A Bahraini F1F, the Bahrain GP and how we see it..
20th February 2011, 13:35 at 1:35 pm #128891
Many of you may know me on here, specially from the live blogs. What many of you may not know is that I am from Bahrain and I’ve never been more patriotic. A lot has been said on this blog about the current situation in Bahrain and many have mixed feelings about whether F1 shall continue or not..
The answer? The decision has nothing to do with Bernie Ecclestone or the FiA, it’s Bahrain’s decision only. As you all said it’s a matter of safety, and the Bahraini government will not allow the race to happen if the situation isn’t resolved (I wrote this before reading that Bernie said the same thing too). No matter how much Bernie pushes for it, it will not happen unless Bahrain is safe enough, and believe me the last thing we would want is for something to go wrong with the world watching us. So rest assured it will only happen if the Bahraini people want it to..
As an F1 fan, yes I am devastated that my “peaceful” “business friendly” country is all of a sudden considered not safe enough to hold the most important event I look forward to every year. More importantly, as a Bahraini I have not yet thought about F1 since the first day of “peaceful protests” ironically called “the day of rage” that started on the 14th of February. I haven’t had a restful night’s sleep, NOT because I’m not safe. I’m safe as any of you are, and I thank my fellow F1F’s Stephfarnsworth, Magnificent Geoffrey, and PeachyF1 for asking about me on twitter. And thank you for all F1F’s who voiced their concerns on F1F for the people of Bahrain.. I’ve read numerous comments that looked down upon my country.. I felt I have to reply I have to say something but I guess I was just too emotionally drained.. Too sad.. too scared, what will happen to my country? This NEVER happened before, and mostly the media is not helping!
What saddens me the most other than the obvious devastating loss of lives that shook Bahrain to the core is the International Media. I have officially lost trust in ALL media. They always say the media lies, media sells, and we all learned to take everything with a pinch of salt anyway, but to experience it firsthand the worst thing any citizen can go through! And after experiencing it, I wouldn’t wish it upon my enemy.
I never knew to what extent can they lie and how detrimental can that be. And yes I am talking about the major news anchors the CNN, BBC, and Sky. Many people on this website, which I consider my favorite F1 site, have also said the same things about Bahrain, but guess what? I don’t blame any of you at all!! This is what the media have been feeding you. If this occurred elsewhere in the world and I saw this on the news, I would probably assume the same thing! But not anymore.. I’m hurt, I feel betrayed by the media. I’m not saying what you all saw is not true, I’m saying it is one-sided! Ask any Bahraini or go on twitter and see what the Bahrainis are saying.. #Bahrain
Before going on I want to make something very clear.. We are ALL devastated and beyond sad for the loss of lives. Every Bahraini citizen is dear and as Bahrainis we will not allow the shed of more lives, neither will our government. It was just going to be 1 day of “peaceful” protests to ask for certain rights, but it soon escalated death threats to the HM King and wanting to change the rule. Did all Bahrainis want that? Absolutely not.. Did the media show that? No.. We are happy with our constitutional monarchy that has an elected parliament through which we can make our voices heard. The stability of having one constant leadership is much more beneficial to us than having the leadership change every 4 years. It may not suit everyone, but the majority of Bahraini people wouldn’t want to have it any other way to be honest.
We all wanted the violence and the use of force to stop. With every death our sadness grew. But the protestors were clearly saying that they were going out illegally to send their families and loved ones out there no matter what the circumstances were and will sacrifice their lives. Now I don’t want to start pointing fingers because HRH the Crown Prince himself said that he’s not blaming anyone, so whom am I to do so.. (Bahrain now is in a state of unity and progression thanks to the Crown Prince’s beyond humbling, very wise initiative which I will go into in a bit)
It’s enough to state some facts that speak for themselves: Not all Bahrainis were at the Lulu roundabout, in fact the majority weren’t! But did the media show that? No.. The protests at the lulu roundabout were in small thousands and captured the attention of the world. But did you hear about the 100,000 rally for peace and solidarity who were all pro-government? Some channels barely mentioned it, but did they take the same amount of videos and asked the same amount of people about their views?
Why would “oppressed” people go out in support and rally in thousands and pledge their allegiance and loyalty to the King who is seen known in Bahrain as the “King of Hearts”, but is now suddenly described as a dictator? HM King Hamad is THE most tolerant King I know and is known for his numerous royal pardons to the anti-government protestors for years.
Did you know that there are 50 brutally injured policemen whom we have all seen graphic images on TV of and many have visited them in the hospital. From being run over with a car, severed fingers, and the many of them who were stabbed using the swords, knives, and even a few guns were found in Lulu roundabout. Let me honestly ask you.. In any country if a citizen only assaults a police man, what happens? They weren’t only openly assaulting them but brutally attacking them. None are held into custody, accept for the one who ran over the police man. Think of your own countries, and imagine if this happened..
Some of reported that the ambulances weren’t allowed onto the scene, please just take a look at all the videos on the websites and you’ll clearly see the ambulances lined up. Yesterday they reported many dead, but no lives were lost, and only one was in a critical condition. Why the contradicting stories? What’s sadly happened here is social network/media war. People spreading false information, and many have spoken about it. One of the most reputable journalist on twitter who I won’t mention turned into a national joke for his false reporting and listening to those lies. The message learnt? The rule of thumb in journalism, make sure you have a credible source.
All my life we co-existed as Sunnis and Shiites living side by side, we may have our differences but have always managed to rise above them and see each others as fellow Bahrainis regardless of which sect we come from. We never imagined that a time would come and we would wake up to shaken Bahrain and see forces used in our own ground.
In that darkest hour, HRH the Crown Prince – whom you’re all familiar with from F1 races, showed up on a live show on national TV unannounced! Talk about a surprise and it was just what the Bahraini people needed.. A voice of wisdom.. It wasn’t a planned visit, but a spontaneous one that acknowledged that this needs to stop and it needs to stop now! He didn’t even plan what to say, he was speaking from heart as a Bahraini. All Bahrainis are touched. He called for calm, promised to withdraw the forces, and asked for constructive dialogue. No more bloodshed, enough is enough. All of a sudden humanity was restored and Bahrain never looked back since that moment.
He didn’t stop there he spoke on CNN and on Al-Arabia, withdrew the forces, and has already begun meeting with people representing all sides and sects working towards a united Bahrain. Both Sunnis and Shiites have never felt so united! We are all working to be stronger than ever working together in unison to continue our progression and rise above this nightmare. Yes it’s a nightmare because it didn’t feel real, this is not the Bahrain we all know.
Have a look at this You Tube link http://www.youtube.com/user/bahraintelevision for all the speeches he mentioned and you judge yourself :) (The CNN one is the only one in English, the rest all have English subtitles.)
To watch the world go from calling my country “Business Friendly”, “The Motorsports Hub of the Gulf”, “Middle East lite”, “The freest economy of the Middle East” “pro-democracy” “multi-cultural” “the most liberal in the Gulf” to “an oppressive regime”, “a dictatorship”, “a warzone” in ONE single day is simply unacceptable! It’s as if to the whole world Bahrain just came into existence in these few days! How come a fast developing country go from one state to the extreme from one single event? The story must be biased, something must be missing!
I’ve written this out of duty to my country because we have been misrepresented. You all got to say what you thought about this in one of the most commented articles, and I just felt as a Bahraini F1F I want to make my voice heard, and it would’ve been insane to reply to every single comment, they were too overwhelming to read at such a difficult time. But today I have blind faith that Bahrain will emerge from this stronger than ever, united as ever. They say the darkest hour is just before the dawn, and we’re at dawn. So please respect our efforts, and hopefully the coming days will only prove to the world what Bahrain really is and what it has always been.
To whoever took the time to read this I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.. Or send me a tweet @pearlaceous, my account is locked just send me a request :)
LAK20th February 2011, 13:55 at 1:55 pm #159855
Firstly, I’d like to apologise if anything you read from me in the comments was offensive. I know I have, as well as many, been in disbelief and shock at some of the grim situations the media have been reporting, such as the Ambulances being pushed away. But this is a really thoughtful post, LAK. You can feel your patriotism and pride whilst reading. Brilliant. This is very insightful, too. I really had no idea the media were stretching the truth at all, let alone this much!
To watch the world go from calling my country “Business Friendly”, “The Motorsports Hub of the Gulf”, “Middle East lite”, “The freest economy of the Middle East” “pro-democracy” “multi-cultural” “the most liberal in the Gulf” to “an oppressive regime”, “a dictatorship”, “a warzone” in ONE single day is simply unacceptable!
Agreed. It must be hard to watch the media do this to the reputation of your country. But the sad truth is, this could happen to most countries. I don’t mean to make the world sound ignorant, but a lot of people aren’t aware of the situation in Bahrain concerning how the country is run – so it is very easy to be led astray by the media, I’ll tell you now. I commented somewhere the other day that I was going to hold my final judgement until the other side of the story came out – and you just brought it out! :-)
Anyway, I’m glad to hear you’re safe and well, and I sincerely hope things improve quickly.20th February 2011, 13:58 at 1:58 pm #159856
I have not been posting on the various topics regarding the race on here as at the moment as you say it is not something to think about at the moment. All I will say is I wish you the very best in this difficult time. I hope that the country can develop from this and work harder for a better tomorrow and I’m sure all the F1 community will enjoy celebrating with you when F1 goes back to Bahrain, be that this march, or in the future.20th February 2011, 14:03 at 2:03 pm #159857
It’s great to hear the perspective of someone from Bahrain LAK, thanks. I can’t have too much symapthy for the Bahraini government, because at the end of the day, no matter how many people there support them, they have allowed a lot of innocent people to die. Also, I think it’s wrong to criticse people for protesting against the government simply because it’s illegal- people should have the right to protest, and it is the law itself which was unjust.
I saw the Prince’s interview on CNN earlier, I found it very reassuring, and he seemed genuinely remorseful. Of course, actions apeak louder than words, and time will tell if the Prince really means what he is saying.
And on media bias- I think to an extent you’re right, the pro government support has been somewhat overlooked. Perhaps though people are wary of government support after what happened in Egypt, where a large amount of seemingly pro Mubarak supporters were clearly plain clothed policemen rather than genuinely pro Mubarak. Also, most of the broadcasters reporting from Bahrain right now are very reputable, and I don’t for a second think the likes of Nick Kristof would simply be making things up. If anything, it’d be in the interests of the western governments, particularly the US, to portray Bahrain as stable, considering the interests they have in the country20th February 2011, 14:04 at 2:04 pm #159858
Pretty much everything Damon has said. I’m really sorry if I, or any fanatic for that matter, has been insensitive or even offensive with our comments. We are very worried about Bahrain and of course the people and when we see the reports etc it’s easy to jump to conclusions.
I’ll admit I think I’ve only read a handful of reports that admit that there has been violence on both sides.
I am really glad you have posted here and we get to see the other side so thank you LAK and sorry!
I posted before I could read Ned’s post and I do agree with him also about having the right to protest. It’s also hard for me to believe that journalists such as Kristoff would perhaps only be portraying part of the story because of reputation and I’m so used to reading from them but I do feel now that part of the story is really being ignored.20th February 2011, 14:28 at 2:28 pm #159859
I have to say your post pretty much confirms the view I had on Bahrain LAK, it always seemed to me to be one of the most moderate and intellectual countries in the region. As usual people from democratic countries have been pushing their own views on another societies, calling it a totalitarian state and even comparing your King to Hitler (which to be fair is par for the course on the internet).
All the best to you, hopefully this will all be sorted satifactorily soon.20th February 2011, 14:46 at 2:46 pm #159860
Great to hear from you LAK. I fully understand, that you have not really felt like commenting on what was going on earlier.
As I posted on the forum, the government was responsible for the bad judgement of sending in a large force to more or less peacefull protesters. Sadly the few in the crowd probably provoked them into panicking and shooting at innnocents protesting. The cries for the King to be ousted were to be expected after that, however good a King he might have been up to that point.
It does show, that the orignial issues the protesters demanded were real issues that have to be adressed. And I pretty much agree with Ned on the Media bias. That said, media always point out the things most likely to get a large audience as this sells papers and earns them money and your point of getting multiple sources is a very valid one.
I was impressed by the words of HRH the Crown prince on CNN (saw that late yesterday evening) and I hope very much that you can move forward and make this a black week to look back to with regret but as a start of a brighter future.
I wish him, and all of you strength and resolve as well as wisdom and forgiveness to do so.
As for the race going on. I fear that will not be the best of ideas this year. There are too many things of more importance having to be dealth with right now.
Certainly it would be a very impressive moment, if Bahrain would be able to get that all ready and sorted to enjoy a race in a couple of days.
But it might be better to have it celebrate the start of a piecefull process making the country stronger next year (with full grandstands).
And if FOM would be bothered to show all overtaking, it might still become a classic!
Thanks you very much for your post LAK.
Yours Sincerely20th February 2011, 15:10 at 3:10 pm #159861
Fascinating insight LAK, thank you so much for that.
Glad to hear you’ve not been caught up in it as well I was a bit concerned!20th February 2011, 15:32 at 3:32 pm #159862
Initially I wasn’t going to read this because it looked too long, but I’m glad I did now. It’s great to hear the other side of the story, I hope Bahrain’s reputation improves.20th February 2011, 16:20 at 4:20 pm #159863
Firstly, glad to hear that you’re okay.
Secondly, glad to hear that things in your country seem to be reaching an Endgame and hopefully the Grand Prix can go ahead as planned.
I think in some regards Bahrain has suffered from happening at the same time as the events in Libya (which are far far worse even than anything reported in Bahrain). It’s almost like some media outlets have said “terrible things happening in Libya, so the event sin Bahrain must be similar” when they’re clearly not. I also think that, as usual, it’s the vocal minority who make their voice heard, whilst the silent majority aren’t able to make themselves heard above the noise.
I’d also like to add something regarding the ambulances “not being allowed in”. I’m a First Aider for St John Ambulance and we work closely with our NHS Ambulance services and the first thing they teach you is not to put yourself in harms way. This was the same reason that Emergency Services were initially held back in the aftermath of the July 7th bombing a few years ago in London (which they were criticised for). I suspect it would be the same in Bahrain and so it wasn’t that they weren’t being allowed in, it was that they were waiting until they could ensure that the crews weren’t going to become casualties themselves – which, no matter how bad the situation, is IMHO the right thing to do.20th February 2011, 16:30 at 4:30 pm #159864
Im hope the situation improves for your sake LAK.20th February 2011, 16:31 at 4:31 pm #159865
I’m not trying to be insensitive here, but this is something historians and other social scientists see and hear every day. It’s good to read that certain media have exaggerated the situation in Manama. But essentially this is an anthropolical problem of insiders vs. outsiders.
Not to be rude, but what you’ve typed is exactly the image I had of Bahrain and some other gulfstates. From the outside they seem like countries that are hugely oriented towards the future, similar to most 19th century nationstates in Europe (by which I do not want to imply that I regard the gulfstates as backwarded in any way). Hickups such as strivings for reforms of any kind – be it social reformers, working-class protesters or democratic reformers – are considered accidents on the road to a better future. They were treated that way and I know for a fact that the Belgian police and army have several murders on their conto when it comes to the repression of uprisings. The discours used by yourself, uniting different groups around the nationstate, is age-old in that respect. Having an external enemy (be it Iran or Western media) are an extra stimulus for this process.
In that respect, I honestly have the feeling that you are bringing a one-sided story yourself. That is your right, but it’s unfair to portray outsiders as uninformed and biased.20th February 2011, 16:45 at 4:45 pm #159866
yeah I hope you stay safe LAK! whats the situation like today? violent? calm?20th February 2011, 16:51 at 4:51 pm #159867
I think the main problem with the media is that they’re stuck in the Egypt narrative of bad old tyrrant vs the people. There Mubarak had to leave before any possible progress was to be made. Where as in Bahrain its in no ones interest to see the royal family removed or the entire system toppled. The protesters surely have legitimate grievances in terms of political freedom and human rights but overall those are best met through the maintenance of stability in Bahrain. Revolutions which completely overthrow the state nearly always produce terrible unintended consequences, and I’m glad to hear that the vast majority of the Bahraini people including the protesters are not interested in revolution or the overthrow of the state. Hopefully the forces of moderation on both sides will prevail.
I do though have sympathy with Neds point that there still appeared to be an unacceptable use of force by the Bahraini military early on, but it does seem after the Crown Princes intervention we’ve seen an end to that.
As for the Grand Prix a day or so ago it seemed impossible that it would go ahead but things have seemed to have calmed down somewhat. But considering a decision has to be made by early next week and the advice of all western governments is a against all but essential travel I still can’t see the race going ahead. Postponing the race if possible might be the best face saving solution.
Thanks a lot for the insight LAK20th February 2011, 17:05 at 5:05 pm #159868
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