Here I am going to tell you my story in my beautiful island called Bahrain. I was born at the end of 80 , in a village called Sitra, kingdom of Bahrain and I became Bahraini citizen. I was the seventh child born in my family. Yes seven, this number is normal in my country. I have four older sisters and three older brothers. We were living in an old village house and buildings were old, the village is surrounded by factories and it’s polluted from all around. The oil factory is on the south side, highway is on the north everywhere in that village and people die from cancer each year.
However , I was born and raised in a Shia Muslim faith and throughout the 1980s and 1990s Shia struggled discrimination in Bahrain. This led to a civil uprising which took place against the ruling royal family minority government between 1994 and 1998. At that time, I was fearful of the police who were meant to protect us but they were not. Sometimes I wasn’t able to attend school during the disturbances. This was until 1999 when the king of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa ascended to the throne, reforms were promised and civil unrest eased. We were happy, because the sun light of freedom was ahead. Constitutional occurred to promote greater democracy and openness, but in reality they represented a ‘ fake democracy’ and people demanded further reforms . Thousands of people in Bahrain protested in the street against the government corruptions, freedom of speech, unemployment, citizenship policies , and discrimination against the Shiites from the minority Sunni the royal family of Bahrain Al-khalifa.
I participated in protest against the government that was organized by Al-Wifaq political party (the biggest political association in Bahrain) between 2003 and 2006. The protest did not experience any problems from the authorities. Initially in the first years of the reforms in Bahrain, people were allowed to protest but later protesters were beaten and imprisoned. The government did not listen to the demands of the people and the situation gradually deteriorated. From 2006 and 2007 (approximately) I attended demonstrations against pollution and ill health caused by oil cement and sheep companies in our village, The protest was held at the entrance of the village and another protest near the Bahrain Petroleum company (Bapco) premises. The protest was organized by the people in our village.
In 2007, I completed the high school achieved a high grade. Consequently, I was awarded a scholarship to study outside Bahrain in a foreign country (I do not want to tell the country as I want to be unknown). Most of the students who achieved 90 percent were entitled to scholarships. However , some students obtained scholarships despite only achieving grades in the 70s or 80s, this is because they belong to specific faction or had connection. I travelled to study outside Bahrain to study, and I usually come back home each year. While I was outside Bahrain, I received bad news that my dad passed away. I could not attend his funeral but my friends helped me to go over it.
In August 2010, Bahraini political activists were arrested and detained. The government set up checkpoints in the villages of Bahrain including our village. Some people were assaulted at the checkpoints when the riot police were not happy with responses to questions. At the end of October 2010, I went back home for my long vacation. The situation in Bahrain was miserable, riot police were everywhere without any reason and protests were held almost at night to release the political activists.
On 14th February 2011, peaceful protest began everywhere around Bahrain at the same time. It was organized by young people communicating on Facebook who had been influenced by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. One protestor was killed on 14 February and another was killed the next day at the funeral of the first martyr Ali Al-Mushima. People were angry at that time and decided to go to the Pearl Square and make it a camp protest same as Egypt and Tunisa until their demands were achieved. On the 16th of February, I attended the demonstration at Pearl Square around 7.00 and 8.00 pm.
King Hamad had indicated that the deaths would be investigated. People trusted the king to investigate the killings and listen to demands of people. They believed the security forces would not hurt the protestors and it was safe to attend. They wanted the prime minister, Khalifa bin Salman to leave his position , political prisoners to be released and changes to the citizenship policies. Illiterate people from Pakistan , Jordon and Yemen and Saddam Hussain loyalists had been recruited into the Bahraini security forces, intelligence service and the military and provided with housing and vehicles. The original people of Bahrain, Shia citizens did not enjoy such privileges and were discriminated against.
I stayed for two hours and I left the demonstration and went home. But I returned at 11.30 pm with a friend. We chatted about the expectations for greater freedom, we had black tea and some snacks which was provided at the Pearl square, of course for free!!. Men, women, children were sleeping at the square . I stayed there until 3:00 am , About five minutes later the protestors was attacked by the riot police. I did not expect that – no one did, as the king had gone on TV and promised there would be investigation for the killings of two people. In the morning of 17th February, the military forces were around the Pearl Square, five protesters were killed.
Soon after this, I departed from Bahrain. On the 18th February, people still wanted to go back to the pearl square and protest there. The military forces opened fire against protesters. World news reported about Bahrain and the international community condemned the violence against the protesters in Bahrain. This led the government to withdraw the military forces and allow the protest in Bahrain. People went back to the Pearl Square and protested. . In the middle of February, CNN channel reported that 600,000 people participated at a protest for ‘a day of honour for the martyrs’.
In late March 2011, I attended a protest at the Saudi embassy outside Bahrain. The protest was against the intervention of Saudi forces and the massacre that took place in Bahrain. Also, I attended another protest to show and express the solidarity with Bahrain nation. At the beginning of April, I received a call from Bahrain that my scholarship was canceled because I participated in a protest against the government. From April until uploading this story, the situation in Bahrain is unrest. Please Google it to see the news about Bahrain and try to talk about it with your relatives, friends, colleagues and talk about how the Bahrainis are suffering. They only want their freedom and democracy without corruption to develop their countr !!!