Friday, February 18, 2011

When it Bahrains it Pours

Wow. The entire Arab world seems to have awakened all at the same time and this is getting hairy. Looks like tyrannosaur governments were asleep at the wheel while their people were looking at the free world through their computer screens and feeling depressed, abused, and left behind.
The internet, for better or for worse, is the single most astounding catalyst for human freedom and democracy the world has ever known. But if you are Mubarak or Gaddafi or a cruel, puny little "king" in the desert, you are so out of touch with the world that you don't know what hit you. Wasn't this the guy who decided to give every Bahraini citizen over $2000 a couple of weeks ago, to buy their acquiescence?
Didn't work. People want dignity.
Now the king has ordered the riot police and the military to shoot at sleeping civilians and mourners and to prevent doctors from tending to the wounded. And these are "our friends". Meanwhile, I'm sure I am not the only one waiting to hear from President Obama, who should be on the phone giving this motherfucker an ass-whooping; not that they give a fuck about what the US has to say in that part of the world. I think those friendly regimes die with laughter every time they hear our song and dance about democratic ideals. They are the worst kind of friend. They laugh at us behind our back. They say they are our friend and encourage their citizens to hate us. We seem to be more naive. We have the Sally Field complex and want everyone to adore us. We also believe our own bullshit. Nobody else does.
Obama should come out and publicly decry this assault against civilians with the strongest language. My heart sinks when I read the following: "The US is in an uncomfortable position"; Hillary Clinton is "very concerned". What kind of milquetoasty language is this? A pebble in your shoe is uncomfortable. This is downright unacceptable, and "concerned" is too mild a word. Pissed off is more like it.
Hell, a true friend is supposed to lay down the law when they see a friend acting in their own worst interest. A friend that stands aside when a friend is doing terrible things is not a friend. He is an accomplice.
Now, what choice do we have? The king quickly blames Iran, the bogeyman de rigeur, because many of the protesters are Shiite and he is a Sunni (as are the Saudi royal family bastards). Is Iran stoking the protests? Perhaps, although I don't get a feeling that the citizens of Bahrain are clamoring for a stone age theocracy. They want justice and respect, equality and laws. Some of them are saying that the Saudis are involved in the repression. And it is a fact that the riot police is imported from somewhere else because the Sunni king does not trust to have a Shia police force. Hence the brutality.
We cannot be so naive as to think that these countries, which have never known democracy, are beset by intractable sectarian conflict and which still adhere to certain codes that look barbaric in the eyes of the West (their treatment of women, to name one), all of a sudden are going to be fountains of freedom and democracy. But we have to stop thinking that we can be "friends" with corrupt, repressive, undemocratic regimes, be they Arab or otherwise. For all the bullshit we like to spew about freedom and democracy and morality, it's time we walk the walk. The entire international community (the US has to stop footing the bill for everyone) needs to pressure them to reform their laws, open their political system and change. If they tilt towards darkness instead of progress, too bad.
By the way, where are the UN resolutions condemning the attacks on civilian protesters in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen?
I didn't think so.

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