But when I arrived at the home where the meeting was held, I knew that things were not going to turn out as we all hoped.
Around 3 am this morning, the Bahraini police stormed the camp set up in the main round-about in Manama where protesters--families with women and children--were sleeping. Official reports claim that only 3 people have been killed, but that conflicts with what we've been hearing from committee members living in Bahrain and some news reports.
The TARA committee members watched in horror as Al-Jazeera showed tanks rolling down the main road of Manama, the kingdom's capital, just a mile or so away from the hotel where the conference is supposed to be held in just a week.
Obviously we've cancelled the conference and now have to watch as things unfold in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a chain of 33 islands just 16 miles away from where the Mister and I live. We can literally see the main island from our roof.
Selfishly, the Mister and I are bummed that we have lost our retreat from the stress of the Saudi Arabia, but our hearts go out to the people of Bahrain. All of this unrest is rooted in discrimination of Shia Bahrainis by the Sunni monarchy that has ruled the tiny kingdom for more than 200 years. Inspired by the success of the protesters in Egypt, the majority Shia citizens thought they would be able to capture the world's attention and force progress in their own country. I've been told that protests like this one have occurred several times over the past few years, and deaths have resulted even then. But now that rebellions are popping up all over the Middle East, Bahrainis are hoping to finally be noticed.
Bahrain, you have our attention.