Bahrain: The King of Bahrain appeared on television to announce an investigation into the deaths of two protesters killed in clashes with security forces, during the past two days of demonstrations. King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa said, “There have sadly been two deaths. I express my deep condolences to their families.” He also promised that political reform will continue.
Soon after, thousands of protesters gathered in Manama’s main square without interference by security forces. The demonstrators said they want political prisoners to be released; more jobs and housing; the creation of a more representative and empowered parliament; a new constitution written by the people, and a new cabinet that does not include Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who has been in office for 40 years.
Comment: Feedback from extremely well-informed and Brilliant Readers indicates the situation is not as tense as depicted in international news coverage. More importantly, it is not a Shiite uprising at all. Rather it is a mix of Sunnis and Shiites plus religious conservatives and secular progressives. It appears to be another elitist gathering, exercising the ability of social media to bring people together in yet another country. The two deaths are reminders that political protest is serious business.
Phi Beta Iota: Legitimacy is the foundation of stability. Governments that are corrupt use “divide and conquer” strategies–in the USA this is the false Gods of Republican and Democratic demagoguery to the exclusion of all common sense, in Muslim countries it is the Muslim-Christian divide and where necessary the Sunni-Shi’ite divide. Both Egypt, with is Muslims and Christians side by side, and Bahrein, with its Sunni and Shi’ite side by side, make it crystal clear that the clash of civilizations is not–what we have is a clash between the corrupt few and the many impoverished. There is no lack of wealth with which to create a prosperous world at peace–what is lacking is integrity in governments, corporations, and non-governmental organizations; and a sufficiency of public presence in the streets, one corrupt country at a time. The y0ung are neither corrupt nor fundamentalist. Help them or get out of the way. The educated young are the catalyst for general uprising–it has always been this way, unemployed Alpha males serve as catalysts for the less educated impoverished who take hope from the possibilities when shown it can be done (Davies J-Curve 101).