Apologists and proxies of the Bahraini Khalifa and the GCC are misrepresenting the Bahraini people's struggle for democracy as sectarianism and racism. The poster in this picture reads: Neither Shia, Nor Sunni, United for the Homeland
Currently, there are two false narratives that are being used to misrepresent the situation in Bahrain. Both these narratives have been lapped up by the chaunvinist urban Pakistanis. These narratives have been given a fresh lease of life after it became difficult to justify the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabia and after the conscription of mercenaries from Pakistan. The denial strategy was rendered ineffective after Pakistani, Yemeni and Saudi police forces shot to death unarmed and peaceful Bahraini protestors in the streets (youtube clip)
One argument is that the protest for enfranchisement, opportunity and equal rights in Bahrain is another game by the perfidious Iranians, i.e. Bahraini Shias. This narrative is deeply sectarian and simply cannot accept the political suppression of muslim minority sects in the various Gulf monarchies and totalitarian states. This is the narrative that supports the Saudi and Pakistan army point of view and is silent at the brutal crackdown of protestors by Saudi and Pakistani mercenaries settling their sectarian bigotry.
Unfortunately, this narrative is deeply embedded in the Muslim psyche and is an essential part of the rampant bigotry that blames all the self-created problems of muslims on Christains, Jews and minority Muslim sects.
Any attempt to present a different point of view is dismissed and one is then castigated for being a Khomeini lover and a budding theocrat. This dihonest strawmanning tactic conflates anyone belonging to the Shia sect as an Iranian fifth-columnist. This epithet is thrown out to squelch debate and continue being the ostrich on the bigotry that minority muslims sects have to face. The denial of rights to Bahrain’s majority Shia citizenry is not a one off. Such bigotry is rampant in Saudi Arabia which has suppressed its minority population for decades.
It may be noted that one of the key leaders of the Bahraini people’s movement for democracy, Ibrahim Sharif, is a Sunni, currently serving as the General Secretary of the secular liberal National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad). He has been on several occasions arrested and persecuted by the Bahraini authorites.
In the last one week, 1000 Pakistani mercenaries were recruited from Lahore and Karachi for the Bahrain National Guard
Another false narrative is that the protestors are anti-Pakistani and anti-Arab racists who have gone beserk and are attacking Pakistani labourers. This narrative is laughably dishonest as it completely ignores the background of what has been going on in Bahrain for the last few weeks. Bouyed by protests for democracy in neighbouring Arab countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, large segments of Bahrain’s citizens rekindled their demands for equal rights and enfranchisement within the system.
The demand by these diverse group of protestors has been waged on and off for decades and has suffered several crackdowns. These are the facts and the suppression in Bahrain is a well documented fact by prominent human rights groups like Amensty International.
After the brutal crackdown which included the use of firing squads against peaceful protestors (youtube clips are abound), the influx and further addition of Pakistani mercenaries and finally, the official invasion by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s urban chauvinists have gone into overdrive in trying to divert attention away from the human rights abuses in Bahrain.
Here is a video clip by Al Jazeera which shows the police identity cards found on Pakistani, Syrian etc mercenaries in civilian clothes.
A Dawn newspaper blog (22 March 2011) uses completely unsubstantiated sources to highlight the mass scale lynching of Pakistani “labourers”; something that has already been proven to be a hoax in some instances. Furthermore, these allegations make no sense given the gross disparity between the protesters and the existing and freshly imported armed mercenaries from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Here is a list of evidence / links used in the Dawn blog. Two of the links are from Wahhabi (Shiaphobe) Facebook pages, and two from Gulf Daily News, a Bahraini newspaper controlled by the Al Khalifa family:
Unlike the detailed reports of the Amnesty International, BBC, New York Times, VOA, and the Huffington Post, the Dawn blog is the typical aggregation of unsubstantiated gossip that passes for news and facts in Pakistan’s urban elitest discourse. It was pathetic to see Pakistanis highlight the cause of Balochis in Bahrain being victims of the protestors when Baloch nationalists groups in Pakistan are themselves the victims of the Pakistan army and the dominant groups. Furthermore, the Baloch Liberation Front distanced itself from the mercenaries and actually supports the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain.
Lost in some of these false narratives and exaggerated accounts are the compelling question as to why Pakistan always allies itself with the oppressors.
Whether it was Jordan and Black September in 1970, the Jamaat-e-Islami and the genocide of Bangladeshis in 1971 or the Baloch since 1948, the Pakistani urban narrative has always been skewed in favour of the military strongmen crushing those who are asking for their rights. In all the Gulf countries, Pakistani expats are content in being second class citizens like the South Asians were in much of colonial Africa.
They are always willing to serve despots and serve them in crushing those who are more oppressed than them. From South Africa to Uganda, the South Asian mentality was to side with the colonialists and oppress the indigenous Africans. In both instances, African or Gulf Arab identity was secondary to dollars and dinars!
Hence, these largely false and exageratted narratives of the lynching of Pakistani “labourers” are discredited in the lies and deceptions of their own countrymen. When the Bahrainis were crusading for their rights for the last few decades, where were these Pakistani expats!
Why did they not join these protests and ask for full citizenship rights for all Bahrainis? Instead, they cast their lot with armed mercenaries and the Saudi invaders; as Pakistanis, they are always the willing tools of despots Sheikhs! Complicity with despots is not just limited to Bahrain but repeats itself in the other Gulf monarchies like and dictatorships like UAE, Oman and Qatar.
Those Pakistanis who are creating falsehood by making this about racism need to be honest in addressing the following questions:
1. Why are the Bahraini protestors so resentful solely with the Pakistani expats and not with the Indian, Bangladeshi and Philipine expats?
2. Why is the Pakistan army the only entity that has recently sent (via Fauji Foundation) a thousand conscripted mercenaries to Bahrain?
3. If Pakistanis are being denied their citizenship rights, why are they content on being second-class workers, not just in Bahrain but in other Gulf Kingdoms?
4. If it is an issue of Arab vs non-Arab racism, why are Arab invaders from Saudi Arabia and GCC massacring Arab protesters in Bahrain?
Even the most prominent Arab media channel exposes the lie that it was not Pakistanis where being picked out at random but police infiltrators that were allegedly attacked by rioters (see Al Jazeera clip)
Bahrain 2011 seems eerily similar to Balochistan (1948-present), Jordan (1970) and Bangladesh (1971). The oppressors are the same as well as their patrons. Even their apologists, Pakistani bourgeoisie and expats, are the same!
Tail-piece: Notorious suicide-bombing supporting mullah Yusuf Al-Qaradawi reduces Bahraini people’s uprising to Shia rebellion against Sunnis
“The Bahrain’s uprising unlike the other revolutions by the other Arab countries is a sectarian one, and does not represent the demands of Bahrainis as one nation, al-Qaradawi said.”(Source)