We are the Giant was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah on 18 January 2014. It features political activists from Syria, Libya and Bahrain.
Why equate Bahrain with Syria & Libya?
This documentary falls victim to poor categorization in lumping Bahrain together with the anarchic situation in the strife-torn “Arab Spring” states. Bahrain bears no resemblance to Syria and Libya and no sensible Bahraini would support the aspirations of Maryam and Zainab Al Khawaja in wanting Bahrain to go down this disasterous path. 95% of Bahrain is peaceful and safe, even though this unjustly documentary tries to make our country look like a war zone.
The opposition movement in Bahrain is not peaceful or democratic
Over the last year there has been a shift towards militant and terrorist tactics; for example, note the recent impounded shipments of heavy arms from Iran.
Leading figures within Al-Wefaq Islamic Society have publically associated themselves with groups like the Feb 14 Youth Coalition which have claimed responsibility for terrorist bombings. For the past couple of years, most of the opposition’s activity has been limited to low-level rioting and attacks on police with Molotovs and makeshift weapons.
Mariam & Zainab’s narrative of rights & democracy does not reflect the true aims of the opposition
This protest movement is effectively led by a small clique of clerics and ayatollahs with no democratic or tolerant credentials. Most Bahrainis would not accept their vision of an Islamic Republic.
Mariam & Zainab’s father is presented by the film as a “prisoner of conscience”. He is not.
Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja’s organization, the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, failed in its Iran-sponsored coup attempt in the early 1980s. Al-Khawaja was forced into exile in Denmark. When Al-Khawaja was granted amnesty by the King, he formed the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002, which continued its activity even after it was shut down for adopting radical political stances.
In a 2007 press release, the BCHR itself states “Until 1989, Mr. Alkhawaja had been a member of the Islamic Front and consequently an active member of the Committee to Defend Political Prisoners in Bahrain (CDPPB),” with the key word here being “consequently”. It is not by chance that Mr. Al Khawaja found himself on the Committee to Defend Political Prisoners while concurrently trying to establish an Islamic Republic.
During the 2011 unrest Al-Khawaja appears on several videos inciting followers to “topple the regime”; rejecting dialogue with the Crown Prince; and even boasting that he is holding out for a Shia Prime Minister. He was closely associated with the initiative for forcibly establishing an Islamic Republic in Bahrain.
Maryam’s Bahrain Centre for Human Rights is not a human rights NGO
During the February 2011 unrest the BCHR dropped any pretense to political impartiality and became a major driving force within the opposition.
The BCHR ignores non-politicized human rights issues, like the rights of migrant workers and the rights of women – note their failure to support the introduction of a Family Law within the Shia community to protect the rights of women and children.
Most Bahrainis support reform – not revolution
Most moderate and educated Bahrainis strongly oppose the aspirations of the Khawajas for revolution; especially after the disasters we have seen in Syria, Libya and Egypt. We support the reform programme being pursued by the King which is bringing about real results.