12th July, 2012 –
A video has surfaced of a small bunch of women protesters at a roundabout in Budaiya; with one women screaming at the policewomen: “You can’t do anything… I’m a British citizen… I’ll call the British Ambassador”.
Most people know very well that whatever nationality she is, she is fully subject to Bahraini law if she’s involved in an illegal protest; obstructing people’s right of way; or involved in other illegal activity. If she was really a fully British citizen (Bahrain doesn’t recognize dual nationals) the best she can expect is a visit in prison by some consular attaché – British citizenship is no means of escape from justice.
The real issue here though, is how opposition propaganda and media mis-reporting has skewed world public opinion regarding Bahrain, to the extent that we have these crazy foreigners visiting Bahrain to engage in protests – usually without knowing anything about our country and what issues are at stake.
Depressingly, if you browse through any social media discussions concerning Bahrain in America or Europe, you’ll see dozens of people who’ve never even set foot in Bahrain speaking confidently about how all Bahrainis are oppressed by their leaders; how Bahrain is a brutal dictatorship and how hundreds of people have been killed. All of these assertions are wrong, but they are the same lies, which the opposition are spreading about Bahrain every day in capitals around the world, in human rights conferences; in public debates; in the media; and at events concerning the Middle East.
Therefore it is no surprise that we end up with these misled people arriving at Muharraq Airport, thinking that they have come to defend the human rights of the Bahraini people; when in fact they will be exploited by evil figures here to disrupt our daily lives, get involved in illegal activity and further spread opposition propaganda abroad.
More worrying still is activity protesting against the Bahrain Government across the Arab world. When you look at the centres of this activity, it becomes obvious that these are the countries where Iran has a strong foothold; notably Lebanon and Iraq. Iran uses its propaganda media channels and its links with Shia organizations, or militia groups like Hezbollah and Al-Mahdi Army to spread lies about Bahrain, often with collusion from Bahrain opposition representatives.
Does any of this matter? Yes – if we care about Bahrain’s reputation; if we care that these activists are using political pressure to encourage Governments round the world to make life difficult for Bahrain; and if we care about the knock-on effects for investment, tourism, business and cultural ties.
Bahrain’s opposition works hand in hand with Iran to portray Bahrain as a pariah state which is killing its people. In Syria dozens of people are being killed every day, but still we see journalists and human rights figures who should know better claiming that Bahrain is as bad, or worse than Syria, and people are believing this rubbish.
This is why we at Citizens for Bahrain believe that our work is so important. Every day we are contacting journalists, NGOs and politicians around the world to set the story straight and show why Bahrain is different. We are actively countering opposition and Iranian propaganda in order to show the true face of Bahrain to the world.
Bahrain matters. We should work together to ensure that Al Wefaq’s lies are not the only story getting through to the world about what is going on in Bahrain.