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Tamarod: ongoing civil disobedience in Bahrain

Yusur Al Bahrani

August 19, 2013

August 14, 1971 marks the day when Bahrain gained independence from Britain. August 14, 2013 marks the day when new wave of protests has started under the name “Tamarod” (rebel)--inspired by the latest phase of the Egyptian revolution. This sparks a hope that Bahrain will also gain independence from the Western backed Al-Khalifas.
The Tamarod protests, sit-ins and rallies have been going on since the eve of August 14. When Tamarod campaign was announced in early July, most of the organizers were young activists and radical revolutionaries. However, the campaign attracted masses of people and prominent opposition groups like Al-Wefaq, making it very successful. Men, women, children and elderly participated in the events. While some attended rallies and protests, others organized sit-ins in their neighborhoods and across their homes.
While demonstrators were in the streets, political prisoners were showing their solidarity by protesting in prisons. According to members of their families, violations escalated as political prisoners continue to protest while in detention. Despite the arbitrary arrests, house raids and the lethal tear gas attacks, Tamarod continues. The campaign turned from protests, rallies and sit-ins to an ongoing civil disobedience. This shakes the ground under Bahrain’s ruling family. 
The government of Bahrain has banned all unauthorized protests, rallies and sit-ins making it legal for the forces to attack any protestor including the elderly and children choosing to participate in the sit-ins near their homes. Prior to Tamarod, troops from Jordan had reportedly arrived Bahrain to help the government in its crackdown on peaceful protestors. In addition to those, Western backed Saudi Arabia has not withdrawn its forces from Bahrain.
Meanwhile, the Western backed monarchies claim to support the Egyptian revolution, taking advantage of a weakness of the Tamarod movement there. The latest phase of the Egyptian revolution saw millions of people protest and strike against the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, for going from opposition to complicity with the Western-backed military regime. To try to contain the movement, the military regime removed Morsi (just as it was previously forced to remove Mubarak), and has launched an offensive against Brotherhood activists as part of a broader counter-revolution. The Egyptian Tamarod movement was part of the massive movement from below that forced the military to remove Morsi, but has gone on to support the counter-revolution from above.
Now other Western-backed dictatorships are claiming to support the Egyptian revolution by supporting the military's offensive against 'terrorism." Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which participated in the crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Bahrain, pledged along with Kuwait a total of $ 12 billion in aid to Egypt. In a statement that was read on state TV on August 16, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its people and government stood and stands by today with its brothers in Egypt against terrorism.”
While the recent events have further exposed the ruling class in Bahrain and the Gulf region, it is necessary to always be in solidarity with revolutionaries in those countries. Being in solidarity with people in Bahrain means supporting their rights to self-determination and exposing the Western governments that continue to back the gulf’s dictatorships. For the people of Bahrain to oust Al-Khalifas, there should be no US Fifth Fleet on their land, and no Western arms sales to repressive regimes.

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