Nonviolent movements have taken many forms across time and history, but have always held certain principles in common. Described by the UN as politics for ordinary people, nonviolence uses tactics of occupation, protest, persuasion, and non-compliance to achieve respect and empowerment for oppressed people, as in India’s nonviolent self-determination movement as led by Gandhi. These principles and tactics were true for that movement which inspired the holiday, and they are true today of the movement for greater democracy and liberty in Bahrain.
“In spite of the violent examples set by revolutionary forces in the region, the people of Bahrain are dedicated to peaceful reform,” said Husain Abdulla, Director of ADHRB. “Even in the face of brutal discrimination and repression by regime security forces, Bahrainis have rejected violence.”
Activists, dissidents, and human rights defenders are persecuted by Bahrain’s government for their nonviolent acts of resistance. Just days ago, the government labeled dozens of protesters ‘terrorists’ and sentenced them to years in prison on charges fabricated under torture. Those prosecuted include Naji Fateel, Board Member of Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, and other alleged members of the ‘Coalition of February 14’ accused of forming a terrorist cell to disrupt national unity.
“Institutional violence happens at many levels in Bahrain: prosecuting by false charges, disrupting peaceful protests, and revoking nationality are just some of the tactics the regime uses in repressing its own people,” Abdulla explained. “Persecution makes resistance painful, but it proves the resilience of the Bahraini people. Dignity and freedom are possible when the people are moved by a passion greater than the threat of violence; that is the power and promise of nonviolence.”