A prominent Bahraini human rights defender Ali Al FAyez who was forced to live Bahrain following a violent crackdown against both members of the political opposition and rights activists sat with Shafaqna to discuss developments in Bahrain.
Four years after Bahrainis called on the monarchy to implement swift reforms, King Hamad Al Khalifa’s rule has become as brutal as it has been bloody,
With millions clamoring for social justice and political self-determination, Bahrain has hundreds and thousands of its civilians brutalized, imprisoned, tortured and killed by the authorities.
And though the monarchy has often expressed its desire to negotiate a political solution, promises of change have translated on the ground to a systematic crackdown.
Under foreign occupation – Saudi Arabia sent troops in Bahrain in 2011 amid fear protesters would successfully topple the monarchy – Bahrainis have endured four years of unrest and violence.
And yet, millions remained determined to honour their dream of freedom.
“We will remain committed to peaceful change. Bahrainis are peace-loving people. Violence is not our message. We want to promote justice and freedom for all. We want our country and our institutions to reflect our people’s desire for change,” said Ali Al Fayez in exclusive comments to Shafaqna.
SHAFAQNA – Can you please tell us about the ongoing violence in Bahrain. are things getting worse.
The regime has become increasingly violent. Only this week a 60-year old man died from toxic gas inhalation. For days on end the security forces targeting his residence and as result he ended being sent to hospital where he died. He was an activist and a protester and as a result a target of the regime. And this is the type of violence which we see happen everyday.
Another three activists were stripped of their nationality this month. Despite calls from the international community to end such illegal practices, King Hamad has gone ahead and ordered officials to target Shia Muslims.
The regime wants to silence people …. all people.
What do you make of western powers’ narrative? On the one hand they claim to promote democracy, free speech and political self-determination while at the same time partnering with well-known dictatorship to advance their foreign agenda — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt the list goes on.
Do you think that there is a great degree of hypocrisy here?
Well yes. But the US made clear when it comes to Bahrain that all it cares about is its interests. Their foreign policy is based on interests and not ideology, therefore US officials will continue to support brutal regime in the Middle East.
US Secretary of State John Kerry made this clear.
The US will not say anything to King Hamad, it will just ignore the situation.
SHAFAQNA – How do you see moving forward?
It is a difficult question. We want of course the international community to stand with us but right now we don’t see this. At least not from governments. I think the people understand our struggle for freedom but foreign officials do not. Foreign officials only see their political interest they do not think in terms of moral or ethics and this is the main problem.
People will continue to exert pressure on the regime by organizing peaceful demonstrations.
I don’t see change coming from the United Nations or the Western powers …. It is clear now that the UN will continue to denounce but not hold Bahrain regime accountable for its crimes.
What do you make of Saudi Arabia’s role in Bahrain revolution. The kingdom has greatly meddled within the Middle East, interfering with popular uprising in order to secure their regional hegemony.
For us the Saudi government is the enemy of freedom and democracy. We know now that Al Sauds have financed and armed terror militants. The rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria for example has everything to do with Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has used terror as political weapon to prevent democracy and change to take place.
Al Saud wants to make sure that it remains on control of the region. If monarchies were to fall across the Gulf then Saudi Arabia would fall too, so Riyadh has worked to prevent this.
Sponsored terrorism has become a very real problem.
ISIS militants have now infiltrated Bahrain … extremists are in the armed forces, the security forces … they are everywhere now.
King Hamad has allowed foreign nationals from Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and all over, to come in in view of cracking down on Bahraini protesters, but those men are fundamentalists, they follow the Wahhabi sect.
Those are the men we have seen join ISIS in Syria and Iraq and now they are in Bahrain.
This is a very dangerous situation and I don’t think that anyone realizes just how much.