Within a week of the launching of the people’s revolution in Bahrain, the number of martyrs has reached eight, all murdered in cold blood by the riot police and soldiers. Since the first peaceful demonstration at sunrise on Monday 14th February (Bahrain’s Day of Rage) led by Abdul Wahab Hussain was mercilessly crushed by the riot police, the situation has escalated and the first martyr fell. Ali Abdul Hadi Mushaime was killed after being hit with shotguns. That killing broke the fear barrier and thousands of Bahrainis participated in his funeral the following day. Once again the arrogant Al Khalifa junta reacted with stupidity (according to Richard Beeston of The Times newspaper) by shooting on the funeral procession and killing the second martyr; Fadhel Matrook . His procession the following day started a new phase in the protest. First came the dictator, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa live on air to give his condolences to the martyrs families and form an inquiry led by one of the regime’s cronies, Jawad Al Urayyedh. The people were so furious that they decided to march to “Pearl Square” in Central Manama to turn it into the revolution’s hotbed. Within few hours their numbers swelled to more than 50 000.
The Al Khalifa regime committed its ultimate crime when it attacked the demonstrators while they were asleep. At around 3 am on Thursday morning the riot police launched their bloodiest attack on Pearl Square, killing and maiming hundreds of people, many of them women and children. More people were martyred: Ali Khudhayyer, Ali Al Mo’men and Mahmood Abu Taki. The people were terrified but many were composed despite the bloody attack. They rushed to the Salmaniyah Hospital where some of the injured and dead were taken. It was a day that would never be forgotten. The ruling family issued orders to the hospital staff not to treat the injured who were already in hospital or ferry those whose bodies were scattered at the Square and on the roads. Instead of heeding these inhumane orders, Bahraini doctors and nurses went on protest against the Health Minister, Faisal Al Hamar who has now become one of the hated figures of the regime for his continued refusal to treat the victims. They also made their own makeshift clinic to treat the injured. The Al Khalifa committed further crimes. They attacked the clinic, beat up the specialist doctor, Sadiq Al Ekri to unconsciousness. More atrocities were committed that day. Those attending the casualties were shot. Mr Abdul Hassan was shot with a teargas gun at blank range blowing off his head. He died instantly . A policeman was heard shouting at the killer policeman, Don’t kill him Thawwadi, Don’t kill him Thawwadi. The family of Thawwadi is a known pro-Al Khalifa family. Now the exact identity of the killer is being sought so that he is pursued for war crimes.
On Friday, the people attempted to march back to the Pearl Square at the end of the funeral of the first martyr. Despite their peaceful nature they were viciously attacked by the army whose tanks and armoured carriers had been deployed along the streets of the capital. They were not deterred by the live ammunition round fired on them by the soldiers. It was yet another turning point in the struggle for freedom. The live images shown of the attack forced some western governments to announce their indignation of the behavior of the embattled Al Khalifa. Both France and Britain announced the suspension of export of lethal and crowd control weapons to Bahrain. It was yet another international sanction against the brutal regime.
Now the scene is set for more bloodshed by an increasingly isolated regime as the people become more emboldened to continue their demand that was raised from the beginning of the revolution; the downfall of the Al Khalifa hereditary dictatorship. They have not been deterred by the threats coming from the Saudi dictators whose fate hangs in the balance after decades of dictatorship and suppression. These developments have now hardened the resolve of Bahrainis. The Al Wefaq society announced their withdrawal from the Al Khalifa shura council and calls are being made to try the ruler and his clique for genocide and war crimes. It is a history which is now unfolding in Bahrain. The time for real change has come and the days of the Al Khalifa are numbered.
HUSAIN ABDULLA, native of Bahrain, Master in Political Science. Director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB). Mr. Abdulla been active in advocating for Human Rights and Political Reforms in Bahrain for some time working with the United States Congress and the Administration.