHR (Article 6). It is highly important for a society to have a judicial process with no exceptions, it prevents abuses further down the line and helps inform the public as to the operation of the law.

      • Alex W said on 18th April 2012, 14:57

        “10 week court trial….. for what, execute him already” ….dal, is that you, Al Khalifa?

        • Dal (@dal) said on 18th April 2012, 17:35

          I’m a British citizen mate, my background is Indian (Sikh), I have nothing to do with Islam, Im just taking a view from a neutral point without media/western influences. My point about the execution was to illustrate the viewpoint of some eastern cultures, and how western cultures try to make it look compleley wrong despite the fact that in reality, it’s just different. Girts point is spot on.

          • Alex W said on 19th April 2012, 0:21

            So killing people in cold blood (execution) isn’t wrong? OK. You have your inbiased view and I have mine, in my morality it is wrong to kill anyone in cold blood. It is interesting that support for capital punishment is usually linked with fundamentally illogical (religious) belifs. Better to use reason and logic, someting I wish Al Khalifa could look into, see that true democratic constitutal monarchy will work better than the current sham democraship, he could be a hero of the middle east, the first despot to learn from the West, instead, he is just a despot.

    • Rick Collopy said on 22nd April 2012, 11:04

      When London was ablaze in social violence against the system and people were being murdered in the streets with people leaping from burning buildings did I see an international call for the cancellation of sporting events in Britain. Why does the West think it has the right to lecture the world. Its own bloody history of extremist violence between Catholic and Protestant and between the people and their rulers only mirrors the current conflict between Christianity and Islam and between Sunni and Shiite ruling classes. Peoples and races and religions will resolve their own differences over time without external judgement and criticism by those who really understand little of what they see through the commercial media.

  3. I’m going to be calculating Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships without reference to this “non-championship” event. Not watching and very worried that Brundle and Humphreys, not being journalists, will give the Ruling House masses of live airtime. Great synopsis guys

  4. Superb article Keith.

    It’s obvious that for Ecclestone and CVC the flashing dollar signs are far more blinding than the moral outrage of a regime which suppresses dissidents using lethal force. It’s utterly contemptible that F1 is even considering going. For me the situation is without precedent because by holding the race, one which is so important financially to Bahrain’s ruling caste, F1 is effectively funding their cause and allowing their time in power to be perpetuated, increasing the likelihood of further violent crackdowns in the future.

    It’s not as though Jimmy Carter forbidding his athletes to attend the Moscow 1980 Olympics or the controversy surrounding the Beijing games effected any change – for the regimes in place at the time the two events were important but had no real bearing on the country’s problems being resolved. The same goes for apartheid. F1 was merely a blip on South Africa’s political radar and it was only when de Klerk and Mandela negociated constructive changes of policy that things took a turn for the better.

    This time F1 has a real chance to make a difference as Bahrain’s leaders rely heavily on the Grand Prix for income and investment. The sport must take a back seat when more important moral issues are at stake. Thankfully I’m running a marathon when the race is on so won’t be watching!

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 18th April 2012, 13:25

      I suppose one question would be ‘Would you watch it if you weren’t running in London’?

      On a lighter note, whilst you are running, can you smuggle an egg with you and get Bernie in the face?

      • I’m running in Madrid as it happens but even if I decided to watch it it would only be on stream! And though I’d love to pelt bernie with some form of missile to register my discontent, I doubt it would make much difference. As Keith alluded to in his article, Bernie has a history of selective hearing when it comes to complaints about his sport. Avoiding SA in the 80s was due more to commercial pressures than any moral scruples about supporting horrible regimes.

    • Alex W said on 18th April 2012, 15:00

      F1 was more than a blip to a international sport starved SA.

  5. By far the most unbiased article on a really controversial topic. Great stuff

  6. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 18th April 2012, 11:57

    I’m a race fan, and if there’s a race, I’ll watch it – particularly as the last one was so good. I’ve watched Grands Prix in disgust before, thinking “why have they gone all that way just for this hole”, and that feeling will be stronger this time, but it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference if I turned my TV off.

    Almost relieved I can’t see it live though, thanks to Sky. Don’t know real the threat is, but I just hope nothing kicks off this weekend, for the safety of everyone who’s there making the race happen. And I hope the BBC highlights recognise their efforts and just show the race. Anything else belongs on the news with proper journalists, not wacky “character” presenters.

    Thanks for the balanced debate – very welcome as it’s been tough to form an opinion with all the dogmatic ranting on this subject in news reports as well as comments on this site. Much regurgitation and reinterpretation of the same few images and videos.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th April 2012, 12:08

    I don’t know if it’s relevant to this discussion, but Dani Clos will replace Josef Kral for the Bahrain races. No reason has been given for Kral’s replacement, and the team has not commented on whether Kral will return to race for them in future. It could be that Kral has run out of money, or that the team were unhappy after Sepang … or maybe he had reservations about racing in Bahrain.

  8. Tom Bisset (@pianoshizzle) said on 18th April 2012, 12:12

    I really can’t wait to get this weekend over and done with. It feels really weird that we are hardly talking about the usual stuff, like the championship battle, teams, drivers, cars. Yes, it’s interesting in the sense that this is history in the making for F1- we will always look back at this year’s Bahrain’s grand prix, not to do with the racing, but to do with the political situation and the FIA.

    I really hope nobody gets hurt at the Bahrain GP this weekend, but I have this horrible thought that the FIA/Bernie will only open up there eyes and realise the mistake they are making if there was a violent disruption to the race? (e.g. protesters getting onto the track etc).

  9. P King said on 18th April 2012, 12:23

    How can this article claim to be unbiased when the first sentence make this claim (my CAPITALS highlight the prejudicial views expressed by Keith):
    “The protesters of Bahrain have taken a stand against a CRUEL regime. You can either stand with them, or with those seeking to MAKE MONEY out of their MISERY.”

    p.s. The whole world is run on the concept of making money from the misery of the poor. Otherwise it would be a communist world with everyone on equal income.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th April 2012, 12:28

      It’s called an introduction. It summarises the article and provides a signpost to the reader of what’s to follow.

      How can this article claim to be unbiased

      Please point to the part where I said “this article is unbiased”.

      • P King said on 18th April 2012, 12:58

        Okay, are you now saying that it was not your intention to write an unbiased article, event though you did say “I will continue to listen to, research and read about both sides of this complex debate, give coverage to both”?

        Some of your readers certainly think you meant it to be unbiased. Just take the first comment in response : “this is probably.. the best, most un-biased article on the internet at the moment.. ”

        Bahrain has a democratically elected parliament with a Monarch (as has the UK). The ruling faction is a minority of very rich people (as is the case in UK). The majority did not support or vote fro the ruling party (as is the case in the UK).

        The Bahraini violent protesters are alleged to be arrested and jailed(as were the recent London rioters, Student fee rioters, etc. in the UK).

        Protesters are jailed without trial (as were Al Quaida and IRA terrorist suspects in the UK, and Abu Quatada and Abu Hamza had been held in prison for many years before the UK Govt. was ordered to release them by the European Court of Human Rights). Libyan activists were allegedly “renditioned” by the UK Govt. (Straw and Blair alleged to have given permission) colluding with the CIA. The UK is viewed as having killed many innocent members of the public in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        I am afraid that once you start to take a “moral” stance on political matters, depending on whether you see yourself on the side of the “freedom fighter” or see them as “terrorists”, you find yourself withdrawing from many daily activities which are in one way or another tainted by these politics. The IRA, PLO, Taliban, ETA, ANC, …. – do you think any of them are/were terrorist or freedom organisations whose use of violence and killing (of ordinary citizens, Police and Troops) justified the end?

        Also, remember that there is a threat against the Olympics from “terrorists”, belonging to the same organisation that bombed the Tube and Buses, and there will be a massive military and police security presence in London as a result. Do we therefore expect the Olympics to be cancelled?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th April 2012, 13:07

          are you now saying that it was not your intention to write an unbiased article

          No. Stop trying to put words in my mouth. I never made any claim about whether this article is “unbiased” or otherwise.

          As I said at the end I try to keep an open mind and will continue to. This is an expression of my opinion at the moment.

        • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 18th April 2012, 14:48

          Do we therefore expect the Olympics to be cancelled?

          That is hardly a comparison as Olympics (being a once off event in a said country) takes massive amount of construction and preparation and there are thousands of athletes from hundreds of different nations competing in hundreds of different events. To save me from copying and pasting Olympics 101 class, if you go here half way down the page you will see that even Olympic games can come under threat due to violence, war or terrorism.

          But if you have a choice to cancel one event, and that action was fairly easy to implement (as is the case with the F1 race in Bahrain), then why would you not cancel an event?

          Furthermore, why would the Bahraini government and Bernie Eclestone INSIST that everything is fine and no need for concern, when we can clearly see that NOT everything is fine. This is where it turns into politics, hence the point of this article.

        • Thejudge13 said on 19th April 2012, 10:25

          I suspect the following won’t happen in London, from the UK authorities

          http://youtu.be/A8lq-tsaJbo
          pic.twitter.com/xtMJRXcX

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th April 2012, 20:56

      P King – where did you miss the part saying this is a “comment” article, i.e. expressing Keiths opinion, and giving his arguments.

  10. taurus (@taurus) said on 18th April 2012, 12:26

    I have a feeling that this weekend is going to end up being a bit of a farce. SOMETHING is going to go wrong.

  11. Andrew Jacobs said on 18th April 2012, 12:29

    Let’s just hope Jake and Simon Lazenby remember they are foremost journalists and reporters and not sycophantic puppets of the F1 powers that be.

    My major dissapointment is that team bosses, a couple of whom I know personally, have not at least said they don’t want to go but have to under the concorde agreement.

    The decisions to go sit firmly with Ecclestone and the FIA. My personal view is that in a perverse way the F1 circus in Bahrain adds worldwide media interest and support to those protesting. But then Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain and his old fella will generate a few hundred million dollars for the country that they in effect own, by claiming “UniF1ed”.

  12. rantingmrp (@rantingmrp) said on 18th April 2012, 12:33

    I love watching F1, wherever it is. But it is difficult to enjoy a race when you know that, for the race to take place, an already-oppressed person had to be put in jail or killed to stop him from protesting against the oppression. There are many things F1 fans turn a blind eye to – the race in China, for example, really shouldnt be in such a country, run as it is by an oppressive, unelected dictatorship. The McLaren F1 team is another – part-owned by the same Bahraini “royal” family, the Khalifas, through their holding company Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company(three Al-Khalifa members sit on the board of the holding company).
    I think a time comes to make a stand, but how comfortable would we be to not just condemn and boycott the F1 race, but also, after that, to reject McLaren Mercedes because of their connection to the murderous Khalifas?

  13. lubhz (@lubhz) said on 18th April 2012, 12:34

    I really wish that drivers take the initiative to protest it, even if silently, for example by not spraying champagne during the podium celebration.

  14. AlAmmari said on 18th April 2012, 12:43

    I don’t understand.when I say I’m a Bahraini and happy to have F1 back I ( we ) get ignored,but when an Iranian/Bahraini claim they don’t want f1 coz(regime r killing them) guys like u get excited and believe them and help them spread their lies !!!!!

    Shame !

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th April 2012, 12:52

      I’m not ignorant of the fact that some Bahrainis don’t support the protesters and do support the race. I have heard from several through the site and one such person is a regular commenter whose contributions have been valuable and informative. That does not mean I am beholden to agree with them.

      The claim that Iranian infiltrators caused last year’s protests was debunked by the commission of inquiry report linked above:

      The evidence presented to the Commission by the [Government of Bahrain] on the involvement by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the internal affairs of Bahrain does not establish a discernable [sic] link between specific incidents that occurred in Bahrain during February and March 2011 and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

      That has not stopped those trying to discredit the protesters from repeating the false claim.

    • Aditya said on 18th April 2012, 13:28

      Well said,sir. Frankly,articles such as this one are way too simplistic,it takes a lot to realise that such issues arent as black-and-white as they are portrayed to be. Its very easy to romanticise a “fight for freedom” against an “oppressive,tyrannical regime” but it isnt as easy to look at the greater picture.

    • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 19th April 2012, 4:13

      Good for you mate. I honestly do believe you. There is a decided lack of support for the protesters from any State/government.

      These protesters are badly deceiving people including Keith and other readers that they are being brutalised. The fact is that there is no evidence of any brutality.

      The evidence simply points to the government responding to violent protest with appropriate reasonable force.

  15. RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 18th April 2012, 12:45

    Great article @keithcollantine, I think that you have addressed the China comparison particularly well.

    I will also be watching the race. I have not missed a race for years and if it is good enough for the teams to go, providing their safety is ensured, it is good enough for me.

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